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Prince Henry

Prince Henry - 1 Chris Kim History 155A Professor Dutra...

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Chris Kim History 155A Professor Dutra December 2, 2009 Prince Henry Revisited Labeled the father of European exploration, Prince Henry the Navigator was born in 1385 as the third son of King John I of Portugal. At the time of his birth, Europe was a scene of deficit as it lacked the technological superiority of East Asian nations and was well behind the Islamic world in geographical scope and cultural achievement. It would not be long before he began to make a powerful impact on the turnaround of Europe and its advancements. Two centuries afterward, Europeans dominated the world politically and culturally. Henry was one of the clear contributors to this dramatic change and would play a crucial role in opening the Atlantic World. He would establish some of the trends that would affect the lives of his nation as well as the entirety of Europe. He was not only a prince; he was also a military commander, a governor, and most importantly a patron of the Portuguese exploration hence assuming the title of “Navigator” to his name. As a result of his many lasting achievements, many historians have documented Prince Henry in the past as well as in contemporary contexts. Peter Russell’s Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’: A Life provides a vast amount of information and accounts regarding the figure in an intricately detailed manner. He is able to masterfully bring together countless accounts and insights of Henry and bind them into a thoughtful and captivating biography. He takes an accurate and unbiased view towards the nearly mythical figure that had been somewhat falsely presented by the historians that preceded 1
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him. Although Henry’s achievements and conquest have been over-exaggerated, he did play a crucial role in the establishment of the age of exploration and discovery during the modern period. Russell sheds some of the myths and grandiose that surrounds the Prince and presents the facts as critically and truthfully as it is necessary. With the lack of direct documentary evidence, it is not a conventional biography in any sense. However, more so than his predecessors, he is able to construct an in-depth study of Henry’s actions as to explain his legacy and the reasoning behind the widespread acceptance as the forefather of European navigation. From the moment of his birth, Prince Henry was destined to be successful and a crusader of his religious faith. This fate was confirmed by the likely fictional account of him emerging from his mother’s womb embracing the Holy Cross. “A more certain contributory cause of the Prince’s future relentless pursuit of personal fame was
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Prince Henry - 1 Chris Kim History 155A Professor Dutra...

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