Transport: Northwest Passage II

When in the late spring of 1497, John Cabot, middle-aged Italian navigator, hired out to England's Henry VII and sailed westward from Bristol, his destination was Asia, in particular Mecca, which he had already visited. On board the little three-masted Mathew were 18 men. Crammed under her planks were such trinkets, knives and cloths that "heathens and infidels" delight to trade for, and in the master's cupboard the commission by which His Majesty agreed to take only 20% of the profits of the trip.

Seven and a half weeks later the land he saw...

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