Printer Friendly

English merchant Weston was the first to land in North America after Columbus.

Byline: ANI

London, Aug.28 (ANI): A Bristol merchant going by the name of William Weston was the first Englishman to set foot in North America, seven years after Christopher Columbus.

Two years earlier, the Venetian explorer Giovanni Cabotto - better known as John Cabot - had sailed from Bristol under a patent from King Henry. He is thought to have landed in Newfoundland or Nova Scotia, in what is usually seen as the first European expedition to land in North America proper.

In the early 16th century, several English expeditions are known to have followed, but Dr Evan Jones, senior lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Bristol, has unearthed previously overlooked evidence that Weston was in fact the first.

In a letter from the King to his Lord Chancellor sent on March 12, 1499, Henry instructs his minister to suspend an injunction against Weston because the merchant was about to "with God's grace pass and sail for to search and find if he can the new found land".

"Up until now, no one had ever even heard of William Weston. Yet this letter reveals him to be the first Englishman to lead an expedition to North America," The Times quotes Dr. Jones, as saying.

The letter was found 30 years ago and mis-catalogued among a bundle of Chancery files in what is now the National Archives, but had previously been overlooked by historians.

Weston was allowed to undertake the voyage because he had been one of Cabot's leading supporters, Dr Jones believes.

Although Cabot had sold himself to Henry as an expert navigator, he had been forced to leave Venice because of unpaid debts and had no money for an expedition.

"He went to backers in Bristol to provide finance for the expedition in exchange for a share of any proceeds," Dr Jones said.

Weston was likely to have been one of these backers, and would have been able to use Cabot's patent for the King for his own expedition. (ANI)

Copyright 2009 Asian News International (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.

Provided by an company
COPYRIGHT 2009 Al Bawaba (Middle East) Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Asian News International
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 28, 2009
Previous Article:Karsaz bombing perpetrators may be behind Benazir's assassination: Khosa.
Next Article:MJ's skin doctor admits he could be Prince, Paris' dad.

Related Articles
The future king of the jungle.
Hinckley lift trophy; FOOTBALL.
Wear in with a title shout reckons Old.
Baltimore Civil Engineering History: Proceedings.
510-year-old church in Newfoundland may be New World's oldest Christian site.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters