Rewriting History: John Cabot

What is the real story behind explorer John Cabot’s North American discoveries?

Written by Douglas Hunter

Posted February 15, 2010

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.

Story continues below.

Photo Gallery

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.

Douglas Hunter's complete article "Rewriting History" appeared in the April/May 2010 issue of Canada's History magazine.

Related to Exploration