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Portugal Stamps

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Seeing as our last island stop was Madeira we're going to make landfall in Portugal, the most western nation of the continent of Europe. With its coast facing into the Atlantic ocean on the west and the Gulf of Cadiz to the south it is a nation of seafarers.

Many of the stamps celebrate the great Portuguese explorers of the 16th and 17th centuries. They had the same celebrity status in their day as astronauts had in the 70s. There is something about men (and women now) going out into the great unknown and coming back with tales of marvellous places that appeals to humans with their nomadic past.

Bartholomew Dais, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan are still names to conjure with today. They discovered new lands and routes to fabled ones. The sea route around Africa to India and then China, the discovery of America - north and south and the first circumnavigation of the world are some of their feats of exploration. No wonder the Portuguese are still proud of them.

The instigator and patron of this Áge of Discovery' was the far sighted Prince Henry the Navigator who created what today would be called "án enabling environment'' for explorers and exploration. He became the Grand Master of the Military Order of Christ, the Portuguese successor to the Knights Templar, who provided much of the funding for the voyages of exploration. He also built an observatory, invented the astrolabe and set up a school for exploration that trained sailors and navigators.

The success of the Portuguese Explorers in acquiring monopolies on much of the Eastern spice trade and their expeditions to Japan and the New World brought great wealth and power to Portugal. The new discoveries made by the Portuguese Explorers brought untold riches in terms of gold and silver and spices but it also brought power and influence. This only waned when the Spanish, Dutch and English challenged Portuguese dominance on the oceans.

Portugal managed to hold on to some of her colonies such as Mocambique and Angola and islands such as Cape Verde until big political changes in the country in 1974 led to independence being granted to all three. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, ending the Portuguese Colonial War.

Of course with all of that exploration there had to be ships and at a time of endemic warfare castles, towers and fortified cities were needed too. It is a very diverse country with some unique unspoilt forests, a thriving agricultural sector and is one of the richest mineral producing countries in Europe, especially of copper and lithium.

Their greatest national treasure at the moment is the soccer player Christiano Ronaldo, who is carrying the hopes of the Portuguese nation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He has scored 85 goals for his country, including FOUR at the World Cup so far making him the leading goal scorer at the moment. It will be interesting to watch how Portugal does in this competition.

"Speculation and the exploration of ideas beyond what we know with certainty are what lead to progress."

Lisa Randall

"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

David McCullough

For those who want to know more there is a very extensive article on Wikipedia -
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Good luck Wendy - hopefully they will win and not do a Germany on you!

Thanks Jayne, as I previously mentioned the boys did explorers at primary school so this one was very interesting. I am trying tocalm my nerves before England play in the world cup tonight!!!! Wendy x


Hi Janit, Marlene and Judy, Glad you are enjoying the start of our new, or resumed, journey via stamps. 'Scratch and sniff' is okay but did they HAVE to choose popsicles??? Hugs to all. Jayne


These are beauties! America just came out with popsicle "scratch and sniff" stamps . . . . do we really need these?!


Love it. Not easy at all.a fun challenge plus love all the info you put there . hug

Thank you for continuing the journey. Love all of the stamps.

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