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Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal

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1 Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal
March 4, 1394 – November 13, 1460 Although he was called Prince Henry the Navigator by the English, Prince Henry never actually sailed on any of the voyages of discovery he sponsored. Instead, Prince Henry established a school for the study of the arts of navigation, mapmaking, and shipbuilding. This would allow sailors to better guide their ships and to come up with new ship designs. Prince Henry the Navigator initiated the search of the West African coast. Due to his efforts, by 1460 the Portuguese had explored the coast of Africa all the way to Sierra Leon.

2 Portugal's Flag The flag to the right was used from 1385 until 1481, during the reigns of Kings João I ( ), Duarte ( ), and Afonso V ( ) .

3 He was of the Portuguese House of Aviz and an important figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire, being responsible for the beginning of the European worldwide explorations.

4 Henry encouraged his father to conquer Ceuta
(1415), the Muslim port on the North African coast across the Straits of Gibraltar from the Iberian peninsula, with profound consequences on Henry's worldview: Henry became aware of the profit possibilities in the Saharan trade routes that terminated there and became fascinated with Africa in general To celebrate his formal treaty of friendship with Castile in 1411, King João (Henry's father) planned a tournament, to last a year, with knights invited from all over Europe. The jousts would give his three eldest sons who had just reached manhood the opportunity to earn their knighthoods by acts of chivalry. But the three princes, reinforced by the King's treasurer, dissuaded João, and urged him instead to launch a Crusade against Ceuta

5 At the age of nineteen, Henry was sent to the North to recruit, equip and train forces for the expedition, including the task of building an additional fleet of ships in Oporto. Henry seems to have communicated his enthusiasm to the people of Oporto: the shipbuilders and other craftsmen worked day and night, and the citizens gave up eating meat so that it could be preserved for the expedition. A ninety-year-old knight rode to Henry's headquarters to offer his services to the cause. After two years preparation, the Crusade was launched in an aura of miracles and omens. There was an eclipse of the sun, and the plague was raging in Lisbon. Queen Philipa fell ill after a long religious fast. From her deathbed she gave the King and her three eldest sons fragments of the true cross, and a sword to each son.

6 Henry and the navigators in the monument to the Portuguese discoveries, Lisbon
Prince Henry's life was full of accomplishments and success, He started all of his fame with one goal, the goal to make Portugal the most powerful sea power. He started reaching his goal by founding a navigation school in 1419, where he taught young and inexperienced and old and wise how to use navigation tools, astronomy, compasses and how to steer and work a boat.

7 In August 1415, the Portuguese fleet attacked and swiftly took the port of Ceuta. On the northwestern tip of the continent of Africa. During their time in Ceuta the Portuguese saw evidence of the trading riches of the interior - spices, oriental rugs, gold, silver etc., merchandise which was delivered by caravans from the Sahara and the Indies. Henry learnt about the African caravan trade, which of course had ceased when the Portuguese took Ceuta. He learnt about the interior lands, and the 'silent trade' which was used by people who did not speak each other's language.

8 One of the supreme accomplishments of Prince Henry’s academy was the development of the ocean going caravel, a ship that combined the square rigging common at the time in European vessels with the lateen sails favored by the Moors, giving it both speed and maneuverability. The  caravel could sail upwind, necessary for exploring south around the coast of Africa. Without the caravel, deep ocean voyages of exploration would have been all but impossible. Another supposed accomplishment back then, but not considered one now, is that his crew members were the first to bring back slaves to Europe. This happened in Wonderful, huh?

9 Until Henry's time, Cape Bojador remained the most southerly point known to Europeans on the unpromising desert coast of Africa, although the Periplus of the Carthaginian Hanno the Navigator described a journey farther south about 2,000 years earlier. As a second fruit of this work other Portuguese explorers rediscovered the Madeira Islands in 1420, and at Henry's instigation Portuguese settlers colonized the islands. In 1427, one of Henry's navigators, probably Gonçalo Velho, discovered the Azores. Portugal soon colonized these islands in 1430. Gil Eanes, the commander of one of Henry's expeditions, became the first European known to pass Cape Bojador in This was a breakthrough as it was considered close to the end of the world, with difficult currents that did not encourage commercial enterprise

10 Using the new ship type, the expeditions then pushed onwards
Using the new ship type, the expeditions then pushed onwards. As the various Portuguese explorers pushed ever more southwards, they soon came across the Senegal River and rounded the peninsula of Cap-Vert in By this stage the explorers had passed the southern boundary of the desert, and from then on Henry had one of his wishes fulfilled: the Portuguese had circumvented the Muslim land-based trade routes across the western Sahara Desert, and slaves and gold began arriving in Portugal.

