Near to the Sea: Lisbon
Lisbon, 16/3 – 21/3/15
King Manuel of Portugal dominating the sea(-monster). Martin Waldseemüller, Carta Marina (1516)
The course is part of the EU Erasmus+ teacher staff mobility programme
Feeling the Sea
My language breathes the murmur of the sea, as
other languages breathe the whisper of the forest,
or the silence of the desert. That is why the sound
of the sea has been our restlessness.
Give us the log, the chart, the card, again the
seaman´s compass, and the sphere. There´s yet
a space, an isle within ourselves to make our port,
there to expect the unexpected.
Routes of the Seminar
Portugal and the Sea
Geographically set in front of the sea, halfway from the routes between the north and the south of
Europe, the sea has always been our challenge to overcome both our crisis and ourselves. From the
15th century onwards this sea has worked as a run carrier of Portuguese people, its wealth, knowledge
and culture. The consequence of such a melting of influences has brought us to a linguistic and
monumental heritage where the whole world is reflected. Thus, memories and myths built upon the sea
and the way the others looked at us reflect our inner soul and deepest longings, strengths, weaknesses
and dreams - in one word 'saudade'.
We have always set off towards the West to reach the East and this notion will be the main skeleton of
our investigation on Portugal/Lisbon and its connection with the sea during the seminar 'Near to the
We will start with a general view of the whole city, from its medieval power core (St Jorge's Castle).
From there we will step down, both physically and within the timeline, towards the founding routes of the
city. Before lunch we will end up the morning in the underground of the old downtown city buildings
(back to the Phoenicians).
After lunch we will begin our quest towards the west and of course, we will start our journey visiting
the replica of a caravel (the ships used during Discoveries). We will have the feeling of the old sailors,
its perils and hardships.
The end of the day will be in the Alcântara Quay, admiring the Almada Negreiros's murals that, under a
modernist approach, will portray some of the most typical or mythical episodes of the Portuguese
history and ways of living.
The next day will take us west again,to the western part of Lisbon, where our past monumental heritage
will be a highlight of our 'trip' during these days. It is the area from where the caravels and carracks
would sail ashore aiming to reach the outer lands. We will visit the Monastery of Jerónimos, erected with
the money of the riches from the Eastern lands. The church of this monument keeps the burial site of
Luís de Camões (16th century) and Fernando Pessoa (20th century), the two most important
Following that visit, after lunch, we will visit the Tower of Belém built on the river mouth, as a fortress
to prevent the attacks to the city. The Tower with its Manuelin style, stands as the symbol of the epic
times of the Discoveries, the place the 'naus' and the 'caravelas' bid the quay farewell and set forth to
the sea, among opposing voices who considered this task a helpless and nonsensical adventure:
'But an old man of vulnerable appearance
Standing along the crowd on the shore,
Fixed his eyes on us, disapproving,
And wagged his head three times,
The raising a little his infirm voice
So we heard him clearly from the sea,
With a wisdom only experience could impart,
He uttered these words from a much-tried heart:
-!Oh, pride of power! Oh, futile lust
For that vanity known as fame!
The hollow conceit which pulls itself up
And which popular cant calls honour!
What punishment, what poetic justice,
You exact on souls that pursue you!
To what deaths, what mysteries you condemn
Your heroes! What pains you inflict on them'
(Camões, The Lusiads, 1572)
These suspicious voices were along the centuries reflected on the ideas of the costs, struggles
and sacrifices on behalf of the Empire's pursuit:
Salt-laden sea, how much of all your salt
Is tears of Portugal!
For us to cross you, how many sons have kept
Vigil in vain, and mothers wept!
Lived as old maids how many brides-to-be
Till death, that you might be ours, sea!
Was it worth? It is worth while, all,
If the soul is not small.
Whoever means to sail beyond the Cape
Must double sorrow - no escape.
Peril and abyss has God to the sea given
And yet made it the mirror of heaven.
(Fernando Pessoa, The Message, 1934)
Following that we will head towards Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Discoveries Milestone), whose first
structure was built in the 1940's as one of the major icons of the Exibihition of the Portuguese World
that was held to commemorate the anniversaries of the Foundation of Portugal and the Restoration of
the Portuguese Independance from the Spanierds in the 17th century. The present day structure dates
from the 1960's.
Fed with dreams and anxieties, Portuguese cultural heritage has always been able to integrate their
myths (either inherited from ancient times or daily constructed within moments and events) in
their achievements, incorporating and overcoming them.
Thursday will take us to Sintra (classified as World Heritage under the classification of 'Cultural
Landscape' by Unesco) which is intended to reveal another tiny bit of a dreamy soul whose fate was to
leave land crusades (due to poverty and need) and meet sea routes. Here royal and religious settings
reflect centuries of occupation based on the exotic influences brought by the Portuguese journeys all
over the world.
In a city and court inner outskirt, there lies the place from where the end of the known world was
constantly seen from above (Cabo da Roca), causing the permanent dream and chimera of a people
intending to build and rebuild its Empire: "And there, as if crowning Europe's / Head, is the little
Kingdom of Portugal, / Where the continent ends and the sea begins" (Camões, The Lusiads, 1572).
A visit to the Museum of Old Arts will sum up, next morning, the intercourse between the already-known
and the newly-known world, as described by the exquisite art pieces displayed in the several rooms of
the museum. And from here we will head to the Eastern part of Lisbon, where we'll face the
present/future and the revival of the city, in a setting where the metaphor of the East (India) is set all
over the organization of the space (environment) and its toponymy. We will also be able to face the
other bank of the river Tagus and its estuary ('Mar da Palha' or 'Straw Sea') that has grown as the
industrial force of the Sea adventure, providing the shipyards for the building of vessels that would take
the Portuguese across the Oceans. At the same time, it was the cellar of the Lisboners and developed a
by-the-river economy based on activities such as the crossing carriers between the two river banks and
the fishing industry.
A "dive into the ocean" will end
the seminar activities with a
visit to the Oceanarium built for
the 1998 World Exhibition under
the concept "A whole ocean
linking seas, lands and people".
Lisbon, the city itself,
unanimously figured as a
woman, both beautiful and
capricious, stretches along the
northern river bank and lies
under the sun waiting for
visitors to discover the forever
endless riddle of its mystery. As
one of the most well-known
Lisbon 'fados' states:
'In the Castle I lay my elbow
In Alfama a lay my eyes
And so I undo the ball of thread
Of blue and sea.
I lay my head onto the
Ribeira Tagus is my bed pillow
With sheets quickly embroidered
In the muslin of a kiss.
Lisbon, the girl and the maiden, the
girl So pure at the light of my eyes
Your breasts are the hilltops, fishmaiden A
street cry throwing tenderness onto me.
A city embroidered in light
A lain towel on the sea-shore
Lisbon, beloved girl and maiden
The city, one-love of my life.
I pass by you in the Terreiro But
in Graça I watch you naked
A pigeon smiles when looking at you
You are a woman in the street.
And in the top quarter of a dream I
sing the 'fado' I can imagine
The liqueur of wine and
strawberry That makes me sing.
The city laying out of love The
city by my hands unnaked
Lisbon, the loved girl and maiden
The city one-love of my life.
No castelo ponho o cotovelo
Em Alfama descanso o olhar
E assim desfaço o novelo
De azul e mar
À Ribeira encosto a cabeça
A almofada da cama do Tejo
Com lençóis bordados à pressa
Na cambraia de um beijo.
Lisboa menina e moça, menina
Da luz que os meus olhos vêem, tão pura
Teus seios sãos as colinas, varina Pregão
que me traz à porta ternura
Cidade a ponto-luz bordada
Toalha à beira-mar estendida
Lisboa menina e moça e amada
Cidade amor da minha vida
No Terreiro eu passo por ti Mas
na Graça eu vejo-te nua
Quando um pombo te olha
sorri És mulher da rua.
E no bairro mais alto do sonho
Ponho o fado que sei inventar
A aguardente de vinho e
medronho Que me faz cantar.
Lisboa do amor deitada
Cidade por minhas mãos despida
Lisboa menina e moça e amada
Cidade mulher da minha vida
Ana Baptista, Catarina Amaral
Subindo o Rio
Paul Hyland, "Backwards out of the big world – A voyage into Portugal".
“Por este Tejo acima”
Paul Hyland is an English writer who travelled up River Tagus throughout Portugal, exploring the towns
and villages along the riverbanks, commenting on what he saw and comparing that on-the-land
knowledge to the premises of the Portuguese culture, be it either politics, literature, popular culture,
built heritage, landscape, traditions… We thought it would be interesting to leave some small extracts on
his feelings, since it is a perspective of Portugal captured through the eyes of a foreigner. We hope you
will enjoy the reading…
“Why should we leave Lisbon, if, as it is said, it offers us four continents for the price of one?...
Among all the European Nations, they [the Portuguese] were the first to take the world into their
hands and the ones who’ve kept it for a longer time. Today, however… they talk about being
Europeans forgetting that their greatest modernist poet, Fernando Pessoa, talked about the “Others,
the Others by birth, Europeans that are not true Europeans because they are not Portuguese”.
He believed that only his People was fated to understand that “the future will be Universal”. This is,
probably, the sense in which I long to be Portuguese… In the words of the brave poet and novelist
Miguel Torga (1907-1995): “I’m going to tell you about a wonderful Kingdom… belonging to me and to
all those who might want to deserve it”.
The River Tagus separates Europe from
Africa. It’s more than an illusion caused
by light. A thousand kilometres long,
from its source in the Spanish
mountains to the moment it sinks itself
into the Atlantic Ocean, the River Tagus
is the longest in the Iberian Peninsula.
When it reaches Lisbon and the sea,
streaming from east to west, in the
middle of the Portuguese territory, it is
the one that sets the continents apart.
But it has always been the Fate of the
Portuguese to reformulate our notion of
the world. They made it with “caravelas”
[Portuguese carracks used during the
Discoveries], with the compass and the
astrolabe. Their navigators surrounded
the lands and adventured themselves
into the huge open seas until the known
sky signals and the North Star that kept
them safe were lost; until they feared
sailing straight to the unknown, straight
to the door opening to chaos and those
black seas imagination conjures and full
of monsters and demons. They faced
and exorcized those risks with a saying: “There’s no overcoming danger without danger”.
