10 Interesting Facts About Portugal

10. Portugal is one of the oldest nation-states in Europe. Believe it or not, but Portugal was first established as a country in the 12th century, making it one of the oldest nations in Europe. In total, it had one of the oldest running empires, spanning almost six centuries within the country borders that remained unchanged since 1139.

9. The capital of Portugal is also one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. Not only is Portugal the oldest nation in Europe but Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is also the oldest city by centuries in Western Europe. The city is a fantastic destination with cobbled-stone narrow streets, tram rides and amazing coastal views that make it an ideal place to discover.

8. Another interesting fact about Portugal is that it owned half of the “New World”. In 1494, Portugal and Spain divided the world in two by signing the Treaty of Tordesillas which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the “New World”, including countries like Brazil, Africa and Asia. The Portuguese Empire was one of the global empires in history and one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting for almost six centuries until Macau was handed over in 1999.

7. Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries. One thing that may surprise you is that the Portuguese language is spoken by over 236 million people worldwide including 210 million natives. It is the eighth most spoken language in the world and is the official language in 9 countries which includes Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome and Equatorial Guinea. So if you’re looking for a new language to learn, Portuguese might be a great option.

6. The oldest bookstore in the world is in Lisbon. If you take a trip to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, you’ll see an abundance of independent bookstores crammed into its tiled streets. As a nation of book lovers, it comes as no surprise that the oldest bookstore in the world can be found in the city. Dating back to 1732, Bertrand Chiado on Rua Garrett is the oldest bookstore still in operation, a record that was made official by the Guinness Book of Records in 2011.

5. Portugal has the longest bridge in Europe. The six-lane, cable-stayed Vasco da Gama bridge crossing the Tagus River to the north of Lisbon was opened in 1998 and is 10.7 miles long.

4. Portugal is Europe’s most westerly point. Here, where the land ends and the sea begins, you will find Cabo da Roca, also known as Cape Roca, the most western point of continental Europe. The site is open to visitors and has a breathtaking view of both the ocean and the Serra de Sintra.

3. The colours of the Portuguese flag have significant messages. The Portuguese flag was designed by national artists. The colours represent significant messages with Green symbolizing hope in the future and Red demonstrating the bloodshed during the battles. The shield, however, represents the nation´s victories in battles with the Moors.

2. Portugal became the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage in 2010. When Portugal allowed same-sex marriage in 2010, it was a major step for LGBTQIA+ rights. It currently ranks tenth out of 49 countries worldwide for its record on LGBT human rights in the Ilga-Europe Rainbow Country Rankings.

1. Football icon Cristiano Ronaldo is Portuguese. Yes, this football superstar was born Cristiano Ronaldo in Funchal, a city in Portugal, in 1985. He is a professional football player and plays as a forward for the Italian club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team.