Giovanni da Verrazzano
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Verrazzano was born in Tuscany, near Florence, and was the recipient of a thorough education. As a young man he lived in Dieppe, France, and entered the French maritime service. Verrazzano made two voyages to the Levant (present-day Turkey, Syria and Lebanon).
France at the time was increasingly jealous of Spain's early ventures in the New World. In 1524, Verrazzano set sail in search of a northwest passage to Asia with two ships provided by Francis I of France. The expedition also was backed by well-to-do Italian merchants and bankers residing in Lyons. Initially he reached the West Indies, then sailed on to the coast of North America. He arrived first at present-day North Carolina, then headed north past Sandy Hook into New York Harbor. It was quickly discovered that the Hudson River was not a strait, so the voyage continued to Narragansett Bay, another dead end. Verrazzano later pushed on past Cape Cod, Maine, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. This voyage established a French claim to these lands, but at the time it was regarded as a failure because the passage to the East was not found.
Verrazzano made a later voyage, perhaps in 1527, to the West Indies and the coast of South America. He was killed in a confrontation with Native Americans in the Lesser Antilles.
Verrazzano's brother, Gerolamo, published maps that were among the first depictions of North America. Virginia was shown as a very narrow strip of land bounded on the western side by the Indian Ocean.
Verrazzano's accomplishments were honored in the 1964 dedication of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, which links Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York Harbor.
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Staten Island by Thomas W. Matteo.
From the moment Giovanni da Verrazzano first spied it in 1524, Staten Island has been recognized as a verdant oasis at the mouth of one of the world’s...
A History of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island Keepers of the Bay by Robert A. Geake.
Before Roger Williams set foot in the New World, the Narragansett farmed corn and squash, hunted beaver and deer and harvested clams and oysters throu...