Lisbon: The Expansion

Today the capital city of Portugal and its main touristic centre, Lisbon was once the head of a global empire. It became the country’s main centre of import of enslaved people of African origin from the late fifteenth century. Slavery and colonialism shaped the history of Lisbon for centuries, yet their ubiquitous legacies continue to be overwhelmed in the public discourse by the grand narrative of the so-called “discoveries”. Those who visit the grandiose Monument of the Discoveries erected by the Salazarist regime in the outskirts of the city are usually unaware of its apologetic purpose. Likewise the afterlife of slavery - monuments to slavery in the city’s most famous areas, economic and social policies which continue to discriminate against Afro-descendants - remains a tangible shaping force in the city.