Interesting Facts

Interesting facts about Portugal

Interesting facts about Portugal

Today we will help you out to know about some awesome and interesting facts about Portugal, you will be amazed after reading these interesting facts about Portugal.

Interesting facts about Portugal

Population & Language

  • Portuguese is spoken by about 230 million people worldwide (including 210 million native speakers) and is the official language of 9 countries.
  • The Portuguese language is closely related to the Galician language, spoken in northwestern Spain. Galician can be considered a dialect of Portuguese (or vice versa).
  • Nearly 12% of the inhabitants of Luxembourg and 3% of the French population are of Portuguese origin. Paris has the largest Portuguese community outside Portugal and is the second largest Portuguese city after Lisbon based on the number of Portuguese residents.
  • José Manuel Durão Barroso, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, has been President of the European Commission since 2004.

Culture & Traditions

  • Fatalism is an essential trait of Portuguese culture. Fado, as the Portuguese call it, is expressed by the current oxalá interjection , derived from the Arabic Inchallah, which means “if only” or “hope”. Fado gave birth to the musical genre of the same name, characterized by mournful airs and melancholy lyrics, often about sea voyages or the lives of the poor, and imbued with a sense of resignation and fatalism. Fado has been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011.
  • The famous Port wine, a sweet fortified wine from the Douro Valley, has been imitated in several countries – including Australia, South Africa, India and the United States.
  • More than half of the world’s cork stoppers are produced in Portugal.
  • The Festa de São João do Porto, which takes place on the night of June 23, is one of the country’s liveliest celebrations. The tradition, which has its roots in the pagan parry rituals, requires participants to hit the pretty girls on the head with soft plastic hammers or garlic flowers.
  • The Festa do Colete Encanado, which takes place in Vila Franca de Xira, is famous for its bull run, reminiscent of its more world-famous counterpart, the San Fermín in Pamplona.

Sports & Entertainment

  • SL Benfica, a football team from Lisbon, is the football club with the most supporters in the world according to the Guinness Record.
  • In December 2010, the biggest Christmas parade in the world took place in Porto. 14,963 people paraded in Santa Claus outfits, breaking the previous year’s record for the same parade.
  • In October 2011, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara took the biggest wave (30 meters) ever surfed so far in Praia do Norte, near the city of Nazaré, in central Portugal.
  • As of 2012, the largest fireworks rocket ever produced was used for the 12th International Fireworks Symposium in Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia on October 13, 2010. It weighed 13.4 kg.
  • The Portuguese water dog is a so-called hypoallergenic dog breed, partly because it does not moult. In 2008, the canine race made newspaper headlines when US President Barack Obama and his family received one as a pet. A Portuguese water dog has been chosen to become the American First Dog partly because of the allergies of Malia Obama.


    • The name “Portugal” appeared for the first time in 868, during the reconquest on Muslims. A county was formed around the city of Porto ( Portus Cale in Latin), which gave its name to “Portugal”.
    • The Kingdom of Portugal has persisted for nearly 800 years, from 1139 to 1910. Since 1910, the country is a republic. The modern democratic republic was founded in 1976.
    • The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, signed in 1373, is the oldest alliance in the world that is still in force.
    • Portugal was one of the first colonial nations in Europe, beginning with the colonization of Ceuta (1410), Madeira (1419), the Azores (1439) and continuing through the establishment of trading posts along the African coast in the second half of the fifteenth century. In 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India in 1500 and Pedro Alvares Cabral, en route to India, discovered Brazil, he proclaimed Portuguese colony. The Portuguese Empire was to reign, among others, Brazil, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, the Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, Indian trading posts in Goa, Daman, Diu and Cochin and the cities of Malacca (Malaysia) and Macao (China). Most African colonies gained independence in 1975. Macao, the last Portuguese colony,
    • The first party-hunt (pirate code) was invented in the seventeenth century by the Portuguese buccaneer Bartolomeu Português.
    • In 1709, the Jesuit father Bartolomeu de Gusmão invented one of the first airships in the world, for which he sought the royal favors of John V of Portugal. Portugal could have changed history with this invention, had it not been for the Inquisition, which formally forbids Gusmão to pursue his aeronautical projects for which he was even persecuted.

  • On 1 November 1755 (Toussaint), Lisbon was struck by an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale – one of the most powerful in European history. The city was razed by the earthquake and tsunami and the fires that followed. It is estimated that 90,000 of the 275,000 inhabitants of the city were killed and 85% of the buildings destroyed, including several palaces and famous churches, the Royal Library and its 70,000 volumes, as well as the royal archives containing detailed historical records of explorations from Vasco da Gama and other renowned navigators. The earthquake profoundly disrupted the country’s political scene and its colonial ambitions in the 18th century. Lisbon being the capital of a fervently Catholic country with a long history of
  • In 1761, Portugal became the first colonial power to abolish slavery, half a century before Spain, France, Britain or the United States.

Legislation & Government

  • The modern Portuguese legal system has been influenced mainly by German law.
  • Due to the influence of Catholicism, Portugal is one of the most socially conservative countries in Europe. Abortion was only legalized in 2007, by referendum, causing much controversy. A Catholic priest pledged to excommunicate all the people voting for the legalization of abortion.
  • Portugal is the only EU country with Spain where life imprisonment has been abolished.
  • Construction & Transportation
  • The Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe, measuring 17,185 meters.
  • Until 1986, when Portugal and Spain joined the European Economic Community, the border crossing between the two countries was discouraged. The buses stopped just before the border and the connections were not coordinated on the other side. As recently as 1991, when the Guadiana International Bridge was inaugurated, the only way to get to Spain from southern Portugal was by boat.

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