Prince Henry the Navigator By: Arielle Stallworth

Prince Henry (Henrique) the Navigator (1394-1460) was a Portuguese royal prince, soldier, and patron of explorers. Henry sent many sailing expeditions down Africa's west coast, but did not go on them himself.

The Age of Exploration

He sent many expeditions from Portugal to the west coast of Africa. His soul purpose for exploring the west coast of Africa was to see how far Muslim lands extended to the south, defeat them, and to find the legendary Christian empire of the priest-king Prester-John and he ended up accomplishing much more.

In 1419, Prince Henry started the first school of navigation at Sagres, Portugal with the goal of training people in navigation, map-making and science to prepare them to sail around the west coast of Africa.

Prince Henry himself even convinced some explorers to go further south. Prince Henry’s influence was the first step in finding the vaunted sea route to the Indies.

Few sailors were willing to go past considering they only had the sun, moon, and stars to guide them. When taking distant voyages European inventors and sailors experimented with new tools for navigation and new designs for sailing ships, often borrowing from other cultures.”

Excerpt From: Roger B. Beck, Linda Black, Larry S. Kreiger, Phillip C. Naylor & Dahia Ibo Shabaka. “World History.” v2.0. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. iBooks.

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