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The Voyage of the Matthew: John Cabot and the Discovery of North America Hardcover – 1997

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; First American Edition edition (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771031211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771031212
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,106,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
John Cabot and the Matthew are to Newfoundlanders and Canadians what Christopher Columbus and the Santa Maria are to Americans. When the modern replica of Giovanni Caboto's (Cabot's Italian name) caravel Matthew visited our shores in 1997 to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the originals voyage, I was smitten! The fact that it was the 20th Century, and not the 15th, didn't detract from the realism of the reinactment of John Cabot's transatlantic crossing of 1497. The modern crew battled north atlantic gales, encountered icebergs and vast fogbanks, much as had Cabot's crew of 500 years previous. On June 24th, 1997 amidst freezing temperatures and a howling gale, 500 years to the day after the original Matthew landed in Bonavista, the modern replica sailed out of a fog bank at landed at the very spot where Cabot reportedly first sighted land! After 53 days at sea in oftentimes trying conditions, the mostly novice crew, ranging in age from 20 years to 77, managed to sail their tiny replica ship from Bristol, England to Newfoundland and into the hearts of all Newfoundlanders. Fisrstbrook's book chronicles the birth of the idea for the recreation of Cabot's historic voyage through to the ships design and construction and her sea trials in 1996/97. Also, the book deals with the medeival world of late 15th century Europe that spawned such explorers as Columbus, Cabot and Corte Real as well as the historical facts surrounding Cabot's three voyages. Firstbrook also entertains the various theories dealing with Cabot's subsequent disappearance during his mysterious and ill-fated third voyage of 1498. For anyone interested in sailing ships, or history, or just an interesting read, this is an excellent book.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
More more than Cabot's voyages to N. America, the book relates career of Cabot to those of Columbus, Cortes and Pizarro. Others of interest are Alonso de la Hojeda and cartographer Juan de la Costa. The Treaty of Tordesillas precluded Cabot from following the Spanish South of Plymouth latitude. Conflict with the Hanseatic League was also a factor. Compared with Columbus' voyage, Cabot took the shorter but more violent route to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Firstbrook cites Cabot as the first European to set foot on N. America although speculating on possible landings during explorations of Greenland by the Irish St Brendon and the Viking, Erik the Red. There is small mention of Sir Humphry Gilbert landing on Newfoundland in 1483. The book includes navigation limitations imposed by climate change in the intervening centuries. Firstbrook cites interesting sources such as 16th century writer Richard Hakluyt and spy John Day who found a map attributed to Cabot's exploration.
Cabot's son Sebastian engaged in self promotion, ignoring contribution of his father who has subsequently taken a backseat in history to the Spanish explorers. French historians give more credit to Jacques Cartier who discovered the St. Lawrence waterway in 1534.
In 1996 a version of Cabot's flagship, the Matthew, built for a voyage featured on BBC, was patterned after the Mary Rose raised a few years previously. There is an appendix containing a chronology. Another, for the serious student, contains contemporary letters from historical archives in England, Italy and Spain. This well researched book is very enjoyable to read.
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By Estha Pando on September 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book was in excellent condition. My daughter and I used it for a report in school. It served our purpose well.
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