In the early 1400s, Portugal was a small country. It was not very rich. But one prince dreamed his country could be the best at exploration.
Prince Henry the Navigator was the third son of King John I. Around 1419, Henry moved his court to Sagres Point. That's near Europe's southwestern tip. There, he put together the best mapmakers, shipbuilders, and sailors. The shipbuilders made the caravel better. His sailors took training in navigation. They learned to use instruments like astrolabes and compasses. Henry sent expeditions to explore Africa’s Atlantic coast. Long after his death, Portugal remained a leader in exploration.