Memorial to the overseas fallen soldiers
From the early 1960’s to the mid-1970s Portugal fought a controversial campaign in Africa, attempting in vain to keep hold of its colonies there. Known as the Combatentes Ultramar (Overseas War) this conflict took the lives of over 9,000 soldiers, many of whom came from the Lisbon area. The bloody war was a factor which led to the toppling of the regime of Dr Antonio de Oliveira Salazar whose right-wing regime had held power since 1932.
Today Lisbon's Belem district is home to a striking was memorial dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in the conflict. Two large black and white pillars slope together to form an inverted V-shape above an eternal flame. The walls surrounding the monument contain the name of all the Portuguese soldiers who lost their lives. This is a place for quiet contemplation and sombre reflection on a conflict which most would now agree should never had taken place.
The memorial is open all day and there is no entrance fee. For those wanting to know more about this and other aspects of Portugal’s military history, there is a military museum in the 18th century Forte de Bom Sucesso nearby.