Henry the Navigator

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Portrait o Henry the Navigator.

Henry the Navigator (Portuguese pronunciation: [ẽˈʁik(ɨ)]; Portuguese: Henrique o Navegador Porto, 4 Mairch 1394 – 13 November 1460) wis an infante (prince) o the Kinrick o Portugal an an important figure in the early days o the Portuguese Empire. He wis responsible for the early development o European exploration an maritime trade wi ither continents.

Henry wis the third child o Keeng John I o Portugal, the foonder o the Aviz dynasty, an o Philippa o Lancaster, the dochter o John o Gaunt. Henry encouraged his faither tae conquer Ceuta (1415), the Muslim port on the North African coast athort the Straits o Gibraltar frae the Iberian peninsulae. He learnt o the opportunities frae the Saharan trade routes that terminatit there, an became fascinatit wi Africae in general; he wis maist intrigued bi the Christian legend o Prester John an the expansion o Portuguese trade.

It is a common misconception that Henry gathered at his villa on the Sagres peninsula a school o navigators an map-makers. He did employ some cartographers tae chart the coast o Mauritanie efter the voyages he sent there, but there wis nae center o navigation science or observatory in the modern sense o the wird, nor wis there an organized navigational center. In "Crónica da Guiné" Henry is described as haein nae luxuries, no avaricious, speakin wi soft wirds an calm gestures, a man o mony virtues that niver alloued ony poor person leave his presence empty-handit.