Friday, August 10, 2012

Philatelic Photograph: Monument to the Discoveries

Monument to the Discoveries
(Monumento dos Descobrimentos)
Lisbon (Belém)

GPS: N38° 41.628; W009° 12.342

Quick Description: 

View from the west, the profile of the Monument to the Discoveries. This monument is located on the banks of the Tagus River in Santa Maria de Belém section of Lisbon.

Long Description:

Monument to the Discoveries is aptly placed since early sailors passed through this spot when they embarked and returned from their voyages of discovery. The Portuguese Age of Discovery began 1381 when the Portuguese explored the Canary Islands and continued for two hundred years and reached as far away as Japan. During that time the Portuguese established colonies in Africa, Asia and South America.

The major impetus for this activity was Prince Henry the Navigator. He formalized the study of navigation, naval architecture, and astronomy and developed the powerful ship called the caravel, which contributed to Portuguese supremacy on the high seas.

The monument was designed by architect José Ângelo Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida as a temporary display during the Portuguese World Fair in June 1940. It was demolished after the fair in 1943.

In 1958, construction began on a permanent limestone monument which was unveiled at its present location in January 1960, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.

Figures visible on the photograph of the profile are (from left to right):

Henry the Navigator
Afonso V of Portugal
Vasco da Gama (discoverer of the sea route to India)
Afonso Gonçalves Baldaia (navigator)
Pedro Álvares Cabral (discoverer of Brazil)
Ferdinand Magellan (first to circumnavigate the globe)
Nicolau Coelho (navigator)
Gaspar Corte-Real (navigator)
Martim Afonso de Sousa (navigator)
João de Barros (writer)
Estêvão da Gama (sea captain)
Bartolomeu Dias (first to cross over the Cape of Good Hope)
Diogo Cão (first to arrive to the Congo river)
António Abreu (navigator)
Afonso de Albuquerque (second viceroy of Portuguese India)
Saint Francis Xavier (missionary)
Cristóvão da Gama (captain)

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