Having broken the barrier of fear “and the shadow of fear,” Prince Henry was on his way. Year after year he dispatched expeditions, each reaching a bit farther into the unknown. In 1435, when he sent out Eannes once again, this time with Afonso Baldaya, the royal cupbearer, they reached another fifty leagues down the coast. There they saw footprints of men and camels, but still did not encounter the people. In 1436, when Prince to interview at Sagres, he reached what seemed to be the mouth of a huge river, which he hoped would be the Senegal of “the silent trade” in gold. They called it the Rio de Ouro, even thought it was only a large inlet and not a river, for the Senegal actually lay another five hundred miles farther south.

The relentless step-by-step exploration of the west African coast proceeded year by year, although commercial rewards were meager. In 1441, from Prince Henry’s household went Nuno Tristão and Antão Gonçalves, reaching another two hundred fifty miles farther to Cape Branco (Blanco) where they took two natives captive. In 1444 from that area Eannes brought back the first human cargo – two hundred Africans to be sold as slaves in Lagos. […]

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

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