« ElőzőTovább »
He therefore equipped some small Vessels, and commanded that they should pass as far as they could along that Coast of Africa, which looked upon the great Atlantick Ocean, the Immensity of which struck the gross and unskilful Navigators of these Times, with Terror and Amazement. He was not able to communicate his own Ardour to his Seamen, who proceeded very slowly in the new Attempt; each was afraid to venture much further than he that went before him, and ten Years were spent before they had advanced beyond Cape Bajador, so called from its long Progreslion into the Ocean, and the Circuit by which it must be doubled. The Opposition of this Promontory to the Course of the Sea, produced a violent Current and high Waves, into which they durst not venture, and which they had not yet Knowledge enough to avoid by standing off from the Land into the open Sea.
The Prince was desirous to know something of the Countries that lay beyond this formidable Cape, and sent twoCommanders, named JohnGonzales Zarco, and Tristran Vaz, (1418) to pals beyond Bajador, and survey the Coaft behind it. They were caught by a Tempest, which drove them out into the unknown Ocean, where they expected to perish by the Violence of the Wind, or perhaps to wander for ever in the boundless Deep. At last, in the Midst of their Despair, they found a small Ifand, where they sheltered themselves, and which the Sense of their Deliverance disposed them to call Puerto Santo, or the Holy Haven.
When they returned with an Account of this new Island, Henry performed a publick Act of Thanksgiving, and sent them again with Seeds and Cattle; and we are told by the Spanish Historian, that they set two Rabbits on Shore, which encreased so much in a few Years, that they drove away the Inhabi
tants, by destroying their Corn and Plants, and were suffered to enjoy the Island without Opposition.
In the second or third Voyage to Puerto Santo, for Authours do not well agree, a third Captain called Perello, was joined to the two former. they looked round the Island upon the Ocean, they saw at a Distance fomething which they took for a Cloud, till they perceived that it did not change its Place. They directed their Course towards it, and (1419) discovered another Island covered with Trees, which they therefore called Madera, or the Isle of Wood.
Madera was given to Vaz or Zarco, who fet Fire to the Woous, which are reported by Souza, to have burnt for seven Years together, and to have been wafted, till Want of Wood was the greatest Inconyenience of the Place. But green Wood is not very apt to burn, and the heavy Rains which fall in these Countries must surely have extinguished the Conflagration, were it ever so violent.
There was yet little Progress made upon the Southern Coast, and Henry's Project was treated as chimerical by many of his Countrymen. At last Gilianes (1433) passed the dreadful Cape, to which he gave the Name of Bajador, and came back, to the Wonder of the Nation.
In two Voyages more, made in the two following Years, they passed forty-two Leagues further, and in the latter, two Men with Horses being set on Shore, wandered over the Country, and found nineteen Men, whom according to the favage Manners of that Age they attacked, the Natives having Javelins, wounded one of the Portuguese, and received some Wounds from them. At the Mouth of a River they found Sea-wolves in great Numbers, and brought home many of their Skins, which were much esteemed.
Antonio Gonzales, who had been one of the Afrociates of Gilianes, was fent again (1440) to bring back a Cargo of the Skins of Sea-wolves. He was followed in another Ship by Nunno Tristam. They were now of Strength sufficient to venture upon Violence, they therefore landed, and without either Right or Provocation, made all whom they feized their Prisoners, and brought then to Portugal, with great Commendations both from the Prince and the Nation.
Henry now began to please himself with the Success of his Projects, and as one of his Purposes was the Conversion of Infidels, thought it necessary to impart his Undertaking to the Pope, and to obtain the Sanctions of Ecclefiaftical Authority: To this End Fernando Lopez d' Azevedo was dispatched to Rome, who related to the Pope and Cardinals the great Designs of Henry, and magnified his Zeal for the Propagation of Religion. The Pope was pleased with the Narrative, and by a formal Bull conferred upon the Crown of Portugal, all the Countries which frould be discovered as far as India, together with India itself, and granted several Privileges and Indulgences to the Churches, which Henry had built in his new Regions, and to the Men engaged in the Navigation for Discovery. By this Bulī all other Princes are forbidden to encroach upon the Conquests of the Portuguese, on Pain of the Censures incurred by the Crime of Ufurpation.