11 By 1452, the influx of gold permitted the minting of Portugal's first gold cruzado coins. A cruzado was equal to 400 reis at the time. From 1444 to 1446, as many as forty vessels sailed from Lagos on Henry's behalf, and the first private mercantile expeditions began.


13 The Portuguese purpose was not to colonize, but to establish a secure trading relationship. They traded on African terms. Since there was some resistance to European infiltration, and the coastline was unsuitable to large boats, the Portuguese often based themselves on Islands off the coast of the continent and at coastal ports. They set up factories--commercial trading posts-- guarded by forts , spread their religion and grew sugar. Portuguese captains often married local women and had mixed race children who completely upset the societal hierarchy. These mixed race children often thought of themselves as superior to their African counterparts served as middlemen in the trade. The initial load of black slaves arrived in Portugal in 1441.

14 By 1462, the Portuguese had explored the coast of Africa as far as the present-day nation Sierra Leone. Twenty-eight years later, Bartolomeu Dias (or Diaz) proved that Africa could be circumnavigated when he reached the southern tip of the continent now known as the "Cape of Good Hope." By 1498, Vasco de Gama had rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Trade with the coastal West African middlemen included cowry shells and hardware (cooking pots and brass pans and iron rods) in exchange for the gold, slaves, ivory, pepper, gum Arabic, and ostrich feathers.

15 Henry's tomb in the Monastery of Batalha
The glory attached to the name of Prince Henry does not rest merely on the achievements effected during his own lifetime, but on the subsequent results to which his genius and perseverance had lent the primary inspiration. To him the human race is indebted, in large measure, for the maritime exploration, within one century ( ), of more than half the globe, and especially of the great waterways from Europe to Asia both by east and by west. His own life only sufficed for the accomplish-ment of a small portion of his task. The complete opening of the African or southeast route to the Indies needed nearly forty years of somewhat intermittent labor after his death ( ), and the prince's share has often been forgotten in that of pioneers who were really his executors -- Diogo Cam, Bartholomew Diaz or Vasco da Gama. Less directly, other sides of his activity may be considered as fulfilled by the Portuguese penetration of inland Africa, especially of Abyssinia, the land of the "Prester John" for whom Dom Henry sought, and even by the finding of a western route to Asia through the discoveries of Columbus, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and Ferdinand Magellan. Henry's tomb in the Monastery of Batalha


17 The Trans-Saharan Gold Trade (7th–14th century)

18 Gold Trade and the Kingdom of Ancient Ghana
Around the fifth century, thanks to the availability of the camel, Berber-speaking people began crossing the Sahara Desert. From the eighth century onward, annual trade caravans followed routes later described by Arabic authors with minute attention to detail. Gold, sought from the western and central Sudan, was the main commodity of the trans-Saharan trade. The traffic in gold was spurred by the demand for and supply of coinage. The rise of the Soninke empire of Ghana appears to be related to the beginnings of the trans-Saharan gold trade in the fifth century.

19 From the seventh to the eleventh century, trans-Saharan trade linked the Mediterranean economies that demanded gold—and could supply salt—to the sub-Saharan economies, where gold was abundant. Although local supply of salt was sufficient in sub-Saharan Africa, the consumption of Saharan salt was promoted for trade purposes. In the eighth and ninth centuries, Arab merchants operating in southern Moroccan towns such as Sijilmasa bought gold from the Berbers, and financed more caravans. These commercial transactions encouraged further conversion of the Berbers to Islam.

20 Increased demand for gold in the North Islamic states, which sought the raw metal for minting, prompted scholarly attention to Mali and Ghana, the latter referred to as the "Land of Gold." For instance, geographer al-Bakri described the eleventh-century court at Kumbi Saleh, where he saw gold-embroidered caps, golden saddles, shields and swords mounted with gold, and dogs' collars adorned with gold and silver. The Soninke managed to keep the source of their gold (the Bambuk mines, most notably) secret from Muslim traders. Yet gold production and trade were important activities that undoubtedly mobilized hundreds of thousands of African people.


22 The flow of sub-Saharan gold to the northeast probably occurred in a steady but small stream. Mansa Musa's arrival in Cairo carrying a ton of the metal (1324–25) caused the market in gold to crash, suggesting that the average supply was not as great. Undoubtedly, some of this African gold was also used in Western gold coins. African gold was indeed so famous worldwide that a Spanish map of 1375 represents the king of Mali holding a gold nugget. When Mossi raids destroyed the Mali empire, the rising Songhai empire relied on the same resources. Gold remained the principal product in the trans-Saharan trade, followed by kola nuts and slaves. The Moroccan scholar Leo Africanus, who visited Songhai in 1510 and 1513, observed that the governor of Timbuktu owned many articles of gold, and that the coin of Timbuktu was made of gold without any stamp or superscription.

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