Luís Adão da Fonseca
Straits, Capes and Islands as Points of Confluence in the Portuguese Ocean Route between the Atlantic and the East (in the Fifteenth Century)
Abstract In this paper, I will present a reflection on the role of straits, capes and islands as geographical references in the oceanic route from Europe to India. All three have a double dimension; geographical and cultural. So, the challenge is how to explain the nautical and intellectual process in which the generation of the oceanic concept operated. To support this idea, I will consider three successive aspects of these reference points: first, their importance in medieval oceanic doctrines; second, their role as reference points in the
maritime routes of the central and southern Atlantic; finally, based on the linkage between the initial Atlantic experience and the emerging notion of oceanic space, I will emphasize two specific issues: their role in the shaping of the doctrine of a maritime rearguard, as well as their importance in fifteenth-century Portuguese diplomacy.