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A padrão (Portuguese pronunciation: [pɐˈðɾɐ̃w̃], standard; plural: padrões) was a large stone cross inscribed with the coat of arms of Portugal that was placed as part of a land claim by numerous Portuguese explorers during the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Notable explorers known to have erected padrões were Diogo Cão, Bartolomeu Dias and Vasco da Gama.
The Lisbon Geographic Society managed to restore in the 20th century three padrões erected by Diogo Cão and one by Bartolomeu Dias.
At the Dias Cross Memorial on the coast of South Africa's Eastern Cape province, there is a padrão replica on a spectacular outcrop (False Island – Kwaaihoek in Afrikaans, meaning "Nasty corner"); it marks the site of Dias' most easterly landfall, after becoming the first European navigator to round the Cape of Good Hope. The original padrão was discovered by Arthur Axelson in the 1930s – it had fallen, or was pushed, off the top of Kwaaihoek, and was in pieces in the gullies below. Axelson recovered these pieces and was able to reconstruct the padrão; the reconstructed original now stands in the William Cullen Library of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
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