45+ Interesting Facts About Portugal

  1. Portugal is the westernmost country in mainland Europe. It shares a land border only with Spain on the Iberian Peninsula.
  2. The Kingdom of Portugal gained independence from the Kingdom of Leon in 1143. It makes Portugal the 5th oldest country in Europe. (Source)
  3. In the 15th Century, Portugal became the first commercial and global maritime empire. In later centuries, the Portuguese empire colonized Brazil, East Timor, Macau, and parts of Africa and India. (Source)
  4. The Portuguese were the pioneers of the transatlantic slave trade in the 15th Century. The first public sale of Africans took place in Portugal in 1444. The Portuguese built the first permanent slave trading port in today’s Ghana in 1482. (Source)
  5. In September 2008, Portugal constructed the world’s first commercial wave energy farm. This farm generates 2.25 MW of electricity, enough to power 1,500 homes. The target of this farm is to generate 21 MW of clean energy. (Source)
  6. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance (Treaty of Windsor) was signed on 9th May 1386. This military alliance, existing for more than 600 years, is known as the oldest military alliance in the world. (Source)
  7. Portugal has had an active navy since the 12th Century. It makes the Portuguese Navy the oldest naval force in the world.
  8. 97% area of Portugal is the ocean while the land area is just 3%. It is due to Portugal’s autonomous regions in the Atlantic Ocean.
  9. The Portuguese EEZ (exclusive economic zone) has expanded to over 1,727,408 km2. It is the 3rd largest EEZ for any country in the European Union and the 11th largest in the world.
  10. Apart from continental Portugal, two autonomous regions are also part of the Republic of Portugal. These autonomous regions (Azores and Madeira) are a group of small islands in the North Atlantic Ocean.
  11. Vasco de Gama Bridge in Portugal is the longest bridge in Europe. Portugal has three bridges in the list of the ten longest bridges in this continent. (Source)
  12. Bertrand bookshop in Lisbon, Portugal, is the oldest operating bookshop in the world. It was established in 1732. (Source)
  13. Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork. Around 35% of worldwide cork forests are present in Portugal, while the country is behind around half of the total international cork production. 
  14. Due to the extensive use of tiles on floors, Portugal is famous as the country of tilesThe usage of tiles started in Portugal during the 15th Century.
  15. In 2016, Portugal won the World Golf Awards as the “Best Golf Destination in the World” for 3rd consecutive year. There are more than 90 golf courses in Portugal.
  16. Manoel de Oliveira was the oldest active director in the world when he died in 2015 at 106 years. He was known as the dean of Portuguese cinema. (Source)
  17. According to estimates, the world’s first pirate code was invented by a Portuguese pirate in the 17th Century. 
  18. Unlike many other countries, Portugal is less strict about severe punishments. In 1884, it became the world’s first country to abolish life imprisonment. (Source)
    Prisoners in a prison
    Portugal is the first country to abolish life imprisonment
  19. Portugal is also the first country in the world to decriminalize common drugs. It decriminalized the use and possession of a small quantity of heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and LSD in 2001. (Source)
  20. Portugal abolished the death penalty in 1867. It was the world’s third country to abolish capital punishment after San Marino (1848) and Venezuela (1863). (Source)
  21. Portugal has the 3rd lowest fertility rate in the world. The fertility rate in this European country is just 1.24.
  22. Portugal has the largest reserves of lithium (used in electric batteries) in Europe. Two large mines of lithium in the country will start production in 2020. (Source)
  23. Portugal has the 4th highest number of ATMs per capita in the world. It has the 2nd most ATMs per capita in Europe after San Marino. (Source)
  24. The largest omelet was prepared in Portugal on 11th August 2012. Its weight was around 6.5 tonnes. 55 people prepared this omelet in 6 hours using 145,000 eggs. (Source)
  25. On 5th June 2010, Portugal became the 8th country in the world (and 6th in Europe) to legalize same-sex marriage. Full rights to such weddings were granted five years later in 2015. (Source)
  26. A Portuguese priest is the first person known for the initial documented balloon flight in Europe. This hot air balloon flight was demonstrated in Lisbon on 8th August 1709.
  27. Antonio Guterres became UN Secretary-General on 1st January 2017. Previously, he served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. It makes him the first former head of government to take the position of UN Secretary-General.
  28. Portuguese, the native language of Portugal, is the 6th most spoken language in the world, with around 260 million speakers. It has official status in 10 countries around the world.
  29. In 1543, three Portuguese sailors became the first Europeans to reach Japan. These Portuguese also introduced a dish to the Japanese, now known as Japanese tempura. (Source)
  30. Portugal is the 10th most visited country in Europe by foreigners. Around 23 million tourists visited Portugal in 2018. (Source)
  31. Lisbon is the oldest capital city in Western Europe the 2nd oldest in Europe after Athens. It was initially inhabited in 1200 BC.
  32. Portugal fulfills more than 55% of its energy requirement through renewable resources. The highest renewable energy comes from wind power (24.3%) and hydropower (24.1%). (Source)
  33. The University of Coimbra in Portugal is the 9th oldest university in the world. It is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. (Source)
  34. The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 is one of the most powerful earthquakes in Europe. This earthquake produced tsunami and fires that took the lives of around 75,000 people and destroyed 90% of buildings in Lisbon alone.
  35. Lisbon in Portugal is the 6th sunniest city in Europe. It has 2,799 annual sunshine hours and a daily average temperature of 21 Celsius.
  36. The biggest wave ever surfed was 80 feet high. The place of this record, made in 2017, was in Nazare, Portugal. (Source)
    Surfers at sea
    World's biggest wave was surfed in Portugal
  37. In 1498, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama became the first European to reach India by sea. He landed at Calicut on the Malabar Coast. 
  38. Portuguese introduced chilies, tomatoes, and potatoes to India. They discovered these edible plants in their colonies in South America and transported them to the Indian Subcontinent. (Source)
  39. Portugal was the first country to introduce tea to Europe. Traders from Portugal and Netherlands brought this beverage from China into their homeland in 1610. 
  40. There are 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Portugal. 16 of these are cultural sites, along with a single natural site. (Source)
  41. During the 14th Century, a Portuguese king exhumed the corpse of his lover and she became dead crowned queen. (Source)
  42. Portuguese are behind a few significant modern scientific inventions. These include the ATM network, identification system for the color blind, electronic toll collection system, the nautical astrolabe, and the wheelchair lift.
  43. The world record for the largest Santa Claus Parade was made in Porto, a city in northern Portugal, in 2010. Nearly 15,000 people attended this parade, dressed as Santa. (Source)
  44. Pastel de Nata is the most favorite and popular sweet in Portugal. These soft and sweet custard tarts were invented in a monastery in Belem, west of Lisbon, around 300 years ago.
  45. Portugal is named after Porto, the second-largest city in this European country.
  46. Portugal has the highest rate of divorce in Europe. The divorce rate here is 64.2 per every 100 marriages. (Source)


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