Today in History, March 5, 1496:
English King Henry VII issues letters patent to Italian navigators John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) and his son Sebastian, sponsoring them for explorations.
“…free authority, faculty and power to sail to all parts, regions and coasts of the eastern, western and northern sea, under our banners, flags and ensigns, with five ships or vessels of whatsoever burden and quality they may be, and with so many and with such mariners and men as they may wish to take with them in the said ships, at their own proper costs and charges, to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians.”
John would find Newfoundland in North America, initiating future settlements in North America. The Vikings and Columbus came before the Cabots, but their explorations bore fruit for England.