GONSALES (Gonsalves, Gonçalves), JOÃO, Portuguese explorer; fl. 1501–3.
It is known that Gonsales sailed for the shores of Newfoundland, that he was granted a pension of £10 a year for his good services, and that although born in the Azores, he was allowed to assume English nationality so long as he paid English taxes. Documentary mention of him occurs in letters-patent issued by Henry VII of England on 19 March 1501, giving rights of exploration to three merchants of Bristol, Richard Warde, Thomas Asshehurst, and John Thomas, and to three Portuguese explorers, João Fernandes, Francisco Fernandes, and “John Gunsalus, born Isle of Surrys” (Azores). The voyage was sufficiently successful to warrant a payment “to men of bristoll that found thisle” on 7 Jan. 1502 (BM, Add. MS 7099) and another payment on 26 Sept. 1502 to “ffraunceys ffernandus and John Guidisalvus,” as well as the issue of a second charter dated 9 Dec. 1502 in favour of the syndicate of two Bristol merchants, Hugh Eliot and Thomas Asshehurst, and two Portuguese, Gonsales and Francisco Fernandes. The expedition sailed from Bristol early in 1503 but nothing is known of the outcome.
Documents are printed in Henry Harrisse, John Cabot, the discoverer of North America, and Sebastian Cabot his son (London, 1896); Precursors (Biggar); and Williamson, Voyages of the Cabots (1929). See also Hoffman, Cabot to Cartier.