The Monument to the Discoveries was built in honor of Henry the Navigator, who was instrumental in the success of the Portuguese explorations during the fifteenth century, a period now known as the Age of Discoveries.The Age of Discoveries started in 1415 with the capture of the North African city of Ceuta by the Portuguese and reached a peak at the turn of the sixteenth century when Vasco da Gama discovered a shorter route to India and Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil. The creation of trade posts and colonies on the new trade routes led to a Portuguese empire that spanned three continents, bringing wealth to Portugal and Lisbon in particular.The Monument to the Discoveries was originally built for the 1940 World Exhibition. The monument was only built as a temporary structure and it was demolished a couple of years after the closure of the exhibition.The monument we see today is an exact replica of the original one. It was was built in 1960 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator's death. Henry the Navigator was a driving force behind the overseas exploration and he financed many of the expeditions.