My affection hath an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal.

William Shakespeare

History of Portugal


Located on the Iberian Peninsula, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east, Portugal, officially Portuguese Republic, República Portuguesa, is a country with a long and intriguing history. This vast and exciting history is replete with discoveries and research, beginning with early leaders who, after the expulsion of Celtic and Moorish settlers in the 12th century, focused on building their kingdom beyond continental borders.

Timeframe – Pre-Roman, Roman, Germanic, and Muslim periods

As far back as 400,000 BCE, the territory of Portugal as we know it today was inhabited by prehistoric people. The earliest human remains found in Portugal are Neanderthal-type bones from Furninhas.

In the 1st millennium BC, Celtic peoples entered the peninsula via the Pyrenees, and many groups were projected westward by natural pressure. The Celts occupied mainly the northern and central parts of the peninsula. During the same period, Phoenician and later Carthaginian influence reached the south of Portugal.

Roman rule

Of essential importance for Portuguese history remains the third century BCE, when Portugal was placed under Roman rule. Although the Romans left a rich cultural and archaeological heritage, the Celtic settlements remained viable.

Rome became a true hegemon of the peninsula and became a dominant power over the eastern and southern territories of the peninsula after the Second Punic War (218-201 BC). While the west coast is occupied by the Celtic peoples, who in turn try to swallow the local population.

Roman rule found strong resistance in the face of a Celtic federation named Lusitani. This federation is led by Viriant. After the death of this brilliant leader (in 140 BC), Decius Junius Brutus led Roman forces north through central Portugal, crossed the Douro River and conquered the Galatians. For a certain period of time the territory was ruled by the no less far-sighted ruler Julius Caesar.

Germanic rule

The Roman Empire fell and Germanic tribes invaded Portugal and were called “barbarians” by the Romans. The first to enter Portuguese territory were the Svevi, and then the Visigoths. These unknown tribes invaded Gaul and crossed the Pyrenees in 406.

In the immediate vicinity of Braga and Portucale settled the Suebi, along with their powerful rulers. These unknown invaders annexed Lusitania and for a time took over the rest of the peninsula. On the other hand, the other Germanic tribe, that of the Visigoths conquer the Suebi. The Suebi are broken and destroyed. Their almighty monarchy fell in 469 year. Then, the monarchy of the Suebi was restored in 550 year.

After that the monarchy was converted to Catholicism by St. Martin of Braga.

The Moors

The Moors, who in the VIII century AD remain their inevitable imprint and influence on Portugal. occupy large parts of the entire peninsula. They created their own emirate, named Cordoba. Over time, the Arabs also created a caliphate.

The Muslims

Strong resistance from the Muslims was shown only in Merida, in contrast to the territories in the northwest, which were subjugated without any resistance. There was resistance in the territories back when Abd al-Raḥmān I established the Umayyad monarchy in Cordoba in 756.

Today’s capital, Lisbon, managed to maintain its independence for several years in the early ninth century.

Historical development of Portugal until 1383

The county of Portugal was ruled by Mumadona Dias and her family for years until the tenth century. However, this dynasty was overthrown by Sancho the Great. Thus the western part of the county lost its independence. In 1064, Ferdinand I (Sancho’s eldest son) conquered Coimbra again. However, Mozarabic is taking over.

The African Almoravids annexed Muslim Spain, and Alfonso VI, who ruled Castile and Leon (1072–1109), took care to ensure the protection of the West. He also summoned Henry. He married his illegitimate daughter Teresa and became Count of Portugal.

In 1095, Henry and Teresa ruled Portugal and Coimbra. After his death, Alfonso VI’s power passed to his daughter Uraka. She took control in the period from 1109 to 1126.

Henry of Portugal failed to achieve the power and power he sought. He died in 1112. He was followed by Teresa and their common son Afonso Enriquez. Teresa loses the support she had from the Portuguese barons because of her relationship with Fernando Perez of Grass.

Afonso Enriquez

Thus, in 1128, the followers of Afonso Enriquez conquered her and she spent her days in submission. Afonso Enriquez became head of the county, although he was originally under his cousin Alfonso VII. The title of King Afonso began to be used only after his conquest of the Muslims at Ourik on July 25, 1139. The independence of his cousin Alfonso VII was accepted only after 1143. But later, only in 1179, the title of king was officially recognized. Afonso captures Santarem and Lisbon. The English priest Gilber became the bishop of the restored capital of Lisbon.

The Portuguese border was finally established when Afonso I died (December 6, 1185).
Power passes into the hands of the Templars.

The introduction of agriculture and architecture in central Portugal became a reality thanks to the Cistercians.

The Reconquista

In the IX century, during the so-called Reconquista era, the County of Portugal emerged. It was then that battles were fought against the Moors. The independence of the county became a fact in the XI century.

By the XIII century, the entire territory of present-day Portugal had been liberated. The Reconquista era is coming to an end.

In 1255, Lisbon became the capital.

The 15th century marked the 15th century for Portugal.

