Portugal's location destined it to the seafaring life, and its familiarity I with the islands to the west dates from Roman times. Arabic tradition has preserved the memory of the Mogharriun, who sailed out of Lisbon in search of adventure. When Christians recaptured Lisbon, they produced a national navy that gave life to the port on the Tagus and made it prosper as a port of call on the route to Flanders. Catalans and Italians, in response to a call to teach nautical science and technique, gathered there as well. The 1415 expedition against Ceuta brought together hundreds of ships and thousands of sailors.
After taking Ceuta from the Moorish infidel, the conquerors set off toward African lands. Ships dispatched from the Algarve, in southern Portugal, traveled along the Moroccan coast, exorcised the terror associated with Cape Nun or the point of no return, and mapped out the Sahara while navigating the dense fogs of the dark sea. They discovered mighty rivers, tracts of land where people lived, and the Cape Verde Islands. These islands were truly verdant, even though they lay in the torrid zone. This region's name implied it was uninhabitable because of the heat. It was uninhabitable according to a unanimous proclamation made by philosophers of antiquity, who were now for the first time caught in a flagrant falsehood. This heroic phase reached its peak under Prince Henry the Navigator, the son of Dom João I, and Grand Master of the Order of Christ. The age was dominated on the one hand by a desire to