Prince Henry the Navigator (1394 - 1460)
Prince Henrique, who became known as Henry the Navigator, was the fifth child of King João I and Philippa of Lancaster. He was born on 4 March 1394 in Porto. When he was fourteen his father granted him a house with his own income and favours.
In 1415 he distinguished himself in the battle for Ceuta and it was in this Portuguese stronghold in North Africa that he was knighted. The following year he was made Duke of Viseu and Lord of Covilhã.
From 1420 onwards, the year in which he was appointed Governor of the Order of Christ, Henry commenced on a series of works campaigns at the Convent of Christ. His aim was to reform the religious order and also improve the headquarters of the order. He also built a palace for himself on the site.
After the death of his brother Fernando in captivity in 1443, Henry was given a monopoly on navigation, warfare and trade in the areas to the south of Cape Bojador. Around 1450, Gomes Eanes de Zurara succeeded Fernão Lopes as royal chronicler. He wrote the Chronicle of the Taking of Ceuta (Crónica da Tomada de Ceuta) and, three years later, the Chronicle of Guinea (Crónica da Conquista da Guiné).
In 1455 Pope Nicholas V issued a papal bull granting the Portuguese monarchy exclusive rights to the lands and maritime regions already conquered or still to be conquered, as well as those already in their possession or still to be possessed.
Henry the Navigator died a single man and without heirs on 13 November 1460 in the town of Sagres. Despite the fact that he seldom fared to sea, history bestowed upon him the sobriquet "the Navigator".