The glorious riverfront of the capital and its wavy hillocks… Up the North of the city the river widens in a
way that makes it look like a sea, the Sea of Straw. Southwards I imagine I could see the ocean. And I
figured myself here, hands cut by the iron of the fences, watching Lisbon fall and burn before being
swept by the waves [1755 earthquake and tsunami, which completely destroyed the downtown].
There are wild areas, as the Natural Reserve of the River Tagus Estuary, with their Autumn flocks of
pink flamingos, the birds that may have brought the gipsies from the Nile’s valley to the Andaluzia and
the Alentejo, inspiring the emblem of their flag and the steps of their dancing, the flamenco.
The Natural Reserve of the Tejo Estuary
The Natural Reserve of the Tejo Estuary (the biggest wettest zone in the whole Western Europe) was
proclaimed in 1976. The surface area is 14,560 hectares extending from North of Alcochete to the
estuary waters, loam areas, salt pans, marshes, sand-banks and agricultural areas. The bird population,
with a figure of circa 70-80 thousand in the winter months, makes this a vital reserve both nationally
and internationally. The gathering of avocets ( Recurvirostra avosetta), totalling half of the European
population of this species makes this area even more important.
The Tejo River banks Recurvirostra avosetta Flamingos gathering at the
shallow waters of the river
Flocks of these birds are a common sight here, yet so rarely found in other areas of the world, which
justifies the protection of this area. Bird-watching is a fascinating pastime. Here one sees poetry in
motion as flocks of birds fly high and swoop down. Alcochete is situated near the vast estuary of the
River Tagus and its salt marshes that have provided the main income for its people. A statue of a
salt worker takes pride of place in the town's centre.
The flight of the Flamingos
The most emblematic bird is the common pink Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), a superb bird, fully
displaying its grace when graciously leaving the ground. They are attracted by the salt marshes and
look for shelter here during autumn and spring. When of the low tides, they search for their meals near
Parque das Nações, in Lisbon.
The old river sea activities
When there was no bridge over the Tagus’ banks, typical boats once crossed the estuary near the river
mouth (Straw Sea/Mar da Palha), both fishing and taking passengers and merchandise from one of the
banks to the other, between the capital and its surroundings. Today, big catamarans have replaced
Along the riverbanks, between the “lezíria” (plain) and the “montado” (oak forested zone), daily
habits illustrate the lives of generations of people living side by side with the river. Some of those are
the production of cork, salt and cereals as well as cattle raising.
The estuary, which holds Lisbon and the nearby populations in a close hug, also tells the story of
important habits and traditions of the locals, who live day by day with this “Straw Sea” in a
perfect harmony. When night falls, some of these places, as Hortas, near Alcochete, gain a special
Ana Baptista, Catarina Amaral
Aljube political prison
Political prison of Aljube - the "emblem" of the political system in Portugal from 1926 to 1974,
which shaped life and culture in the country for almost 50 years.
"Aqui, no silêncio das gavetas,
Da Pátria amordaçada,
Dos peitos desfeitos pela tortura da PIDE,
Subiu o clamor da Liberdade,
"Here, in the silence of the drawers (cells),
Of our homeland silenced,
Out of the chests destroyed by PIDE’s
torture, The clamour of Freedom rose,
PIDE – International Police of State Defense
Faithfully attended by PSP – Public Safety Police, GNR – Republican National Guard, and LP – Portuguese
Legion. But there were also the special courts, a network of political prisons, the concentration camps
(Tarrafal, in Cape Green Islands - Cabo Verde - being the most notorious) and a set of specific legislation
which exercised all sorts of violence and arbitrary actions, such as: torture; imprisonment without proven
crime-practice and without a set period of time; indefinite and endless prison penalties people had to
endure, most times without having even been sentenced. In Lisbon, usually, after being arrested, the
political prisoner was taken to PIDE’s head-quarters and then to the prison of Aljube or the fortress of
Caxias. On their way in the prisoners were forced to undress and then searched. The guards took all their
possessions, like spectacles, watches and shoe-laces, so that they would not commit suicide and would
eventually lose the sense of time. They were not allowed any visits before being interrogated, any books,
paper, pencils or pens.
Though it had some very good professionals, deeply acquainted with their targets’ characteristics,
PIDE’s efficiency was most due to the enormous power it was granted with. Amongst these powers they
could, for example, exercise preventive detention, launch legal processes, impose safety measures
(which were set after the sentence had been carried out in order to prevent further activities against the
regimen), maintain a net of secret informers (spies – bufos as they were called) and fully exercise
torture during the interrogatories. It was possible for a prisoner to be kept under arrest without a trial
or legal control, that being the PIDE’s director’s decision: preventive imprisonment was set together
with a provisional safety measure (which could go on for as long as one year).
Boa-Hora – Court
Some of the trials held here were overseen by Portuguese and foreign journalists, but the former
could only publish the unofficial statements sent by PIDE. However, meanwhile, the news were having
great impact abroad.
The characteristics of the trial procedures were sui generis: total lack of freedom of speech; preposterous
and oppressive behaviour of the judge; court’s biased performance; permanent interruption of the
prisoner’s defence pleading; accusation witnesses being the members of the PIDE themselves.
Frequently, the prisoner’s witnesses were themselves arrested, accused of “disrespect towards the court
and the judges”. For example, one was under arrest for three days, due to having quoted Salazar’s words
in a speech, where he had stated that “the Portuguese political regimen was anti-democratic, anti-liberal,
authoritarian and interventionist”. This witness was accused of “attack to members of the Government”.
Sometimes the prisoners were not allowed to advocate their own defence or lost their lawyer because
this had been charged of an “insulting attitude towards the judge” while trying to carry out his work on
behalf of the client. Manuel João da Palma Carlos defended many political prisoners and was known as a
“conflicting person, always confronting the judges and the prosecutors, one that would not be silenced,
unashamed of using the court as an arena where Salazar’s regimen was openly affronted”. Once, he was
condemned to a 7 month penalty, had to pay a fine and was forbidden to work as a lawyer for a whole
year. When he recurred from the sentence he was asked to pay an enormous amount of money as bail.
He could only pay the bail and the fine with the financial help of friends and the assistance of the Order
of Lawyers. And this was all due to the following sentence of Palma Carlos in the court: “You may judge
as you wish, with or without given proof. But you can’t help it – you’ll have to write down on the
court proceedings what goes on in the audience”. The judge declared these words to be injurious,
false and offensive to the court”.
This case is a plain example of how lawyers had their action limited, were pressed and intimidated
when they raised their voices in the courtroom, one of the most effective salazarist mechanisms. It
clearly portrays a kind of justice that does it all in order to prevent the right to a fair defence and
imposes silence upon the defendants.
• História de Portugal – Org. Fernando Rosas
• História de Portugal – Joel Serrão
The Roman Theatre in Lisbon
Theatre excavation site Remains brought from the roman theatre
The ruins of the Roman theatre are set on the south slope of St. Jorge’s Castle. The theatre was built
during the time of the Roman emperor Augustus, in the 1st century AD and rebuilt during Nero’s times
(1st c. AD). It was partially dismantled during the period of Constantine the Great (3rd c. AD). After
being abandoned in the 4th century it was buried until 1798, since the remains were only found after
the earthquake of 1755. Archaeological campaigns started in 1967, having part of the orchestra, stage
and proscenium been unearthed, as well as many decorative motifs.
The Museum is a space especially dedicated to the
Roman Theatre, near the Aljube Palace (a political prison
during the times of the dictatorship – 1926/1974 - see
article ). Coming from the castle we visit the ruins of the
theatre and then enter the house that hosts the museum
exhibits. Besides the artefacts, it also displays
multimedia facilities presenting info on the theatre and
its history. The monument is one of the main remains of
the classic and Roman culture, which helped frame the
urban dimension of the city Olissipo, from the 1st to the
The building where the Museum is set dates from
the 16th century probably on the very spot of one of
the main entrances to the Theatre.
Ana Baptista, Catarina Amaral
Pr. António Vieira
"Nascer pequeno e morrer grande, é
chegar a ser homem. Por isso nos deu
Deus tão pouca terra para o nascimento,
e tantas para a sepultura. Para nascer,
pouca terra; para morrer toda a terra.
Para nascer, Portugal: para morrer, o
“To be born small and die great means
achieving manhood. That’s why God us
gave such a tiny piece of land to be born,
so much to be buried. A scarce bit of
land for a birthplace, the whole earth to
die. Portugal to be born, the whole world
The Portuguese Jesuit priest Padre António Vieira, a major figure in the
Portuguese Literature, mostly due to his Sermons, was born in Lisbon in the
parish of Sé (near the Lisbon Cathedral), on February 6th, 1608. In 1614 he
left for Brazil with his family, settling in Salvador da Bahia. Twenty years later
Vieira became a Jesuit priest and his fame soon rose as a superb master on
Sermon writing as well as a fierce Indian defender.
In 1641, after Portugal had recovered its independence from Spain, he
returned to Portugal announcing Brazil had accepted the newly enthroned D.
João IV as the legitimate king. Becoming a close friend of the monarch, he was
summoned as Royal Chaplain.
António Vieira was also a diplomat and an economist. He travelled over Europe.
negotiating the purchase of Pernambuco to the Dutch, got money for the war
against Castile and the creation of the Trade Companies for the East and West,
bought ammunition, recruited mercenary soldiers… A fierce defender of
Mercantilism, at a time when the Portuguese finances were more than weak, he
believed that was the way to keep the nation's independence. He claimed all
the social classes should pay taxes and all those that invested in the Trade
Companies would be exempt from those taxes.
A close observer of the reality, he learned from other countries, namely the enemies: “The Dutch have
their industry, their labour, their greed, their love to each other and to the common good; we have
our disunion, our envy, our presumption, our carelessness and our perpetual attention to trifle” (“O
papel forte"/The strong tole – 1648).
Returning to Brazil, in 1652, (Maranhão), the priest became a missionary, soon to be chased and
expelled by the settlers, on behalf of his strong fighting against the Indians slavery in the
sugarcane plantations. He was expelled and returned to Portugal where he was arrested in 1665,
under the accusation of heresy and the Inquisition forbade his preaching activity.
After being released he left for Rome in 1669, trying to reverse the sentence. There he stood for
six years preaching to the Papal Court and also to the exiled Queen Christine from Sweden.
In 1675 he returned to Lisbon with a Pope’s decree that released him from the Inquisition jurisdiction
for life, though now with no political support and disappointed with the persecutions on the newly
converted Christians he had always defended.
