The visitor to Portugal today can see a lighthouse on the ruins of the fortress that Prince Henry made his headquarters for forty years. There Prince Henry initiated, organized, and commanded expeditions, on the frontier of mystery. In the first modern enterprise of exploring, from that spot he sent out an unbroken series of voyages into the unknown. Today’s visitor to the harsh inhospitable cliffs of Sagres senses the appeal that place must have had for an ascetic prince who wanted to separate himself from the formalities of an effete court.

At Sagres Prince Henry became the Navigator. There he applied the zeal and energy of the crusader to the modern exploring enterprise. Prince Henry’s court was a primitive Research and Development Laboratory. In the crusader’s world the known was dogma ant the unknown was unknowable. But in the explorer’s world the unknown was simply the not-yet discovered. And all the trivia of everyday experience could become signposts. […]

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