John Cabot (detail from Some
Who Have Made Bristol Famous).
John Cabot (c1457-99) was a Genoese
explorer, merchant, navigator and cartographer who set out from
Bristol in 1497 in search of the Far East. Cabot's voyage was
motivated by his desire to find an alternative route westward
to the Orient that avoided the hostile Turkish-held land to the
Fortuitously for him, his search for backers coincided
with Bristol's own desire to find alternative supplies of dried
fish, having lost the once lucrative Icelandic trade to the Danes.
Cabot's ships were fitted out by Bristol merchants, including
Robert Thorne, founder of Bristol Grammar School, and were manned
by Bristol seamen who already had experience of venturing across
the Atlantic. Cabot could not go too far south in his journey
west for fear of offending the Spanish. By keeping northwards
he came, not to the Orient but to Newfoundland.
with maritime activity, and Bristol include:
Sebastian Cabot (c 1480-1557),
Atlantic explorer, merchant and cartographer.
Sir Martin Frobisher (c 1535-1594), explorer, privateer and naval
John Guy (c 1575-1628), merchant who attempted to become colonial
governor of Newfoundland.
Martin Pring (1580-c1626), naval officer who established colonial
base in New England.
Thomas James (c 1592-1635), explorer and writer who went in search
of the north-west passage to Asia in 1631.
Sir William Penn (1621-1670), naval officer who commanded Caribbean
expedition (father of William Penn, Quaker founder of Pennsyvlvania).
Sir Henry Morgan (c 1635-1688), buccaneer and governor of Jamaica.
Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721), castaway and possible inspiration
for Robinson Crusoe.
Woodes Rogers (c 1679-1732), privateer and colonial governor
of the Bahamas.
Mary Read (c 1695-1721), pirate.
Edward Teach (died 1718), better known as Blackbeard the pirate.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel by Robert Howlett, 1857 (Institution
of Civil Engineers).
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), designer of transatlantic
Samuel Plimsoll (1824-1898), campaigner for safety at sea.
Dame Katherine Furse (1875-1952), director of the Women's Royal
Tony Bullimore, yachtsman.
Sir William Penn.