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John Verrazano

"The French attempted no discoveries on the American coast until 1524. But this year, John Verrazano, a Florentine navigator of celebrity, sailed with a squadron of four ships, fitted out by Francis I. Of these ships, three were soon compelled to return, and Verrazano proceeded with a single vessel. He reached the American coast about the latitude of Wilmington, Delaware, when, after a southern exploration, he proceeded northerly, along the coast, landing at several points in New Jersey and New York, as interest or curiosity prompted. Near New York the voyagers kidnapped and bore away an Indian child. In Newport harbor, Rhode Island, Verrazano anchored for fifteen days, when he proceeded north, exploring the coast as far as Newfoundland. To the whole region thus discovered by him he gave the name of New France, which, however, was afterwards applied only to Canada, and which name it held while in possession of the French.

In 1525, this enterprising navigator, during a second voyage to America, by means of some unknown disaster, was lost, with all his crew."

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, opened in 1964, which connects Staten Island to Brooklyn, New York, is named in his honor."

 

— A History of the United States, by Charles A. Goodrich, 1857 (edited)

 

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