Portugal: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about Portugal.

  • Portugal is the most westerly country in mainland Europe, and is bordered by Spain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The country has a population of just over 10 million.
  • Lisbon is the capital and biggest city, with 2,800,000 people. Other major cities are Porto and Faro, and most people in Portugal live along the west and south coasts.
  • Portugal is one of the 20 most visited countries in the world, attracting over 13 million visitors each year. The Algarve is one of the most popular European destinations for British holidaymakers.

Flag of Portugal

  • The Portuguese Empire was one of the longest lasting modern European empires. Today, over 240 million people worldwide speak Portuguese as their first language.
  • The Anglo-Portuguese alliance was signed in 1373 and is still in effect today. Portugal has had its border with Spain since the 12th century, making it Europe’s oldest country.
  • Portugal is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, established in 1290. The country has one of Europe’s’ largest casinos and one of the continent’s longest bridges, named after the explorer, Vasco da Gama.
  • During the 15th and 16th centuries, many explorers set off from Portugal to discover the world. In 1522, the explorer Magellan was the first to successfully sail around the whole world.
  • The city of Porto has been a major producer of the drink port since the 13th century. The city also gave its name to the country and today is a World Heritage Site.
  • One of the most powerful earthquakes in Europe damaged much of Lisbon in 1755, killing over 90,000 people. The ruins of the Carmo Convent still stand today to remind inhabitants of the damage.
  • Fado music is a type of folk music, sung in Lisbon and other areas. In 2011, the music genre was declared to be an intangible cultural heritage.

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