Turn back now to Columbus's time. England, destined to dominate the continent of North America, was also practically the discoverer of the same. On St. John's day, June 24, 1497, thirteen months and a week before Columbus saw South America, John Cabot, a Venetian in the service of King Henry VII., from the deck of the good ship Matthew, of Bristol, descried land somewhere on the coast either of Labrador or of Nova Scotia. Cabot, of course, supposed this prima vista of his to belong to Asia, and expected to reach Cipango next voyage. So late as 1543 Jean Allefonsce, on reaching New England, took it for the border of Tartary.
Andre Thevet, in 1515, in a pretended voyage to Maine, places Cape Breton on the west coast of Asia. This confusion probably explains the tradition of Norumbega as a great city, and of other populous and wealthy cities in the newly found land. Men transferred ideas of Eastern Asia to this American shore.
See also: 1498, 1506-1513