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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Prince Henry the Navigator is knighted after conquering Ceuta

Prince Henry the Navigator is knighted after conquering Ceuta

nobility.org 

 Prince Henry and Prince Edward led their troops through the Almina gate of Ceuta and clattered into the narrow twisting streets. The king’s forces, meanwhile, were invading from the west. Sala-ben-Sala had bolted, taking with him a few other chiefs, their families, and whatever valuables they could hurriedly scrape together….

 

Prince Henry, having been separated from his troops in the maze of Muslim streets, was presumed dead. When the sad news was relayed to King John, he accepted it stoically, saying, “Such is the end that soldiers must expect.”
The Prince, however, was far from dead and approaching the outer walls of the castle. It was here that his old tutor, Garcia Moniz, found him, bloody, dusty, but exhilarated and determined to take the castle single-handed. “My Prince,” the teacher said, “you attempt feats which are beyond the power of man.” An astute appraisal and, as it turned out, a prophetic one as well.

Henry the Navigator in the Battle of Ceuta. Infante Henry was 21 when he, his father and brothers captured the Moorish port of Ceuta in northern Morocco, that had long been a base for Barbary pirates who raided the Portuguese coast, depopulating villages by capturing their inhabitants to be sold in the African slave market. Photo by Beria

Henry the Navigator in the Battle of Ceuta. Infante Henry was 21 when he, his father and brothers captured the Moorish port of Ceuta in northern Morocco, that had long been a base for Barbary pirates who raided the Portuguese coast, depopulating villages by capturing their inhabitants to be sold in the African slave market. Photo by Beria
Now that the enemy had been won, the Portuguese troops turned to plunder, ransacking abandoned houses…
Prince Henry had no interest in the spoils of war, but hastened to his father to deliver his report. Jubilant upon seeing his son alive, King John embraced him fondly, saying, “I will knight you first, before your brothers.”

 John I of Portugal, King of Portugal and the Algarve & father of Prince Henry the Navigator.
John I of Portugal, King of Portugal and the Algarve & father of Prince Henry the Navigator.

But Prince Henry held back, showing once more a wisdom beyond his years. “God brought us into the world one after the other, my father. I beg you, let the honor of knighthood go in the same succession.”
And so it did. On the first Sunday after the battle was won, in the newly consecrated mosque, the three princes of Portugal received knighthood, dubbed with the swords their mother had had especially prepared for the occasion.