4 Major Accomplishments of Henry the Navigator


The Age of Discovery is one of the most significant phases in human history. It not only led to the discovery of new continents and people, cultures and riches. It also paved the way for the modern world, including its merits and demerits. Prince Henry was one of the earliest initiators of the age of discovery. He along with a few others is credited to having pioneered the spree of expeditions that eventually led to the discovery of the entire New World. Henry the Navigator is also credited to have founded the first navigation school in the world. Here are some Henry the Navigator major accomplishments.

1. Prince Henry was not a navigator or explorer by choice or passion.

He was born to a royal family but he was not in accession to the throne. He would have never become a king in Portugal. His aspirations to become a king led him to conceive expeditions that could find him land of his own that he could rule. In the process, Prince Henry commissioned expeditions to North Africa, primarily in search of land but also in search of riches so he could be wealthier and a more prosperous king. While he did not embark on such explorations, he commissioned them and in a way contributed to the formation of the slave industry. His slave trading missions to and from Africa paved the way for the spread of the practice.

2. He was more than a champion of commissioning explorations.

He defeated Muslim forces as a young man in the Battle of Ceuta and helped Portugal to establish the first permanent military presence by any European kingdom in North Africa.

3. Sailed along the West Coast of Africa in a bid to find India.

He did not venture out after this voyage but his commissioned explorations led to the founding of many new lands. An expedition commissioned by him brought back gold dust from Africa. Trading in African slaves became a flourishing business and silenced his critics who were against spending money on expeditions that bore little fruit.

4. Explored North Africa, West Coast of Africa, the Canary Islands and Sierra Leone.

His steadfast progress in exploration despite having little navigational experience or firsthand exposure to the unexplored Atlantic led the English, Spanish and Italians to set sails. It would be a matter of time before Europeans set foot on the New World.