The missionary returned do Brazil in 1681, now 73 years old, on what was his 7th crossing of the
Atlantic, devoting to his writing and Sermon publishing activity. He would die on July, 18th, 1697, aged
89, During his life, he travelled thousands of miles in Europe and across Brazil, including the Amazon
area, preaching and fighting for the rights of the native populations. He learned the local languages
and was named Paiaçu (Great Father) by the Indians. Persistent, devoted, energetic and a fighter,
António Vieira was a mind brilliant to the end.
His literary achievements are immense (Fernando Pessoa, our
20th century major poet, called him “the emperor of the
Portuguese language”. He wrote 200 sermons, 700 letters,
and dozens of philosophic, theological spiritual, prophetic,
political and social texts. His highest praised Sermon is the
“Sermon of St. Anthony to the Fish”, (654), that fully displays
a strong, fighting, rational, persuasive and subtly ironic style
one can’t avoid being seduced by.
On the commemoration of his 400th birth anniversary, a tile
mural was placed on the wall of the house he was born. The
project was developed by the local parish authority and the
tiles were made in one of the Portuguese most famous tile
factories (Viúva de Lanego). The tiles are shown in the
beginning of the article.
• História da Literature Portuguesa, Oscar Lopes
Ana Baptista, Catarina Amaral
The Portuguese Caravel
The ship that truly
launched the first
phase of the
along the African coast
was the caravel. It
was a ship with a
distinctive shape and
admirable qualities. A
gently sloping bow
and single stern castle
features of this vessel
and it carried a
mainmast and a
mizzen mast that were
The caravel benefited
from a greater
capacity to tack.
However its small
cargo capacity and
relatively large crew
complement were a
significant encumbrance to its exploration abilities.
The crew was about 40 people and besides the captain and the writer all the crew slept on deck. Living
on a caravel was hard, so people that have been punished could choose for a job on a caravel instead of
going to prison. They had prepared a special bread to take on board, some chickens for their eggs and a
lot of fresh water. That is because the caravel did not have a place to cook. Portuguese people honor
the caravel by making caravel-like buildings and monuments:
Replica of caravel in Lisbon harbor
Alcântara and Rocha do Conde d'Óbidos
Cais de Alcântara and Cais da Rocha do Conde d’Óbidos are two quays of the three terminal quays of the
Port of Lisbon, built during the years of Estado Novo, in the 20
century. The Port of Lisbon was set on
the mouth of River Tagus (Rio Tejo) estuary at its opening into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a natural
harbour, wide and deep, which makes it perfect for all types of ships namely the big vessels able to
cruise the oceans. The quays are all on the northern bank of the river, along some of the most
important historic and cultural areas of Lisbon, including the city historic centre.
A visit to Cais de Alcântara or Cais da Rocha do Conde d’Óbidos, highlights the buildings of these two sea
stations and their modernist design under the canons of the Estado Novo spirit. But it most highlights the
wall panels or murals painted by the Portuguese modernist painter and writer Almada Negreiros, which
recreate both the atmosphere of the harbour in those days and some of the legends and folk literature of
the Portuguese imaginary. We can rediscover and “listen to” the lively movement of the city and the
quay by those times, sense the fishermen’s hard toil and the sounds of the fishwives (“varinas”) singing
out their fish of all sorts.
The need to build three maritime stations in the Lisbon harbour, which were to be austere and spacious,
was already mentioned in the 1933-34 Financial Report of the Lisbon Harbour Administration. In 1939,
the architect Pardal Monteiro was given the task of drawing up the plans for the maritime stations, of
which the Alcântara station would be the first to be built. The ideal locations for these were at Alcântara
, at Rocha do Conde d’Óbidos, and at Cais do Sodré, although the latter had never been constructed.
The aim was to offer harbour facilities in three separate locations, giving the passenger service the
importance it required. The demands placed by the number of foreign ships that entered the Tagus
River fully justified such a plan. The Lisbon harbour was expected to become the indisputable entrance
to Europe for both travellers and sea-faring mail. Consequently, the maritime station was to be a place
where travellers made their first contact with the country, and should give the arriving foreigners a
welcoming sense of comfort, ease, and grandeur. It would be important in conveying the image of a
country that sought to be progressive.
Acântara Maritime Station
Alcântara Maritime Station
The Alcântara Maritime Station was opened on July 17
, 1943 – not with the pomp and circumstance
characteristic of such inaugural ceremonies. Instead, there was a simple reception for the ship Serpa
Pinto of the Colonial Shipping Company (Companhia Colonial de Navegação), which had come from
Philadelphia with 253 passengers aboard, most of whom were English subjects seeking refuge from
In the second floor hall of the maritime stations of Alcântara and Rocha, one can admire fourteen
magnificent indoor murals that have the river as their subject, portraying riverside activities and harbour
scenes. Almada considered the Tagus to be a very beautiful river, and regretted the fact that only
foreign artists depicted it in their paintings. These fresco murals, a precious example of contemporary
Portuguese art, were created by one of the most unique and talented personalities of the Portuguese
cultural scene, José de Almada Negreiros. With this work of art he reached one of the high points in his
prolific career. Upon celebrating a PTE 200,000 worth contract, a three-year period was estimated for
the conclusion of the eight magnificent frescoes – two triptychs and two separate compositions, with
which Almada Negreiros decorated the second floor hall (1943-1945).
The frescoes at the Alcântara Maritime Station depict one of the most beautiful evocations of the
riverside city and the sea- faring, adventurous calling of the Portuguese. In the Nau Catrineta triptych,
Almada Negreiros left us an incomparable illustration of the ballad based on the moulds of medieval
poetry, which already had as its theme the sea journeys of the Portuguese at the time of the Discoveries.
Here, the adventure of the mariners of the Portentous Sea is exalted, as well as their faith in God, loyalty
to the mission undertaken, and love of family and the motherland.
Alongside this call for tradition, another triptych depicts Lisbon as the artist knew it - a city related to
sailing and fishing, with its characteristic, colourful sailing boat, the fragata, and the steam trawlers,
its statuesque fishwives reminding as in the poems by Cesário Verde. All this is set against the Lisbon
backdrop of houses, where the Cathedral and St. George’s Castle glow, and one can discern the old
aqueduct (Aqueduto das Águas Livres) and the Óbidos Palace.
Nau Catrineta and Dom Fuas Roupinho
There are also another two panels, which singularly emphasise the hardships of time. They bring
together the legend of Dom Fuas Roupinho – a XII century knight who was saved by Our Lady of Nazaré
from the trap of the infernal stag –, and the pastoral scene entitled Ó Terra onde Eu Nasci (Oh, land
where I was born).
Referring to the Nau Catrineta (a ship), one of the most deep-rooted legends in Portuguese tradition,
Almada Negreiros declared: "Nau Catrineta, the only point in which I did in fact find the oral tradition
of the Portuguese people and the sea" (Rui Mário Gonçalves, in Almada).
The defence of the values of the Symbol and the Myth, to which Almada was so committed, finds its
expression in this panel alluding to Dom Fuas Roupinho. He was the first Admiral of the Tagus Naval
Fleet, a warrior who had come to Lisbon in 1180 at Dom Afonso Henriques’ orders, where he prepared
an armada to pursue the Arab fleets that were ravaging the Portuguese coastline. This hero portrayed by
Almada in the fresco at Alcântara, had already been referred by Luís de Camões in the following verses:
"Such a man as Egas, and such as Dom Fuas, for whom the Homeric zither alone I covet…" (The Lusiads,
I Canto, 12).
Legend of the miracle at Nazaré
Dom Fuas Roupinho mounted his horse and galloped through the field, when
suddenly he saw a strange, black shape go past him… It’s a stag, he thought…
A stag, I’m certain!
He felt very happy; his hunt could not have started off better. Furthermore, it was a
stag as he had never seen before in his whole life. He spurred the horse on. He
could not lose such a valuable prey… As if challenging him, the stag went past him
yet again. Once. Twice. Dom Fuas Roupinho felt his honour come to the fore. Was a
hero such as himself, a man accustomed to the most arduous battles, going to lose
such magnificent game? Never!
He would catch the stag, no matter what it cost. He spurred the horse again until it
bled, and got closer to the prey. He was almost there. He could almost reach it…
Holding his lance up, he was already triumphant…
But, suddenly, he saw the earth disappear beneath the hooves of the horse… He
was at the edge of a precipice, looking down over the sea. His throat let out a
distressed cry as the horse reared up, desperately whinnying, and the stag
disappeared, vanishing into smoke: "Most Holy Virgin, help me! Help me, Our Lady
For a moment (it seemed an eternity), horse and rider struggled above the abyss.
But the Virgin must have heard the anguished plea of Dom Fuas Roupinho. And
he was saved. A miracle. A true miracle!
In the rocks, the hind hooves of the horse were branded, the signs of which can still be seen there today.
Rocha do Conde d'Óbidos maritime station
Rocha do Conde dÓbidos Maritime Station (picture from website)
The style used by Almada Negreiros on the frescoes at the Alcântara Maritime Station, as well as the
themes expressed, so pleased the more open-minded dignitaries of the time that he received a
commission to decorate the Rocha do Conde d’Óbidos Maritime Station to the value of PTE 450,000, over
a period of 912 days, corresponding to the years 1946-49. The first ship to moor at this station was the
liner North King, owned by a Portuguese-Panamanian company, on 19 June 1948. The pictorial artwork
of the station consists of two triptychs which depict aspects of the waterfront: from the evocation of
acrobats to the Sunday outings along the Tagus estuary, the ship repair dry docks, the farewell to those
who are leaving and the anguish of those who remain on the quay, waiting. They are strong geometric
compositions, with solid and forcible figures. But here and there, one can find the delicious silhouette of a
young woman, the face of a child, and the lyrical presence of a vase of flowers.
The characteristic people of Lisbon are there to be seen: rope-walkers, trapeze artists, fishwives and
fishermen, caulkers, masons, and the country people who come to see their loved ones off, or to wait
for those who are returning from far- away countries to which they emigrated. With regard to the Rocha
Maritime Station, Almada himself declared in an interview to Diário de Lisboa in 1953: "I believe I've
never done better, or created a work that was so much my own". His best work was therefore
acknowledged as the best part of himself (Lisbon Port Authority).
