Skip links

Facts about Portugal for Kids

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic is a country located in Southwestern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula.It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East.

  • The land within the borders of the current Portuguese Republic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times: occupied by Celts like the Gallaeci and the Lusitanians, integrated into the Roman Republic and later settled by Germanic peoples such as the Suebi and the Visigoths.
  • In the 8th century most of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Moorish invaders professing Islam, which were later expelled by the Knights Templar under the Order of Christ.
  • During the Christian Reconquista, Portugal established itself as an independent kingdom from León in 1139, claiming to be the oldest European nation-state.
  • The Portuguese Empire was the first global empire in history, and also the longest lived of the European colonial empires, spanning almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415, to the grant of sovereignty to East Timor in 2002.
  • However, the country’s international status was greatly reduced during the 19th century, especially following the Independence of Brazil, its largest colony.
  • Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974, after which Portugal’s last overseas provinces became independent; the last overseas territory, Macau, was ceded to China in 1999.
  • Following the earthquake, Joseph I gave his Prime Minister even more power, and Sebastião de Melo became a powerful, progressive dictator.
  • However, the King of Portugal remained in Brazil until the Liberal Revolution of 1820, which started in Porto, demanded his return to Lisbon in 1821.
  • Luanda, Benguela, Bissau, Lourenço Marques, Porto Amboim and the Island of Mozambique were among the oldest Portuguese-founded port cities in its African territories.
  • Gradually, new economic development projects and relocation of white mainland Portuguese citizens into the overseas colonies in Africa were initiated, with Angola and Mozambique, as the largest and richest overseas territories, being the main targets of those initiatives.
  • After India attained independence in 1947, pro-Indian residents of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, with the support of the Indian government and the help of pro-independence organizations, liberated the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese rule in 1954.
  • Land reform and nationalizations were enforced; the Portuguese Constitution (approved in 1976) was rewritten in order to accommodate socialistand communist principles.
  • In 1986, Portugal joined the European Economic Community (EEC) that later became the European Union (EU).
  • The territory of Portugal includes an area in the Iberian Peninsula (referred to as the continent by most Portuguese) and two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean: the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores.
  • Portugal and England share the world’s oldest active military accord through their Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, which was signed in 1373.
  • Over 35% of college-age citizens (20 years old) attend one of the country’s higher education institutions.