What was John Cabot's childhood like?


Quick Answer

Explorer and navigator John Cabot was born to a spice merchant and his wife in roughly 1450 in Genoa, Italy, and grew up in Venice, learning navigation and sailing from Italian mariners. He was born Giovanni Caboto, and his name was later anglicized.

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Full Answer

Information provided by Loon Lake Elementary School indicates that as a child, Cabot learned a great deal about trading spices from his father and others who lived and worked in the city. In fact, it was the spice trade that inspired him to become a sailor. He understood at a young age that learning the spice trade routes himself would allow him to eliminate the middle man and earn more money for his time. As a result, he set about learning mathematics, astronomy, cartography and navigation as a boy. He also learned to speak a number of languages to help him on sailing expeditions.

The CBC, Canada's national broadcast news organization, reports that Cabot's name was anglicized shortly before sailing to what would eventually be known as Newfoundland, Canada, which he mistook for Asia, and claiming it for England. He married an Italian woman and had three sons with her.

According to Biography.com, Cabot lived in Italy until he was roughly 45 years old, at which point he moved to Bristol, England. However, prior to that, he lived in his native country.

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