Prince Henry

Week 2: Prince Henry, the Navigator


Read K – 8: Prince Henry the Navigator by Leonard Fisher


  • What country was Prince Henry from? (Portugal)
  • Why did Prince Henry want to find a fast, simple way to India? (Riches, silks, spices)
  • Why didn’t Prince Henry know how to get there by sea? (No good maps back then; no one had ever done it.)
  • Why didn’t sailors want to sail that far south? (thought they might boil, thought earth was flat)
  • What special school did Prince Henry begin? (school of navigation)
  • What groups of people did Prince Henry bring to the school and how do you think each group aided Prince Henry?

1.)  ship captains – experience sailing the seas

2.)  navigators- experience telling direction at sea

3.)   mapmakers –experience making maps

4.)   astronomers- experience studying the stars and what constellations would be visible during certain times of the year

5.)  geographers- experience studying the shape of the earth

  • What 3 devices did Prince Henry improve so sailors could find their way at sea? (Astrolabe, quadrant, & compass)
  • Why do you think Prince Henry made his ship captains make maps, chart currents, winds, & depths, & keep logs? (to make it easier for future sailors and captains to know the easiest way to approach their destination)
  • What is the name of the new ship his ship builders designed? (Caravel)
  • What terrible practice did Henry’s ships begin to make money? (slavery)
  • Did Henry sail on his ships while he lead the school of navigation? (no)
  • What famous man finally reached India by sailing around Africa? (Vasco da Gama)
  • Did Henry get to see Vasco da Gama reach India?  (no)  Why? (he died )
  • What kind of ship did Columbus sail? (a caravel)
  • Do ship captains still keep ship logs today? (yes)


K – 2: Color a caravel ship:

Grades 3 & up: Make a map of Prince Henry’s & Portuguese explorers’ voyages using this blank map:

and these sites for help:

Then, Label the following:

  • Found Madeira: 1420
  • Found Azores: 1427
  • Sailed past Cape Bojador: 1434
  • Portuguese sailor sailed around Congo River: 1482
  • Bartolomeu Dias sailed around Cape of Good Hope: 1488
  • Vasco da Gama reached Calcutta, India: 1498

6 – 8: Complete mapwork for grades 3 & up.  (See above.) Then, read these two articles about the beginning of the slave trade:

Next in paragraph form, answer the following questions:  How were the Portuguese responsible for the beginning of the slave trade?  How were the Africans responsible for the slave trade?  Do you think African natives could have destroyed the trading outpost if they had tried?  Why or why not?

Copyright September 17th, 2015 by Gwen Fredette


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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Exploration, Reformation, Renaissance

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