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PortugalPortugal's name comes from the Roman's name of a city called Portus Cale. This city's name then changed to Portucale and later to Portugal. This city is today called Porto.


The Portuguese lifestyle is a combination of history, location, and priorities, but these priorities seem to focus on enjoyment of life, something fairly easy to accomplish given the weather most days and the foods. The culture has changed dramatically over time and is truly the result of multiple outside influences.

The Portuguese people come from various ethnic groups that were essentially united under Roman rule. The Romans united the people, while introducing a huge number of cultural aspects that remain prominent today. The Roman language, Latin was adopted and has since evolved into Portuguese and the people converted to Christianity and even today most people are Catholic. In addition to these major cultural contributions, the Romans also united the people, while introducing new foods, clothing, political organization, and people.

Later groups also changed the culture, but few remained. The Muslim Moors from North Africa converted many people to Islam, but never truly succeeded in taking over the region and with the Moors' expulsion from the peninsula most influences were lost, although numerous foods and spices remained.

Despite division among the people for much of history, the people united once again and formed a thriving government, which soon turned this small country into a world power. Portugal gained control over lands in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. This power led to financial growth, urbanization, a changing economy, a shift in jobs, a shift in priorities, and cultural changes in many directions.

Foreign influences arrived to Portugal with economic growth, but also in the forms of immigrants and new foods and spices. This exchange also went the other way as Portuguese influence spread to various parts of the world, creating the huge country of Brazil and introducing Catholicism to Timor Island, which later gave Timor-Leste (East Timor) independence.

After the country's fall from power on the international stage, focus turned inward. Today the country is a member of the European Union and is closely linked to their neighbors. The culture remains tied to its past in the form of religion, language, foods, and more, while the lifestyle remains rooted in enjoyment of life. Most people today live in the cities along the coasts, but farming is still a common occupation and these setting help dictate the daily routine. No matter the location, the people tend to be relaxed as life moves slowly; meals, socialization, and relaxation continue on for hours with family and friends as tardiness is a way of life.

The national coat of arms is on Portugal's flag; this symbol includes an armillary sphere and a Portuguese shield. The colors of the flag have unknown origins and meanings, but many people believe the green is for hope and the red for the blood of those defending the nation.

Name: Portuguese Republic
Independence: 1143
Capital: Lisbon
Currency: Euro
Population: 10,799,270 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Portuguese
Language: Portuguese & Mirandese
Religion: Roman Catholic

Information for Portugal was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks