Jean Alfonse (Joćo Afonso)

Jean Alfonse (Joćo Afonso) was a Portuguese explorer and navigator who is credited with discovering the Azores Islands in the mid-15th century. He is also known for his pioneering work in the development of navigation techniques and for his role in the Age of Discovery.

Jean Alfonse was born in the Portuguese city of Porto in 1450. He was the son of a wealthy merchant and was educated in the city’s universities. He was an avid reader and studied mathematics, astronomy, and navigation. He was also a skilled sailor and navigator.

In 1473, Jean Alfonse set sail on a voyage of exploration. He was accompanied by a crew of experienced sailors and navigators. They sailed south along the coast of Africa and eventually reached the Canary Islands. From there, they continued westward and eventually reached the Azores Islands.

The Azores Islands were uninhabited at the time and Jean Alfonse and his crew were the first Europeans to set foot on the islands. They named the islands after the mythical bird, the Azor, which was said to inhabit the islands. Jean Alfonse and his crew explored the islands and mapped the coastline. They also established trading posts and settlements on the islands.

Jean Alfonse and his crew returned to Portugal in 1476. He was hailed as a hero and was given a pension by the Portuguese king. He was also given the title of “Admiral of the Azores”.

Jean Alfonse continued to explore the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. He was the first European to reach the Cape Verde Islands and the first to circumnavigate the African continent. He also explored the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Jean Alfonse was an important figure in the Age of Discovery. He was one of the first Europeans to explore the New World and his discoveries helped to open up the Atlantic Ocean to European exploration and colonization. He was also an important figure in the development of navigation techniques. He was the first to use the compass and the astrolabe to navigate the seas.

Jean Alfonse died in 1510. He was buried in the Church of St. Francis in Porto. He is remembered as one of the most important figures in the Age of Discovery and his legacy lives on in the Azores Islands, which are now part of Portugal.