By Manuel Luciano da Silva & SÃlvia Jorge da Silva
On May 2005, my wife and I spent six days in Madeira Island. We were enchanted by its people, by the marvelous panoramas, by so many thousands of flowers, and also by its monuments and works of art. It was a fantastic trip!
On the last day of our stay in Madeira, we went to the most historical place in Madeira, which is located in Funchal harbor. We visited the small island which is now called the Forte of SÃ£o JosÃ© da Pontinha.
It was our guide Mr. Renato Barros (high school teacher) who is the legal owner of this small fort. He took us to the top platform of the fort, from where we could see on the Atlantic side, a triangular anchor and steps carved by JoÃ£o GonÃ§alves Zarco and TristÃ£o Vaz Teixeira, and their sailors after July 1st, 1419.
Due to the dense forest that Madeira presented itself in 1419, the new discoverers, without knowing the dangers that might exist inside the forest, they decided to build a cave inside of this small island and therefore creating a fort with a shelter. For several years this dock served for people to get into Madeira and also to leave it.
As I contemplated this triangular anchor and the steps on this small island, my brain went all over the world to recall small islands and famous places where man put his feet for the first time:
(1) It took 550 years after JoÃ£o GonÃ§alves Zarco and TristÃ£o Vaz Teixeira stepped on the triangular anchor, for the American Neil Armstrong to put his foot on the surface of the moon , on July 20, 1969 when he said: â€œThatâ€˜s a small step for man; one giant leap for mankind!â€
(2) 79 years later, on May 20, 1498, Vasco da Gama put his feet on Calicut, India , finally realizing the dream of Prince Henry the navigator to connect Portugal to India by sea!
(3) 81 years later, in 1500, Pedro Ãlvares Cabral, put his feet on Porto Seguro, at 14 degrees latitude south, when he discovered officially Brazil.
(4) 92 years later in 1511, the navigator Miguel Corte Real engraved on Dighton Rock , located in Berkley, Massachusetts, U. S. A., his name, the Portuguese National symbols, and four crosses of the Order of Christ similar to the one that appears on the flag of Madeira.
(5) 201 years later the English Pilgrims put their feet on Plymouth Rock located in the State of Massachusetts . U. S. A. , and this historical event originated the most celebrated holiday in America called â€œThanksgivingâ€.
(6) There are other small islands which are famous because of the buildings they possess. The castle of Almoural built on a small island in the middle of Tagus river, constructed by the Portuguese Templars after 1160.
(7) The Tower of BelÃ©m , Portuguese National Monument , was built in a small island in the Lisbon Harbor , between 1515 to 1521. It has many Crosses of the Order of Christ with extremities terminating at 45 degrees.
(8) The island of Bedloe in the large New York Harbor was the world famous and admired Statue of Liberty stands, since 1886.
(9) The Yelala Rocks engraved by Diogo CÃ£o on the margins of the Congo River, in Africa , in 1448. The rock of Sao LourenÃ§o in Sri-Lanka, engraved by Portuguese discovers in 1518, The PadrÃµes, or Portuguese Discovery Markers, placed by Diogo CÃ£o, along the western coast of Africa, and so many other monuments in so many places by the Portuguese discoverers.
(10) In the City Island, in Paris, France, where the famous Notre Dame Cathedral was built, there exist in front of it on the pavement a cupper circumference with a diameter about three feet. It is from this spot that all the geographic distances in France are measured.
Here is the triangular anchor made out of the maritime rock by JoÃ£o GonÃ§alves Zarco and his crew after July 1st, 1419.
On this photo we still see the TRIANGULAR ANCHOR and the steps carved on the rock of the small island by the first navigators.
The triangular anchor on the Fort of SÃ£o JosÃ© made by JoÃ£o GonÃ§alves Zarco and TristÃ£o Vaz Teixeira, 586 years ago should become the geographic symbol of the EPICENTER OF MADEIRA, similar to the epicenter at Notre Dame of Paris, France !
The greatest mathematician Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the Geodesic Dome, said that the TRIANGLE is the geometric figure which is the strongest on the surface of the earth. The people of Madeira could not get a better icon than the TRIANGULAR ANCHOR â€” to symbolize their excellent qualities of a people with determination to be successful in their endeavors!
This is the English translation of Chapter XX of our Portuguese Edition entitled â€œCristÃ³vÃ£o Colon was Portuguese!â€