Denis Foynes – Would you like to impress your friends with interesting facts from around the globe? Live and Invest Overseas News can help.
This is the series in which each week you can read ten facts about one of our destinations. This week we have beautiful Portugal.
Here are ten facts about Portugal:
1. The Vasco da Gama Bridge in Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe. It is a total length of 17.2 kilometers (or 10.7 miles). It is named after the famous Portuguese ocean navigator, Vasco da Gama.
The bridge opened in 1998 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Vasco de Gama’s discovery of a sea route from Europe to India.
2. Portuguese is the official language in nine different countries. They are Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Soa Tome, and Equatorial Guinea. That totals up to 236 million people speaking the language.
3. Portugal is officially the oldest country in Europe. The country has had the same defined borders since 1139, making it the oldest nation-state in Europe. Afonso Henriques was proclaimed the first King of Portugal in 1139 and the country remained a kingdom for almost 800 years thereafter, until 1910.
4. Portugal was the first colonial power to abolish slavery, all the way back in 1761. That is half a century before Britain, France, Spain, or the United States.
5. The Portuguese eat more fish and shellfish per head of population than any other country.
6. In 2011, the largest wave ever surfed was conquered in Portugal. Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara rode the 30 meter/90 foot wave at Praia do Norte, near the town of Nazare, in central Portugal.
7. The climate of Portugal is acknowledged to be the hottest in Europe (nearly 3000 sunny hours per year).
8. For every 1000 people in Portugal, 1.28 are in prison, the highest rate in western Europe.
9. In February 2004, a hospital in Lisbon was reported to have asked a zoo to lend it X-ray equipment typically used on elephants to allow it to treat overweight patients.
10. Apart from Spain, Portugal is the only other country in Europe to have abolished the prison life sentence.