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From Discovery to Knowledge: Portuguese Maritime Navigation and German Humanism

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Chapter Summary

In the beginning of the 16th century European scholars were deeply interested in the information and novelties which derived from the discoveries so that they became important disseminators in the exchange of news and knowledge. In this sense, the Italian merchant Luis de Cadamosto accepted the invitation of Prince Henry to embark on a Portuguese caravel, seeking new experiences and markets. Cadamosto's report is the first about a Portuguese voyage in the South Atlantic that we know of and thus the beginning of a description of the West African coast, and of the world inaccessible before. The Portuguese travel literature provides the basic corpus of documents for humanistic reasoning. Therefore German scholars from the 16th and 17th century considered travel literature as important and groundbreaking, since on its pages they could find true historiae, information and data.

Keywords:Cadamosto's; European scholars; German; Portuguese; Prince Henry; South Atlantic



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