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In The News
Portugal suffered a 4-2 defeat against Germany in their second Euro 2020 outing, setting an unwanted record in the process.
The embarrassing loss was the first time that Portugal conceded four goals in the European Championships.
Additionally, never before a title-defending team had let in four goals in a single match in the history of the competition.
4 – Portugal are the first reigning champions in European Championship history to concede four goals in a single match in the competition. Shocked. #EURO2020 https://t.co/juHGYby6yi&mdash OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 19, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo, as he so often does, was able to leave some impression on the match as he played a part in both his side’s goals. The Juventus forward took his tally for the tournament up to three goals with a close-range finish before helping Diogo Jota get on the scoresheet with an acrobatic assist.
Ronaldo was let down by his defenders. A Selecao’s backline was leaky while Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro directly contributed to their demise by scoring own goals.
Portugal now find themselves in third place in Group F, and anything less a win against France on Wednesday could present dire consequences.
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1. Portugal is one of the oldest nation-states in Europe
Believe it or not, but Portugal was first established as a country in the 12th century, making it one of the oldest nation in Europe. In total, it had one of the oldest running empires, spanning almost six centuries within the country borders that remained unchanged since 1139.
Outstanding right? I’m guessing you didn’t expect that.
2. The capital of Portugal is also one of the oldest city in Western Europe.
São Bento Palace Lisbon
Not only is Portugal the oldest nation in Europe, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is also the oldest city by centuries in Western Europe and other cities such as London, Paris and Rome.
The city of Lisbon is a fantastic destination with cobbled-stone narrow streets, tram rides and amazing coastal views that make it an ideal place to discover. It is also a great city for young ones to visit with the best hip locations such as the famous Bairro Alto.
3. Lisbon was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in European history.
Well this doesn’t come up as one of the Interesting facts about Portugal.
Beautiful Lisbon was struck by a massive earthquake in November 1755, which was followed by a tsunami and fires that brought the city to rubble. This happened on All Saints Day, a major holiday when the churches are filled with burning candles.
When the earthquake struck it caused major fires with the candles. 275,000 people were killed and 85% of the buildings were destroyed.
And to this day, people still talk about the devastating earthquake.
Check also our guide to visit Lisbon (weather, things to do and much more.)
4. Portugal owned half of the “New World”.
Another of the Interesting facts about Portugal is that Portugal owned half of the “New World”.
In 1494, Portugal and Spain divided the world in two by signing the Treaty of Tordesillas which essentially gave Portugal the eastern half of the “New World”, including countries like Brazil, Africa and Asia.
The Portuguese Empire was actually tas wellst global empire in history and one of the longest-lived colonial powers, lasting for almost six centuries until Macau (now part of China) was handed over in 1999.
If you’re enjoying the content so far, make sure you stick around, I’m sure fact #17 will surprise you as well.
History of Portugal
Portugal emerged as a country in 1143, after a 15 year rebellion by Dom Afonso Henriques (Afonso I). Afonso Henriques defeated his mother Countess Teresa of Portugal, regent of the County (Condado) of Portugal and loyal to the Kingdom of Leon, at the battle of Sao Mamede (Batalha de Sao Mamede) near the town of Guimaraes, in June of 1128. Countess Teresa was imprisoned and exiled by her son, and died in 1130. Guimaraes is therefore known as the birthplace city of Portugal.
However, the true test of an independent nation did not happened until 1385. Joao Mestre de Avis (John of Avis), with the help of legendary supreme constable Nuno Alvares Pereira, defeated the Castilians at the epic Aljubarrota battle, where the Castilians outnumbered the Portuguese 6:1. John I (Dom Joao I) was crowned King of Portugal. John I along with his sons, Duarte (to became the king in succession), Henry The Navigator, and Afonso started the “Golden Decades” of worldwide discoveries (15th and 16th centuries).
A 1911 revolution deposed the monarchy with the assassination of King Manuel I and his son. For most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. Antonio Salazar a right wing fascist ran the country with an iron fist and a austere economic plan which slowly buried Portugal deeper and deeper in its third world status within Europe. Salazar also held on to the colonies of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea, which contributed not just to the deplorable state of those countries, but also to a colonial war which killed hundreds of thousands of Portuguese men.
In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms, which had the opposite effect. Too much freedom, too quickly, placed the country in total “democratic chaos”. Union bosses, corrupt politicians, and left-wing and right-wing extremists took turns plundering the country, with disastrous economic and labor plans. Starting in 1976, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies, and a wave of refugees were poorly assimilated into a society that does not value ethnic diversity to this day.
