Henry the Navigator
1394 - 1460
Portuguese Prince
Henry was the third son of John I, King of Portugal, and Philippa, daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

Henry the Navigator established a navigational school in southern Portugal where he employed Arab, Jewish and Italian geographers and astronomers to produce the best maps in Europe.

He sponsored many exploratory expeditions along the West African coast, because he planned the circumnavigation of Africa in order to combat Islam and to establish connections with East Africa. These expedition prepared the way for the discovery of the sea route to India.

Henry was made grand master of the Order of Christ in 1420, after which the pope awarded him Madeira, the Azores and parts of the West African coast.