Navigator from the 15th century and Squire in the House of Prince Henry the Navigator, he was born in Lagos. He participated in the fleets commanded by Lançarote de Lagos in 1444 and 1445. In the first expedition, he commanded a ship and reached White Cape. In 1445, he held again the position of captain and reached Senegal.
In 1446, he was one of the captains of the nine ships that left Lagos to Guinea. He took responsibility for three ships, which were commanded by Lourenço Dias, Lourenço de Elvas and João Bernaldes. By order of Prince Henry the Navigator, his fleet sailed to Madeira Island, where they should receive their «vitalhas» [edible offal of pigs, calves and sheep considered then delicacies]; from there, two other ships joined the fleet, one commanded by Tristão da Ilha and the other by Garcia Homem. From Madeira, they departed to La Gomera Island in Canary. The captains in the fleet tried to make some prisoners in Gorée Island but they were not successful. Some captains, including Estêvão Afonso, continued the voyage until 60 leagues (192 nautical miles) after Cape Verde, where they found a large river (Rio Grande) and where Estêvão Afonso and his brother landed to explore the land following the trace of its inhabitants, but without being able to capture any of them.
After, they sailed to Arguin Island to get water and then continued until the Cape of Ransom where they took 48 slaves. After the economical sustainability of the voyage was achieved, the fleet returned to the Kingdom, with the exception of Estêvão Afonso, who decided to sail to Gorée Island, where his group suffered an ambush and Estêvão Afonso was killed.
ZURARA, Gomes Eanes de, Crónica dos feitos notáveis que se passaram na conquista de Guiné por mandado do infante D. Henrique, 2 vols., Lisboa, Academia Portuguesa de História, 1973-1981.
Author: Teresa Lacerda
Translated by: Ana Pereira