Portugal is a European country, situated on the Iberian Peninsula. It stands bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west and south and by Spain, in the north and east. One of the most interesting aspects of the country is its diverse geography, comprising of mountains, arid plains, sub-tropical volcanic islands, lush-green meadows and picturesque beaches. In fact, it is this variety that serves as a pull for the tourists for coming and exploring Portugal. The warm hospitality, panoramic locales and rich historical legacy of the country only add to the appeal. The Portugal cuisine is varied and the wines are renowned internationally since a long period of time. Portugal falls in the category of developed counties with a high Human Development Index. It is also one most peaceful and globalized nations in the world. Given below are some interesting facts about Portugal, which will help you in getting acquainted with the country.
Area: 92,212 km2
Official Languages: Portuguese
Independence Day: December 1, 1640
Dialing Code: 351
Type Of Government: Unitary State
Fun & Interesting Facts about Portugal
- The official name of Portugal is the ‘Republic of Portugal’.
- Portugal is located in southwestern Europe and spreads over an area of approximately 92,212 sq. km.
- Portugal is the oldest country in Europe. Portugal has the same defined borders since 1139, making it the oldest nation-state in Europe.
- The official language of Portugal is Portuguese, while the official currency is Euro.
- Lisbon, the largest city in Portugal, is also the country’s capital city.
- Parliamentary democracy is followed in Portugal.
- Majority of the Portuguese are Roman Catholic, with a very small proportion making up Protestants and other.
- Portugal became a member of the European Union in the year 1986.
- The University of Coimbra, established in 1290, is one of the oldest universities in Europe.
- During the Roman times, Portugal was called Luisitania.
- Portugal was founded by Alfonso Henriques, in 1152.
- Vasco da Gama, the man who discovered the sea route to India, was Portuguese.
- Bartholomew Diaz, a Portuguese explorer, was the first person to sail round the southern tip of Africa, which he named the Cape of Good Hope.
- Pedro Alvarez Cabral, another Portuguese, discovered Brazil.
- Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer who was financed by Spain, was the first to complete a circumnavigation of the world. He set the record in the year 1522.
- The people of Madeira were given a special right to sell wine to Britain and all her colonies, by Charles II.
- It is illegal to kill a bull in Portuguese bullfighting.
- The last king of Portugal, King Manuel II, was deposed in 1910 and spent his life in exile in Twickenham, on the outskirts of London.
- Portugal was an ally of Britain in the First Word War.
- Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries.
- The Kingdom of Portugal lasted from 1139 to 1910. The country has been a republic since 1910.
- The oldest alliance in the world, still in force, is the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, signed in 1373.
- Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros and Parque Natural da Arrabida house well-preserved dinosaur tracks.
- The modern Portuguese legal system has been influenced primarily by German law.
- Abortion was legalized in Portugal, through a referendum, only in 2007.
- The Vasco da Gama Bridge of Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe.
- Portugal set up the world's first commercial wave farm to produce electricity, in the year 2006.
- Estoril Casino, situated on the outskirts of Lisbon, is the largest gambling outlet in Europe.
- The Portuguese Gorreana Tea is the oldest remaining tea company in the whole of Europe.
- The tea drinking habit was introduced in Britain by the Portuguese Princess, Catarina de Bragança, queen consort of Charles II of England.
- The capital city Lisbon is home to the oldest bookstore named ‘Bertrand’.
- The Portuguese Diamond is the largest in the world and also one of the most valuable of diamonds.
- 70% of the world’s corks are exported from Portugal, making it the largest producer of corks.
- The University of Coimbra, located in Portugal, is one of the oldest universities of Europe. It was established in 1290.
- Portugal is one of the world's top surf spots. Portugal has a coastline of 800 kilometers and it's known to have 364 days of surf!
- Portugal was the first colonial power to abolish slavery. It did so in 1761.