Prince henry the navigator was born in 1394 as one of the 6 surviving children of john i king of portugal. n 1415 prince henry and his brothers lead the portuguese army to ceuta, a muslim city in morocco. they conquered ceuta and converted its people to christianity. this victory gave knightly honor to prince henry and his brotherswhile in ceuta, henry learned of the riches in africa and began to study the geography and trade of western africa. he decided to travel to these lands were gold, silver, and other riches could be found. in addition to giving portugal a share of these riches, henry hoped to travel to africa to meet prester john, a christian king believed to hold a great empire somewhere in the african lands. with the aid of prester john, henry could gain a significant victory over the muslims. his ambition to defeat the muslims gave henry the title prince henry the crusader. the crusade of the christian states of spain was transferred to africa under his leadershiphenry settled in sagres , located on the southwestern coast of europe. there he assembled a group of several cartographers, astronomers, geographers, and instrument makers to create more precise maps. in 1427, one of henrys navigators, probably gonçalo velho, discovered the azores. portugal soon colonized these islands in 1430. gil eanes, the commander of one of henrys expeditions, became the first european known to pass cape bojador in 1434. this was a breakthrough as it was considered close to the end of the world, with difficult currents that did not encourage commercial enterprise. henrys first sponsored voyages of exploration were to the atlantic islands of madeira and porto santo (1418-1419); colonization followed. these islands, as well as the azores and canaries, had been known to the earlier middle ages; they were now rediscovered and exploited by the portuguese. hhe was very important because these explorations helped advance the study of geography and made portugal the leader in navigation among european nations. he sent out more than 50 expeditions although he never went out on one himself. soon the spanish sent out their own voyages of discovery in competition with portugal. for instance columbus, magellon and balboa. unfortunately these voyages of discovery eventually led to slavery and the exploitation of the natives of the americas.