Serving the Portuguese-American Community Since 1965

The Portuguese Discovery Monument

Arthur Raposo's Dream 

This monument is the realization of Arthur Raposo's dream. This Portuguese-American was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, and lived for many years in Middletown, Rhode Island. In his great desire to pay homage to the great navigator, Miguel Corte-Real, he organized the Miguel Corte-Real Committee. Composed of ten Portuguese-American leaders, this committee was created for the purpose of erecting a statue in honor of Miguel Corte-Real somewhere in Newport, "The City by the Sea".

With enthusiasm and persistence he negotiated with Rhode Island officials until he secured the best spot in the State of Rhode Island - the Brenton Point State Park - to place the monument honoring the the famous Miguel Corte-Real. Raposo first presented his plan to Attorney Robert M. Silva, President of the Portuguese Cultural Foundation. Together with Portuguese Cultural Foundation Executive Secretary, Peter Calvet de Magalhaes, they obtained the cooperation of the National Committee of the Commemorations of the Discoveries of Portugal. From this agreement they developed such mutual cooperation between Portuguese and American officials which eventually flowered to the point where Portugal offered the Portuguese Discovery Monument as a gift to the American people. 

Meanwhile, through the joint cooperation of Governor Edward DiPrete, Portuguese-American Legislators, and the Environmental Department of Rhode Island, over $110,000 was allocated to landscape Brenton Point State Park to ready it to receive all the pieces of the Monument. This amount of money was matched by the Portuguese Government which expended over $110,000 to build and transport the monument to Rhode Island. After years of planning, The Portuguese Discovery Monument was finally inaugurated on June 10th, 1988. 

After overt two decades of harsh New England winters and seas, the Portuguese Discovery Monument was in need of repair and replacement. Again, with the help of the Rhode Island State Legislature, prominent Portuguese-Americans, and friends and supporters of the Portuguese Discovery Monument, we will once again dedicate a new and improved Monument on September 12, 2014. 

As before, the monument before you will honor the Portuguese navigators of the Golden Age of Maritime Exploration, which spanned from the early 1400's to the late 1500's. During this era, Portugal was the forerunner in maritime exploration. Brenton 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 is School of Navigation in 1419. It was there that the great maritime era emanated from the minds of the foremost scholars in mathematics, astronomy, cartography, and those who were experts with compass, the astrolabe, water currents, and the winds.

There are eighteen elements in the Portuguese Discovery Monument: the sixteen elements placed in a semicircle are an abstraction of the circular compass rose at Sagres, which is all that remains of Prince Henry's 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 is one of Portugal's most significant and enduring symbols. It's three-quarter spherical design represents the three-quarters of the world discovered by the Portuguese navigators in fifteenth century. The sphere was added to the Portuguese flag in 1522 to commemorate Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe, and is still included on the country's present flag. 

Click thumbnails below to view the planning, construction, and completion of the Portuguese Discovery Monument