35 FACTS ABOUT PORTUGAL
- Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe. The borders of the nation of Portugal were defined in 1139, making it not only one of the oldest nations in the world but arguably in all of Europe.
- Fun fact: Lisbon is actually 4 centuries older than Rome. The territory had been settled by various empires and civilizations such as by the Phoenicians in 1200 BC.
- Lisbon has the oldest operating bookstore in the world. Located in Chiado, Livraria Bertrand holds the Guinness world record for the world’s oldest bookstore still in operation, founded in 1732.
- Portugal is one of the most peaceful countries. In 2021, Portugal came in 4th place on the Global Peace Index (GPI), making it one of the most peaceful countries in the world, behind Iceland, New Zealand, and Denmark.
- There are over 250 million Portuguese speakers around the globe.
- Portuguese is one of the 10 most spoken languages in the world, + 250 million speakers around the globe.
- Portuguese is the official language in 9 countries: Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
6. Portugal is home to the world’s largest cork forest.
- Portugal is the biggest cork producer in the world; e.g. more than 50% of the world’s cork supply.
- Home to the world’s largest cork forests, making up 34% of the world’s area of cork forests.
7. Lisbon suffered one of the world’s largest natural disasters in world history.
- An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude, followed by a tsunami 40 minutes later.
8. Portugal lived under a fascist dictatorship for over 40 years.
- Portuguese lived 40 years under a fascist dictatorship of Antonio Salazar. On the 25 of April 1974 the “Carnation Revolution”, a peaceful military coup, overthrew Salazar.
9. The maximum prison sentence in Portugal is 25 years.
10. The biggest waves ever surfed are in Portugal. Nazaré is the go-to for surfing huge waves.
11. The Sanctuary of Fatima is visited by around 8 million travellers every year.
12. Portugal is a European leader in sustainable energy.
13. Vasco da Gama bridge was the longest in Europe, now the 2nd after the Crimean Bridge.
14. Portugal is known as the “country of tiles”.
- The azulejo is also commonly displayed in Portuguese homes, train stations, restaurants, fountains, streets, buildings, and monuments.
15. First maritime power.
16. Drugs are Decriminalised.
17. Portugal offers a treasure trove of natural, historical, and cultural wonders.
- From the Azores and Madeira to the sun-splashed Algarve and even popular cities like Lisbon and Porto.
18. Portugal occupies the westernmost point in Europe and has a long, exposed coastline.
19. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach Japan in the 16th century.
- Japenese words e.g. pão means bread and sabato (Saturday).
20. The secret recipe for Pastéis de Nata (custard tart) was kept since the 19th century.
21. There’s always time for coffee.
22. Portugal has one of the world’s oldest universities.
23. Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, is said to have led the 1st expedition to circumnavigate the globe.
24. Port Wine is Portugal’s most famous export and its national drink.
25. Home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites,=.
26. The “British” habit of drinking tea was taken to England by the Portuguese princess Catherine of Bragança.
27. Fado music added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
- Famous singers: Dulce Pontes, Carlos do Carmo, Mariza, Mafalda Arnauth, Amalia Rodrigues called the “Queen of Fado”.
- Fado music is a form of Portuguese singing that dates back to the 1820s and can often be heard in pubs, cafes, and restaurants. Fado music is about the hard realities of daily life, resignation and hopefulness. It can be described by using the Portuguese word “saudade”, which means “longing” and stands for a feeling of loss and melancholy.
28. The Romans took 200 years to conquer Portugal.
29. In 1494, Portugal and Spain divided the world in 2 (treaty of Tordesillas).
- Portugal the eastern half of the “New Word,” including Brazil, Africa, and Asia.
30. Portuguese Empire was the 1st global empire in history! longest-lived colonial power lasting almost 6 centuries.
31. Portugal once had a dead Queen: King Pedro I (in 1357) proclaimed his Dead lover, Ines de Castro, Queen.
32. Portuguese are fatalists sang in Fado music.
33. Portugal had a massive influence on world cuisine.
- Portuguese Jesuit missionaries took tempura to Japan.
- Invented Piri-Piri sauce.
- Introduced chili pepper potatoes and tomatoes to India and Thailand.
34. Portugal is 95% water. The ocean area is about 18.7 times the land area.
35. Portuguese love football.
Weird Portugal facts and records
- 2010, Porto hosted the world’s largest Santa Claus parade. 14,963 people donned Santa outfits.
- 2012, a giant firework rocket (13.4 kg) was used in Oporto and Gaia.
- 2012, Portugal (in Santarém) made the world’s largest omelet: 55 people, 6 hours, 145,000 eggs.
- The above referred largest dining table in the World!