Successive governments led by communists, socialists and social-democrats took turns managing Portugal. Portugal joined the European Community in 1986, and with the large infusion of capital to bring the country above 3rd country status, prosperity and double digit economic growth in the late 80’s and early 90’s was achieved along with near zero employment rate. Joining the EC gave the country a boost, with a flurry of grants and investments that contributed to new roads and an overall upgrade of a dilapidated infrastructure. However it is estimated that only 36% of the funds contributed to this growth with 64% of the grants wasted in mismanagement and corruption.
Today Portugal is financially on its heels. Under the supervision of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Portugal is desperately clinging to big budget cuts in pensions, health, education, all the while raising taxes and watching its unemployment ranks grow. Corruption has put some high-profile personalities in jail, such as former PM Jose Socrates and Espirito Santo Group Chief Salgado. Salaries and bonus of state owned companies continue to rise as do those any level of Government including the Assembly, making the People of Portugal uncomfortable. The office of the president spends lavishly with a 16 million Euro budget, and the office of the Ministry maintain its royal perks such a fleet of chauffeured BMWs and Mercedes in the thousands, as well as expenses accounts several times larger than the average salary wages in Portugal of around 500 Euros.
While the government tries the find its footing, the people of Portugal work. Portugal has great companies, national and multinationals, great innovators and inventors, and universities churning out great minds. It is its people’s characters and hard work what will continue to make up for intense corruption in government, state own monopolies, and public-private partnerships set up to employ ex-government officials.
It is the people of Portugal that makes it a great country and the ones that, with time, will bring to justice those who have continuously ransack its coffers and its people goodwill. The first step would be to revise the constitution, allow people to vote for their representatives, not the parties, end the subsidy and empowerment of its parties, and reduce the completely useless Assembly membership from 230 members to half or less.
Portugal mayor: Protesters' details were given to embassies
LISBON – The city council of Lisbon has for years provided foreign embassies with personal information about protesters who organize demonstrations outside their premises, the Portuguese capital’s mayor said Friday.
The practice continued even after a new data protection law that took effect in 2018 made it illegal, Mayor Fernando Medina said.
Medina did not specify which embassies were informed, but he gave an example of information provided to the Israeli Embassy in 2011 to show that previous council leaders had followed the same procedure. The information provided at that time named at least one person who took part in the protest against Israeli conduct in Palestinian territories, he said.
The mayor spoke as he published the results of a preliminary internal audit into why the city council shared with Russian officials personal details of at least three Lisbon-based dissidents. The dissidents organized a protest in Lisbon five months ago in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The information-sharing, first reported by Portuguese newspapers Expresso and Observador earlier this month, caused a scandal.
Medina said the audit found that the personal details of protesters had been sent to embassies 52 times since 2018. A broader audit is now looking into pre-2018 cases.
The council’s rules on informing embassies about the identity of protesters are unclear despite the data protection law, he said. Council procedures say information should be sent to “the proper authorities.” For many years, that was understood to mean sending the details to Portuguese police, the government and diplomatic representations targeted by protests.
Recommendations to change the procedures, especially after the 2018 law change, were unheeded, and the council’s data protection officer is to be fired, Medina said
In the future, the council will provide information about protest organizers - who must request the council's permission to hold demonstrations - only to the Portuguese police and government, according to Medina.
Police will offer to conduct a “security analysis” to assess the safety of the individuals whose information was shared with foreign powers, he said.
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Pointers From Portugal on Addiction and the Drug War
Decriminalization involves trade-offs, but treating addiction as a disease yields a clear gain, research suggests.
Many people point to Portugal as an example for the United States to emulate in dealing with illicit drugs.
But Portugal’s experience is often misunderstood. Although it decriminalized the use of all illicit drugs in small amounts in 2001, including heroin and cocaine, that’s different from making them legal. And it did not decriminalize drug trafficking, which would typically involve larger quantities.
Portugal’s law removed incarceration, but people caught possessing or using illicit drugs may be penalized by regional panels made up of social workers, medical professionals and drug experts. The panels can refer people to drug treatment programs, hand out fines or impose community service.
A lot of the benefits over the years from Portugal’s policy shift have come not from decriminalization per se, but in the expansion of substance-use disorder treatment. Such a move might bring the most tangible benefit to the United States.
After decriminalization, the number of people in Portugal receiving drug addiction treatment rose, according to a study by Hannah Laqueur, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Moreover, as of 2008, three-quarters of those with opioid use disorder were receiving medication-assisted treatment. Though that’s considered the best approach, less than half of Americans who could benefit from medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction receive it.
“Most accounts of the Portugal experiment have focused on decriminalization, but decriminalization was part of a broader effort intended to encourage treatment,” Professor Laqueur said.
In turn, the country made financial investments in harm reduction and treatment services. Research in the United States shows a dollar spent on treatment saves more than a dollar in crime reduction.
