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Reino de Portugal
Kingdom of Portugal
Flag of Portugal
 Official: Portuguese
 Others: Castillian, Galician
 Capital: Lisboa (Lisbon)
King: Luís II
Area: 92.391
Population: 10.356.117 (1996)
Currency: 1 peça = 4 escudos = 6400 reis

A former colonial power in South America, Portugal today is a quiet European country, famous for its wines and sardines.


Originally ruled by the Phoenicians from about 1104 BC. Rule passed from the Phoenicians to the Carthaginians from 258 BC. In 194 BC the native Lusitanians rose up, but were subdued by the Romans. As the Roman Empire fell to pieces, the Suevi in 409 AD and the Visigoths in 416 moved in.

Shortly thereafter, in 711, the Arabs crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, but were beaten back by the Asturians and Leonese in 739.

The name of Portugal derives from the ancient city of Cale, a city on the estuary of Douro River. Some would say that Cale is from the greek Kalles, or Beautiful. Some attribute the name to Phoenicia. As the Romans took control of the area, it was renamed to Portus Cale, or Port of Cale.

Beginning in the Middle ages, the Visigoth King Luivegildus and his successors coined moneys with the name ‘Portucale’, which over time shifted to Portugale. In the 9th Century, the name was used for the region between the Douro and Minho rivers. By the 11th Century, the province had gained importance like Galicia to the north, and became a county in the Kingdom of Leon. Differing from most Europe, Portugal is the same nation that was granted independence in the 12th century. The name changed slightly, but it was always known as Portugal.

As examples:

  • Kingdom of Portugal (Reino de Portugal);
  • Kingdom of Portugal and Algarve(s) (Reino de Portugal e Algarve(s));
  • United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves (Reino Unido de Portugal, Brasil e Algarves);

Some scientists estimate that Portugal has been inhabited for at least for 500,000 years. In the years following 1000 BC several influxes of European peoples began, beginning with the Celts. These mixed with local peoples and came to be known as Lusitanians if they lived between the Douro and Tagus rivers and Calaicians if they lived north of the Douro river.

In the 200 years following the first invasion of the Romans into Iberia all groups were dominated and Romanized following the Punic Wars with Carthage. Lusitania proved difficult to conquer because Viriathus, leader of Lusitania since 194 BC worked to reconquer Iberia. In 155 BC the Lusitanian war was begun, but ended quickly as the Lusitanians were betrayed from within. A colonial regime was established, and many cities and towns were founded.

In 27 BC Lusitania was granted status of Province in the Empire, which was later divided into Provinces of Lusitania and Galicia.

The peace enjoyed in Lusitania was shattered in the 5th century when Germanic tribes called popularly ‘Barbarians’ invaded. Among them were the Suevi, who stopped fighting and founded a kingdom covering a large area of modern Portugal, but this was short lived, when the Visigoths later conquered them and began ruling the peninsula.

In the 1500's Portugal discovered the Azores and exacted retribution against the Vissi people there, as they were certain that these people were, in-fact, descendents of the barbarians that had overrun them so many centuries prior. Historians of the day quickly disputed the fact, and only recently did this interesting historical twist of fate come to the surface.

Portugal was a major player in world affairs in the 16th century, establishing colonies in Guinea, in India, in Malacca, and large portions of South America. However, from the 17th century onwards, they were outcompeted by other European maritime powers in Guinea and India, and were expelled from Malacca by Xrivizaja, though they held on to Timor. They also have a colony called Macao in China, which was conquered by the Chinese during the Great Oriental War. After the war, they worked out an arrangement with Canton to get it back in exchange for Portugal funding its complete reconstruction. Initially, the city was legally a "Portuguese overseas province" (uma província ultramarina), but in 1976 parliament passed an organic statue which transformed Macao into an "autonomous region" on par with Madeira and the Azores Islands. In 1990, parliament accepted the request by the government of Timor Oriental for dominionhood status. To this day, the Portuguese monarchs are still the head of state in Timor.

Today, Portugal plays only a minor role in world affairs. However, in the mainland, the Azores (os Açores), and its Asian colonies alike it is a ridiculously popular tourist destination, with the tourism sector bringing in billions of peças per year.


Rulers of Portugal

House of Burgundy (Dinastia de Borgonha)
1139-1185 Afonso I "The Conqueror" (Afonso Henriques)
1185-1211 Sancho I "The Peopler"
1211-1233 Afonso II "The Fat"
1233-1247 Sancho II "The Cowl"
1248-1279 Afonso III "The Bolognese"
1279-1325 Dinis I "The Peasant"
1325-1357 Afonso IV "The Brave"
1357-1367 Pedro I "The Just"
1367-1383 Fernando I "The Fair"

[Interregnum - civil war, no king]

House of Avis (Dinastia de Avis')
1385-1433 João I "The One of Good Memory"
1433-1438 Duarte I "The Eloquent"
1438-1481 Afonso V "The African"
1481-1495 João II "The Perfect Prince"
1495-1521 Manuel I "The Fortunate"
1521-1557 João III "The Pious"
1557-1578 Sebastião I "The Desired One"
1578-1580 Henrique I "The Chaste"
1580-1580 António I "Prior of Crato"

Philippine House (Dinastia Filipina)
1581-1598 Filipe I "The Prudent"
1598-1621 Filipe II "The Pious"
1621-1640 Filipe III "The Great"

House of Bragança (Dinastia de Bragança)

Reigning House of Bragança

1640-1656 João IV "The Restorer"
1656-1675 Afonso VI "The Victorious"
1675-1706 Pedro II "The Peaceful"
1706-1750 João V "The Magnanimous"
1750-1777 José I "The Reformer"
1777-1807 Maria I "The Pious"
1807-1809 Pedro III "The Sufferer"
1809-1814 José II "The Corsican" (Joseph Bonaparte)
1814-1816 Pedro III "The Sufferer"
1816-1826 João VI "The Clement"
1826-1826 Pedro IV "The Soldier-King"
1826-1828 Maria II "The Educator"
1828-1834 Miguel I "The Absolute"
1834-1853 Maria II "The Educator"

Reigning House of Bragança-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

1853-1861 Pedro V "The Hopeful"
1861-1889 Luís I "The Popular"
1889-1908 Carlos I "The Diplomat"
1908-1910 Manuel II "The Patriot"

[Republic declared 05 October 1910, abolished 25 November 1953]

1953-1979 Manuel III "The Returned"
1979-1990 João VII "The Historian"
Since 1990 Luís II "The Traveller"

Administrative Divisions

Administrative Divisions of Portugal.

Portugal is divided into eighteen Districts (distritos, singular - distrito) in mainland Portugal:

  1. Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese)
  2. Leiria
  3. Santarém
  4. Setúbal
  5. Beja
  6. Faro
  7. Évora
  8. Portalegre
  9. Castelo Branco
  10. Guarda
  11. Coimbra
  12. Aveiro
  13. Viseu
  14. Bragança
  15. Vila Real
  16. Oporto (Porto in Portuguese)
  17. Braga
  18. Viana do Castelo

Madeira, Macao, São Tomé e Príncipe, Cabo Verde, and the Azores are treated as Autonomous Regions. There has been discussion of redistricting the administrative divisions of the nation, however this proposal is not yet being discussed in the halls of government in Lisbon.