Saturday, October 11, 2008
Aquario Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama Aquarium opened its doors to the public in 1898, during the 4th Centenary Celebrations of the Discovery of the Sea-route to India by the renowned navigator Vasco da Gama.
It was during the 19th Century that Oceanography was born as a real science. However, the support of King Carlos was the determining factor in the construction of such an institution. Member of several scientific institutions, King Carlos distinguished himself as oceanographer and naturalist. From 1896 until 1907, he supervised twelve oceanographic campaigns off the Portuguese coast, aboard the 4 royal yachts "Amelia". He collected a lot of zoological material as well as physical and chemical data that he used as a remarkable work of scientific dissemination including several exhibitions and the publication of books and reports. Most of this zoological collection as well as the documents are now kept at the Vasco da Gama Aquarium.
King Carlos (1863-1908), also mentioned on the previous post, was the son of King Luis and Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (daughter of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy). He was murdered in Lisbon by republican activists as he travelled in an open carriage with the royal family. His heir, Prince Luís Filipe, was also shot to death. Several days later the younger son Prince Manuel was acclaimed King of Portugal (the last of the Braganza dynasty) until 1910, when Portugal became a republic. This was the end of monarchy.