A Profile of Portugal

The love of my life and I are taking a vacation later this year to Portugal! I figured I would organize and share some Portugal facts/stats as we continue to research and solidify our trip…

Major Dates

  • 1143 – Kingdom of Portugal Recognized
  • 1578 – Battle of Ksar El Kebir in Morocco, in which the Portuguese King and (pretty much) the entire Portuguese nobility were lost. That resulted in Portugal being annexed by Spain for 60 years. (info from Rod Carvalho)
  • 1755 – Major, Devastating Earthquake
  • 1803-1815 – Napoleonic Wars
  • 1822 – Independence of Brazil
  • 1910 – Deposition of the Monarchy, Republic Proclaimed
  • 1974 – Left-Wing Military Coup
  • 1975 – Colonial Independence (Angola, Mozambique, East Timor)
  • 1976 – Constitution Adopted
  • 1986 – Becomes Member of EU (formerly the EC)

Fun Facts

  • During the Napoleonic Wars, Portugal was, for a time, Great Britain’s only ally on the continent.
  • Also during the Napoleonic invasions, the Portuguese royal family moved to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro was, albeit for a brief period, the capital of the Portuguese Empire. Such empire was named the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. (again thanks here to Rod Carvalho!)
  • The oldest alliance in the world, still in force, is the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, signed in 1373.
  • The Vasco de Gama Bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe.
  • Portugal is a global leader in renewable energy with its solar energy farm in Alentejo.
  • It is illegal for a bull to be killed in Portuguese bullfighting.
  • The Estoril Casino, 20 km outside of Lisbon, is the largest gambling outlet in Europe.

Famous Portuguese

  • Henry the Navigator (explorer)
  • Vasco da Gama (discovered the sea route to India)
  • Bartolomeu Dias (first person to sail round the southern tip of Africa, which he named the Cape of Good Hope)
  • Ferdinand Magellan (first to complete a circumnavigation of the world, which he did in 1522)
  • Pedro Alvares Cabral (discoverer of Brazil)
  • José Mourinho (soccer coach, Inter Milan)
  • Nelly Furtado (singer)
  • Luis Figo (soccer player)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer player)
  • Click here for more (via Wikipedia)…

Statistics

  • Total Area: 92,090 sq km (ranked #110, slightly smaller than Indiana)
  • Land Area: 91,470 sq km
  • Water Area: 620 sq km
  • Capital: Lisbon
  • Structure: 18 Districts, 2 Autonomous Regions (Azores, Madeira)
  • Land Boundary: 1,214 km (with Spain)
  • Coastline: 1,793 km
  • Highest Altitude: 2,351 km (Ponta do Pico in the Azores)
  • Population: 10,707,924 (July 2009 est., ranked #76)
  • Population Growth Rate: 0.275% (ranked #178)
  • Population Density: 115 ppl / sq km (ranked #89)
  • Median Age: 39.4 years
  • Life Expectancy at Birth: 78.21 years (ranked #47)
  • HIV/AIDS Prevalence Rate: 0.50% (ranked #74)
  • Religious Breakdown: 84.5% Roman Catholic, 9.0% unknown, 3.9% none, 2.2% other Christian
  • Literacy: 93.3%
  • Education Expenditures (% of GDP): 5.5% (ranked #50)
  • Human Development Index: 0.909 (ranked #34)
  • Happy Planet Index: 37.5 (ranked #98)
  • Euromoney Country Risk Rating (Low=Best): 82.43 (ranked #24)
  • Military Expenditures (% of GDP): 2.3% (ranked #72)
  • GDP: $232.2 Billion (ranked #50)
  • GDP – Per Capita: $21,700 (ranked #56)
  • Exports: $41.42 Billion (ranked #52)
  • Export Partners: Spain (25.6%), Germany (12.6%), France (11.1%), Angola (5.9%), UK (5.3%)
  • Imports: $58.79 Billion (ranked #40)
  • Import Partners: Spain (28.9%), Germany (11.6%), France (8%), Italy (4.9%), Netherlands (4.4%)
  • Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (ranked #103)
  • Total Airports: 65 (ranked #76)
  • Annual Air Traffic (2006): 11,722,211 (ranked #20)
  • Railways: 2,786 km (ranked #59)
  • Roadways: 82,900 km (ranked #55)
  • Internet Hosts: 1.967 Million (ranked #33)
  • Internet Users: 4.476 Million (ranked #45)
  • Cell Phone Users: 14.91 Million (ranked #44)
  • Freedom Press Rating (Low=Free): 16 (ranked #16)

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3 thoughts on “A Profile of Portugal

  1. Another fun fact is that during the Napoleonic invasions, the Portuguese royal family moved to Brazil and Rio de Janeiro was, albeit for a brief period, the capital of the Portuguese Empire. Such empire was named the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.

    The 1755 earthquake was bad, but it was not the most important thing that happened in Portugal since 1143, in my opinion. A major date is the Battle of Ksar El Kebir in Morocco in 1578, in which the Portuguese King and (pretty much) the entire Portuguese nobility were lost. That resulted in Portugal being annexed by Spain for 60 years. That trumps the 1755 earthquake in importance, imho.

    Please do not write Bartholomew Diaz. His name was Bartolomeu Dias. Please note that “Diaz” is the Spanish spelling and, hence, it’s somewhat offensive for Portuguese people’s delicate sensitivities and memories…

    Last but not least, the correct name is Vasco da Gama, not Vasco de Gama.

    If you don’t yet know what to visit while in Portugal, I’d be happy to give you some suggestions. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Rod! I fixed the misspellings an and added the notes about 1578 and the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. I tried to used mostly credible sources but as I’m sure you know, many search engine relevancy rankings do not necessarily equate to the highest credibility content.

      And thanks for the offer with regards to our visit to Portugal. I’ll send you an email in the coming week! Best -KB

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