|Prince Henry Aids Navigation
In the early 1400s, explorers from Spain and Portugal
traveled the world. One explorer, Prince Henry of Portugal, was determined to find a sea route to Asia. Having already improved the magnetic compass and the astrolabe, he invited shipbuilders, scientists, mapmakers, and ship captains to collaborate on the creation of a new cargo-carrying ship, a caravel.
In 1441, caravels returned with gold dust. By 1460, when Prince Henry died, his ships still hadn't reached Africa, but other Portuguese explorers had. In 1488, Bartholemeu Dias was the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa, now called the Cape of Good Hope. Vasco da Gama sailed around the Cape and reached India in 1498.