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In 1497, the first Europeans set foot on the North American mainland and claimed it for the English crown. Led by John Cabot, a small band of hardy sailors had braved the stormy, uncharted seas of the North Atlantic in a single, three-masted sailing ship. Americans speak English rather than Spanish or Italian because of this voyage; yet remarkably little is known about John Cabot or his adventurous and daring life. On the 500th anniversary of his discovery, another crew of intrepid sailors set out to make the same journey, in a replica of Cabot's ship - accompanied by a public television camera crew. The Voyage of the Matthew combines historical research into the great Age of Discovery with the lure of exploring new territory and confronting age-old challenges.