|The Age of Exploration began with “Prince Henry.”BornSlidePlayer|
Among the European countries in the 15th century, Portugal accounted for many important maritime discoveries and expansion. Portugal played a major role to find the sea route to Asia, in particular, India. The overland route to India was a risky one, as it was mostly controlled by irate Muslims on one hand and notorious robbers on the other. In order to get a strong grip on the maritime trade in Asia, King John wanted to spend sufficient money and asked Prince Henry to take charge of the search of a sea route.
|Portuguese Ship Caravel. NextBigFuture.com|
|Prince Henry the Navigator 1394 1460 Son of King João of Portugal.Alamy|
|Watertown Public Schools|
in the early days of the Portuguese Empire. Under his direction, the systematic exploration of Western Africa, the islands of the Atlantic Ocean, and the search for new routes was undertaken with much vigour. Henry was the one who encouraged his father King John to give due importance to discoveries of new lands and long sea voyages.
The third son of King John I and Philippa of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt of England, Henry and his older brothers, the princes Duarte (Edward) and Pedro, had their education under the supervision of their parents. Henry, in his early years, showed keen interest in astrology, military and sea voyages. In the later years. he had a great fascination for African coast and being a true Christian, the legend of Prester John gave him a lot of inspiration. Prester John, a legendary Christian patriarch, presbyter (elder) and a popular king in the 12th through the 17th centuries lost his Christian nation amid the Muslims and pagans of the Orient, in which the Patriarch of the Saint Thomas Christians resided.
When Henry was 21 he was quite adventurous and along with his father and brothers he captured the Moorish port of Ceuta in northern Morocco (1415), the Muslim port on the North African coast across the Straits of Gibraltar from the Iberian Peninsula. It was a notorious base for Barbary pirates, a threat to cargo ships. It was a major and first achievement by Henry. They captured their inhabitants to be sold in the African slave trade. His main goal was West African gold trade and suppression of pirate attacks on the Portuguese coast.
|Portuguese exploration. .britannica.com/|
|Henry the navigator. haikudeck.com|
King Henry encouraged more private participation in mercantile expeditions to the Atlantic coast of Africa. Alvise Cadamosto, an energetic Portuguese explorer, on his second voyage became the first to discoverer Cape Verde Islands (1456) and by 1462 they explored up to Sierra Leone. It was the farthest point reached by Portuguese explorers during Henry's life time. The credit goes to Bartolomeu Dias ( c. 1450 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal, who twenty-eight years later, conclusively proved that Africa could be circumnavigated when he reached the southern tip of the continent, now known as the Cape of Good Hope.
Using the navigational skills and details of early explorations initiated by King Henry along the west African coast, Vasco de Gama (c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), a Portuguese explorer circumvented the cape of Good Hope moved up along the East African coast and finally made the most important maritime discovery in world history in 1498 - the first ever sea route to India, the mystical land of spices, gold and gemstones.
Prince Henry, as he was commonly referred to, got the the nickname "Navigator"because of his vast contribution towards the discovery of new lands. In the annals of early European Maritime exploration history and sea-faring, King Henry is an immortal figure. The term Navigator was coined by two nineteenth-century German historians: Heinrich Schaefer and Gustave de Veer. Subsequently two British authors with their biographies of the prince: Henry Major in 1868 and Raymond Beazley in 1895 made it popular.
01. Henry became known as Prince Henry the Navigator because his school for navigation was so successful.
02. Though Prince Henry organized more than 50 voyages of exploration, he himself never went on one expedition.
03. He believed that to reach the Indian west coast, the ship had to circumvent the southern tip of Africa (The Cape of Good Hope).
04. African explorations brought in new riches for Portugal.
05. In 1488, Bartholomeu Dias for the first time sailed around the southern tip of Africa. His plan to proceed toward India was given up as his sailors were frightened; so he returned to Portugal. The tip of Southern Africa was called the cape of Good Hope as the Portuguese were very close to discovering the new route to India.
|Henry's tomb in the Monastery of Batalha/en.wikipedia.org/|