John Cabot was born around 1450, most likely in Genoa, Italy. His father was Guilo Caboto, a spice merchant. In his youth, Cabot was known as Giovani Caboto. By 1471, Cabot had moved to Venice, where he joined the religious fraternity of St. John the Evangelist. Later, he engaged in trade. In 1484, he married a Venetian woman named Mattea, and they had three children.
In 1488, Cabot left Venice, likely due to financial difficulties, and made his way to Seville. There, he tried to gain support for a voyage across the North Atlantic. When he couldn't secure the backing he sought, Cabot moved to England in 1495. He received some financial support from Italians living in England, which led to a commission from King Henry VII to explore.
Cabot's first voyage didn't go as planned. He encountered bad weather and was forced to return to England. However, his second voyage was more fruitful. Departing England aboard the "Mathew," a small ship, Cabot explored the Northern Coast of North America—somewhere between Maine and Newfoundland.
The exact locations of Cabot's exploration are still debated. After exploring and making a single landing, he claimed the land for England and then made his way back. Upon his return, he was celebrated as a minor hero and received a reward from the King.
In February 1498, King Henry commissioned him for another exploration. This time, Cabot embarked with a fleet of five ships in May 1498. Unfortunately, one ship had to return to Ireland, while the other four carried on. Tragically, nothing was ever heard from these ships again. The fate of Cabot and his crew remains one of history's enduring mysteries.