National Geographic : 1960 Nov
KODACHROMEBY ALAN VILLIERS( NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY Flag-decked Belem dedicates the Monument of the Discoveries on the bank of the Tagus for all to see who sail upriver to Lisbon. Leaders from mother Portugal's far-flung dominions join the throng on shore, where the flags of the nations flutter in the nortada, the summer breeze. Warships of 33 nations, among them the United States Navy's heavy cruiser Des Moines, fire salutes. Private yachts join in the tribute. across the Pacific, first to East Africa, India, China, Japan-what a record! A million and a half Portuguese -led and inspired by a recluse Prince great among nav igators though not himself a seafarer-en compassed half the earth and helped lay the foundations of the modern age. Portugal's Prestige Spread to Asia After the pioneering caravels, emblazoned with the Cross of Christ, came the carracks and the galleons, the great naus of the passage to India, which sailed on their stately voy ages for the next 200 years. After the discovering voyages came the pioneers of sea power, Affonso de Albuquer que and the rest, who soon found that they must establish Portugal's sea supremacy throughout the whole Indian Ocean and all the eastern seas. Hence the Portuguese settlements in West 656 Africa, at Mozambique, Mombasa, the Mal- dives, Cochin and Calicut, Hormuz and Diu, Goa and Galle, Calcutta and Chittagong, Malacca, Macao. They impressed the Africans and the Asians with the excellence of their ships and the inspiration of their enterprise, establishing a new Rome at Goa and the fabric of empire throughout eastern seas. And so, 500 years after Prince Henry's death, it is understandable to find an Indian master shipwright far up the Brahmaputra River who calls a large ship a nau. It makes sense to see the Portuguese names upon the Singhalese shops, the Portuguese churches in the Asian sun, the cannon in the sand, the ruined fortresses in so many places. It makes sense, too, that this year Portugal set aside eight months to commemorate the fifth centenary of the death of her most illus trious son, initiator of the greatest era of discovery the world has known -a Prince of Navigators indeed!