Portugal neighbors Spain on its east and the Atlantic Ocean on its west. Most Portuguese people live towards the coastline, especially since Eastern Portugal has very bumpy land.

Over its early history, Portugal was inhabited or conquered by the Iberians, Celts, Romans, Germanic tribes, and Muslims. By the 1400s, the Portuguese began making many sea explorations. By the 1500s, they amassed a large overseas Empire that encompassed colonies in many parts of the globe, most of which they lost control of by the 1800s. From 1580 to 1640, Portugal was also united with Spain.

The current Portuguese government was formed in 1976. The nation’s official languages are Portuguese and Mirandese.

Common themes of Portugal include Catholicism, cafes, soccer, the bullring (like bullfighting, but the bull is not killed), architecture, art, music, dancing, singing, fruit, fish, olives, wheat, wine (especially red “port” wine), and economic problems.

Portuguese Proverbs

The person who is well prepared has already won half of the battle.

Never cut what can be untied.

Not much can be done when everyone is giving orders.

Think of many things, but do just one at a time.

An hour of play discovers more than a year of conversation (does).

The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread.

Visits always give a pleasure—if not the arriving, then the departing.

Hell is paved with good intentions, and roofed with lost opportunities.