• Antologia da Poesia Portuguesa (introdução, selecção e notas de Alexandre Pinheiro Torres),
vol. II, Porto, Lello & Irmão, 1977
• Boletim do Porto de Lisboa, n.º 192, Julho-Agosto-Setembro de 1970
• Diário de Lisboa, 19 de Junho de 1948
• Lisbon Port Authority – abridged and adapted
José de Almada Negreiros
José Sobral de Almada Negreiros was born in São
Tomé, on the Farm (Fazenda) Saudade, on April
1893, and died in the Hospital de S. Luís dos
Franceses, in Lisbon, on June 15
1970, in the
same room his deceased friend Fernando Pessoa
had died several years before. His mother died
when he was three years old. His father moved to
Paris and Almada was to stay with his younger
brother at the Jesuits School in Campolide, Lisbon,
where he studied until 1910, the year of the newly
proclaimed Republic that closed down the
institution. He finished his studies in 1911 at the
Liceu de Coimbra. From 1911 to 1913 he attended
the Escola International de Lisboa (Lisbon
International School), where he held his first
individual exhibition in his graduation year. In
1934 he married the painter Sarah Affonso in
Lisbon. Their son José was born in 1935, and their
daughter Ana Paula in 1940.
Almada's artistic career began in 1911 when he
participated in I Exposição do Grupo de
Humoristas Portugueses (the first Exhibition of the
Portuguese Humorists Group). In 1913 he held an
exhibition of caricatures that brought him into
closer contact with Fernando Pessoa.
José de Almada Negreiros, Portrait Fernando Pessoa
The camaraderie between the two would prove to be extremely fruitful for the emergence of futurism
in Portugal, as well as the destiny of Portuguese modernism. They both participated in the founding of
the literary magazines Orpheu (1915) and Portugal Futurista (1917).
Almada Negreiros left for Paris in 1919, where he found a job as a waiter and cabaret dancer. It was
in Paris that he wrote the well know poem Histoire du Portugal par Cœur. He was a regular contributor
to the newspaper Diário de Lisboa since its very first issue (April 7, 1921), publishing texts and witty
drawings. In 1925 he painted a collective portrait for the café A Brasileira, which at the time was
decorated with works by the Portuguese modernist artists. During the following year he focused his
attention on the problematic panels of S. Vicente de Fora by Nuno Gonçalves, and proposed they be
joined as panels of a single polyptych.
However, his artistic endeavours went much further. "Drawer, lecturer, dancer, novelist, pamphleteer,
critic, painter and poet. He himself, as a man, was a poet", as Carlos Queiroz accurately defined Almada
Negreiros. To this, one must also add the explosive Manifesto Anti-Dantas, which dates from this time,
as do the novels A Engomadeira (The Ironing-maid) and Nome de Guerra (Nom de guerre) in which he
portrayed the agitated atmosphere of the post-Word War I plastic and poetic renewal.
Stained glass windows, frescoes and murals
In 1938 he created the stained glass windows for the church of Our Lady of Fátima, the first modern
catholic temple of Lisbon. Two years later, he was called upon to participate in the great Exposição do
Mundo Português (Exhibition of the Portuguese World). The decorative frescoes in the central Post Office
of Lisbon (at Restauradores) and in Aveiro, as well as those on the head-office of the newspaper Diário
de Notícias were produced in 1939 and 1940. From 1943 to 1949, Almada reached his peak in mural
painting in the maritime stations of Alcântara and Rocha do Conde d’Óbidos. In 1954, the master paints a
portrait of the poet Fernando Pessoa for the restaurant Irmãos Unidos, at the Rossio, in Lisbon.
Almada continued producing many works of art: drawings, oil paintings, frescoes, mosaic, stained glass
windows, tapestries, incised decorations and engravings. Of these, the following stand out: the
decoration of the façades of several buildings of the University of Lisbon (1957 to 1961), and also
various tapestries for the Hotel Ritz (1959). He had a tendency for abstract expression, which reached
its height in the paintings sent to the I Exposição de Artes Plásticas (First Exhibition of Plastic Arts),
promoted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, where he was awarded the hors-concours prize in
1957. Together with that tendency, a profoundly Portuguese lyricism is to be found in all his works, as
can be seen in his delightful Histoire du Portugal par Cœur.
"Tagus, ridge of my poem that opens in pages of Sun […] We have all the rivers we
need. The Tagus is the largest; like others it starts in Spain, but it did not want to
stay there […] We too have fishwives who sail the streets as boats on the Sea. –
They have the taste of salt. In their baskets they carry the Sea".
In Ultimatum Futurista às Gerações Portuguesas do Século XX (Futuristic Ultimatum addressed to the
Portuguese of the New Century) Almada wrote that fishwives were the most beautiful of women (Rui
Mário Gonçalves, in Almada) . The vast geometric composition engraved in the atrium of the Calouste
Gulbenkian Foundation, with its symbolic title Começar (Begin), was completed between 1968 and
1969, one year before his death.
• Text abridged and adapted from documents provided by the Port of Lisbon Authority
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
The year 1940 was an important memorial year in
Portugal. It was the third centennial of the restoration of
independence from Spain (1640). Eight centuries before
(1140) Dom Alfonso Henriques became the first King of
Portugal. This year was celebrated by a series of cultural
events, culminating in the 'Exhibition of the Portuguese
World'. The exhibition took place in the Praça do Império
in Belém and the highlight was the temporary
monument dedicated to the Portuguese discoveries
Padrão dos Descobrimentos.
This year 1940 was also important in Europe. Hitler had
started his war to gain lebensraum for the 'germanic
race', the Italian fascists dreamt of restoring the mare
nostrum, Spain was exhausted after three of fierce civil
war resulting in Franco's victory. With German support
Ion Antonescu and his Iran Guard established the
National Legionary State in Romania, the Roman
legions as a vanguard of Balkan domination.
In Portugal the liberal First Republic had ended in 1926
and was replaced in 1932 by Salazar's Estado Novo. In
this ideology the unity and indivisibility of the
Portuguese nation was regarded as a fundamental
principle. The interests of each person and group of
people were to be subordinated to those of the nation,
subordinated to a nation devoid of political parties. Portugal's history is turned to as an
inspirational example to guide thoughts and actions.
Much is made of Portugal's achievements; the length of its independent existence, its establishment as
a result of reconquest by holy crusade against the Moors, the homogeneity and industriousness of its
people, its success in obtaining and maintaining overseas territories, and in exporting Christianity and
civilisation to the distant corners of the world. These achievements, according to Salazar, were made
without thought of material reward and without causing damage to the interests of any other European
power, reflecting Portugal's traditionally pure and moral character, and the traditional willingness of the
Portuguese people to sacrifice their material comforts for higher ideals.
Essentially this salazarism, Portuguese fascism, is a revival of the 16th c. sebastianism (see article on
Camões and Slauerhoff). A late echo we even find in António Gedeão, Poema da Malta das Naus: Não
se nasce impunemente nas praias de Portugal (It’s not without impunity beaches of Portugal give birth
to thee). And Salazar found his poet in Fernando Pessoa, the 20th c. Camões. In 1934 Pessoa wrote
Mensagem (Message), one of the few works published during his lifetime, and received a prize for it on
behalf of the Estado Novo.
I. The Prince
God wills, Man dreams, the work is born.
God willed that all the earth be one,
That seas unite and never separate.
You he blessed, and you went forth to read the foam.
And the white shore lit up, isle to continent,
And flowed, even to the world's end,
And suddenly the earth was seen complete,
Upsurging, round, from blue profundity.
Who blessed you made you Portuguese.
Us he gave a sign: the sea's and our part is you.
The Sea fulfilled, the Empire fell apart.
But ah, Portugal must yet fulfil itself.
Fernando Pessoa, Message, Second part: Portuguese Sea
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos should
be seen within the context of this fascist
cultural revival and its dreams about the
future. The word padrão itself refers to
the memorial stones erected by the early
discoverers (15th c.) along the coast of
Africa, indicating their achievements. The
stile is outspoken futurist, as in Italian
fascism, combined with Christian
symbols. The architect was Cottinelli
Telmo (1897-1948), the sculptor
Leopoldo de Almeida (1898-1975), who
was the most important constructor of
the Salazar regime iconography ( As
Mulheres Portuguesas Gratas a Salazar).
In 1960, the year of the fifth centenary of
the death of Infant D. Henriques, Prince
Henry the Navigator, the temporary
monument was rebuilt as a permanent
structure. But the world had changed
then and salazarism had lost its future,
although its agony of death would last a
few more decades. And, as in the 16th c,
'born in a small cradle, it found its
grave in the (colonial) world' again.
In remembering the deeds of the
discoverers the dominant symbol is that
of a caravel departing on a voyage. The
Torre de Belem is near. The lower part
has the form of two ramps meeting at the
prow, which is dominated by the figure of Prince Henry the Navigator. The upper part represents the
sails, surmounted by the Portuguese arms of the 14th and 15th c. Along each of the ramps 16 are
standing, representing all together and historical synthesis of players linked to the discoveries. The
whole front part, above the entrance, is used for the representation of a sword, decorated by the cross
of the house of Avis, symbolising both the force of arms and the Christian faith.
Cascais side Lisbon side
1. Infante D. Pedro (2nd son of D. João I) 1. Alfonso (king)
2. Dona Filipa de Lencastre (mother of Infante 2. Vasco da Gama (navigator)
D. Henrique) 3. Afonso Baldaia (navigator)
3. Fernão Mendes Pinto (pilgrim) 4. Pedro ílvares Cabral (navigator)
4. Frei Concaçalo de Carvallo (dominican) 5. Fernão de Magalhães (navigator)
5. Frei Henrique de Carvallo (franciscan) 6. Nicolau Coelho (navigator)
6. Luiz Vas de Camíµes (poet) 7. Gaspar Cí´rte-Real (navigator)
7. Nuno Conçalves (painter) 8. Martim Afonso de Sousa (navigator)
8. Gomes Eanes de Zurara (chronicler) 9. João de Barros (writer)
9. Pero da Covilhã (traveller) 10. Estevão de Gama (captain)
10. Jâcome de Maiorca (cosmographer) 11. Bartolomeu Dias (navigator)
11. Pêro de Escobar (pilot) 12. Diogo Cão (navigator)
12. Pedro Nunes (mathematician) 13. António de Abreu (navigator)
13. Pêro de Alenquer (pilot) 14. Afonso de Albuquerque (governor)
14. Gil Eanes (navigator) 15. Francisco Xavier (Jesuit)
15. João Conçalves Zarco (navigator) 16. Cristóvão da Gama (captain)
16. Infante D. Fernando (8th son of Don João
17. Infante D. Henrique (5th son of Don João
I ' navigator)
The Adamastor in Camões and Pessoa
The Lusíads – Canto V - The Adamastor
by Luís Vaz de Camões
"It had not run its course, when a figure
Showed itself to us in air, strong, robust,
In its stature gigantic and deformed, With
heavy mien, and a squalid beard, Deep-
sunken eyes, and a disposition Dire and
malign, of pale and citrine hue,
Covered in earth and curls the head of hair,
With the mouth black, and the teeth stained yellow.
