9. Monument to the Discoveries 

Mapping Coordinates: 38.6936° N, 9.2057° W
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Status: Contested

    The Monument of the Discoveries, also known as Padrão dos Descobrimentos, is located on the northern bank of the Tagus River in Belém, a suburb of Lisbon, just in front of the sixteenth-century Jerónimos Monastery. It evokes one of the pillars (padrões) that were erected along the African coast by the Portuguese during the second half of the fifteenth century and includes sixteen statues representing historical figures on each side, all led by Prince Henry(1394-1460), the member of the Portuguese royal family whose name is more closely associated with the early phase of Portuguese exploration. Initially conceived as a temporary installation made of wood for the 1940 Portuguese World Exhibition, it was later constructed in cement and stone and inaugurated in 1960, thus becoming one of the main monuments that were built by the Salazarist regime in its attempt to promote a positive image of the Portuguese colonial empire through its association with the notion of “discoveries.” It has recently been the target of critiques and attacks such as the graffiti sprayed on 8 August 2021 whose writing read: “Blindly sailing for money, humanity is drowning.”