Giovanni da Verrazano Facts for Kids

Giovanni da Verrazano, a pirate turned explorer, is one of the most fascinating personalities from the age of discovery. Here are some Giovanni da Verrazano facts for kids.

Verrazano was a self claimed Florentine.

There are suggestions that he was born at Val di Greve in Florence, Italy. Most historians agree that he was born in 1485 but there is lack of sufficient evidence inferring or indicating that he was born in Florence.

Giovanni da Verrazano was a pirate.

During the nascent years of the age of discovery, Christopher Columbus had sailed to find a sea route to India and instead landed in what he called the New World, Interesting, he was a pirate based out of Dieppe port in France, which made him a French pirate or at least one fighting for the French. His exploits primarily targeted Portuguese and Spanish vessels. It is believed that Verrazano had managed to ransack gold worth more than two million dollars from his exploits of Spanish ships.

Commissioned by King Francis I.

France was falling behind the British, Portuguese and Spanish kingdoms that were all trying to find the sea routes to Asia. If Columbus wanted to head west across the Atlantic, Vasco da Gama sailed down south across the Mediterranean and others like Cabot followed Columbus’s route with a bit of a change in the direction, Verrazano was commissioned by the French King Francis I to sail across the Atlantic to find a route to the Pacific and thereon to find a sea route to Asia. King Francis I had enjoyed the loyalty of Giovanni da Verrazano for many years and he trusted the former pirate to be capable of leading an expedition.

Landed in the East Coast.

Verrazano sailed across the Atlantic and although he did not find a route to Asia or the Pacific Ocean, he landed near Cape Fear, not too far from present day North Carolina. Instead of continuing on his quest for the Pacific, Verrazano started exploring the east coast of the New World. In the process, he sailed to Block Island, Narragansett Bay and New York Harbor. It is believed that due to his proclivity to anchor far from the shore, Verrazano could not discover Delaware Bays and Chesapeake.

Verrazano was the first explorer to reach the New York Harbor.

He explored the Hudson River in 1524. Henry Hudson who was credited with exploring the river and thus lent his name to the same was not the first explorer to do so. Henry Hudson reached the New York Harbor in 1609.


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