"So immense were its limbs, that I can well
Guarantee you, that it was the younger
Of Rhodes most extravagant Colossus,
Which one of the world's seven wonders was :
When he spoke to us in tone of voice thick and
bass, It seemed to boom out from the deepest sea :
The hair and the flesh bristled up in fright
Of mine and all, just in seeing it and hearing it.
"And said: - ' O bold folk, more than how many
In the world who have committed great things,
You, who for cruel wars, much and many,
And for vain endeavours never repose, Since
you transgress in limited preserves, And dare
to navigate my wide sea-tracts, Which I for
as long have held and guarded,
Never by a stranger's log, or mine, ploughed:
'Since you come to see the hidden secrets
Of nature and of the moist element,
Not to any great human being yielded,
Of noble or of immortal desert,
Hear the punishment from me, warnings
Which are to your arrogant impudence,
For all the wide sea and the land, which you
Yet have to subdue through bitter warfare.
'Know that as many ships on this voyage
Which you make, they will be in insolence,
This zone will bar them in hostility
With winds and tempests beyond all
measure. That the first armada which passes
through Shall have insufferable waves made
for it, Suddenly, I'll inflict such chastisement,
That the damage is more than worth the risk.
'Here I wait to take, if I'm not deceived,
Of who discovered me, complete vengeance.
And not only in this will end the damage
Of your firm and obstinate confidence; Before,
in your ships you will see each year, If it is
truth which my judgment reaches, Ship-
wrecks, and perdition of every kind, Where
the least of all ill will be to die.
Adamastor monument, Lisbon
The Message IV - The Adamastor
by Fernando Pessoa
The thing who lives at the sea's end Rose
in the pitch night to fly round; Around the
ship he flew three times, Flew three times
with a creaking sound, And said, "Who is
it has dared sound My caverns, which I
never unshadow, My black roofs of the
And the man at the helm said, with a shudder,
"The King, Dom Joao Segundo!"
"Whose are the sails my webs brush past? I
see, I hear - whose hulls, whose masts?"
The thing said, and prowled round three times,
Three times prowled round, obscene and vast,
"Who's come to be master where I live master,
Live where of me none may catch sight
As I ooze the terrors of deep without end?"
And the man at the helm shuddered, and
said, "The King, Dom Joao Segundo!"
Three times he raised his hands from the helm,
Three times again gripped the helm firm
And said, when he had shuddered three times,
"Here at the helm I am more than I am:
Am a People - your sea which it means to
tame; More than the thing, my soul's terror,
Who prowls in the dark of the world's end
- Is the will, which ties me to the tiller,
Of the King, Dom Joao Segundo!"
Ana Baptista, Catarina Amaral
The Message IV – The Adamastor
by Fernando Pessoa
Ο Αδαμάστωρ του Φερνάντο Πεσσόα
Το πλάσμα που ζει στο τέλος της θάλασσας
Σηκώθηκε μέσα στην κατάμαυρη νύχτα για να
Γύρω από το πλοίο πέταξε τρεις φορές,
Πέταξε τρεις φορές με ένα τρίξιμο,
Και είπε: «Ποιος είναι αυτός που τόλμησε να
Στις σπηλιές μου που ποτέ δεν είδε ο ήλιος,
Στις μαύρες μου στέγες στο τέλος του κόσμου;»
Και ο άντρας στο πηδάλιο είπε, με ένα ρίγος,
«Ο Βασιλιάς Ιωάννης ο Δεύτερος!»
«Ποιανού τα πανιά ταράζουν το πέρασμά μου;
Το βλέπω, το ακούω - ποιανού το σκάφος,
ποιανού το πλοίο;»
Το πλάσμα είπε και παραμόνεψε τριγύρω τρεις
Τρεις φορές παραμόνεψε τριγύρω, αισχρό και
«Ποιος έρχεται να γίνει ο κύριος εκεί που εγώ
Να ζήσει εκεί όπου κανείς δεν πρέπει εμένα να
Καθώς σταλάζω τον τρόμο του απύθμενου
Και ο άντρας στο πηδάλιο ρίγησε και είπε,
«Ο Βασιλιάς Ιωάννης ο Δεύτερος!»
Τρεις φορές σήκωσε τα χέρια του από το πηδάλιο,
Τρεις φορές άρπαξε ξανά το πηδάλιο σφιχτά
Και είπε, αφού ρίγησε τρεις φορές,
«Εδώ στο πηδάλιο είμαι περισσότερα από ό,τι
Είμαι ο Λαός που πρόκειται να εξημερώσει τη
Περισσότερο κι από το πλάσμα, τον τρόμο της
Που παραμονεύει στο σκοτάδι στο τέλος του
Είναι η βούληση που με δένει στο τιμόνι,
Του Βασιλιά Ιωάννη του Δεύτερου!»
Amaxopoulou Areti , Kapoutsi Syrmo
The Namban Screens
Namban (lit. “Southern Barbarian”) is a
sino-Japanese word which originally
designated people from South Asia and
South-East Asia. It followed a Chinese
usage in which surrounding “barbarian”
people in the four directions had each
their own designation, the southern
barbarians being called Nanman. In
Japan, the word took on a new meaning
when it came to designate Europeans,
the first of whom were Portuguese,
arriving in 1543. The word later came to
encompass the Spanish, the Dutch
(though these were more commonly
known as "Kōmō" meaning "Red Hair")
and the English. The word Nanban was
thought naturally appropriate for the
new visitors, since they came in by ship
from the South, and their manners were
considered quite unsophisticated by the
European merchants, Namban, became
a popular subject of decoratiove screen
painting soon after their arrival in Japan Arrival during the sixteenth century. These
screens depict the arrival of the Portuguese. They are shown with elongated bodies, red hair, and long
noses, and they are dressed in elaborate costumes of short capes, colonial style 'bombacha'
pantaloons, pointed shoes and tall hats with broad rims.
The screens offer us an idea of how the Japanese looked at these 'barbarians'.
Negotioting on the ship The Portuguese bring presents
The National Museum for Old Arts
The museum is installed, from its very beginnings, in a palace built in the 17th century by D. Francisco
Távora (1646-1710). There is no evidence of whom might have been the architecture. It is believed
though that the building of the palace might have taken place in the 1690's. After the Távora's family
involvement in a conspiracy to kill the king (though something that has never been proved), the heirs of
D. Francisco were unable to keep the palace and it was initially rented and later sold, having had
several owners throughout the following decades. Those owners upgraded the palace with several
architectural renovations, adding features that were influenced by the multiple architectural trends of
the 18th and 19th century.
The Museum was created in 1884, after the abolition of the religious orders. These were abolished
following the Liberal Revolution in the 1820's -30's when all the monasteries, convents and riches of the
church were confiscated by the government. The buildings were then sold or used for different
purposes, namely to host museums or to be transformed into factories. The history of the museum
throughout the centuries is one of growth in cycles, that has been accomplished through the addition of
several different new spaces and renovation of the old ones.
The visit to the museum is focused on its art pieces from the Portuguese discoveries, which are part of
an assemble of very different works portraying the Portuguese presence not only on the coast of Africa
but also in India, Ceylon, China, Japan and even Brazil. One can point out two particular sets for the
purpose of the seminar: on the one side, the Indo-Portuguese items, with furniture, ivory sculpture and
ceramics (Company of Indies and Chinese productions); and, on the other side, the Namban collection.
São Vincente's Paintings/Panels
Salt Shaker of Benim The Holy Host Reliquary of Belém
Both are a good example of miscegenation resulting from the interaction between the Portuguese
sailors and the peoples from these remote parts of the world. The Namban artworks are, in fact,
important screens from the famous Kano school. They were made by Japanese artists and depict
precisely the meeting between both cultures.
Source: info and pictures from the National Museum of Old Arts' website
The lighthouse at the end of Europe
Cabo da Roca's Lighthouse
Cabo da Roca’s lightouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in use protecting the Portuguese coast. It was
ordered by a Pombalino’s Charter (1758), together with six others. They were part of a protective
plan along the Portuguese coast. It began to function in 1772 and it was the third to be implanted along
our coast. It is 22m high, erected 165 m above sea level. The first lamp installed was really primitive,
hardly seen more than 2 miles away, and was frequently confused with other lights around it. It
endured deep renovation work in 1843,
The lighthouse was famous not only because it was built on the most western point of the European
Continent, but also because it was one of the lighthouses that helped navigation, near such an
important harbour as Lisbon. So, it couldn’t go on working with such poor brilliance. To help navigation
by night, a scintillating lighthouse should be easily seen at a reasonable distance (near 15 miles).
From 1897, Cabo da Roca’s lighthouse also had a fog signal. This was to help navigation on foggy days. Since
1897, many improvements were made to the lighthouse, like the installation of a rotatory system, a new
optical device, and an autonomous energy system. The optical
apparatus was installed in 1947 and it gives 4 flashes per each complete
rotation. The lighting device was also improved, having now a 1000w
metallic hallogeneous lamp for perfect and long lasting
illumination. The rotatory system changed from a two
hour winding system needing human intervention to an
automatic one. In 1982, the system became completely
automatic and therefore the lighthouse may now
function without any human intervention. It has:
• An electric eye that starts functioning as soon
as night falls;
• An automatic fog siren;
• In case of electric failure (or a blackout), an
alternative device allows it to continue
functioning as well as the rotatory system;
• A spare lamp automatically lights up if
the primary one fails.
Though human intervention is not necessary for the
lighthouse to function, an alarm is ready to immediately give the alert, 24 hours a day seven days a
week. The lighthouse is of great importance, due to its geographic position, to help ships sailing along
the Portuguese coast, especially those wanting to enter the Lisbon harbour.