The Approbation of the Pope, the Sight of Men - whose Manners and Appearance were so different from those of Europeans, and the Hope of Gain from golden Regions, which has been always the great Încentive of Hazard and Discovery, now began to operate with full Force. The Desire of Riches and of Dominion, which is yet more pleasing to the Fancy, filled the Courts of the Portugueje Prince with innumerable Adventurers from very distant Parts
of Europe. Some wanted to be employed in the Search after new Countries, and some to be settled in those which had been already found.
Communities now began to be seized with the Infection of Enterprise, and many Affociations were formed for the Equipment of Ships, and the Acqui-' sition of the Riches of distant Regions, which perhaps were always fupposed to be more wealthy, as more remote. Thele Undertakers agreed to pay the Prince a fifth Part of the Profit, sometimes a greater Share, and sent out the Armament at their own Expence.
The City of Lagos was the first that carried on this Design by Contribution. The Inhabitants fitted out fix Vefsels, under the Command of Luçarat, one of the Prince's Houfhold, and soon after fourteen more were furnished for the same Purpose, under the same Commander; to those were added many belonging to private Men, so that in a short Time, twenty-fix Ships put to Sea in quest of whatever Fortune should present.
The Ships of Lagos were soon separated by foul Weather, and the rest, taking each its own Course, stopped at different Parts of the African Coast, from Cape Blanco to Cape Verd. Some of them, in 1444, anchored at Gomera, one of the Canaries, where they were kindly treated by the Inhabitants, who took them into their Service, against the People of the Isle of Palma, with whom they were at War; but the Portuguese at their Return to Gomera, not being made so rich as they expected, fell upon their Friends, in contempt of all the Laws of Hospitality, and Stipulations of Alliance, and, making several of them Prisoners and Slaves, set sail for Lisbon.
The Canaries are supposed to have been known, however imperfectly, to the Antients, but in the Confusion of the subsequent Ages, they were lost and forgotten, till about the Year 1340, the Biscay-'
neers found Luçarot, and invading it, for to find a new Country and invade it has always been the fame, brought away seventy Captives, and some Commodities of the Place. Louis de la Cerda, Count of Clermont, of the Blood Royal both of France and Spain, Nephew of John de la Cerda, who called himself the Prince of Fortune, had once a Mind to settle in those Islands, and applying himself first to the King of Arragon, and then to Clement VI. was by the Pope crowned at Avignon, King of the Canaries, on Condition that he should reduce them to the true Religion ; but the Prince altered his Mind, and went into France to serve against the English. The Kings both of Castile and Portugal, though they did not oppose the papal Grant; yet complained of it, as made without their knowledge, and in Contravention of their Rights.
The first Settlement in the Canaries was made by John de Betancour, a French Gentleman, for whom his Kinsman Robin de Braquement, Admiral of France, begged them, with the Title of King, fron Henry the Magnificent of Castile, to whom he had done eminent Services. Join made himself Master of some of the Isles, but could never conquer the Grand Canary, and having spent all that he had, went back to Europe, leaving his Nephew Majiot de Betancour, to take Care of his new Dominion. Maffiot had a Quarrel with the VicarGeneral, and was likewise disgusted by the long Absence of his Uncle, whom the French King detained in his Service, and being able to keep his Ground no longer, he transferred his Rights to Don Henry, in Exchange for some Districts in the Madera, where he fettled his family.
Don Henry, when he had purchased thofe Islands, fent thither in 1424, two thousand five hundred Foot, and an hundred and twenty Horse; but the Army was too nunerous to be maintained by the