Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What are some mind-blowing facts about Portugal?

Portugal is one of the oldest countries in Europe - Having the same defined borders since 1139, almost 900 years ago. The name Portugal first appears in 868, during the Reconquista over the Muslims.

Lisbon is older than Rome - Around four centuries older to be precise. It is in fact the second oldest   European capital after Athens. Many historians believe that it was settled by the Phoenicians around 1200 BC, who used the excellent   transport possibilities offered by the River Tagus.

Portugal once had a dead Queen - When Pedro I was crowned King of Portugal in 1357, he proclaimed his lover, Ines de Castro, Queen despite the fact that she had died in 1355

Portugal is one of the world's top surf spots. In October 2011, Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara caught the biggest wave (30 m / 90 ft) ever surfed to date at Praia do Norte, near the  town  of Nazaré, in central Portugal.

Paris is the second-largest "Portuguese city", based on the number of Portuguese residents, with nearly 700,000 Portuguese. But Paris is not the only place in Europe with lots of Portuguese people: around 12 per cent of the   population of Luxembourg is actually Portuguese.

The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance between England/UK and Portugal is the oldest alliance in the world which is still in force. It was signed in 1373 and is in force until this day. Both countries   entered wars to defend the other, including the United Kingdom entering the Iberian Peninsular War and Portugal entering World War I.

Half of the "New World" once belonged to Portugal - In 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed which essentially gave   Portugal the eastern half of the "New Word", including Brazil, Africa, and Asia. The Portuguese Empire was actually the first global empire in   history and one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting for  almost  six centuries from when Ceuta was captured in 1415, until Macau (now  China) was handed-over in 1999.

Portugal was the first colonial power to abolish slavery. It abolished slavery all the way back in 1761 - that's half a century before Britain, France, Spain, or the United States.However, Portugal was also the first country in Europe to open a 'Slave Market' in Lagos, Algarve.

Portuguese is the eighth most spoken language in the world. With approximately 200 million native speakers and 240 million total speakers,
is usually listed as the eighth most spoken language in the world after Mandarin, English, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Russian and Bengali

Portugal has the world's largest Solar Energy plant. Based in Alentejo. Portugal also boasts the world's fire wave energy plant, which became producing energy in October of the 2006

Portugal introduced the habit of drinking tea in Britain. The   world-famous tea ceremony in England has emerged thanks to Portuguese Catherine of Braganza, who married the King Charles II of England and brought this mode to the court. Japanese tempura, a set of buttered  dishes, has specifically Portuguese origin because of Portuguese navigators.

Portugal is the third country in the world by fish consumption indicator,   following Japan and Iceland. The Azores citizens eat nearly 76 kg of fish annually, while in the world the average amount is16 kg.

Portugal does not have an official religion, though some 84% of the population are Catholic.

The world-famous "Port" wine comes from Porto. It became very popular in England after the Methuen Treaty of 1703, when merchants were permitted to import it at a low duty, while war with France deprived English wine drinkers of French wine. The long trip to England often resulted in spoiled wine; the   fortification of the wine was introduced to improve the shipping and   shelf-life of the wine for its journey. In the UK, the military (British Army, RAF and Royal Navy) at formal dinners use port as a wine with which to toast the Queen. It has been imitated in several  countries - notably Australia, South Africa, India and the United  States.

Lisbon runs the largest Casino one in Europe - Casino do Estoril.

Lisbon was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in  history, which led to the birth of seismology. On  the 1st of November in 1755, Lisbon was  struck by about a 9.0  magnitude earthquake. Furthermore, the  earthquake struck on All Saints  Day, a major holiday when the churches  were filled with burning  candles. The earthquake struck, toppling the  candles, causing major  fires. 275,000 residents were killed and 85% of  the buildings were  destroyed, including famous palaces and churches. Lisbon being the  capital of a devout Catholic  country with a long history of evangelism  in the colonies, the  catastrophe caused much embarassment to the  Catholic Church, which could  not explain this manifestation of the  anger of God - striking moreover  on a Catholic holiday.

Although Portugal was always a very small nation state, the Portuguese Empire was huge. Following its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th   centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the   destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the   Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of its wealthiest colony of  Brazil  in 1822.

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