Source: Direcção-Geral de Faróis and website
Ana Baptista, Catarina Amaral
Fado Portuguese Soul
The Fado is a key for interpreting the Portuguese soul: a mixture of Arab origin and marinaresche (sailor
fado). The voices of the singers, accompanied by viola and guitar porteghese, tell romantic stories and
dramatic. Its name derives from the Latin Fatum (fate) it expresses the melancholy character, but
shows at the same time the passionate Portuguese side.
Its roots are to be found in the Age of Discovery:
probably the Fado was created by sailors during the
months and years of being away from home when,
on long journeys across the seas, They dreamed of
their land and their loved ones, but once back
quivered for sea. It is the restless, eternal feeling,
summed up in the Portuguese word “saudade”: the
untranslatable mixture of restlessness and
melancholy, to miss something, somebody.
But fado only appeared after 1840 in Lisbon. At that
time only fado marinheiro (sailor fado) was known
and was sang, like the cantigas de levantar ferro,
only by sailors. Fado was not known in the rest of the
country, not even in the Algarve, and it was not
known in the south of Spain where the Arab influence
stood until the end of the 15th century. Until the
beginning of the 19th century there was no written
record of fado.
There are two main varieties of fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon
style is the most popular, while Coimbra's is the more refined style. Modern fado is popular in Portugal,
and has produced many renowned musicians. According to tradition. To applaud for fado in Lisbon you
clap your hands, while in Coimbra one coughs like if clearing one's throat.
Mainstream fado performances during the 20th century included only a singer, a Portuguese guitar
player and a classical guitar player but more recent settings range from singer and string quartet to full
orchestra. Known as the "Rainha do Fado" ("Queen of Fado"), Amalia Rodrigues was most influential in
popularizing the fado worldwide. Other famous fado singers include: Carlo do Carmo, Cristina Branco
Sabrina Marini sharing the idea of this article with Marja Laine.
The Kingdom of Portugal emerged in the 12th century connected with the process concerning the
Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. At the same time that all the territories occupied by the
Moors were conquered southwards Portugal, originally a county and a part of one of the most ancient
Christian kingdoms of the Peninsula - Leão - demanded its independence in 1143. Due to endless fights
and negotiations D. Afonso I, first king of Portugal, was awarded by the pope (1179) with the papal bull
manifestis probatum thus bringing stability. At the eyes of all the Christian world, that meant the birth
of a new kingdom in a part of the world were the fight against the infidels would be reinforced by a
backup force of attack (The Palestine and the Peninsula).
The D. Afonso Henriques girdle of Lisbon. A picture by Joaquim
Rodrigues Braga (a Portuguese artist from XIX century). Represents
the surrender of the besieged.
D. Afonso Henriques
(D. Afonso I, first king
A warrior's son and a fighter
himself. His wish of
independence became real
The concept of crusade and the believe that all peninsular kings descent from an ancient visigotic
monarchy justified all the Southern process of conquest in the al-Andaluz. The support of the church was
unquestionable - the crusaders (conquest of Lisbon and Silves) and the religious and military orders
gave a big help to the birth of several kingdoms by their endless effort of conquest and settlement.
The peculiarity of the kingdom's formation lies in the various ways by the which the territory was
occupied. To all the well known European feudal forms of occupation - by the nobility, by the clergy and
the allotment, the council land is added. It is an autonomous form serveyed between the king or the
nobel and a community of free men, it derives from an effort to populate deserted territories and it was
carried out by kings and nobels during the conquest process. The word council is still used in the
modern local administration.
The Arabic culture, which is clearly seen in several Portuguese cultural aspects, as been since the
beginning denied, especially because of the religious contrast by which it is enveloped. However we
must not forget the numerous quantity of words of Arabic influence existing in our vocabulary. Portugal
was an expert concerning the technological development of cartography and navigation and that enabled
us in the 15th century of discoveries.
Lisbon in XVI century. Coloured and gilded decoration in
a manuscript from 1520.
Madeira Island in a illustration from XVII century ...
and seen from the same place that the first navigator saw
Portuguese mercantile navigation in XIV
century was influenced by Arabic techniques.
In the picture we can see an Arabic pirate
boat from XIII century. Portuguese people
learned a lot with the constant attacks from
D. João II in a coloured and gilded decoration
in a manuscript from the epoch.
The inventions and the technical improvements have the most various roots, though Portugal's
geographical position and its cultural cohesion were a step ahead to find new things. A nautical
culture was being built.
The motivation to the great adventure was bottom line the food and workers scarcity. Social and
economic reasons do not justify such deed. In that period it was important to fight the infidel and save
souls. Foreign people (such as Italians or Catalonians, castilians, bascs, northern Europeans and muslins)
also wanted to take part on the crusade enterprise but with their own interests. Above all, the
discoveries enterprise was seen as a way of increasing the national patrimony and treasure.
In the beginning of the 15th century, due to the crisis felt through all Europe during the 14th century,
Portugal was dealing with serious economical problems. It was urgent to find new resources, spereead
the Christian belief to new people and fulfil the desire to find/know new lands. In that time the Infante
D. Henrique, one of D. João I sons, took the responsibility to make these journeys:
• The islands in the Atlantic were found: Madeira (1418) ; Azores (1427);
• We sailed around the Bojador Cape in 1434
• The western African coast was found until Sierra Lione in 1460 (the Infante died in the
Vasco da Gama discovered the maritime route to
India. Died in 1524 as portuguese viceroy in India.
Diogo Cão is placing a stone monument in the
mouth of Zaire river in 1482, replacing the first
one that disappeared because was used as a target
in exercises from British navy artillery.
Pedro Álvares Cabral' Armada. Each boat as
an indication of his own destiny.
From here on king D. João II was the leader of the Indies reached by sea sailing along the African coast.
The known maps showed that that was impossible to accomplish, for in those maps the African coast
was straight down until the south pole without any access to Indian ocean, however the Portuguese
navigators and merchants experience indicated that it might be possible for them to connect the Atlantic
ocean to the Indian ocean. D. João II organised several voyages:
• Diogo Cão reached the Zaire (Congo) river mouth in 1483;
• Bartolomeu Dias sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, until than Known as Cape of the
Torments, in 1487.
The doorway to the Indies was opened, the land of the spices and the luxurious products. Meanwhile
Spain had also joined the expansion race, and, to solve several conflicts the two countries drawn a
treaty in 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas, in which they agreed to share among them all the found or
found-to-be lands. Vasco da Gama reached the Indies in 1498, in the reign of D. Manuel I. The second
expedition sent to the Indies was commanded by Pedro Álvares de Cabral, but on that voyage he
officially found the Brazil in 1500.
The recent navigation knowledge was enormous. The Portuguese people in little less than a century
found new lands in a big part of the world. They maid bonds with people from different continents.
They informed us about animals and plants that had never been seen before. Even the sky and the
stars looked different seen from the southern hemisphere.
One of the main reasons that lead the Portuguese to the expansion was the pursuit of wealth. Whenever
they reached a new land they tried to take as much advantage of it as they could. In the 16th century
Portugal had dominion over areas from the Atlantic until the Far East, making it altogether a vast empire.
The new worlds that Portugal found melted together. They learn the ideas, the techniques, the
knowledge and the every day life of one another. Out of all these exchange of ideas one thing is for sure,
a new world emerged.
Rua Nova dos Ferros. This street in Lisbon in XIV century reports
one important European town. Lisbon became a important centre of
ultramarine enterprise. The population was really heterogeneous and
had a continuance of growth and activities.
A new sensibility, a new taste and a new knowledge were brought in to a light with the discovery voyages
made in 16th century. The culture, the science, the arts, the literature were given new impetus. Lisbon in
16th century was the capital of an empire, it became the trade centre. Its geographical position was
fundamental. The city became the meeting point of all Europeans, who soon would settle in Lisbon, from
Africa slaves were brought (in the 16th century, in Lisbon, 10 out of 100 were slaves) people from all
over the world arrived to Lisbon seeking a better way of life. On the other hand, others would leave to
the new world seeking adventure. While Lisbon was becoming one of the most important and busiest
cities of the world, the rest of the country had stagnated. The
maritime commerce was largely profitable, but that money was not directed to the agriculture or
handcraft industry development, therefore every consumer goods were imports. The national
expenses soon became larger than the profits.
By the end of the 16th century there was a succession problem, for D. Sebastião disappeared in the Ksar
el- Kebir battle in 1578. Portugal was then ruled by a Spanish king. Though at beginning Portugal had
same benefits with this fusion, by the 17th century the situation was different it was that this integration
in the big empire of Carlos V's successors brought a higher tax pressure along with all the empire
troubles: participation in wars which Portugal had nothing to do with (the Spanish Armada); the loss of
influence in the colonies (Dutch advance in South America).
The independence process began in December 1, 1640 and ended in 1668 when a peace treaty was sign
were Spain granted Portugal its independence. This is not an isolated riot, many others took place during
the Phillips Dynasty which led to there decay (Catalunian uprise, ....). After achieving the independence
it was of major importance to get back the lost empire, Portugal did not rule anymore in the found lands,
the Cape Route was now in the hands of the British, the Dutch and the French. Brazil looked like a good
solution to the weakened Portuguese economy, they had the sugar production during the 17th century
and lots of gold in the 18th century.
The echoes of the French revolution were also felt in Portugal, ending with the Ancient Regime (Antigo
Regime). The ideals of this revolution were in a way gladly acknowledge by some people, however they
were violently imposed by three invasions (1807, 1808, 1810). The royal family fled to Brazil keeping
Portugal's independence and its government, even ruling from overseas. Meanwhile the British, taking
advantage of several popular uprisings all over the Peninsula against the French dominion, send troops
to another European battle field. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars, England enjoys a privileged
governmental position controlling all commercial relationships with the colonies and the rest of the world
(Oporto and Madeira wine).
D.Pedro and D.Miguel. A cartoon that caricatures the
international interests behind each brother during the
Motherland crowning the heroes from the liberal
fights. This is a painting by Veloso Salgado.
While the king was still in Brazil there a was in Portugal and uprising against Beresford (Who
represented the British interests in Portugal), the idea was to expel him out of the country. People were
getting angrier every day and the acceptance to the French Revolution ideals - Liberty, Equality and
Fraternity - was growing. So, in 1820 a group of liberals organised an uprising in Oporto that spread
through out the country. Government was set in the hand of a temporary committee whose task was
organise the first elections and write a constitution, which would be published in 1822. That is how a
constitutional monarchy was born. The loss of Brazil in 1822 shows a period of troubled times to the
liberals. The remaining supporters of an absolute system went to a civil war that lasted until 1834, the
liberals won the war, they were led by D.Pedro, brother of the leader of the absolutist wing, D.Miguel.
