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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Newport in Newport County, Rhode Island — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Portuguese Navigators: Pioneers in Maritime Exploration

 
 
Portuguese Navigators: Pioneers in Maritime Exploration Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 8, 2011
1. Portuguese Navigators: Pioneers in Maritime Exploration Marker
Inscription.
The monument before you honors the Portuguese navigators of the Golden Age of Maritime Exploration, which spanned from the early 1400ís to the late 1500ís. During this era, Portugal was the forerunner in maritime exploration – both coasts of the United States were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese. Bretton Point was chosen as the site for this monument because it is very reminiscent of Sagres, the point in southern Portugal where Prince Henry founded his School of Navigation in 1419. It was here that the maritime era emanated from the minds of the foremost scholars in mathematics, astronomy, cartography, and those that were experts regarding the compass, the astrolabe, water currents and the wind.

There are eighteen elements in the Portuguese Navigators Monument. The sixteen elements placed in a semicircle are an abstraction of the circular compass base at Sagres, which is all that remains of Prince Henryís School of Navigation today. The elements are placed in a three-quarter sphere, which symbolizes the three-quarters of the world discovered by the Portuguese navigators in the fifteenth century. The large multifaceted stone marker has been designed to evoke the tradition of explorers leaving behind a marker of their presence. The final element represents an armillary sphere, a navigational instrument which
Portuguese Navigators Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 8, 2011
2. Portuguese Navigators Marker
The three-quarter sphere that is the Portuguese Navigators Monument can be seen here next to the marker.
is one of Portugalís most significant and enduring symbols. The sphere was added to the Portuguese flag in 1522 to commemorate Magellanís circum-navigation of the globe, and is still included on the countryís present day flag.

This monument is a gift from Portugal to the State of Rhode Island. It was inaugurated by the President of Portugal Dr. Mario Soares and the Governor of Rhode Island Edward DiPrete on June 28, 1989.
 
Location. 41° 26.994′ N, 71° 21.299′ W. Marker is in Newport, Rhode Island, in Newport County. Marker is on Ocean Drive, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located in Brenton Point State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Newport RI 02840, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Portuguese Navigators Monument (here, next to this marker); S/V Marques (within shouting distance of this marker); RI Pilots of Brenton Reef Pilot Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Brenton Point Maritime Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); EqyptAir Flight 990 Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); The Rocky Shore (about 300 feet
Portuguese Navigators: Pioneers in Maritime Exploration Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 8, 2011
3. Portuguese Navigators: Pioneers in Maritime Exploration Marker
away, measured in a direct line); Brenton Point State Park (about 600 feet away); Missing at Sea May 7, 2007 (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport.
 
More about this marker. A picture of a Portuguese ship appears at the bottom of the marker. It has a caption of “The most important practical accomplishment of Prince Henryís School of Navigation was the invention of the caravel. This was the first ship that could tack against the wind. With Lateen (triangular) sails, it was able to sail in a zig-zag manner, allowing the Portuguese navigators to explore the unknown high seas.” On the left side of the marker is a picture of “The Portuguese flag with the armillary sphere.”
 
Categories. Exploration
 
Marker in Brenton Point State Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 8, 2011
4. Marker in Brenton Point State Park
Portuguese Navigators Monument image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 8, 2011
5. Portuguese Navigators Monument
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 16, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 744 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 16, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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