Verrazzano, Giovanni da
Giovanni da Verrazzano, explorer (b at or near Florence c1485; d in the W Indies c 1528). Several years before Jacques CARTIER
, he established a French claim in N America. A rarity among early explorers, he was of distinguished lineage and was well educated in Florence, then a centre of geographic and navigational science. He moved to Dieppe, France, to pursue a maritime career and set sail westward from there in 1523 under the French flag. He made landfall around 1 Mar 1524 at or near Cape Fear (33°50´ N lat). He sailed S and then N to avoid the Spaniards, coasted N past New York Bay and the coast of Maine and likely departed from the E coast of Newfoundland (about 50° N lat), arriving back at Dieppe 8 July 1524. Although he mistakenly believed that he saw the Pacific Ocean across a narrow peninsula near Cape Hatteras, he was the first to recognize that the coast from Florida to Newfoundland was contiguous and belonged to a New World. On a second voyage in 1528, he rowed ashore to one of the Caribbean islands, likely Guadeloupe, and was slain and eaten by cannibals.
Explorations, Atlantic Coast
Links to Other Sites
Giovanni da Verrazzano
A biography of Giovanni da Verrazzano. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Section of Gerolamo da Verrazzano's map of the world, 1529
A 16th-century map depicting the western Atlantic region. Produced by the brother of the Florentine explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano. From the "Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage" website.