Opioid overdose deaths fell after Portugal’s policy change. So did new cases of diseases associated with injection drug use, such as hepatitis C and H.I.V. This latter change could also be a result of increases in needle exchange programs in the country. Those programs often meet opposition in the United States, but a cost-effectiveness analysis published in 2014 replicated the research of others in finding that a dollar invested in syringe exchange programs in the United States saves at least six dollars in avoided costs associated with H.I.V. alone.
Harm reduction through needle exchanges and greater treatment availability are among the reasons for the wide disparity in drug overdose deaths between the United States (with a rising and staggering total of nearly 72,000 last year) and European countries like Portugal (which typically has well below 100 such deaths a year). These reflect a different mind-set on addiction in Portugal, it’s treated strictly as a disease.
Not everything got better immediately after Portugal’s shift. One study found an increase in drug experimentation after the law. But this was a transient effect — most experimentation did not lead to regular drug use.
Murders increased by 41 percent in the five years after the drug reform law (after which they fell), and drug trafficking grew. These could be related.
“Any change in the drug market can bring about violence,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. “Drug traffickers may have incorrectly understood the Portuguese law as a sign the country was a safe place to expand their business, leading to clashes among them and between them and the police.”
One way much of the United States is similar to Portugal is that penalties for cannabis use have fallen. Portugal’s regional panels typically impose no penalties for cannabis use, the most-used illicit drug in Portugal. In the United States, most states have legalized medical marijuana, and some have legalized it for recreational use.
One consequence of ending incarceration as a penalty in Portugal is that prison overcrowding decreased. The same would be expected to occur in the United States.
It’s important to note that we don’t know what would have happened in Portugal had the 2001 drug reforms not occurred, so findings should be taken with a grain of salt. Some of the observed changes could result from trends predating the change in laws. For example, even before the 2001 law, those convicted of drug use were typically fined, not incarcerated. In each of the eight years before the 2001 law, the number of people incarcerated for drug use was no higher than 42 and was as low as four. (Portugal’s population is roughly that of the Chicago metro area, about 10 million.)
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Portugal, officially Portuguese Republic, Portuguese República Portuguesa, country lying along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Once continental Europe’s greatest power, Portugal shares commonalities—geographic and cultural—with the countries of both northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Its cold, rocky northern coast and mountainous interior are sparsely settled, scenic, and wild, while the country’s south, the Algarve, is warm and fertile. The rugged Estrela Mountains (Serra da Estrela, or “Star Mountain Range”), which lie between the Tagus and Mondego rivers, contain the highest point of mainland Portugal.
- 1 A 2004 concordat with the Vatican acknowledges the special role of the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal.
In the 1st millennium bce the Celtic Lusitani entered the Iberian Peninsula and settled the land, and many traces of their influence remain. According to national legend, though, Lisbon, the national capital, was founded not by Celts but by the ancient Greek warrior Odysseus, who was said to have arrived at a rocky headland near what is the present-day city after leaving his homeland to wander the world and who, liking what he saw, stayed there for a while his departure was said to have broken the heart of the nymph Calypso, who, the legend goes, turned herself into a snake, her coils becoming the seven hills of Lisbon. Of course, had Odysseus actually come to Portugal, he would have found the land already well settled by the Lusitani.
Lusitani tribes battled the Romans for generations before acceding to empire, whereupon Rome established several important towns and ports the Roman presence can be seen in the very name of the country, which derives from Portus Cale, a settlement near the mouth of the Douro River and the present-day city of Porto. Later, the descendants of Romans and the Lusitani would live under Moorish rule for several centuries until an independent kingdom was established.
In constant battle and rivalry with Spain, its eastern neighbour, Portugal then turned to the sea and, after Henry the Navigator’s establishment of a school of navigation at Sagres, in time founded a vast overseas empire that would become Europe’s largest and richest. Much of that empire was quickly lost, but even then Portugal retained sizable holdings along the African coast, in southern and eastern Asia, and in South America. Portugal remained a colonial power until the mid-1970s, when a peaceful revolution transformed the country from a dictatorship into a democratic republic. Long among the poorest countries of Europe, Portugal modernized in the last decades of the 20th century, expanding its economy from one based primarily on textile manufacture and livestock raising to include a range of manufactures and services.
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and economic and cultural centre. The city clings to low but steep hills situated on the right bank of the Tagus and is a popular tourist destination. Lisbon is rather more tranquil and reserved than Madrid in neighbouring Spain, but it shares with it a reputation for great food, melancholy and romantic music, dance, and sport. Portuguese traditionally have prized a simple and unostentatious life, favouring the rural over the urban and the traditional to the modern, where a fine meal might consist of carne de porco à Alentejana (lean pork stuffed with clams), thick-crusted bread, and dark wine. Portuguese delight in the countryside, where they gather to hold family picnics, tend to their gardens and orchards, and relax. It is from the countryside that the fado, a form of romantic ballad, is thought to have come (though it is now clearly associated with the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra), and it is in the countryside that the country’s traditional sport of bullfighting takes its finest form, though in Portuguese bullfighting the bull is not killed but rather is retired to the countryside for the rest of its life.
