Henry the Navigator never actually did much navigating. He did, however, support Portuguese exploration and establish Portuguese trade routes to sub-Saharan Africa.
Illustration from Crónicas dos Feitos de Guiné, courtesy National Geographic

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    On March 4, 1394, Prince Henry, Duke of Viseu, better known as Henry the Navigator, was born in Portu, Portugal. Henry earned his title despite not venturing on many expeditions himself.
    Henry supported Portuguese exploration across the Atlantic Ocean, colonizing island groups such as the Azores and Madeira. He also supported expeditions along the northwest coast of Africa. Using small, maneuverable ships called caravels, Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to reach Cap-Vert, in what is today Senegal. Cap-Vert is the most western point in Africa. 
    Henry the Navigator supported exploration for financial and religious reasons. Finding a sea route to the lucrative slave and gold markets of sub-Saharan Africa allowed Portuguese traders to bypass the Arabic trading networks of North Africa. These networks were run by Muslims. Henry was a strong Catholic, so the trade route allowed him to avoid religious confrontation.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    avoid Verb

    to stay away from something.

    bypass Verb

    to go around or skip.

    caravel Noun

    light, two- or three-masted sailing ship.

    Catholic Adjective

    having to do with the Christian denomination with the Pope as its leader.

    coast Noun

    edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: coast
    confront Verb

    to address a problem or person directly.

    continent Noun

    one of the seven main land masses on Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: continent
    discover Verb

    to learn or understand something for the first time.

    equipment Noun

    tools and materials to perform a task or function.

    expedition Noun

    journey with a specific purpose, such as exploration.

    exploration Noun

    study and investigation of unknown places, concepts, or issues.

    explorer Noun

    person who studies unknown areas.

    financial Adjective

    having to do with money.

    lucrative Adjective

    profitable or money-making.

    maneuver Noun

    a skillful movement.

    market Noun

    central place for the sale of goods.

    Muslim Adjective

    having to do with Islam, the religion based on the words and philosophy of the prophet Mohammed.

    navigator Noun

    person who charts a course or path.

    network Noun

    series of links along which movement or communication can take place.

    patron Noun

    person who supports an artist, artistic endeavor, or institution.

    slave Noun

    person who is owned by another person or group of people.

    sub-Saharan Africa Noun

    geographic region located south of the Sahara Desert in Africa.

    trade route Noun

    path followed by merchants or explorers to exchange goods and services.

    venture Verb

    to take a risky or dangerous opportunity.