GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Henry the Navigator (1394-1460). Henry the Navigator, the Portuguese Prince who sponsored exploratory expeditions along the west coast of Africa, paving the way for the discovery of the sea route to India. Henry was the son of John I, King of Portugal. He set up court at Sagres, Algarve, and built an observatory and a school of scientific navigation. Under his patronage Portuguese sailors explored and colonized Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands and the Azores. Their knowledge of the African coast made it possible for Vasco da Gama to find the sea route to India in 1497, a discovery that made Portugal a world power.
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