Prince Henry

Renee D

The Early Days

Prince Henry was born March 4th, 1394 in Porto, Portugal. He is the third son of King John 1 and Phillipa of Lancaster. His two brothers who were Duarte and Pedro who were also involved in navigation and exploration, which most likely impacted Henry's interests in these subjects. Prince Henry didn't go to a school, unlike like most other children, he was educated under the supervision of his parents.


Prince Henry was famous for many things. One of them being that he opened a school to teach map making and navigation in about 1419, because his school was so successful that's how he earned his nickname Prince Henry the Navigator. He opened the school because he wanted to know more about the world around him, gain wealth by trading gold and ivory, and spread Christianity throughout Africa. He also took part in the slave trade. He hired sailors to explore the coast of Africa. They scouted regions, set up forts and trading posts. He spent nearly 40 years providing money for voyages to Africa's western coast, but they failed or never manged to sail all the way to the tip. In 1411, when Prince Henry was 17 years old, he told his father that Portugal should attack the Muslim City of Ceuta. He explained that Portugal would become richer if they took over the wealthy city. For 4 years Prince Henry worked hard to prepare his country for battle, so he made sure that the Portuguese had battleships ready for war. On August 24th, 1425 Prince Henry led King John to victory. He sent Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristano Vaz to find a more direct route to central Africa. In 1420 the explorers reached the islands of Porto Santo and Maderra.

Changes in Exploration Over the Years

Exploration has changed from the time of many explorers to now. One reason is communication. Back then, explores couldn’t communicate across the world quickly like we can do now with cell phones. They would have to write letters which could take months for a person to receive unlike a phone call. Secondly, another way exploration has changed is that you had to be at the place you were exploring to see it before cameras, virtual field trips, google maps, and recordings were invented. When you were buying and trading goods you had to go by sea or by land, they didn’t have the choice to go by airplanes, jets, trains, and cars like we do today. Then, the discoveries are very different. Back then, they were still figuring out if the world was round and if there was other land. Today we’ve gone to space and named our 8 main planets and most likely discovered all of the islands and contents. Another way exploration has changed is knowledge. The other explores most likely didn't know that there were other planets and galaxies like we do today. Lastly, navigation tools have changed a lot too. Now we have a GPS, google maps, siri, and other electronic devices to help us get to our destination. The explores that didn’t have these things used paper maps and compasses. In conclusion, there are many ways exploration has changed over time and will continue to keep changing, as we keep on learning about the world around us.

Prince Henry the Navigator

my World Book, Pearson

Henry the Navigator, Claude Hurwicz