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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Age of Discovery, Portugal and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Age of Discovery, Portugal and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade



Born around 1394 Infante Dom Henrique de Avis also known as Henry the Navigator or Prince Henry is looked upon as a significant patron of the Age of Discovery. His father King John I conquered Ceuta in1415. Ceuta is a small Spanish territory that lies just 18 miles from Gibraltar in North Africa. 

Prince Henry wanted to expand the business opportunities of Portugal at the same time destroy the operational base of the dreaded and feared Barbary pirates. There was extensive trade in gold and salt across the Sahara Desert that Prince Henry wanted to control. 
The trade in gold and salt across 
the Sahara Desert attributed to 
The Age of Discovery

Prince Henry began an agenda to seek out direct sea trade routes to gain access to the gold trade in West Africa. In 1460 Henry the Navigator died but the exploration of Africa by Europeans continued, the Age of Discovery lived on.

The Portuguese brought the first slaves in 1444 from Northern Mauritania. King John II of Portugal continued the work of Henry the Navigator by appointing Diogo Cão to explore and further open up the African coast. Diogo Cão was born in 1452 and was the first European known to travel into the Congo and to explore West Africa in 1482, present day Angola and Namibia. 

The discovery operations lead by Diogo Cão, the Portuguese were able to travel down the western coast of Africa initiating slave trade relations that grew into the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind
African Proverb