Liberal governments do serious agrarian and industrial reforms in the country, and also in transports
and public affairs. It is obvious that the progress in commerce is due to the development of the
The technological delay, the lack of capital, loosen investments, the foreign competition in main
economical sectors, opposite policies of development led to a slight gap between Portugal and the rest
of the world.
Like the Berlin Conference (1884-85) has confirmed, other European major countries were looking for
new markets and raw materials, but Portugal was far back in this race, though without enlarging its
possessions, Portugal still maintained, with some effort, the colonies. There were many problems with
which the monarchic government could not deal with: in one hand the people unsatisfaction, and in
the other hand the growing group of republican supporters that were against the government. In fact
February of 1908 in an attack against the royal family D.Carlos and the heir prince D.Luís Filipe, are
killed. D.Manuel II (the second son of D.Carlos) was recognised king of Portugal by the end of that same
year. He was the last king of Portugal. During the two last years of is reign the revolution movements
did not stop growing. In October 5. 1910 the Republic was proclaimed in Lisbon, the royal family was
expelled out of country. The first temporary cabinet declared:
• The national hymn «A Portuguesa»
• The nowadays known flag
• Abolished all nobility ranks
• Abolished the religious swear at trials
• laws protecting the family (civil marriage, the end of illegitimate child status)
• Laws concerning free press
• Labour rights (strike, weekly rest, social bonus)
• The lock-out right
All these measures were set in the first Constitution of the Portuguese Republic of 1911.
A commemorative illustration about the Republic
Proclamation in 5 October in 1910 published at
the time as a post card.
The five shields of the Portuguese arms are representative of the five
Islamic kings that D.Afonso Henriques defeated at the Ourique battle.
The points inside each shield are representing the five wounds of
The seven castles are the five fortified villages conquered by D.Afonso
Henriques from the moors.
The armillary sphere is the symbol of the world that portuguese
navegators discovered in the XV and XVI century
The green is the colour for hope in the future.
The red is the symbol of the courage and blood spilled by
Portuguese soldiers on the battle field.
However the economic weakness and the political immaturity of the congress members led to a huge
social and political instability. War times were also lived in this particular period: between 1910 and 1926
Portugal had height presidents and 45 congresses. But not all was bad, the first republic changed areas
like the education and culture, the compulsive school, and the grade birth of new universities. This
situation of political instability leads to a military coup in 1926, a military dictatorship was declared. The
press began being censured and all liberties were diminished. This militar dictatorship turned it self into
a real absolute regime of fascist tendency like many others throughout Europe who sought in a strong
government the answer to all their problems.
Salazar was the face of the
power for almost 40 years...
This picture is one rare
photography just because
he was smiling...
A moment in time during the political campaign to the elections in 1958. He lost
the elections to the government machine that manipulated the results.
Delgado, known as the no fear general, was murdered in 1965 by
the Portuguese political police.
This regime is strengthened by the nomination of Salazar to the government and with the proclamation
of a new constitution in 1933, that set a new authoritarian regime - Estado Novo. The Portuguese unicity
is also seen here, for unlike its Europeans partners, Portugal does not show much interest about
industrialisation and has not broken its bonds with the church, remember the motto: god, motherland
and family. During the Salazar regime the Portuguese economy was almost stagnant. Many efforts were
made to diminish the state expenses. Agriculture continued to be the main activity of the population and
kept the technological delay. The access to education was conditioned. The third sector was slowly
developing. Despite the development of some industries unemployment spread and life conditions were
getting tougher. Between 1960 and 1970 many people immigrated especially to France and Germany.
Some political opponents to the government also immigrated, like Mário Soares and Álvaro Cunhal.
Once the second world war was over a anti-colonies spirit spread. To many European colonies in Africa
and Asia independence was granted. In 1961 also the African colonies start a guerrilla war seeking
independence from the metropole. To support the war it was necessary to send thousands of soldiers
to Africa, along with a suplementar economic effort. The Portuguese colonial war was on for 13 years,
thousands of soldiers fell in battle, many physically challenged returned from the war, the Portuguese
people had to deal with heavy expenses to support all them. The lasting of the fascist regime and the
colonial affair led Portugal to a gradual world political isolation. The connection of Portugal with NATO,
UN and EFTA did not granted Portugal the international community acceptance of the Portuguese
This photo is a symbol to
Portuguese people: the innocence Soldiers and people in April 1974. This became a symbol of
of a child and a flower are (or Portuguese revolution to democracy. The first civil president took
must be) stronger than a machine over only in 1986!!
The desire of freedom, the unsatisfaction towards the government and the war in Africa were some of the
causes to the government overthrow, on the 25th of April of 1974, led by an army group. That is how a
second Republic was born, democracy was back again after 48 years of dictatorship. In May was
gathered the first temporary cabinet with members of all the political parties. During this government
was followed the programme written by the army group:
• The constitution of political parties and unions was declared legal;
• The organisation of free elections;
• The extinction of the political police;
• Censorship was abolished;
• All political prisioners were set free and the exiled were authorised to return to they
motherland. The 25. of April of 1974 brought to the Portuguese people the freedom of thought and
speech and the peace along with the independence of all the colonies. On the 25th of April of 1975 took
place the first free election (in 50 years), the aim was to elect a representative convention that later
wrote a new Constitution published on the 2nd of April 1976. This Constitution set new basics to a new
democratic government and to the performance of the institutions, as well as to the participation of the
citizens in the political, social and economic life and the autonomy of the local power. The new
challenge that Portugal get in to through deals with the formation of the EC, of which is a member since
Today there are eight countries which official language is the Portuguese. It is the 5th language that is
spoken all over the world. The political maturity brought Portugal a new conception off identity. Portugal
and his Portuguese spoken fellows created CPLP (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa), a
Community of Countries with Portuguese as their official language. This community, among other things,
pretends to bee the cultural and linguistic link between those countries (from America, Africa or Asia).
For them, Portugal is the doorway into Europe and a window to the world. To Portugal they are the link
to world... The new world again. The international community has already recognised the CPLP
importance. In 1st November off 1999 CPLP assumed a new role as an international observator in the
Lisbon dates back to pre- Roman times. Legend has it that Ulysses founded the city, although it was
more probably the Phoenicians did it. Its early years were spent as a constant battleground, with
Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians overthrown in turn. In 205 BC the Romans began their two-
century reign in Lisbon, and it became the most important city in the western Iberian region, renamed
Felicitas Julia by Julius Caesar.
In 714 the powerful Moors arrived from Morocco, replacing a succession of northern tribes. They
fortified the city and held out against Christian attack for an impressive 400 years. By 1147 the Moors'
luck had turned and the Christians finally recaptured Lisbon. (It took another century for Christian forces
to complete the Reconquest of Portugal). In the mid-13th century Lisbon replaced Coimbra as Portugal's
capital and developed rapidly on the back of booming maritime and inland trade.
The 15th century brought the Age of Discoveries - Portugal's golden era of sea exploration. Not
satisfied with repelling the Moors from Portuguese soil, Prince Henrique (Henry the Navigator) decided
to sap Islam's economic power by finding a way around it by sea. He put to work the best sailors, map
makers, ship builders and astronomers he could find. In 1434 one of his ships sailed beyond the much-
feared Cape Bojador on the
West African coast, breaking a
maritime superstition which
stated this was the end
of the world.
rewarded with gold and
slaves from West Africa. In
1497, Vasco da Gama's
famous discovery of the
sea route to India took
place. The wealth from
transformed Lisbon into the
opulent seat of a vast
empire. It also spawned
the extravagant Manueline
architectural style, best
typified in Mosteiro dos
Jerónimos, at Belém. Lisbon's glorious days as the world's most prosperous trading centre were short
lived. The cost of expeditions, maintaining overseas empires and attempts to Christianise Morocco
brought Portugal to its knees. In 1580, in a bitter blow to national pride, Felipe II of Spain claimed the
throne, and it took 60 years for fed-up nationalists to overthrow their traditional rival and return
Portugal to its people.
By the late 17th century the tide had well and truly turned. The discovery of gold in Brazil saw Lisbon
enjoying another period of profligate expenditure. Again, however, this extravagance was cut short. In
1755 a massive earthquake reduced the city to ruins and Lisbon never recovered its power and
Illustration of the 1755 earthquake Lisbon in ruins after the 1755 earthquake
Lisbon as a city embracing the sea, in the time of the Discoveries
After Napoleon's four-year occupation of the city, Lisbon, like the rest of the country, fell into political
chaos and military insurrection for over a century. In 1910 the monarchy was replaced by an
unstable republic and within a 16-year period 45 changes in the government occurred.
Yet another coup in 1926 brought António de Oliveira Salazar onto the scene. Quickly rising from
finance minister to prime minister, he ruled Portugal till the early 70’s, heading an authoritarian regime
which was overthrown in 1974. During his rule, political parties and strikes were banned. Censorship,
propaganda and brute force, exemplified by a feared secret police force, kept the country in order.
António de Oliveira Salazar
PIDE (International Police of State Defense) and its
Revolution in 1974, in response to the continued unpopular military activity in Portuguese colonies (that
physically and psychologically maimed or killed thousands of young Portuguese), brought a slow road to
democracy. More political turbulence gradually changed to stability and ultimately membership of the
European Union in 1986. With the support of the EU, and its much- needed injection of funds, Lisbon
(and Portugal) finally began to shake off its depressed Salazar-era looks and lifestyle.
Till the end of the 20th century, more stable government combined with massive EU funding
(namely after a major fire in 1988 had turned to ashes and ruins one of the most outstandig areas -
Chiado district) has led to the city's rejuvenation.
Chiado fire in 1988 Lisbon typical street, after major renovations
throughout the city
In 1994, it returned to the limelight as European City of Culture. The following years of spectacular
economic growth were boosted by major infrastructure projects such as the Ponte Vasco da Gama, the
longest river crossing in Portugal. Redevelopment schemes throughout the city have included restoration
of historic neighbourhoods such as Alfama. Lisbon was given a further sprucing when hosting Expo 98.
