Students have read about Portugal's pioneering explorations of new trade routes. In this exercise, students will explore the life of Prince Henry the Navigator to discover why he was important to European exploration.
Students will use information from The European Voyages of Exploration Web site to learn about the life of Prince Henry the Navigator. Students will read about his early life, his motivations for exploration, and his accomplishments. Students will also read about the results of the voyages he sponsored and their impacts on future exploration. Students will then answer four questions and apply this information by writing a notice of the death of Prince Henry, marking his motivations, his accomplishments, and his contributions to exploration.
- Students will be able to explain the ways in which Prince Henry of Portugal contributed to European exploration.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to write a notice of Prince Henry's death in which they record his motivations, accomplishments, and contributions.
Student Web Activity Answers
- As a knight in the Order of Christ, Prince Henry was greatly influenced by his desire for honor. The Crusades impacted all of Portugal, and the Prince was very interested in spreading Christianity in Africa. The combination of the search for knightly honor and the desire to spread Christianity motivated the prince to capture the North African port of Ceuta. This conquest made him curious as to what lay beyond Africa, and it led to his interest in exploration.
- Prince Henry's reasons for exploration were as follows: to know the country beyond Cape Bojador; to establish trade; to assess his enemies' strength in the region; to seek allies; and to spread Christianity.
- In 1434, Gil Eanes finally rounded Cape Bojador and returned to Portugal, effectively eliminating the myths of the "Sea of Darkness." His successful method was to avoid running aground by charting a wide course into the Atlantic before turning back toward Africa. By the time he saw land again, he was past the Cape.
- Questioning of the chief gave Prince Henry better, first-hand information about Africa. Additionally, it was the first use of indigenous people as interpreters for future voyages. Using indigenous interpreters allowed the Europeans to communicate with native populations in a peaceful manner. This served to further trade and knowledge.
- Students' notices will vary.
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