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Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river
Flag of Portugal
Location of Portugal in Europe

Portugal (Portuguese: [puɾtuˈɣal]), officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa [ʁɛˈpuβlikɐ puɾtuˈɣezɐ]), is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe and the world, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. The pre-Celtic people, Iberians, Celts, Carthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples. After the Muslim conquests of the Iberian Peninsula, most of the territory was part of Al-Andalus for several centuries. Portugal as a country was established during the early Christian Reconquista. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128. The Kingdom of Portugal was later proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique in 1139, and independence from León was recognised by the Treaty of Zamora in 1143.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias' sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope (1488), Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India (1497–98) and the European discovery of Brazil (1500). During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castille, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil (1822), and a late industrialization compared to other European powers, erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence.

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Lisbon (Lisboa) historic elevator Santa Justa Luca Galuzzi 2006.jpg

The Santa Justa Lift (Portuguese: Elevador de Santa Justa, pronounced [elɨvɐˈdoɾ dɨ ˈsɐ̃tɐ ˈʒuʃtɐ]), also called Carmo Lift (Portuguese: Elevador do Carmo, [elɨvɐˈdoɾ du ˈkaɾmu]), is an elevator, or lift, in the civil parish of Santa Justa, in the historical city of Lisbon, Portugal. Situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa, it connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square).

Since its construction the Lift has become a tourist attraction for Lisbon as, among the urban lifts in the city, Santa Justa is the only remaining vertical (conventional) one. Others, including Elevador da Glória and Elevador da Bica, are actually funicular railways, and the other lift constructed around the same time, the Elevator of São Julião, has since been demolished. Read more...

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Trocaz.jpg

The trocaz pigeon, Madeira laurel pigeon or long-toed pigeon (Columba trocaz) is a pigeon which is endemic to the island of Madeira. It is a mainly grey bird with a pinkish breast; its silvery neck patch and lack of white wing markings distinguish it from its close relative and probable ancestor, the common wood pigeon. Its call is a characteristic six-note cooing, weaker and lower-pitched than that of the wood pigeon. Despite its bulky, long-tailed appearance, this pigeon has a fast, direct flight.

A scarce resident breeder in laurisilva forests, the trocaz pigeon lays one white egg in a flimsy twig nest. Its numbers fell sharply after human colonisation of the Madeira archipelago, and it vanished altogether from Porto Santo Island. The major cause of its population decline was habitat loss from forest clearance, but hunting and nest predation by introduced rats were also contributory factors. Protection of the laurel forests and a ban on hunting have enabled numbers to increase, so that the species is no longer endangered. Read more...

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"Grenades? No... This is only smoke. Be calm, the people is serene! The people is serene!"

Granadas ? Não...Isto é só fumaça.Calma o povo é sereno!O povo é sereno!
José Pinheiro de Azevedo, former-Prime Minister of Portugal, in front of a multitude of supporters after tumults started because of explosions caused by detractors

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Denis Dighton Battle of Orthez.jpg

The Battle of Orthez (27 February 1814) saw the Anglo-Portuguese Army under Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington attack an Imperial French army led by Marshal Nicolas Soult in southern France. The outnumbered French repelled several Allied assaults on their right flank, but their center and left flank were overcome and Soult was compelled to retreat. At first the withdrawal was conducted in good order, but it eventually ended in a scramble for safety and many French soldiers became prisoners. The engagement occurred near the end of the Peninsular War.

In mid-February, Wellington's army broke out of its small area of conquered territory near Bayonne. Moving east, the Allies drove the French back from several river lines. After a pause in the campaign, the western-most Allied corps surrounded and isolated Bayonne. Resuming their eastward drive, the remaining two Allied corps pushed Soult's army back to Orthez where the French marshal offered battle. In subsequent operations, Soult decided to abandon the large western port of Bordeaux and fall back east toward Toulouse. The next action was the Battle of Toulouse. Read more...

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Ferdinand Magellan, in a 16/17th century anonymous portrait

Ferdinand Magellan (/məˈɡɛlən/ or /məˈɛlən/; Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, IPA: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃w dɨ mɐɣɐˈʎɐ̃jʃ]; Spanish: Fernando de Magallanes, IPA: [feɾˈnando ðe maɣaˈʎanes]; c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano.

Born into a family of minor Portuguese nobility in around 1480, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was in service of the Portuguese crown in Asia. After King Manuel I of Portugal refused to support his plan to reach India by a new route, by sailing around the southern end of the South American continent, he was eventually selected by King Charles I of Spain to search for a westward route to the Maluku Islands (the "Spice Islands"). Commanding a fleet of five vessels, he headed south through the Atlantic Ocean to Patagonia. Despite a series of storms and mutinies, they made it through the Strait of Magellan into a body of water he named the "peaceful sea" (the modern Pacific Ocean). The expedition reached the Philippine islands, where Magellan was killed during the Battle of Mactan. The expedition later reached the Spice Islands in 1521 and one of the surviving ships eventually returned home via the Indian Ocean, completing the first circuit of the globe. Read more...

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Convento-de-Cristo manuelina.jpg
Window of the Convent of the Order of Christ, in Tomar, a Templar stronghold built by Dom Gualdim Pais, provincial Master of the Order of the Temple in 1160.

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