Are you looking for some unique facts about Portugal and Portuguese? Then you’re in the right place! Whether you are visiting Lisbon and Brasília or planning to impress the locals with your knowledge of the native language, we’ve got a comprehensive guide here for you. Learning all the critical points we will cover today will pave the way for you to become a great turista or tourist in the country. If you are ready to learn more, then let’s get started!
Here Are The Fun Facts About Portugal And Portuguese
1. Portugal Is One Of The Oldest Nation-States In Europe
Portugal is one of Europe’s mais velho (meaning oldest) nation-states. The Celts, Romans, and Carthaginians inhabited the area throughout the ages. And that’s just some of the groups of people who have lived in Portugal!
On top of that, Portugal became so influential that it also managed to build the first global empire. From the beginning of the 15th century, they started colonizing parcels of lands overseas. They were so successful that they lasted over 600 years and spread all over Europe, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Africa, and South and North America.
Interestingly, history states that the country was so famous that it caught the eye of Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon is one of the most famous military leaders back in the day. In 1807, he managed to conquer and chase the royal family out of the country. After some time, Portuguese forces and the British had fought off Napoleon.
2. Portugal Is Extremely Peaceful, And Its Oldest Ally Is Europe
Portugal is one of Europe’s most peaceful or pacífica (female)/pacífico (male) countries. It was ranked 4th out of 163 countries in the Global Peace Index in 2021. Generally, it has low crime rates and high living standards.
Another interesting fact about Portugal is that its oldest ally in England. This dates back to centuries and centuries ago when England signed to be allied with Portugal in 1386. This tie was called The Treaty Of Windsor, which is thought to be the oldest and longest-running alliance between modern nations.
3. Portuguese Is An Extremely Popular Language
Around the world, there are about 250 million Portuguese speakers, and this language is spoken all the way from Angola to Brazil. In fact, this language is ranked fifth among world languages with an impressive number of native speakers. Due to this, many foreigners are also interested in mastering this in order to open more opportunities and connect with the locals.
4. Portuguese Food Was Introduced To Japan And India
If you have ever been to Portugal, you will notice that the country has plenty of places to fish. For this reason, the locals eat tons of fish or peixe in their diet. They also made a lot of unique recipes, including fish, since they do not want this resource to go to waste.
Tempura or tempurá is actually just one of the many dishes introduced by the Portuguese nationals to the Japanese people in the 16th century. Throughout the years, Japan managed to add twists to the recipe and cooking method until such time that it has now become a popular Japanese dish.
Portuguese are also the ones who introduced all the best foods and condiments to India. Crazy, right? Indian cuisine wouldn’t be what it is now without the Portuguese trade. The colonies and trading posts on the subcontinent brought in many different ingredients from the New World, including chili pepper, tomato, and potatoes.
5. Mount Pico Is The Highest Mountain
Mount Pico is the highest mountain or montanha. But, Mount Pico is not located on mainland of Portugal. You can find it on the island of Pico in the Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. The mountain is stunning, Fuji-level prominent, and stands at an impressive 7,713 feet. In 1720 the mountain erupted, and yes, it is still active even to this day.
6. The Rooster Is An Important Symbol
In Portugal, their symbol is the rooster. One reason for that is because there was a local story where a dead rooster helped an alleged criminal prove that he was innocent of the crimes he was accused of. The rooster was called Barcelos and is celebrated to this day. It’s an extremely popular souvenir item and comes in multiple forms like statues, painted on plates, turned into stuffed toys, and so much more!
7. They Have One Of The Oldest Bookstores In The World!
Looking for a bookstore or livraria during your stay in the country? This country is where you can find one of the world’s oldest bookstores and is located in Lisbon. The bookstore is called Bertrand Bookstore, and it’s simply stunning. This bookstore has been up and running since 1732. It is a must-see sight that you will not regret visiting even if you aren’t going to buy any books or are not an enthusiast of books.
8. First To Abolish Slavery
Portugal was the first country to abolish slavery. Britain may have been publicized the most regarding the famous slavery abolishment in 1833. But Portugal did it way before they did. In 1819, Portugal played a big part in the slave trade and abolished it.
9. The Porto Wine Is Extremely Protected
The Porto wine, or vinho do Porto, comes from the world’s third oldest protected wine-producing region. The most famous product of Porto is the eponymous wine known as port. It’s been popular for a very long time.
The Douro wine-producing region is the third oldest and most protected one of its kind.
10. They Have Their Martial Art
Portugal has its very own martial art or artes marciais. If East Asia has kung-fu, taekwondo, and karate, Portugal prides itself on the Jogo do pau, meaning ‘game of the stick.’ It is more based on medieval knightly techniques and originated in the mountains of the north. Farmers initially used Jogo do pau as self-defense, and even to this day, it is still practiced.
11. Portuguese’s Fado Singing Style
Fado is a distinct Portuguese style of singing. Fado dates back to the 1820s and sprung up in Lisbon’s cafes, bars, and restaurants. It became an instant hit overnight and came from the Latin fatum, which literally means ‘fate’ but can also mean ‘death.’
Fado is loud and mournful style but zapped with unmatched energy and power.
12. Fate Is Everything, Good Or Bad
The Portuguese believe in fate, whether good or bad. It is part of their fantastic culture. One example of a word usually used by the locals is the ‘saudade.’ This word refers to an intense and sorrowful longing or nostalgia for someone or something you miss deeply and can never get back.
13. You Can Find The Prettiest McDonald’s In Portugal
Another insanely incredible fact about Portugal is that it has the most beautiful McDonald’s you will ever see. It’s in the impressive Art Nouveau building from the 1930s and had formerly housed the famous Imperial Cafe.
But today, this exact McDonald’s has taken on the legendary and iconic title. This building has eagle statues, gold lettering above its door, and actual chandeliers hanging from the ceilings inside the ‘restaurant.’
14. Lisbon Is Older Than Rome
The last fact about Portugal is that Lisbon is much older than Rome. Archaeological evidence goes back to the indigenous population. The settlement at Lisbon dates back to at least the 8th and 6th (BC), and the first settlers traded with Carthaginians.
5+ Fun Facts About Portuguese
- Portuguese is one of the world’s most romantic languages. Its features are taken from Vulgar Latin and Medieval Galician. After Portuguese became the official dialect of Portugal, it spread worldwide or no mundo todo.
- In Portuguese, the letters k, y, and w were completely absent until just recently, which is said to have been heavily influenced by the Europeans.
- Another fun fact about the Portuguese is that they have some fun tongue twisters. Why don’t you give them a try?
- O rato roeu a roupa do rei de Roma = The rat gnawed the king of Rome’s clothes.
- A aranha arranha a rã. A rã arranha a aranha = The spider scratches the frog. The frog scratches the spider.
- Portuguese is surprisingly ranked as the 6th most natively spoken dialect worldwide! Over 260 million people speak Portuguese worldwide. And, of course, the number will grow since Portuguese is the fastest-growing European language or língua.
- Portuguese is spoken in Portugal, Brazil, and African and Asian countries. That includes Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique.
- In terms of its alphabet, Portuguese has a word that is 29 letters long, while English’s longest word is only 28 letters.
Learn More With Ling
Are you interested to learn more facts about the Portuguese language? Then now is the best time to explore the Ling App. This revolutionary application is an excellent fit for anyone looking to learn something new. The app allows you to take your learning to the next level by picking the pace you want and taking things in bite sizes instead of being thrown into the deep end. The app is also interactive and very easy to navigate.
There are so many good points to this app, but we will let you discover all those features. Therefore, we urge you to download the app on Google Play Store and the Apple Store to start learning Portuguese the right way!