Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/47

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Ghana into a Christian dependency of Portugal, to be administered by the military Order of Jesus Christ. In Portugal this Order had succeeded to the property and functions of the dissolved Order of the Temple, and Dom Henrique was its Governor. His project was in substance similar to that carried out by the Teutonic Order in conquering and christianising the heathen Prussians; and the Order of Christ corresponded in its function to the Orders of Santiago and Alcantara, which were actively engaged in ridding Spain of the Moors. Dom Henrique's scheme represents the final effort of the crusading spirit; and the naval campaigns against the Muslim in the Indian seas, in which it culminated, forty years after Dom Henrique's death, may be described as the Last Crusade. We shall see that Albuquerque, the great leader of this Crusade, who established the Portuguese dominion in the East on a secure footing, included in his plan the recovery of the holy places of Jerusalem. The same object was avowed by Colombo, who thought he had brought its attainment within measurable distance by the successful voyage in which he had sought to reach the Far East by way of the West.

A curious geographical illusion served as a background and supplement to the scheme. The Senegal river, which fertilises Bilad Ghana, and is the first considerable stream to the southward of the Pillars of Hercules, was believed by Arab geographers to flow from a lake near those in which the Nile originated, and was itself described as the "Western Nile." The eastern branch of the true Nile flowed through the Christian kingdom of Abyssinia; and if the " Western Nile" could also be christianised from its mouth to its supposed source-no insuperable task, for Bilad Ghana had not fallen under the sway of Islam- Christian Europe would join hands with Christian East Africa, the flank of the Mohammadan power would be turned, and European adventure would have unmolested access to the Bed Sea and the ports of Arabia, India, and China. How far in this direction the Iffante's imagination habitually travelled, is uncertain. His immediate object was to subjugate and convert the not yet Islamised heathen in the North-west of Africa, beginning with the Senegal river, and to create here a great Portuguese dependency, the spiritualities of which were, with the consent of the Holy See, to be vested in the Order of Jesus Christ, and were destined to furnish a fund for the aggrandisement of the Order, and the furtherance of its objects.

In recent times Dom Henrique has been named Prince Henry the Navigator,-a title founded on the supposition that his expeditions mainly aimed at the extension of nautical enterprise for its own sake, or had for their conscious though remote object the discovery of the sea-route to India and the westward exploration of the Atlantic Ocean. It has even been stated that the town founded by him on the southernmost point of the Sacred Promontory, the westernmost angle of which bears the