At home in Sagres Prince Henry knew that he could not conquer the physical barrier unless he first conquered the barrier of fear.

He would never reach farther into the unknown unless he could persuade his seamen to go beyond Cape Bojador. Between 1424 and 1434 Prince Henry sent out fifteen expeditions to round the inconsequential but threatening cape. Each returned with some excuse for not going where none had gone before. At the legendary cape the sea bounced with cascades of ominous red sands that crumbled from the overhanging cliffs, while shoals of sardines swimming in the shallows roiled the waters between whirlpools. There was no sign of life along the desert coast. Was this not the very image of the world’s end?

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

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