Portugal in the early 1400s was a small country and not wealthy. But one prince dreamed that Portugal could lead the world in exploration.
Prince Henry the Navigator was the third son of Portugal’s King John I. Around 1419, Prince Henry moved his court to Sagres Point, near the southwestern tip of Europe. At Sagres, Prince Henry brought together the best mapmakers, shipbuilders, and sailors of the time. His shipbuilders adapted the caravel for exploration. His sailors were well trained. They had the most modern navigational instruments, such as astrolabes and compasses. Thanks to all of this talent, Henry’s expeditions were able to explore Africa’s Atlantic coast. Portugal continued to lead in exploration long after Henry’s death.