Born March 4, 1394 in the port of Prince Enrique was the fifth child and the fourth son of the founder of the Avisi dynasty of the King Joao (Juan) I and his wife Philippes Lancaster. About childhood infanta is almost nothing known, except that he got a good formation at that time education. At the same time, hobbies were not habitat and more familiar to his environment: he was a passionate hunter, canceled with weapons and the word, which was then relied on the True Knight.

The knighthood Enrique was dreaming from an early age, although he understood him in the spirit of time – like military and religious ministry. In Portugal, the rise of religious monastic orders and the cult of chivalry was observed. And when the king took the English princess in his wife, the Portuguese yard and turned into one of the capitals of European knighthood at all. At the insistence of the father of the coat of arms of Infanta, Enrique decorated with the motto: "Talent for good achievements".

After conclusion in 1411, a peace treaty with a powerful neighbor – the Kingdom of Castile and Leon – on the peninsula, a world has established, which launched more than a century. Enrique understood that won the desired knightly spurs on the battlefields in his homeland and in neighboring Spain did not shine in the near future. But on the other side of the Gibraltar Strait there was a fortified city of Mavrov – Ceut, who served the outpost for pirated raids to Portuguese Courts. There was also a captured maurs in captivity Christians. The liberation of them was the matter of honor of any respected knight, and Enrique convinced his father in the need for a military campaign to North Africa.

Twenty-year-old infant and himself took part in the campaign, ended in 1415 by the capture of Seuts. For this, the father dedicated him to the knights and entrusted him to the defense and material support of the new outpost of Portuguese at the African coast. From now on, all the incomes of the treasury, obtained from the northern provinces of the Kingdom, moved to the full and uncontrolled prince.

Cross and sail

Five years later, the king, asking permission from Pope, made his son a great master of the Order of Christ. Now in the hands of Enrique was focused by a huge power – spiritual, military and financial. And he ordered her to dignity – began to develop universities. First of all, the prince gave a new status to the University of Lisbon, who received great autonomy from royal and spiritual power, and insisted on the introduction of mathematics and astronomy to the program.

Enrique seized a new passion – Scientific curiosity. In Seute from the liberated prisoners-Christians, he heard a lot of new and incredible about the lands lying behind the endless sandy ocean, then not yet had its current name – sugar. There were more accurate and believable cards in Seute than those who enjoyed Portuguese merchants and sailors. Prince Enrique first managed to see the new promising market, on rumors, fabulously rich in natural resources. It was still necessary to detect and conquer, but the ideal bridgehead for the attack on the mysterious continent was already available: the city-the fortress died at the Moors was in some hundreds of miles from their native shores. The development of Africa has become the main goal of Portuguese Infanta. He reread about distant countries, everything that was able to find. It was especially interested in the manuscript of the book already managed to glorify Venetian Marco Polo. He wrote about the sea route to India and the Christian country of Ethiopia in the North-West Africa. Enrique caught fire the idea to achieve this "Oklota faith", Bygoing the territory under the rule of Arabov-Muslims, from the south. But even before the opening of the new lands, Prince Enrique committed, probably, the main opening in his life created the first scientific center in history. As soon as it became known about the plans of Portuguese expeditions to African mainland, in a small place of Sagrish in the south-west of the country, experienced sailors, astronomers, cartographers and geographers from all over Europe reached out. There, not far from Cape San Vicente, Prince Enrique founded an observatory and seaworthy school villa-to-infanta, with time transformed into the largest scientific center of old world. To school accepted everyone, – Enrique gave the work of nobles and versions, Christians, Muslims, Jews – if only thought and worked, not knowing the restrictions. In their work, he preferred not to interfere, limiting his participation strategic planning. And if it entered into scientific discussions, then on equal bases.

Place where dragons are found

The results of the activities of many minds did not make himself wait. Portuguese ships went to the south one after another, moved farther along the bank of Africa and returned back with valuable information about new lands. In 1418-1419, Madeira Island was opened, then Azores. But for almost a decade, the southernmost point of the archipelago remained an irresistible obstacle to Portuguese Savior – Cape Bohador. There were unknown water expanses behind it, which Enrique called the Sea of ​​Darkness, and African lands, tagged on ancient maps of a warning remark "Place where dragons are found". The prince constantly increased the award to the one who can pass the ill-fated cape, but a long time remained unclaimed, and the number of victims of Bohador grew. The fact is that between the cape and the African coast in this place there are many surface and submarine rocks, and accurate logcies then, of course, was not. Portuguese sailors did not have much experience in the open ocean, tried to keep closer to the coastline and, trying to bypass Bodahor from the East, got into a deadly trap. Only in 1434, Captain Gilles Ianish risked him from the West, leaving far away in the open ocean. So it was opened a way to tropical West Africa.


Historians still do not know the exact answer to the question why in these expeditions never took the participation of Enrique himself. Versions have put forward different – from danger from the Arab pirates to the laws of honor prohibiting the long stay of the Royal Blood Operations among simple sailors. There is a version and an unexpected prince at all – did not go to the sea because he felt responsible before his country. His work was to lead: coordinate, analyze the reports of expeditions, organize new, and in this quality replacement Don Enrique was not. When his older brother Duarte climbed onto the throne, the youngest was given exceptional powers. From now on, all his ships paid the fifth part of the production not in the royal treasury, but directly Enrique. The prince was also proclaimed by the Madeira mutilated ruler, all newly open overseas territories and received a monopoly on fishing in coastal areas. The prince ordered this huge wealth in his own way: almost all the money, including the treasury of the Order of Christ, was invested in new expeditions sent to the African shores.

Fate Tangier

Nevertheless, Enrique personally took part in two marine campaigns. And if Ceuta became his Austerlitz, then the Moroccan port Tangier played the role of Waterloo.

In 1436, the prince together with the younger brother Fernan organized a campaign campaign. This time, military luck turned away from them – the port failed to take, and Fernan was captured to Masv. Portuguese also captured the son of the head of the Tangier’s garrison, but the deposited agreed on the exchange only on the condition that the Portuguese will leave the seutes forever. After the painful thought, Enrique responded with refusal, – the reference point Christians in the north of Africa for politics and knight-crusader cost more the lives of his brother. Fernan died in captivity four years later. Enrique continued to organize all new expeditions, – by the end of his life, the Portuguese had their settlement facilities around the entire Western coast of Africa, and African goods were treated in Portugal, the most valuable of which were black slaves.

The prince made one more swimming in Tangier – this time in the composition not military, but a research expedition. And then he almost did not leave Sagrish, where he died on November 13, 1452. On the monument, erected in Lisbon in memory of the famous Portuguese navigators, Prince Enrique is depicted ahead of all. He was the first, and blessed with his example of other tireless openers of new lands who have acquired, perhaps, more loud glory: Bartolome Diash, Vasco da Gama and the Great Fernana de Magalyaine.


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