Africa and Arabia are the focus for this group of 9 explorers and their 14 journeys.
1. The Explorer: Francisco de Almeida, 1505 - Africa / Asia
The Story: The Somali Current
Follow Francisco de Almeida, as he commands a 22 ship armada in the year 1505. His mandate was to set up trade and gain control of the lucrative spice trade from the East, for Portugal. On the east coast of Africa, he travels north along the coast and battles various Sultans and Chiefs. He then crosses the Indian Ocean and sets up forts along the Malabar Coast. Eventually, his fleet does battle with a combined fleet of Arab, Egyptian and Indian vessels at the historic naval battle of Diu. This victory helps cement Portuguese control of the East Indies trade for nearly 200 years.
2. The Explorer: Muhammad Ibn Battuta, 1325 - North Africa / Arabia
The Story: Camel Thieves
Follow the Journey of the young Muhammad Ibn Battuta, at age 21, after he leaves college in Morocco to explore his world. On a donkey, he joins others and traverses mountain and desert across North Africa. Along the pirate-infested Barbary Coast, they are blasted by the great Sirocco winds and fight off camel thieves. Onto Cairo and the pyramids, but down the Red Sea, he is stopped from crossing by a rebellion against the rulers and is forced to follow a major detour to Damascus. Eventually, he travels to Mecca by caravan and completes his Hajj.
3. The Explorer: Pedro Alvarez Cabral, 1500 - Brazil / Africa / Asia
The Story: Cape of All Storms
Follow the Journey of Pedro Alvarez Cabral in command of a Portuguese fleet headed south to round Africa. They, unknowingly, land on the continent of South America (Brazil) and claim all its lands for Portugal.
4. The Explorer - Journey 1: Pero da Covilham, 1487 - Europe / Mediterranean
The Story: Spies for Portugal
5. The Explorer - Journey 2: Pero da Covilham, 1488 - East Africa / Arabia
The Story: Salve for the Backside
6. The Explorer - Journey 3: Pero da Covilham, 1489 - East Africa / Asia
The Story: Fleet of Dhows
7. The Explorer - Journey 4: Pero da Covilham, 1530 - East Africa
The Story: Lions and Hyenas
It’s early spring, 1487, and Europe already stinks from the flesh of the unwashed masses. Open sewers run in the streets. The only relief from the stench comes from carrying bags of spices around your neck. King John II of Portugal chooses 2 young multilingual men, of Jewish decent, to become spies in order to find the source of the rare and costly spice commodity, and find the Christian Kingdom of Prester John, somewhere in East Africa. As the spices are mostly controlled by a hostile Arab population in the East, our two spies embark on a journey from Portugal, disguised as Moorish merchants. This dangerous adventure will take them across the Mediterranean, along the Red Sea, across the Arabian Sea to India, and back into East Africa. One will die!
8. The Explorer - Journey 1: Bartholomew Diaz, 1487 - West Africa
The Story: Sand Dunes
9. The Explorer - Journey 2: Bartholomew Diaz, 1488 - South East Africa
The Story: Freight Train Winds
Follow the three vessels commanded by Bartholomew Diaz in 1487, from Portugal down the west coast of Africa. Join them, as they marvel at the sight of the massive sand dunes along the Skeleton Coast, so named for the ribs of shipwrecked boats pointing into the sky. They travel into unknown waters and a ferocious storm, which capsizes two vessels and then pushes the third into the Antarctic ice flows. Eventually, to their amazement and joy, they escape to the northeast around Africa.
10. The explorer: Vasco de Gama, 1497 - Africa/Asia
The story: Exotic Fruits and Fish
Follow the ultimate seaman, Vasco de Gama, and his crew in 1497 as they weather ferocious storms before finally rounding west Africa past the Cape of Good Hope. Heading north along the coast of East Africa into tropical waters, they venture due east towards India and eventually open the first sea route, for trade, between India and Europe.
11. The Explorer - Journey 1: Hanno the Navigator, 455BC - Africa / Mediterranean
The Story: Pillars of Hercules
12. The Explorer - Journey 2: Hanno the Navigator 455BC - Africa / West Coast
The Story: Rio de Oro
Join Hanno the Navigator in 455 BC, in Carthage, as he waits for the leaving ceremony to end with the prayers to the god Baal (rider of the clouds and god of thunderstorms). He then leads his 60 galley fleet into the Mediterranean and around the west coast of Africa. Leaving colonists along the bulge of Africa, he eventually turns east into the Gulf of Guinea. Dense jungles seem to meet the water’s edge like a wall. At night, the sound of native drums and warrior chants, keep the vessels offshore. Finally, they approach a great mountain spewing molten rock, flames and sulfurous gases into the air. They turn for home rather than face the ‘gates of Hades’.
13. The Explorer: Mungo Park, 1806 - West Africa
The Story: Timbuktu
Join Mungo Park, in 1806, and follow his fateful attempt to navigate the Niger River into ‘darkest Africa’. Plagued with dysentery, exhaustion, attacks from wild animals and native bandits, only nine of the original forty-four Europeans survive the journey on land to begin exploration of the river. Hostile natives destroy this expedition before it reaches the Gulf of Guinea.
14. The Explorer: Duarte Pacheco Periera, 1488 - West Africa
The Story: Stolen Ship
Join the crew of Duarte Pacheco Periera, in 1488, as they explore the coast and jungle interior of West Africa in search of the rumored Christian kingdom of Prester John. On the offshore island of Principe, they leave their ship unattended overnight to seek medical aid for their sicknesses, only to wake up in the morning to find their ship is gone.