But still the crusader, he organized a Portuguese fleet and declared his intention to capture Gibraltar from the infidels. When King John forbade that expedition after it was already underway, Prince Henry returned home sulking. Instead of joining the court in Lisbon where he would have shared the burdens of royal government, he went far southward through the Algarve to Portugal’s Land’s End, Cape Saint Vincent, the southwestern tip of Europe.

Ancient geographers had given a mystic significance to that extremity of land, the borderland of the watery unknown. “Sacred Promontory” (Promentorium Sacrum) was what Marinus and Ptolemy had christened it. The Portuguese, translating this into Sagres, made it the name of the nearby village.

“The Portuguese Discoverers”, from “The Discoverers”, Daniel J. Boorstin, The National Board for the Celebration of Portuguese Discoveries, Lisbon, 1987