Portugal is the westernmost country in Europe which is bordered to the east by Spain. It is a member country of the European Union and the United Nations. Portugal has a long and rich history as a nation as was once a genuine Superpower of the world. The following are some fun facts about Portugal.
Interesting Facts About Portugal
- Portugal became an independent country in 1139 and was known as the Kingdom of Portugal until 1910 when the people revolted to create a republic. Today it is officially known as the Portuguese Republic. The name Portugal comes from the second largest city called Porto, which had the Latin name of Portus Cale.
- As the Kingdom of Portugal it was ruled by kings and queens for over 700 years. The first king was Afonso I who proclaimed himself king in 1139 and the last was Manuel II who was overthrown and sent into exile in 1910.
- The Capital city of Portugal is Lisbon and it is also the largest city in the country with a population of about 2.8 million in the greater area. The entire country has a population of about 10.5 million. In 1755 a magnitude 9 earthquake hit the capital of Lisbon and, together with the tsunami, destroyed the city.
- Portugal is made up of 18 districts and 2 regions. Each region has a district capital and is named after this capital.
- The Portuguese were famous for their exploration of the world. Their explorers were among the first Europeans to discover many countries. They were not only interested in trading commodities, but also in colonization. The Portuguese Empire would eventually claim many modern day countries from 4 continents including the modern day Brazil. The Portuguese Empire would eventually weaken and most of the areas that Portugal colonized have become independent countries or been claimed by other countries. The legacy of the Portuguese explorers means that over 230 million people speak Portuguese today.
- In 1897 Napoleon invaded Portugal and, together with the British, the Portuguese were able to successful resist invasion. The British and Portuguese have been allies since 1373 and this is this oldest alliance still in force.
- The largest religion in Portugal is Roman Catholic with over 84% of people belonging to this faith.
- The most popular sport in Portugal is football (soccer). They reached 4th place in the 2006 World Cup, which is their best ever result in major competition.
- The highest mountain in Portugal is called Mount Pico. It’s peak measures 2,361 meters (7,713 ft) high.
- Portugal has one of the warmest climates within the European continent. The record high temperature was recorded at 47.4 °C (117.3 °F).