24 May, Friday

PORTUGAL, Lisbon – As far as UNESCO World Heritage Sites go, this riverside tower may not look like much. But don’t let it’s diminutive stature detract from its towering role in modern history.

Serving both as a fortress and a port, the Tower of Belem was the launching point from which Portuguese explorers would eventually establish the first European trade routes with China and India that would lead to the dawn of the Age of Discovery.

The resulting extensive overseas exploration would give rise to an unprecedented exchange of plants, animals, food, human populations, communicable diseases and culture between the two hemispheres. This would eventually pave the way for globalisation and the many benefits that accompany it.

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