Sensational new claims by an eccentric but brilliant historian have led to renewed research by scholars.
British historian Alwyn Amy Ruddock believed that explorer John Cabot did not die during his 1498 voyage to the New World. She said she had located key information in public and private European archives that indicated Cabot returned safely and was still alive in England in 1500.
Ruddock was also firm in her belief that Bristol mariners already had arrived in the New World before Cabot and Columbus —sometime before 1470. She was not the only scholar to suggest this — but, unlike the others, she claimed to have found proof in Italian and Spanish sources.
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The departure of John and Sebastian Cabot from Bristol on their first voyage of discovery, 1497. Oil on canvas by Ernest Board, 1906.
Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage
A replica of John Cabot’s ship, the Matthew, sails off the coast of England. The ship was part of a re-enactment staged in 1997.
The map shows two theoretical routes taken by John Cabot in 1497. Scholars differ on where he first made landfall.
British historian Alwyn Amy Ruddock in 1993. Ruddock destroyed her research about John Cabot before her death.
British Historian Evan Jones in 2009. Jones is trying to piece together another historian's destroyed research on John Cabot.
But before Ruddock died in 2006, she made sure to have all her research on John Cabot destroyed.
Since then, Evan Jones of the University of Bristol has led an international effort to try and piece together Ruddock’s findings.
Learn more about Jones’ project at The Cabot Project.
Explore Memorial University's website on Cabot.