Portugal Day, celebrated each year on the 10th of June is the national day of the Portuguese people around the world. It is held in remembrance of a national icon – Luis de Camoes – a poet who invoked sharp nationalistic pride in the Portuguese population. The Portugal Day is a national holiday in the country and marks the death anniversary of Luis de Camoes who created Portugal’s national epic poem, Os Lusiadas. According to the legend, Camoes saved the epic poem after surviving a shipwreck and swimming with one arm. On the Portugal Day, several political and military ceremonies are held in capital Lisbon and exhibitions and concerts take place throughout the country. A city is chosen by the Portuguese President to host the official celebration.

On Portugal Day, we take a look at 13 facts about this beautiful country.

    1. Portugal as a country came into existence in the 12th century, which makes it one of the oldest European nation.
    2. It is home to some of the greatest explorers in the history like Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco de Gama and Bartholomew Diaz. These men discovered places like India, Africa, Brazil and the far east.
    3. Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is older than Rome, which many believe is the oldest city on the planet. Lisbon has been under occupation for 3000 years as per the archaeological findings.
    4. Portuguese is the official language of Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Macau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe along with Goa in India.
    5. The world’s oldest bookshop is the Livraria Bertrand of Lisbon which has been around since 1732 and now has more than 50 branches.
    6. Portugal is home to one of the world’s oldest universities – the University of Coimbra which came into existence in 1290 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    7. The national drink of Portugal is also one of its most famous export – the Port Wine. It is produced extensively in the Portugal’s UNESCO listed Douro Valley.

      The gender health gap in Portugal is significant with the life expectancy of men at 76.2 years and that of women at 82.9 years.

    8. The six-lane, Vasco da Gama bridge that crossed the Tagus River in north Lisbon is the longest bridge of the European Union and is 12.35 km in length and 148 meters in height.
    9. Portugal is the largest exporter of cork product in the world and is home to the world’s largest cork forest.
    10. Over 70 % of Portugal’s energy demands are met by renewable sources and be it any source like wind, solar or hydro – the nation has made tremendous progress.
    11. Portugal is known to have the world’s shortest monarchy when King Luis Filipe was at the ruler of the country for 20 minutes.
    12. Portugal became the sixth country of the world to legitimise same-sex marriage.

Portugal once ruled more than half of the world when it was given the likes of Brazil, Asia and Africa post the Treaty of Tordesillas. While its boundaries may have shrunk, it continues to have a deep cultural connect with several nations.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 10, 2020 09:22 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).