Henry of Aviz, Prince

(1394-1460)
   Known to the Portuguese as "O Infante Dom Henrique," as an heir to his father's throne, Prince Henry the Navigator was born in Oporto. His Father was King João I (r. 1357-1433) and his mother was Philippa of Lancaster, daughter of John of Gaunt. As a young prince, Henry won his knighthood as a member of the Portuguese expedition that captured the Moroccan city of Ceuta in 1415, the beginning of Portugal's overseas expansion and the onset of the European age of exploration and discovery.
   The life and work of Prince Henry are steeped in centuries of myth and legend. Reliable historical research suggests that the prince played a key role in the early phases of the Portuguese discoveries due to his patronage of expeditions, sailors, and navigators and his use of the important funds of the knightly Order of Christ, of which he was in control. Prince Henry, nevertheless, was not solely responsible for more than one-third of the exploration ventures during his time, possessed strongly medieval ways, did not create the so-called "School of Sagres" for navigators, and certainly was ignorant of much Renaissance science. Although he did participate nobly in the Ceuta adventure, as far as the voyages down the coast of Africa and into the Atlantic until his death in 1460 are concerned, Prince Henry was an armchair navigator who did not visit Africa beyond Morocco.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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