The statue of Infante D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator), sits pride of place in the Praça do Infante Dom Henrique within a few metres of the “Slave Market”. Born March 4th, 1394 Henry was an important figure in the Portuguese Age of Discovery and sponsored exploration voyages in search of new trade routes down the coast of Africa. In 1434 Gil Eanes set sail from the Port of Lagos in the Western Algarve. Although his voyage was initially a voyage of exploration, the ships returned with slaves, spices, gold dust, kola nuts, ivory, chilli pepper and birds.
The “Slave Market” (Mercado de Escravos), and the first in Europe was built in 1444, now opens its doors as a Museum.
Mercado de Escravos – (Slave Market)
I’ve passed this innocuous looking building on many occasions without a second glance. But it’s only now that I’ve researched its dark history (no pun intended) I discover it was the first gateway to the slave trade in Europe. Incredible!
Other great explorers of this era include Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama and James Cook.
This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.