82 Facts About Portugal


Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southwestern Europe, and whose territory includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira.

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Portugal is the oldest continuously existing nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times.

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The Kingdom of Portugal was later proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique, and independence from Leon was recognized by the Treaty of Zamora .

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Portugal has left a profound cultural, architectural and linguistic influence across the globe, with a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers around the world.

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Early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in south-western Europe.

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The name of Portugal derives from the joined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale.

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Region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and then by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula.

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Neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing.

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Roman conquest of what is part of Portugal took almost two hundred years and took many lives of young soldiers andthe lives of those who were sentenced to a certain death in the slave mines when not sold as slaves to other parts of the empire.

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Portugal would be forced to adopt Arianism in 465 due to the Visigoth influence.

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The main cities of the period in Portugal were in the southern half of the country: Beja, Silves, Alcacer do Sal, Santarem and Lisbon.

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Portugal then aimed to regroup the Iberian Peninsula's Christian armies and use the Cantabrian mountains as a springboard from which to regain their lands.

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Afonso Henriques, Count of Portugal, defeated his mother Countess Teresa and her lover Fernao Peres de Trava, thereby establishing himself as sole leader.

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In one of these situations of conflict with the kingdom of Castile, Dinis I of Portugal signed with the king Fernando IV of Castile the Treaty of Alcanices, which stipulated that Portugal abolished agreed treaties against the kingdom of Castile for supporting the infant Juan de Castilla.

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In 1373, Portugal made an alliance with England, which is one of the oldest standing alliances in the world.

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Portugal spearheaded European exploration of the world and the Age of Discovery.

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Prince Henry the Navigator, son of King John I of Portugal, became the main sponsor and patron of this endeavour.

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In 1415, Portugal acquired the first of its overseas colonies by conquering Ceuta, the first prosperous Islamic trade centre in North Africa.

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In 1422, by decree of King John I, Portugal officially abandoned the previous dating system, the Era of Caesar, and adopted the Anno Domini system, therefore becoming the last catholic realm to do so.

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Portugal voluntarily entered a dynastic union between 1580 and 1640.

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Portugal did not lose its formal independence, briefly forming a union of kingdoms.

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In 1640, John IV of Portugal spearheaded an uprising backed by disgruntled nobles and was proclaimed king.

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Portugal created one of the first appellation systems in the world by demarcating the region for production of Port to ensure the wine's quality; and this was the first attempt to control wine quality and production in Europe.

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Portugal ruled with a strong hand by imposing strict law upon all classes of Portuguese society from the high nobility to the poorest working class, along with a widespread review of the country's tax system.

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New ruler, Queen Maria I of Portugal, disliked the Marques de Pombal because of the power he amassed, and never forgave him for the ruthlessness with which he dispatched the Tavora family, and upon her accession to the throne, she withdrew all his political offices.

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In 1815, Brazil was declared a Kingdom and the Kingdom of Portugal was united with it, forming a pluricontinental state, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.

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However, the King of Portugal remained in Brazil until the Liberal Revolution of 1820, which started in Porto, demanded his return to Lisbon in 1821.

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Pedro not having children, his brother, Luis I of Portugal ascended the throne and continued his modernization.

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At the height of European colonialism in the 19th century, Portugal had already lost its territory in South America and all but a few bases in Asia.

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The Group of Nine emerged victorious, thus preventing the establishment of a communist state in Portugal and ending the period of political instability in the country.

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Portugal continued to be governed by a Junta de Salvacao Nacional until the Portuguese legislative election of 1976.

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Portugal initiated the process of accession to the European Economic Community by starting accession negotiations as early as 1977.

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On 26 March 1995, Portugal started to implement Schengen Area rules, eliminating border controls with other Schengen members while simultaneously strengthening border controls with non-member states.

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On 5 July 2004, Jose Manuel Barroso, then Prime Minister of Portugal, was nominated President of the European Commission, the most powerful office in the European Union.

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Territory of Portugal includes an area on the Iberian Peninsula and two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean: the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores.

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Mainland Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus, that flows from Spain and disgorges in the Tagus Estuary, in Lisbon, before escaping into the Atlantic.

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Portugal is mainly characterized by a Mediterranean climate, temperate maritime climate in the mainland north-western highlands and mountains, and in some high altitude zones of the Azorean islands; a semi-arid climate in certain parts of the Beja District far south and in Porto Santo Island, a warm desert climate in the Selvagens Islands and a humid subtropical climate in the western Azores, according to the Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification.

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Portugal is located on the Mediterranean Basin, the third most diverse hotspot of flora in the world.

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Portugal is the second country in Europe with the highest number of threatened animal and plant species .

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Large mammalian species of Portugal were once widespread throughout the country, but intense hunting, habitat degradation and growing pressure from agriculture and livestock reduced population numbers on a large scale in the 19th and early 20th century, others, such as the Portuguese ibex were even led to extinction.

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Portugal has been a semi-presidential representative democratic republic since the ratification of the Constitution of 1976, with Lisbon, the nation's largest city, as its capital.

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In 1996, Portugal co-founded the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, an international organization and political association of Lusophone nations across four continents, where Portuguese is an official language.

