Tomb of Luís de CamõesJerónimos Monastery
Portugal's greatest poet and the places he visited
Luís Vaz de Camões is considered to be Portugal’s greatest poet. His treatment of verse and his linguistic ability has been compared to literary heavyweights Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, and Dante. While he wrote many lyrical poems and dramas, he is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads).
Not a huge amount is known about Camões himself, but we do know that he moved around a lot during his 55 years. Born in Lisbon in 1524, the poet moved to Coimbra to study at university then to Morocco where he lost an eye during combat as a soldier for the Portuguese army. He then moved to India, where he served as a soldier for three years; Arabia and the east African coasts on military expeditions launched from Portuguese-ruled India; Macau, where he worked as a chief warrant officer and was charged with managing the properties of missing and deceased soldiers in the Orient; and Goa. He was eventually shipwrecked on the Mekong River along the Cambodian coast, before finally returning to Lisbon.
It was during Camões’ time in Macau where he began to write Os Lusíadas in a hidden grotto – every poet's favorite hideaway. When Camões finally made it back to Lisbon in 1570, two years later, he published Os Lusíadas, and it’s still widely regarded as the most important work of Portuguese literature. The epic poem celebrates the discovery of a sea route to India by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1469–1524). Made up of ten cantos (sections) and a total of 1,102 stanzas, the work takes on a fantastical interpretation of these 15th and 16th century voyages. Here we use Street View to explore some of the locations Camões described in his monumental poem and learn more about the poet himself.
Mount Olympus, Greece
The Island of Mozambique, Nampula Province, Mozambique
Battle of Ourique, Baja, Portugal
Mekong Delta River, Vietnam
Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon, Portugal