The civil parish has been permanently associated with the Marian apparitions that were purportedly witnessed by three local shepherd children at the Cova da Iria in 1917. The Catholic Church later recognized these events as "worthy of belief". A small chapel was built at the site of the apparition, now known as Our Lady of Fátima, beginning in 1918, and a statue of her installed. The chapel and statue have since been enclosed within the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, a shrine complex containing two minor basilicas. Associated facilities for pilgrims, including a hotel and medical centre, have also been built over the decades within and around the Sanctuary. The city has become an important international destination for religious tourists, receiving between 6 and 8million pilgrims yearly. (Full article...)
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Pedro Álvares Cabral (European Portuguese:[ˈpeðɾu ˈaɫvɐr(ɨ)ʃ kɐˈβɾaɫ] or Brazilian Portuguese:[ˈpedɾu ˈawvɐɾis kaˈbɾaw]; born Pedro Álvares de Gouveia; c.1467 or 1468 – c.1520) was a Portuguese nobleman, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the European discoverer of Brazil. In 1500 Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life remain unclear, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a good education. He was appointed to head an expedition to India in 1500, following Vasco da Gama's newly-opened route around Africa. The undertaking had the aim of returning with valuable spices and of establishing trade relations in India—bypassing the monopoly on the spice trade then in the hands of Arab, Turkish and Italian merchants. Although the previous expedition of Vasco da Gama to India, on its sea route, had recorded signs of land west of the southern Atlantic Ocean (in 1497), Cabral led the first known expedition to have touched four continents: Europe, Africa, America, and Asia.
His fleet of 13 ships sailed far into the western Atlantic Ocean, perhaps intentionally, and made landfall (April 1500) on what he initially assumed to be a large island. As the new land was within the Portuguese sphere according to the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, Cabral claimed it for the Portuguese Crown. He explored the coast, realizing that the large land mass was probably a continent, and dispatched a ship to notify King Manuel I of the new territory. The continent was South America, and the land he had claimed for Portugal later came to be known as Brazil. The fleet reprovisioned and then turned eastward to resume the journey to India. (Full article...)
Image 12The arrival of the Portuguese in Japan, the first Europeans who managed to reach it, initiating the Nanban ("southern barbarian") period of active commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West. (from History of Portugal)