In the run-up to the Expo, the metro was expanded, port facilities extended, hotel construction went
into high gear and leading architects created some stunning monuments. Lisbon had then regained
some pride in its past, with a revitalised and vibrant urban life and more huge infrastructure projects
Expo 98's site, nowadays known as Parque das Nações
The first decade of the 21 st
century, however, noticed the emergence of another economic crisis
that blew up after 2008, along with the international financial crisis.
• Internet (adapted and abridged)
• http://www.iberianature.com forum.paradoxplaza.com
Ana Baptista, Catarina Amaral
Vasco da Gama and the Malabar sailors
On his first voyage to India (1497-99), Vasco da Gama
managed to be received by the Zamorin of Calicut,
who, at first, was quite nice to him, a circumstance
that soon changed, probably due to the Moors'
intrigues, fearful of any invasion in their trading
business in the area). However, Gama managed to
return to his ship and set sail. On his return to Portugal
he was highly praised and given the title of Admiral of
the Seas. The Portuguese King, Manuel I, then sent a
second fleet which, having discovered Brazil on its way,
managed to establish a small factory (Feitoria ) in
Calicut, the first settlement ever to be built in the East
by Europeans. However, after their departure the
Portuguese were soon massacred and the Portuguese
Government decided to send a huge fleet of 20 ships
and employ force. Vasco da Gama commanded the
largest part of the fleet. When they arrived to the
Calicut harbour, the Zamorin was alarmed at the sight
of such a display of strength and tried to negotiate. But
the Portuguese would listen to no arguments and after
waiting for three days, they barbarously hanged 50
Malabar sailors. Then Gama cannonaded the city and
port and, after destroying most of it, set sail to Cochim,
leaving some ships behind to blockade the port.
As Calicut was a traditional enemy of Cochim, it was very
easy for Gama to establish a treaty, enhancing the already
existing conflicts between the two realms. The Portuguese
established a factory (Feitoria) there that would give way
to a fortress two years later thus establishing the
Portuguese rule over the Eastern seas. Vasco da Gama’s
enterprises were described and highly praised in the
Portuguese best-known epic The Lusiads,
by Camões. Below we present a text describing the attack on the Malabar sailors, portraying the
cruelty perpetrated by the Portuguese sailors.
Thus in the Indian Ocean
the Portuguese claimed a
and treated as pirates the
Malabar sailors who
resisted them along the
southern coast of India,
which they defended for
the Mughal emperor. By
insisting in their
the Spaniards on the
Mediterranean and the
Portuguese in Asia were
both attempting to
compensate for their
effective lack of control
From Lisbon (Restelo) to Calicut
The Malabar sailors
During his second voyage (1503) Vasco da Gama had to frighten the Zamorin
(ruler/king) of Calicut into submission.
Whilst they were doing their business, there came in from the offing two large
ships, and twenty-two sambuks and Malabar vessels, which came from
Coromandel laden with rice, which the Moors of Calicut had ordered to be laden
there, as its price there was very cheap, and they gained much by it; and they
came to fetch the port, thinking that our ships, if they had come, would already be
at Cochym, and not at Calicut; but our fleet having sighted them, the caravels
went to them, and the Moors could not fly, as they were laden, and the caravels
brought them to the captain-major, and all struck their sails…
Then the captain-major commanded them to cut off the hands and ears and noses
of all the crews, and put all that into one of the small vessels, I not which he
ordered them to put the friar, also without ears, or nose, or hands, which he
ordered them to be strung around his neck, with a palm-leaf for the King, on which
he told them to have a curry made to eat of what his friar bought him. When all
Indians had been thus executed, he ordered heir feet to be tied together, as they
had not hands with which to untie them: and in order that they should not untie
them with their teeth, he ordered them to strike upon their teeth with staves, and
they knocked them down their throats; and they were thus put on board, heaped
up upon the top of each other, mixed with the blood which streamed from them;
and he ordered mats and dry leaves to be spread over them, and the sails to be set
for the shore, and the vessel set on fire: and there were more than eight hundred
Moors; and the small vessel with the friars, with all the hands and ears, was also
sent on shore under sails, without being fired. These vessels went at once on
shore, where many people flocked together to put out the fire, and draw out those
whom they found alive, upon which they made great lamentations.
• Calicut: Small kingdom at the west coast of India, where Da Gama
had arrived during his first voyage.
• Malabar coast: west coast of India.
• Coromandel coast: east coast of India.
• The Friar: a Hindu sent by the Zamorin to sue for peace, dressed up as
a friar in order to obtain access to Da Gama.
• The Penny Encyclopaedia for Useful Knowledge, 1884
• Caspar Correa, c.1562, Lendas da India, in The Three Voyages of Vasco
da Gama, Hakluyt Society, first series, XLII, 1869, p.331 (7).
• Quoted by Dan O’Sullivan, The Age of Discovery
Ana Baptista, Fokko Dijkstra
Near to the Baltic sea
We are proud and happy to be a country on the coast of the Baltic Sea, one of the most beautiful
coasts in Europe. Of course, the greenish sea and the white fine and clean sand attracts holidaymakers
mostly in the hottest summer days, but people can be seen walking along the beach there even in early
spring or late autumn.
Palanga is the most popular seaside resort, followed by the Curonian Spit, a long and narrow peninsula
washed by the Baltic Sea on one side and the Curonian Lagoon on the other. The beaches in Nida and
Juodkrantė, two of the four settlements on this peninsula, fly the Blue Flag year after year. The Blue
Flag is a privilege of those beaches and piers only which satisfy the requirements of the international
Foundation for Environmental Education. The compliance with the requirements is verified by the
Lithuanian Green Movement and the Foundation for Environmental Protection during each holiday
season. If any shortcomings are found, the Blue Flag must be hauled down and can be hoisted again only
after all the shortcomings have been eliminated.
The Baltic Sea is not very saline, as it is diluted by much fresh water flowing into it from rivers, rain
and snow. Moon-caused tides are hardly felt at all in the Baltic Sea.
The Baltic Sea has a wide shelf and a lagoon-type coast sloping very gently, which is an advantage
for holidaymaking families with small children.
The Klaipėda Seaport on the Baltic Sea is an ice-free port. Although it freezes-up in winter, the ice is
thin and no icebreakers are needed to keep it navigable.
The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of amber, called Baltic amber or succinite. The
term Baltic amber is generic, so amber from the Bitterfeld brown coal mines in Saxony (Eastern
Germany) goes under the same name. Bitterfeld amber was previously believed to be only 20–22
million years old , but a comparison of the animal inclusions revealed that it is most probably genuine
Baltic amber that has only been redeposited in a Miocene deposit. Other sources of Baltic Amber have
been listed as coming from Poland and Russia.
Numerous extinct genera and species of plants and animals have been discovered and scientifically
described from inclusions in Baltic amber. Baltic amber includes the most species-rich fossil insect
fauna discovered to date.
The Curonian Spit
The Curonian Spit is an outstanding example of a landscape of sand dunes that is under constant
threat from natural forces (wind and tide). After disastrous human interventions that menaced its
survival, the Spit was reclaimed by massive protection and stabilization works begun in the 19th
century and still continuing to the present day.
Formation of the Spit began some 5,000 years ago. Mesolithic people whose main source of food was
from the sea settled there, working bone and stone brought from the mainland. In the 1st millennium CE
West Baltic tribes (Curonians and Prussians) established seasonal settlements there, to collect fish, and
perhaps also for ritual purposes. The centre of Kaup is the last unexcavated large proto-urban
settlement of the Viking period. The invasion of Prussia by Teutonic Knights in the 13th century was
gradually driven out, but armed conflict continued in the region until the 15th century. The Spit had
great strategic importance, and in consequence the knights built castles at Memel (1252), Noihauz
(1283) Rossitten (1372). They also settled German farmers around the castles, building roads and
clearing woodland for agriculture.
Baltic peoples set up settlements on the Spit and the population increased, however, as their main
activities were fishing and beekeeping. In the 16th century a new process of dune formation began and
settlements became buried in sand. The works took the form of the construction of a protective bank of
sand to prevent further ingress of dunes (a process that took most of the century) and the stabilization
of dunes by means of brushwood hurdles, accompanied by reforestation.
Other buildings are the sturdy lighthouse at Pervalka and the neo-Gothic Evangelical Lutheran churches
at Juodkrante and Nida, both built in the 1880s. The cemeteries of Nida, Preila, Pervalka and
Juodkrante are of interest.
Formed over 45 million years ago, Baltic amber is an organic substance, a “fossil resin” produced by
pine trees which grew in Northern Europe - from southern regions of the present day Scandinavia and
nearby regions of the bed of the Baltic Sea. The climate became warmer and trees started to exude big
amounts of resin. Scientists say that amber is a fossil pine resin from this region that has achieved a
stable state through oxidation.
ors of Baltic amber
From a chemical point of view, amber consists of 79 percent carbon, 10.5 percent hydrogen and 10.5
percent oxygen. Studies with a mass spectrometer have shown that amber contains over 40 compounds
as well as succinic acids and additive salts of potassium, sodium and iron. It ranges from bright yellow
to dark yellow or brownish- orange, depending on its age and where it is found, in seldom cases it is
either red or blue. Only a small quantity of amber is clear, because of the effects of the sun, most of it is
opaque. It takes an electrical charge when it is rubbed and develops a pleasant resinous smell when it is
burnt. Learned scholars and scientists disagreed with each other for a long time about the origin and
properties of amber. The history of its origin was only clearly researched in the 19th century.
Enclosures, such as water bubbles, gas bubbles, pieces of bark, twigs, plant seeds and even insects and
small animals unmistakably show its origin and give it its characteristic appearance.
Man's interest in amber’s secret properties date back to the Paleolithic Age. The exceptional smell of
amber burning and the beauty of the nuggets washed up on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Amber warms
to the touch and exudes a nice, relaxing fragrance in the palm of your hand. It is also the only fossil
resin that contains 3-8% succinic acid (mostly located in the amber’s surface layer), a powerful
therapeutic substance with many applications for healing. Plants absorbed the amber resin and plant
leavers were often used as an antibiotic to heal cuts and or in a plaster to dress wounds.
There are also a number of other fascinating facts about natural Baltic Amber – it floats in salt water
but sinks in fresh water. When amber is touched with fire, it produces an aroma of burning pine. It is
said that when Baltic amber is worn on the skin, the skin's warmth draws trace amounts of healing oils
out of the amber. These oils contain succinic acid and are absorbed into the skin.