Prince Henry "the Navigator": A Life by Peter E. RussellHenry the Navigator, fifteenth-century Portuguese prince and explorer, is a legendary, almost mythical figure in late medieval history. Considered along with Columbus to be one of the progenitors of modernity, Prince Henry challenged the scientific assumptions of his age and was responsible for liberating Europeans from geographical restraints that had bound them since the Roman Empire’s collapse. In this enthralling account of Henry’s life—the first biography of “The Navigator” in more than a century—Peter Russell reaps the harvest of a lifelong study of Prince Henry. Making full use of documentary evidence only recently available, Russell reevaluates Henry and his role in Portuguese and European history.
Examining the full range of Prince Henry’s activities, Russell discusses the explorer’s image as an imperialist and as a maritime, mathematical, and navigational pioneer. He considers Henry’s voyages of discovery in the African Atlantic, their economic and cultural consequences, and the difficult questions they generated regarding international law and papal jurisdiction. Russell demonstrates the degree to which Henry was motivated by the predictions of his astrologer—an aspect of his career little known until now—and explains how this innovator, though firmly rooted in medieval ways of thinking and behaving, set in motion a current of change that altered European history.
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Prince Henry the Navigator
The epithet Navigator, applied to him by the English though seldom by Portuguese writers , is a misnomer, as he himself never embarked on any exploratory voyages. Henry and his older brothers, the princes Duarte Edward and Pedro, were educated under the supervision of their parents. Henry emerged with pronounced tastes for chivalric romance and astrological literature, as well as with ambitions to take part in military campaigns and, if possible, win a kingdom for himself. King John consented and, with Ceuta in mind, began military preparations, meanwhile spreading rumours of another destination, in order to lull the Moroccan city into a feeling of false security. Although a plague swept Portugal and claimed the queen as a victim, the army sailed in July King John found Ceuta unprepared, as he had hoped, and its capture unexpectedly easy.
Prince Henry the Navigator seldom left his home in Portugal, but he helped make it possible for the first Europeans to explore Africa., Henry the Navigator, son of King John I of Portugal, earned the respect of his countrymen early in life by his bravery in the Battle of Ceuta , a victory over Muslim forces that allowed European forces to establish their first permanent position in North Africa.
Infante D. Henrique of Portugal, Duke of Viseu 4 March — 13 November , better known as Prince Henry the Navigator Portuguese : Infante Dom Henrique, o Navegador , was a central figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire and in the 15th-century European maritime discoveries and maritime expansion. Through his administrative direction, he is regarded as the main initiator of what would be known as the Age of Discovery. Henry was responsible for the early development of Portuguese exploration and maritime trade with other continents through the systematic exploration of Western Africa, the islands of the Atlantic Ocean, and the search for new routes. He encouraged his father to conquer Ceuta , the Muslim port on the North African coast across the Straits of Gibraltar from the Iberian Peninsula. He learned of the opportunities offered by the Saharan trade routes that terminated there, and became fascinated with Africa in general; he was most intrigued by the Christian legend of Prester John and the expansion of Portuguese trade. He is regarded as the patron of Portuguese exploration.