Keep reading for more Portugal facts!
42. It has been seen that Portuguese women have a longer lifespan than men. They are known to live almost 6 years longer than men.
43. One of the facts for adventure seekers is that Portugal has an amazing surfing facility at Praia do Norte in Nazaré. This coastline is known to have the biggest surf wave of 23.77 meters, which is 78 feet above the ground. As it borders the Atlantic ocean, Portugal is home to some of the world's top surf spots.
44. The Late-Gothic Manueline style of architecture that is prevalent in many historic Portuguese structures was named after the King of Portugal Manuel. Characterized by highly lavish ornamentation, this style of design stemmed from the wealth accumulated by mostly sea-trade, which is also why the ornamentation usually resembled coral, seaweed, and algae.
45. The most dreadful earthquake in the country occurred in the capital city of Lisbon on All Saints Day in 1755. Lisbon was struck by a quake with a magnitude of 9.0 followed by a tsunami and fires around the city. Buildings were destroyed. The disaster was one of the most powerful earthquakes in European history.
46. On a much lighter note: Portugal has made it illegal to urinate in the ocean. It's just one of those weird laws in Portugal.
47.> Next of the facts about Portugal: it was the 6th country in Europe to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2010.
48. ‘Capela de Ossos’ is a small chapel made out of human bones. These bones belonged to 1,245 monks and were displaced while the chapel was being built. Portugal has a few other ‘bone chapels’ as well and the use of displaced bones in such a fashion was quite common.
49. If you are a fan of McDonald’s, you’ll find what is probably the world’s most beautiful McDonald’s in Porto. The building it occupies was used by Cafe Imperial previously and is still a very fine example of the Art Deco style of architecture. Having a Big Mac in a McDonald’s with stained glass windows and intricately designed friezes is an experience you won’t get anywhere else.
50. Prepaid phone cards are said to have been first introduced in Portugal, although the claim is made by Italy too.
51. In Madeira, you can experience the famous Toboggan Ride that was historically used as the primary source of transport in the region. Riding in a wicker toboggan is described as exhilarating by many tourists.
52. Cobblers seem to do very well in Portugal, thanks to the vast collection of cobblestone streets the country has. These streets are famous for destroying shoes, especially women’s heels.
53. Museu dos Fosforos has the largest collection of matchbox designs on display in the world. The collection displays more than 43,000 matchboxes. It is located in the courtyard of Convento de São Francisco and showcases the world’s cultural history in a fascinating manner.
54. The Santissima Trindade Church is a very non-traditional church on the outskirts of Lisbon. It is shaped like a rocket and is white in color. At first glance, you would be forgiven to mistake it as anything but a church. It took 13 years to build this unusual church, in part due to disagreements between the architect and the priest.
55. Northeast Portugal also has a ‘co-official’ language, Mirandese, which is spoken in parts of Vimioso, Mogadouro and Miranda do Douro.
56. And finally, if after reading these cool facts you’re thinking of settling down in Portugal and starting a family, there is a list of baby names banned by the government you need to be aware of. Some of them are perfectly normal like Emily, Tom, and William, so it’s advised you go through the list at least once.
2014 May - Portugal exits international bailout without seeking back-up credit from its lenders.
2014 August - The government bails out the stricken lender Banco Espirito Santo - Portugal's largest private bank - to the tune of 3.9bn euros in order to avert a possible wider economic collapse.
2014 November - Interior Minister Miguel Macedo resigns in wake of corruption inquiry linked to allocation of fast-track residence permits, many of which have gone to foreigners willing to invest large sums in Portuguese property.
Former Socialist premier Jose Socrates is remanded in custody on suspicion of corruption, tax fraud and money laundering.
2015 January - The government approves rules allowing descendants of Jews who were expelled from the country centuries ago to claim Portuguese citizenship.
2015 March - The head of the tax collection authority resigns amid claims that he tried to shield the files of influential figures from scrutiny.
2015 November - Following inconclusive parliamentary elections, Socialist leader Antonio Costa forms centre-left government committed to relaxing some austerity measures.
2016 October - Former prime minister Antonio Guterres is appointed UN Secretary General.
2017 February - Portugal drops complaint to the EU over Spain's plan to build a nuclear waste storage facility which environmentalists fear could affect the River Tagus, which flows into Portugal. In return Spain agrees to share environmental information and organise consultations over the facility.