Exploration and Settlement

Hernando De Soto

What became of John Cabot’s son, Sebastian?

Sebastian (c. 1476–1557), who was born in Bristol, England, and sailed with his father on his successful expedition to North America the summer of 1497, did not take part in his father’s ill-fated venture the following year. Had he done so, the world would have lost another great adventurer, since that expedition was never heard from again. Instead, Sebastian stayed behind and pursued his father’s cause and that of other merchant-navigators who were determined to find overseas trade routes to the East.

During his lifetime, Sebastian Cabot drew up maps for both the English and Spanish royalty and from 1525 to 1528 led a Spanish expedition that reached South America’s Río de la Plata, and sailed into the Paraná and Paraguay Rivers. In 1544 Cabot published an engraved map of the world. And seven years later, under a pension from King Edward VI (1537–1553), he founded the Merchant Adventurers of London. This group sponsored expeditions seeking a northeast passage (around Europe) to establish a trading route to the East. In so doing, the group effected trade with Russia.


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