Giovanni De Verrazano Discovers New York Harbor

Giovanni da Verrazzano was an Italian explorer who sailed under the French flag with the objective of finding a passage to Asia. He made landfall on March 1, 1524, off the coast of North Carolina near Cape Fear. Initially, he sailed south but then turned north to avoid encountering Spanish ships. After exploring the coast of what is now North Carolina, he headed northward and discovered New York Bay.

Verrazzano spent only one day in the bay, not venturing much further than the straits that now bear his name—The Verrazzano-Narrows. He then continued up the coast and discovered Narragansett Bay, where he spent two weeks. Finally, Verrazzano sailed further north off the coast of Maine and on to Nova Scotia before returning to France via Newfoundland.

Notably, Verrazzano's explorations provided the French with valuable information about the eastern coast of North America, although he never did find the passage to Asia that he was looking for. His discoveries laid the groundwork for future French claims in the New World.