Voyages to Africa
Prince Henry never actually set sail on a voyage to Africa himself, but he did sent multiple ships to see the land for him. From these voyages, Henry was hoping to find more Christian allies to help defeat the Muslims, add geographic knowledge to the Orient, and find gold. His first voyage that he sponsored was to the Atlantic islands of Madeira and Porto Santo in 1418. His findings of the islands were important in providing the bases for voyages to the New World, which Columbus sailed to in 1492. In 1441, Henry sent his captains, Antam Gonclaves and Nuno Tristao to Cape Bianco which was located on the western coast of Africa. At Cape Bianco the captains ran into a market that was run by black Muslims who were dressed in white robes and turbans. These Muslims had gold dust that the Europeans took back to Portugal with them. Along with the gold dust, the Europeans took twelve Muslims as proof that they arrived in Cape Bianco. At that time they said that they weren't slaves, but later on in history, more black Muslims were being captured and taken back to Portugal as slaves. Among those twelve black Muslims was a priest who spoke Arabic. He negotiated his own release on the terms that if he and a boy from his family were released, then he would provide different slaves in their place. About a year later, in 1442, Antam Gonclaves returned to Cape Bianco for more gold dust, but went back to Portugal with not only gold dust, but 10 more Africans. The next year, more Portuguese explorers returned to Portugal with 30 more slaves from Africa. Within ten years, Portuguese explorers had brought back thousands of black slaves from Africa.