Prince Henry the Navigator

Henry the Navigator was the son of Juan I of Portugal (Juan -or João- de Avis) and Philippa of Lancaster of Portugal, so he was prince Henry the Navigator. He was born in 1394, in Porto (Portugal), and died in Vila do Bispo (Portugal), in 1460.
He had two brothers, Edward (later Edward I) and Peter. He received an education based on politics, literature and war. In 1415, when he was only 21, he demonstrated his

military flair during the course of the conquest of Ceuta, city of which he was later governor. When he returned to Portugal (~1417), he was named duke of Viseu and lord of Covilha.
Short after this, he founded in Sagres (Algarve) a centre of nautical, geographical and astronomic studies, where distinguished sailors and cartographers worked. Henry organised several expeditions from here with commercial and evangelizing purposes.
The stage of the great Portuguese geographical discoveries started in 1343, when Gil Eanes surrounded the Cape Bojador. Some years later, Nuno Tristão reached Cap Blanc (1443) and the mouth of Gambia River (1446).
The last expedition supported by Prince Henry the navigator finished with the discovery of Cape Verde Islands and Senegal River, in 1456, by Alvise da Cadamosto.

This is video created by us which talks about Henry the Navigator's life:


In 1417, he became the Grand Master of the Order of Christ. He invested the profits of the Order in maritime explorations. Therefore, the emblem of the Order adorned the Portuguese ships used for exploring.

Emblem of the Order of Christ

Thanks to Henry the Navigator’s work, the navigational techniques improved. These improvements were very useful in later expeditions, like Bartolomeu Diaz’s (1487).
Henry had the idea that black people, after being baptized, had to be taken back to their original countries to encourage their neighbours to become Christians, and therefore, “true men”. However, nobody knew later anything about the black people who returned.
In 1460, when the Portuguese arrived in Sierra Leona and Henry the Navigator died, the longing for money replaced his idealism. The attitude that had once transformed a small village of the Iberian Peninsula into a real nation with good sailors, was deteriorated with time, and the slaves’ work was even considered the basis of the nation.
Henry also took part in the Portuguese politics, and held an important role durng the mi
Bill of 10,000 shields
nority of king Alfonso V, his nephew.
He appears in the Portuguese bills of 10,000 shields.

Discoveries supported by Henry the Navigator

Although his nickname was 'the Navigator', he only payed for the expediditions; he was not an explorer.

Madeira Islands (1418),
by João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira
Azores Islands (1432),
by Diogo de Silves
Territories past Cape Bojador (1434),
by Gil Eanes
Cap Blanc or Cabo Blanco (1443),
by Nuno Tristão
Senegal (1445),
by Dinis Dias
Cape Verde Islands (1460)
by Alvise da Cadamosto

This map, created by us, shows the territories in the Western coast of Africa discovered thanks to Prince Henry the Navigator:

This is a video created by us. Henry the Navigator and Gil Eanes have a conversation: