Prince Henry 'the Navigator': A Life

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Yale University Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 448 pages
Henry the Navigator, fifteenth-century Portuguese prince and explorer, is a legendary, almost mythical figure in late medieval history. Considered along with Columbus to be one of the progenitors of modernity, Prince Henry challenged the scientific assumptions of his age and was responsible for liberating Europeans from geographical restraints that had bound them since the Roman Empire's collapse. In this enthralling account of Henry's life--the first biography of "The Navigator" in more than a century--Peter Russell reaps the harvest of a lifelong study of Prince Henry. Making full use of documentary evidence only recently available, Russell reevaluates Henry and his role in Portuguese and European history.

Examining the full range of Prince Henry's activities, Russell discusses the explorer's image as an imperialist and as a maritime, mathematical, and navigational pioneer. He considers Henry's voyages of discovery in the African Atlantic, their economic and cultural consequences, and the difficult questions they generated regarding international law and papal jurisdiction. Russell demonstrates the degree to which Henry was motivated by the predictions of his astrologer--an aspect of his career little known until now--and explains how this innovator, though firmly rooted in medieval ways of thinking and behaving, set in motion a current of change that altered European history.
 

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User Review  - CurrerBell - LibraryThing

A decently competent biography, but it somehow doesn't particularly bring Henry alive. There's no discussion of his possible probable homosexuality notwithstanding frequent enough references to his ... Read full review

PRINCE HENRY "THE NAVIGATOR": A Life

User Review  - Kirkus

An illuminating and well-written life of the founding figure of the Age of Exploration.Prince Henry of Portugal (1394-1460) changed more than the trade routes through his dispatch of ships from ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Matters of Nativity
13
The Force of Destiny Ceuta
29
The Crusader as Administrator Kings Lieutenant for Ceuta and Governor of the Order of Christ
59
Lord of the Isles
81
Beyond the Cape of No Return
109
A Just War? Henrys Ambitions in the Sultanate of Morocco
135
Débâcle at Tangier
167
Cadamosto A New World Observed
291
Once More Unto the Breach AlcácerCeguer
316
From Senegambia to the Lion Mountain The Henrican Discoveries Concluded
327
The Necessary End
345
Translation of a Private Letter from Prince Henry to his Father 1428
365
Abbreviations
370
Bibliographical Note
372
Notes
373

Discovery Resumed The Portuguese Sahara
195
The Caravels of Christ
225
Prince Henry and the Atlantic Slave Trade
239
A Henrican Obsession The Canary Islands
264

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About the author (2001)

Sir Peter Russell was until his retirement King Alfonso XIII Professor of Spanish Studies and for many years also director of Portuguese studies at the University of Oxford. A fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society, he is also a commander of the Order of Prince Henry, Portugal. Most recent of his many books is From John of Gaunt to Henry the Navigator and Beyond.

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