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What a wonderful question! Dom Henrique is one of the chief characters of this story, and that means we need to explore him more than the general Portuguese knowledge. These explorations as a whole were a manifestation of the soul of this great man who was well beyond his contemporaries in what he wanted and expected from his sailors. I'm basing this answer ...


8

gktscrk answers the question directly but, although it is true that there were legends and fears, and simple minded sailors, it is absolutely false that the elite did not expect to find anything valuable beyond the Bojador, or that only India was a valuable objective. How significant was the Fall of Constantinople as an event leading to the Age of ...


6

This article by Paul Wallin in Nature, July 2020, explains a recent paper by Ioannidis et al. Their genetic study makes the case that South Americans did sail to the Marquesas Islands in the late 12th century, where they encountered Polynesian people. The authors made the notable discovery that an initial admixture event between Native South Americans and ...


4

I think there are serious problems with this question. Yet, I've decided to draft an answer, though not as detailed as I did to the related question here. The real problem here lies in defining what is a "decision to go to India". My linked answer describes Portuguese knowledge of the Earth in the 15th century. Hence, it is likely that Dom Henrique ...


3

The better question to ask would have been 'Who discovered Iceland?'. In this case, where we have to think about Pytheas, I would argue for 'No', while my answer regarding NaddoĆ°r would be the same. Regarding my own question, the answer that seems most plausible is that we don't know. Pytheas The main and primary problem when we think about Pytheas today is ...


3

This kind of question (why do empires not control the desert) features heavily in Ibn Khaldun's famous Muqaddimah. His conclusion is that those desert arreas are much less productive than other areas and the population is considerably harder to control. Life in those parts is tough and so people are also tough. In fact his observation is that desert tribes ...


2

gktsck answer shows that the general intent to reach India was already there. But to understand how the general intent become a tangible aim, note that the path to India did not go through today's Ivory Coast, Nigeria, or Fernando Po. It went though Brazil, due to the direction of maritime currents. What you have to look for is "When the Southern ...


1

Definitely not a straight answer but relevant nonetheless: There is (arguably weak or solid, depending on what certain cultural priors you adopt) circumstantial evidence for an historical lighthouse in Mahabalipuram, India that might or might not have been described in some Portuguese maps: This is explained in a relatively recent video by the amateur ...


1

Denis' answer is helpful as an overview of European weaponry in the period, but a more complete answer would need to look more directly to historical records of the early Dutch expeditions to Australia. I'm not finding much but here are a few hints. Quoting from a web page about Janszoon's voyage: In 1603, Willem Janszoon was given command of his first ...


1

"Why didn't Romans conquer/explore the African Atlantic Coast?" This question would make it appear that it is contemporary fact, that the Romans did not conquer/explore the African coast. Roman sub-saharan Africa Roman sub-saharan Africa Between the first century BC and the fourth century AD, several expeditions and explorations to Lake Chad and ...


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