The Trouble With History

John Cabot - Detail from "The departure of John and Sebastian Cabot from Bristol on their first voyage of discovery, 1497." Oil on canvas by Ernest Board, 1906.I don’t know why I continue to be surprised by these kinds of things, but sometimes you don’t realize something that you’ve been told all your life is wrong until you’ve pulled it out of the drawer and given it a good shaking out.

Imagine I built a time machine and traveled back to the 1480s to give John Cabot a handshake and a thumbs-up. I’ve been informed all of my life that this fellow was the man who discovered the nation of my birth, Canada, but if I were to walk up to him on the street and say “Hey, John, good one,” he’d likely have no idea who I was even talking to.

Zuan Chabotto, on the other hand, would have no problem giving me a fist bump.

In Italy he is known today as Giovanni Caboto, in Spain as Juan Caboto and in England as John Cabot.
As for the way he described himself, only one set of documents has been found bearing his signature. These are Venetian testamentary documents of 1484, on which he signed himself as “Zuan Chabotto”, Zuan being a form of John typical to Venice. – wikipedia

“What’s the big deal?” you may ask, but I tell you this: If, five hundred years from now, I’m largely remembered for being the second fellow to land on a planet outside of our solar system but everyone keeps referring to me as JRD Скинер, I’ll be pretty angry.