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Antonio Guterres, who has served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005 to 2015, assumed the post of UN Secretary-General on 1 January 2017; making him the first Secretary-General from Western Europe since Kurt Waldheim of Austria, the first former head of government to become Secretary-General and the first Secretary-General born after the establishment of the United Nations on 26 June 1945.

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Portugal conducted several independent unilateral military operations abroad, as were the cases of the interventions of the Portuguese Armed Forces in Angola in 1992 and in Guinea-Bissau in 1998 with the main objectives of protecting and withdrawing of Portuguese and foreign citizens threatened by local civil conflicts.

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Portugal was the first country in the world to abolish life imprisonment and was one of the first countries to abolish the death penalty.

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Portugal is known for having decriminalized the usage of all common drugs in 2001, the first country in the world to do so.

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On 31 May 2010, Portugal became the sixth country in Europe and the eighth country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriage at the national level.

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Portugal has 49 correctional facilities in total run by the Ministry of Justice.

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The national currency of Portugal is the euro, which replaced the Portuguese Escudo, and the country was one of the original member states of the eurozone.

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The Euronext Lisbon is the major stock exchange of Portugal and is part of the NYSE Euronext, the first global stock exchange.

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Agriculture in Portugal is based on small to medium-sized family-owned dispersed units.

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Portugal is among the top ten largest olive oil producers in the world and is the fourth biggest exporter.

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Traditionally a sea power, Portugal has had a strong tradition in the Portuguese fishing sector and is one of the countries with the highest fish consumption per capita.

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The main landing sites in Portugal, according to total landings in weight by year, are the harbours of Matosinhos, Peniche, Olhao, Sesimbra, Figueira da Foz, Sines, Portimao and Madeira.

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Portugal is a significant European minerals producer and is ranked among Europe's leading copper producers.

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Portugal is rich in its lithium subsoil, which is especially concentrated in the districts of Guarda, Viseu, Vila Real and Viana do Castelo, while most of the country's lithium comes from the Goncalo aplite-pegmatite field.

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Portugal said the estimated mineral resources at the mine now stood at 14 million tonnes.

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In 2014, Portugal was elected The Best European Country by USA Today.

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In 2017, Portugal was elected both Europe's Leading Destination and in 2018 and 2019, World's Leading Destination.

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Tourist hotspots in Portugal are: Lisbon, Cascais, Fatima, Algarve, Madeira, Porto and Coimbra.

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European Innovation Scoreboard 2011, placed Portugal-based innovation in the 15th position, with an impressive increase in innovation expenditure and output.

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Portugal was ranked 31st in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, up from 32nd in 2019.

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Portugal has considerable resources of wind and river power, the two most cost-effective renewable energy sources.

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Portugal subsequently has the 17th oldest population in the world, with the average age of 43.

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Portugal has approved a credit line for Portuguese emigrants aiming to invest in the country on their return.

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Portugal is a secular state: church and state were formally separated during the First Portuguese Republic, and this was reiterated in the 1976 Portuguese Constitution.

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Portugal has entered into cooperation agreements with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other US institutions to further develop and increase the effectiveness of Portuguese higher education and research.

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Portugal has the highest mortality rate for diabetes in the Eur-A, with a sharp increase since the 1980s.

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Portugal has developed a specific culture while being influenced by various civilizations that have crossed the Mediterranean and the European continent, or were introduced when it played an active role during the Age of Discovery.

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Portugal is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 9th in Europe and 18th in the world.

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Portugal has several summer music festivals, such as Festival Sudoeste in Zambujeira do Mar, Festival de Paredes de Coura in Paredes de Coura, Festival Vilar de Mouros near Caminha, Boom Festival in Idanha-a-Nova Municipality, NOS Alive, Sumol Summer Fest in Ericeira, Rock in Rio Lisboa and Super Bock Super Rock in Greater Lisbon.

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Out of the summer season, Portugal has a large number of festivals, designed more to an urban audience, like Flowfest or Hip Hop Porto.

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In 2005, Portugal held the MTV Europe Music Awards, in Pavilhao Atlantico, Lisbon.

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Furthermore, Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kyiv with the song "Amar pelos dois" presented by Salvador Sobral, and subsequently hosted the 2018 contest at the Altice Arena in Lisbon.

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Portugal was deeply influenced by both Cubist and Futurist trends.

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At youth level, Portugal have won two FIFA World Youth Championships and several UEFA European Youth Championships.

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Road cycling, with Volta a Portugal being the most important race, is a popular sports event and includes professional cycling teams such as Sporting CP, Boavista, Clube de Ciclismo de Tavira and Uniao Ciclista da Maia.

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In motorsport, Portugal is internationally noted for the Rally of Portugal, and the Estoril and Algarve Circuits as well as the revived Porto Street Circuit which holds a stage of the WTCC every two years, as well as for a number of internationally noted pilots and racers such as Miguel Oliveira, Tiago Monteiro, Antonio Felix da Costa, Filipe Albuquerque, Pedro Lamy, Armindo Araujo and others in a wide range of varied motorsports.

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In equestrian sports, Portugal won the only Horseball-Pato World Championship in 2006 achieved the third position in the First Horseball World Cup and has achieved several victories in the European Working Equitation Championship.

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In water sports, Portugal has three major sports: swimming, water polo and surfing.

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Northern Portugal has its own original martial art, Jogo do Pau, in which the fighters use staffs to confront one or several opponents.

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Portugal is often cited as the highest-paid athlete of all time.

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