A huge colony is being built and controls the entire spice, slave, and ivory trade. Despite this fact, Portugal entered into a dynastic alliance with Spain in 1580. It managed to get out of it a century later. A long period of decline began for Portugal.

The ХVІІІ century till today

This century is associated with the name of Pombal. This period is also associated with his reforms. This is a time of renaissance in advanced aspects for Portugal.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Portugal united, allied with England. It is very difficult for Portugal to survive the defeat of Brazil. Nevertheless, Portugal retains its influence in Africa and expands it. It also retains the colonies it owns in India and Indonesia.

The monarchy fell in 1910. The first republic is a fact, but it was also abolished in turn by the 1926 coup.

As a consequence of the events, the Second Republic is a fact in 1974, the Carnation Revolution restored democracy and the Third Republic.

The independence of Mozambique, Angola, Guinea and the other colonies of Portugal was recognized, and 1 million Portuguese left them as refugees.

Among the founders of NATO is Portugal.

Portugal became part of the European Community in 1986, which later grew into the European Union.

Summary of the history of Portugal

In the distant 1st millennium BC, the territories of the Iberian Peninsula were inhabited by Celtic tribes.

The Celts were conquered by the Romans in 140 BC. The Romans ruled until the 5th century. Then German tribes came to power.

History follows its development as in 711 Muslim tribes occupied almost the entire territory of the peninsula.

Christians were in some northern areas only.

Portugal as a Kingdom

Portugal became a kingdom as far back as 1179. As a result, it significantly expanded its territory, regaining the territories that the Muslim tribes had taken.

The territory of present-day Portugal, with its geographical borders as they are today, became a reality during the reign of King Afonso III. The king ruled from 1248 to 1279.

Unity with Spain

Portugal was united with Spain for the period from 1580 to 1640.

The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were a significant period for Portugal. Then the monarchy strongly encourages research, studies and such are carried out by many Portuguese navigators in Africa, India, Indonesia, China, the Middle East and South America.

Portugal also managed to establish several colonies.

Nevertheless, they are becoming independent in a few years.

In the years between 1932 and 1968, dictatorial rule was established by Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. This undemocratic rule was abolished during the Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974.

The Constitution of 1976

Democratic rule reigned with the adoption of a new 1976 constitution. Civil governance is there.

Portugal is one of the founders and a member of NATO. It is also part of the European Union (EU).

Geographical parameters

Location and area

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country in southwestern Europe. It is located on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The area of mainland Portugal is 88,889 km2. The area is 218 km wide and 561 km long. The mountains rise mainly to the north of Tagus and extend to the northeast of Spain. Portugal has 832 km of Atlantic coast. Portugal’s border with Spain is 1215 km long.


The Azores and Madeira are part of Portugal. The Tagus River divides Portugal in two.

The Azores have an area of 2355 km2. They are located in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America.

They are actually nine islands – Sao Miguel and Santa Maria in the eastern group, Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial in the central group and Flores and Corvo in the western group.

The time it takes you to travel from mainland Portugal to the islands is about two astronomical hours using an airplane as a means of transportation.

Apart from the Azores, the Madeira archipelago covers an area of 741 km2. Their location is again – the Atlantic Ocean. They are located about 500 km from the African coast and 1000 km from the European continent. The archipelago consists of Madeira and Porto Santo and the uninhabited islands of Desertas and Selvagens. They are uninhabitable because they have a category of nature reserves.


Climate of mainland Portugal

The climate is not the same in different regions of Portugal. It is influenced by factors of different nature, such as relief, latitude and proximity to the sea, which offers a mild winter, especially in the Algarve.

Winter is characterized by relatively mild inland, close to neighboring Spain and especially in the Porto e Norte area and the Centro region. Snowfall is insignificant.

It is most common in the Serra da Estrela Mountains, where the highest point in mainland Portugal, the Serra da Estrela Mountains (1991 m), is characterized by rainfall. There is also a suitable place for ski lovers.

As for the summer season – summer is characterized by hot and dry climates, especially in the interior (Tras-os-Montes in northeastern Portugal and Alentejo). Due to the influence of the sea, temperatures are slightly lower in coastal areas.

The days in autumn are full of sun and warmth. November is characterized by its pleasant weather and locals often call the beginning of the month as “Summer of St. Martin”, as the day of this saint is November 11.

Climate of the Azores

The climate of the Azores is mainly influenced by the latitude of the islands and the Gulf Stream. This leads to mild temperatures throughout the year.

The temperature of the sea water is extremely pleasant and conducive to water sports throughout the year, as the reason for the relatively warm water are precisely the same factors that affect the climate of the islands.

Climate of the Madeira

Geographical location and mountainous terrain underlie the subtropical characteristics of the climate.

In summer it maintains an average temperature of 24 degrees, and in winter of 19 degrees. This definitely characterizes the climate as an extremely mild climate.

The Gulf Stream also influences this archipelago by making the water very pleasant in all seasons of the year.

The water temperature is in the range between 18 ºC in winter and 22 ºC in summer.


The population of the country according to the last national census from 2022 and based on Worldometer elaboration as of Monday, January 31, 2022 is 10,149,757 people.

