EARLY ENGLISH EXPLORERS
First a brief bit about Bristol England, situated in southern England, maybe was known as Bryogstow. It was a populated place by the year 1000 and twenty years later was known to be a trading center with it's own mint to produce silver coin bearing the name. When under Norman rule it had the strongest and well fortified castle in southern England.
The 11th century saw Bristol as a port on the rivers Avon and Frome. In 1373 Bristol became a county and was a shipbuilding and manufacturing center. The 15th century Bristol seamen launched many exploration voyages, leading to early English explorers in the days of Queen Elizabeth.
1491 the first Bristol explorers tried to discover the new world and for seven years sent from two to four ships each year on these voyages, joined by Spain an Portugal. . John Cabot , undertook his great task in 1497 from Bristol.
Cabot , born in Venice, emigrated to Bristol, married and had three sons, on being Sabastian, who sailed the Mathew to Newfoundland and was responsible for discoveries of regions, dominions, islands and places unknown. His ships visited Russia, the first English ships to do so. 1501 Robert Thorne of Bristol made voyages and discoveries in “ new found lands”. Trade went well from Bristol to Spain and the Mediterranean .
A story of John Rawlings of Bristol, captured by pirates, sold as slave in Algeria, where he an others of his crew were sold and put as crew aboard a captured ship of Bristol, the “Exchange”, and at sea in a terrible fight threw their captors overboard and returned the ship back to Bristol.
People of other crafts began to engage in the profitable shipping and this led to a petition from the merchants and King Edward IV granted “ Merchant Ventures of Bristol” that admission was by apprenticeship only to a society of merchants. Many expeditions to discover western lands fitted up at Bristol.
Trade rivalry between Britain and Spain caused the Bristol men to stand up the the Spaniards, foot to foot, at the expedition of Cadiz in 1596, where John Hopkins of the Merchant Ventures of Bristol became known as a hero and won high renown and gratitude for the victory and defeat of the Great Spanish Armada.
Source: Wilmington Delaware News Journal , Monday November 17, 1930
The Bristol Development Board