João II, king

(1455-1495)
   Known in Portuguese history as "The Perfect Prince," he ruled Portugal from 1481 to 1495. The son of King Afonso V and Dona Isabel, his life and reign reflected Portugal's ongoing struggle with Castile, a suppression of Portugal's more powerful nobility in order to reassert royal authority, and a continuation of Portugal's search for an all-water route to India around the coast of Africa. During his reign, two further exploratory steps were taken in this overseas strategy: the key voyages of Diogo Cão (as far south as the coast of Angola) and of Bartolomeu Dias, who rounded the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Indian Ocean in 1488. As part of Portugal's quest to find and help "Prester John," supposedly a Christian king in Africa or Asia, King João also encouraged the departure in the late 1480s of Afonso de Paiva and Pero de Covilhã, at least one of whom reached Ethiopia, on an expedition overland in Africa.

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

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