The Infante Henrique, Duke of Viseu
known in english as "Prince Henry the Navigator"
born: March 4, 1394
died: November 13, 1460
Prince Henry was the fifth child of King John the 1st. Born March 1, 1394 he founded a school for navigators on the southeastern tip of Portugal in a town called Sarges. One of the most famous alumni was Fernao de Maglhaes (Magellan). The peninsula the school was located on was the western part of the southern coast of Portugal on the Atlantic ocean. This southern most coast is known as the the Algarve.
Prince Henry was an "infante" or prince of the Portugese house of Aviz. His Vila in Sarges became a school for navigators and map makers. he also erected an observatory at this site. Under his direction, a new style ship was developed called a caravel. This was a three masted ship with square sails a lanteen (triangular) sail. These ships were lighter, faster, and able to sail into the wind. The last ablity was very helpful when using the trade winds which changed in rotaional direction on each side of the equator. But also as important was that they were faster so therfor could travel farther. Two of Christopher Columbus' three ships were caravels, the Nina and the Pinta. (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/)
His interest in the coast increased when he took part in the conquest of the Mooish port of Ceuta in northern Morocco. Ceuta had been a long time base fir Barbary pirates that attacked villages on the Portugese coast and sold the inhabitants of these villages in the African slave market. The sucuss of his expedition against the pirates of Ceuta he could send ships to explore the coast of Africa, further search for more pirate bases and to look for the source of the West African gold trade. From 1444 to 1446 as many as forty vessels sailed on Henry's behalf. (http://www.nndb,com/) (www,en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_the_Navigator)
The Moors controled the trade routes into Africa through the north of West Africa. The Portugese wished to cut out the middle man (the Moors) in the gold and spice trade. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_slave _trade)
Factories - were depots for slaves and goods, slaves were ferried to waiting ships. (Black Cargos, Manix, pg.17)
Factors - a group of middlemen usually who had trouble in their home country. They lived permmanently on the coast and would interact with african or mixed race traders that brought slaves to the coast from the african interior. They would prepare the slaves for the long voyage oversea and keep on hand a stock of healty Negroes. Factors usually a representtive of a large firm (Black Cargos, pg. 33)
Obsevation: at best the relationship between the africans and europeans was distrust. Each would take the other prisioner to sell as a slave. Neither trusted the other, the african kingdoms located along the slave coast would not allow the europeans to erect perment Forts. Many ventures in search of slaves appeared to be a quick attack on coastal villages and fleeing back to their ships with their human prizes. The africans seem to have been in a constant state of war with there neighbors over land, etc. so the taking of captives and making them into slaves seems to have been a practice long before the europeans set foot on the african coast line.
The first Europeans to arrive onthe coast of Guinea were Portugese. The first european to actually buy slaves in the region was Antao Goncalves, a Portugese explorer.
"Roots of the Atlantic Slsve Trade(http://www.lifelineexpedition.co.uk/) African Slave Trade (http://en,wikipedia.org/wiki/African_slave_trade)