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Prince D. Henrique (Henry, the Navigator) - (1394 - 1460)

Infante D. Henrique, fifth son of King John I and D. Filipa of Lancaster, is born on March 4th, 1394 in Oporto. At the age of 14, his father donates to him a house with full serventry and rent. In 1415, he is knighted in the battle for the conquest of Ceuta. He receives the dukedom of Viseu and is appointed landlord of Covilhã the following year.
When D. Lopo Dias de Sousa passes away in 1420, D. Henrique is appointed by the Pope - at his father´s request - as Governor and Keeper of the Order of Christ, in practical terms becoming its first secular Master. He pushes for remarkable reforms within the Order making it more open to society and enhancing its spiritual potential.
It was due to the Infante that the Knights became seafarers and many became knights of the Order of Christ - in order for this to happen, he gets from the Pope the institution of the partial vow of poverty allowing for each knight to benefit - by inheritance - from a third of all goods that they brought in to the Order.
At spiritual level, he will introduce into the Order a branch of contemplative friars with the intent of praying for those who were overseas and also training priests for evangelization and populating new territories. Through this, the Order will be definitely linked to the spiritual conquest of the newly discovered lands.
In 1443, D. Henrique obtains the monopoly of navigation, war and commerce of all lands south of Cape Bojador. Pope Nicholas V issues a bull in 1455, awarding to all Portuguese kings the exclusivity of lands and seas already conquered, or about to be conquered.
By appointing as his universal heir the second son of King Duarte, his nephew D. Fernando, D. Henrique consecrates to the Royal family the exercise of governing the Order of Christ. He also consecrates to the Order of Christ part of the administration of the Madeira archipelago, of the S. Miguel and Santa Maria islands in the Azores as well as the Cape Vert archipelago. D. Henrique dies - single and without heirs - on November 13th, 1460 in his village - Sagres. Even though he sailed only a few times, history named him The Navigator.