12 Facts about Portugal

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1. Half of the “New World”, already belonged to Portugal
In 1494, the treaty of Tordesilhas, the treaty that gave to Portugal, half of the “New World”, that included, Brazil, Africa and Asia was signed. The Portuguese empire was the first global empire in history and also the longest settlement, almost six centuries between the capture of Ceuta and the delivery of Macao (now China) in 1999.
In 1808, the King of Portugal Dom João, Moved to Brazil and proclaimed there a single state, which included Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. The unique state had the name of United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, this one was in force between 1815-1822. The new capital of the Kingdom was Rio de Janeiro, that kingdom broke in about 1822, after the King returned to Portugal in 1821, leaving his son, Prince Dom Pedro, to be crowned Emperor of Brazil and declaring the Independence of Portugal.

2. Portuguese is the official language of 9 countries worldwide.
More than 236 million people speak Portuguese, this is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Prince, Sao Tome and Equatorial Guinea. Portuguese is also spoken in Goa (India), Macau and East Timor.

3. Portugal is the oldest country in Europe
Portugal has its borders defined since the year 1139, thus being the oldest nation in Europe. Afonso Henriques proclaimed the first Kingdom of Portugal in 1139 and the country remained a kingdom for more than 800 years until the year 1910.

4. The oldest bookstore in the world is in the capital of Portugal
The bookstore Bertrand Chiado, was elected in 2011 by the Guinness Book, as the oldest bookstore in the world still in operation. This bookstore opened in 1732.

5. Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world
Portugal produces about 70% of the cork that is exported worldwide. The largest importers of Portuguese cork are: Germany, England and the United States. The country also has the largest forest of cork oaks in the world.

6. One of the oldest universities in Europe is in Portugal
The University of Coimbra was established in 1290, being thus one of the oldest of the European continent.

7. Portugal has the longest bridge in Europe
The Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon, is 17 kilometers long, making it the most extensive bridge in Europe.

8. Portugal and England have the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world
The Luso-British Alliance, was signed in 1373 and remains until today. A treaty of “perpetual friendship” was established, a union and alliance between the two nations.

9. Portugal is one of the best places in the world to practice surfing
Portugal has a coastal area of 800 kilometers long, and is already known to have 364 days of surfing per year.

10. In 1755, Lisbon was hit by one of the most powerful earthquakes in European history
On November 1, 1755, Lisbon was struck by an earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 8.7 to 9.0 on the Richter scale, followed by a tsunami, and several fires, which left the city in rubble. In addition, the earthquake occurred on All Saints’ Day, an important religious holiday, and on that day, the churches were littered with lighted candles, helping to spread the fires throughout the city. It is estimated that about 275,000 of the city’s residents died and that 85% of the buildings were destroyed.

11. The Portuguese Fado was classified as a UNESCO cultural heritageFado is a musical genre originated in Lisbon, this musical genre was elevated to the category of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

12. Portugal was the first colonial power to abolish slavery
Portugal abolished slavery in 1761, half a century before England, France, Spain and the United States.

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