John and Sebastian Cabot

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     In May 1497 Giovanni (John) Cabot (1450-1499), an Italian navigator sponsored by King Henry VII of England, sailed from Bristol in the Matthew (probably named for his wife Mattea) for the western hemisphere. He made landfall in June in southern Labrador, Newfoundland, or Cape Breton Island. He believed that he had reached the northeast coast of Asia.
     He returned to Bristol in August of the same year. His landing helped lay the basis for England's claims in Canada. Cabot's Strait between Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island is named for him.
     The stamp marks the 500th anniversary of Cabot's voyage. It shows part of a globe with the northern part of the western hemisphere and the Matthew.

     Sebastian Cabot (1476-1557) accompanied his father, John Cabot, on the latter's voyage of discovery in 1497. They left Bristol, England, in the navicula Matthew, May 20, 1497. They made a landfall in the western hemisphere and took possession in the name of Henry VII. They sailed along the East coast of Newfoundland for about a month and returned to Bristol, arriving on August 6.
     Sebastian Cabot's world map was published in Antwerp in 1544, and is preserved in a single copy in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. The map is eliiptical, 47 X 84 inches, engraved on copper. The inscriptions, which were not written by Cabot, are lettered on paper and pasted to both sides of the map. The St. Lawrence River area shows evidence of the discoveries of Jacques Cartier, nearly 40 years after the Cabots visited the area.
     The portion shown on the stamp is of the area of John Cabot's voyage. It strongly resembles the similar region on Nicolas Deslien's World Map of 1541 and parts of the Ribero map of 1529. The picture of Cabot is based on a copy of an engraving found in Samuel Seyer's Memoirs illustrative of the history and antiquities of Bristol (1823). Seyer's engraving was based on an original contemporary portrait by Hans Holbein which was destroyed in Pittsburgh in 1845. In 1897 Newfoundland issued a stamp with this portrait identified as John Cabot

SCN 3314