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  Portuguese Empire timeline
Narrative history in HistoryWorld    
A Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator, becomes fascinated by exploration down the coast of Africa and commissions successive voyages      
c. 1420
Narrative history in HistoryWorld    
The Portuguese, discovering the lush and uninhabited island of Madeira, send colonists to settle it      
Portugal claims ownership of the region of Guinea, subsequently the centre of their slave trade on the west African coast       
c. 1450
Narrative history in HistoryWorld    
The caravel, a sailing ship developed in the Mediterranean and used down the west coast of Africa, is adapted by the Portuguese for Atlantic use      
Narrative history in HistoryWorld     
The Portuguese settlers on the Cape Verde islands are granted a monopoly on the new slave trade       
The Portuguese establish a further presence on the west coast of Africa, at the mouth of the Congo river