The most populous city in Portugal is its capital Lisbon, as well as the suburbs, where about 1.9 million people live. The second largest city in Portugal is Porto in the north.

It could be said that, in general, more people live in the coastal regions of the country than in the interior.


The predominant part of the religion is Catholicism.

But one of the main principles enshrined in the Constitution is freedom of religion, and there are different religions in Portugal, based on this principle.


The main spoken language in Portugal is Portuguese, and Spanish, English and French are also widely spoken.

The Portuguese language is with Latin roots, is renowned as the fifth most spoken language in the world and the third most widely spoken in Europe.

Portuguese is a widely spoken language and is spoken by around 250 million people on each continent.

Portuguese is spoken in many countries in Africa (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe), South America (Brazil) and Asia (East Timor, the youngest nation in the world). The portuguese is also the official language of the Macao Special Administrative Region of China.

Universities of Portugal

Portugal has an extremely efficient and modern education system. The organization of higher education in Portugal is organized in two systems: university and polytechnic. There are both public and private universities.

You can find an extremely high class of education on offer in Portugal. It could definitely be compared to what is being held at some of the world’s largest international universities.

Portugal is famous for one of the best universities, colleges, medical schools, engineering schools and law schools. They are extremely famous and highly respected among the academic community. All types of educational programs are offered – bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.

According to the international ranking among the best universities in Portugal are: University of Lisbon, ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon, University of Porto, Catholic University of Portugal, University of Beira Interior, University of Coimbra, Universidade de Aveiro, Universidade de Tras os Montes e Alto Douro, University of Algarve, University of Minho, ISEG – Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Polytechnic of Porto.

Banks in Portugal

The banking system of Portugal is extremely developed and uses modern methods to serve its customers! The biggest convenience in the country is the Multibanco system. As part of the European Union in Portugal, you are free to transfer money from any other euro area country without paying conversion fees. In addition, it is extremely easy to open a bank account for non-EU residents in the country. You even have the opportunity to open your own ban account only through your smartphone, without having to physically go to a bank branch!

You could also make SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) transfers between Eurozone’s countries at the same price (usually € 0) and at the same speed as domestic transfers. When making direct payments or transfers, you can easily use a Portuguese bank account. If you need, you can easily get a debit or credit card.

We could name all five of the best and most popular banks in Portugal: Novobanco, Millennium BCP, Caixa Geral de Depositos, Banco BPI and ActivoBank.


Among the national treasures of Portugal, sports in Portugal are constantly flourishing. The roots of this culture can be traced far back to ancient Rome. High-level athletics and sportsmanship are already seen in Gaius Apuleius Diocletian (104 – after 146 AD). He was a distinguished chariot driver who became one of the most famous athletes in ancient history. His success made him one of the most prominent people who were extremely well-paid athletes.

Of course, the most common sport in Portugal is football. However, not only football is well developed in the country. Many other professional or semi-professional well-organized sports competitions are practiced. They are held regularly. These include basketball, swimming, athletics, tennis, gymnastics, futsal, ice hockey, team handball, volleyball, surfing, canoeing and rugby. Portuguese football gives birth to some of the most famous talents in the world. Portugal’s national athletes are among the greatest football powers in the world. They are distinctive professionals, notable for their success. A high-ranking star is Cristiano Ronaldo. He is one of the most famous footballers in the world. In 2008, he deservedly won the 2008 Player of the Year award.


Portugal is one of the most popular destinations, attracting millions of tourists a year. There is a lot to see and do in Portugal.

Starting with the cosmopolitan city of Lisbon and continuing with the traditional villages, visitors will definitely have many different opportunities for places they could visit.

Fans of this season could inherit the abundance of beaches, but not only. The cultural and architectural landmarks of the country, which attract millions of tourists to Portugal, should not be overlooked.

Lisbon – the capital

Many people prefer to start their sightseeing tour of the capital Lisbon. The capital is the heart of present-day Portugal and the cultural center of the country. There are a number of museums and architectural landmarks, as well as ancient neighborhoods. Tourists could also visit the studios of Bario Alto’s artists or spend a few days even exploring the many sights and immersing themselves in the atmosphere of the Old Quarter.

A favorite destination among tourists is the city of Sintra. It is located in the hills outside of Lisbon. The city is centered around the Palacio Nacional de Sintra with its conical towers. From there you could see various landmarks such as the fabulous Palacio de Pena and the ruins of Castello dos Mouros. Near Lisbon is another frequently visited destination, very suitable for the summer months – Costa do Sol. This is a famous seaside resort. The city of Porto is no less inspiring. This is an ancient place. The city is located on a hill overlooking the Douro River. The houses painted in different bright colors in the Riberia region is one of the main attractions here.

You can’t go to Portugal without visiting the islands of Madeira and the Azores. If you are looking for a place to escape the cold, this is your destination! Here the climate is extremely mild and pleasant. The city of Funchal is the main one, characterized by a large port for many ships. These are islands dotted with green hills and mountains.

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