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Location. Continental Portugal occupies approximately one-sixth of the Iberian Peninsula in western Europe. It is bordered on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east and north by Spain. Portuguese also inhabit the islands of the Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic. As a result of colonial expansion and of massive emigration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Portuguese-speaking peoples live in Asia, Africa, South America, the United States, Canada, Australia, and northwestern Europe.

Demography. In 1984 the population of continental and island Portugal was estimated at 10,128,000. The population increased during the twentieth century until the 1960s, when it declined by more than 200,000 because of the extensive emigration to northern Europe after 1961. In the 1970s, the population of continental Portugal increased by more than a quarter of a million, largely as a result of the retornados, the settlers who returned to Portugal from Africa after deColonization. By comparison with other nations of Europe, Portugal has a high birthrate, though this rate is regionally differentiated and has declined in recent years. In 1985 the birthrate was 12.5 and the death rate 9.6.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Portuguese language has largely Latin roots, though some words are Arabic in origin. Portuguese was made the official language under the reign of King Dinis (1279-1325). Unlike Spain, continental Portugal demonstrates a high degree of linguistic homogeneity.

History and Cultural Relations

Humans have inhabited Portugal since Paleolithic times. Over the course of prehistory and history, various peoples have settled in the region, though the modern Portuguese trace their descent to the Lusitanians, a branch of the Iberian populations that spread over the peninsula in the third millennium b.c. Lusitanians made contact with Celtic peoples who moved into the region after 900 b.c. Roman armies invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 212 b.c. The Romans established important towns at the present-day sites of Braga, Porto, Beja, and Lisbon. An invasion of Swabians in the fifth century a.d. and of Moors in the eighth century a.d. added new elements to the Portuguese population, though Moorish Influence was much stronger in the south than in the north. Portugal emerged as an independent kingdom in 1140 with its capital in the northern city of Guimarães. As part of the reconquest, whereby the Moors were pushed out of the Peninsula, Lisbon was made the capital in 1298 and the boundaries of Portugal as they exist today were definitively determined. Early statehood and a national identity with deep historical roots are the basis of the relative homogeneity of Portuguese society. In the fifteenth century the Portuguese inaugurated their age of discovery and for three centuries built and expanded their empire. The loss of Brazil in 1822 and a series of economic and political crises led to a decline in the world position of the Portuguese during the nineteenth century. The monarchy was eliminated in 1910 with the establishment of the First Portuguese Republic, and this in turn was replaced by the authoritarian dictatorship of Antonio Salazar in 1926. Salazar formed his New State in 1932 on corporatist political principles. The Salazarist regime survived until 1974, when it was overthrown by a group of military men frustrated by the hopelessness of the colonial wars in Africa, wars that had escalated after 1961. The entire African colonial system was dismantled after 1974. In the late 1980s the Portuguese turned their attention toward Europe to become part of the European Community. However, linguistic and other cultural ties with former colonies, including Brazil, are maintained.


Subsistence and Commercial Activities. The subsistence and commercial activities of the Portuguese vary regionally. The Azores are largely agricultural, with some islands depending primarily on dairying and meat production and others on a combination of cattle raising, whaling, fishing, and smallscale agriculture (sugar beets, tea, tobacco, and vegetables). These activities have been supplemented by more than a Century of emigration to the United States. Madeira also relies on agriculture (wine, bananas, sugarcane), fishing, and whaling, in addition to small-scale cottage industry and tourism. The embroidery industry, introduced by an Englishwoman in the middle of the nineteenth century, employs approximately 70,000 female workers. Large numbers of Madeirans have emigrated to South Africa and, to a lesser extent, to Canada. The people of the Algarve are engaged in agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Cash-crop agriculture (wheat, olives, cork) predominates in the Alentejo. In central continental Portugal, a variety of irrigated grains (wheat, corn, rice) are cultivated on medium-sized family farms. The peasants of northern continental Portugal cultivate maize (rye in the northeast), potatoes, wine grapes, and vegetables. Many also raise dairy cattle. Along the coastline are populations engaged in fishing. Fish canning is an important export-oriented industry. Like the Azores, the local economies of northern Portugal have been supplemented by centuries of emigration, and as a result men have developed artisan skills as masons, carpenters, etc. Around the cities of Braga, Porto, and Guimarães there is a population of worker-peasants who are employed in the old and important textile industry. Furniture making, food processing, winemaking, and pulp and paper production are among the other industrial activities in this region. Heavier industry (steelworking, shipbuilding, iron production) and the bulk of the industrial working class are concentrated in the Lisbon-Setubal region in the south. In recent years, the construction industry has become important in several parts of the country.

In 1984 there were 4,695,700 Portuguese counted in the labor force. Of these, 22 percent were engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing; 22 percent in manufacturing; 13 percent in distribution and hotels; 8 percent in construction; 27 percent in other sectors; and 8 percent unemployed. The estimated national income per person was $1,820. Labor force figures frequently underestimate the participation of women who, since Roman times, have been making important Contributions to the rural economy of northern Portugal. Some anthropologists view these activities as the basis of significant economic and political power accorded to peasant women. Bourgeois and upper-class women, on the other hand, were at one time restricted to the domestic sphere. This situation has changed significantly in the last twenty years as women have received advanced education, professional training, and full legal equality.

Land Tenure. Portugal is characterized by significant regional variations in patterns of land tenure. In the Southernmost district of continental Portugal, the Algarve, landholdings are small and cultivated by owners, tenants, or sharecroppers. The region between the Algarve and the Tagus River, the Alentejo, has traditionally been a region of low population density, latifundia that originated in the Roman estate system, and landless day laborers. Prior to 1974, approximately 500 absentee landlords owned the bulk of the land and were disinterested in capital investment and agricultural development. The agrarian reform movement of the post-1974 period altered the system of land tenure in the south, though some of the early "revolutionary" expropriations have been restored to their original owners. By contrast, the north of the country is characterized by much greater Population density (higher in the northeast), land fragmentation, "minifundia" that originated with the system brought by the Germanic invaders of the fifth and sixth centuries, and subsistence peasants. These peasants (lavradores ) own, rent, and/or sharecrop several fields scattered throughout a village and in neighboring villages. Most of the farms are of less than 3 hectares. Although they are not as numerous here as in southern Portugal, there is also a population of landless day laborers (jornaleiros ) in northern Portugal, many of whom are women. Jornaleiros provide supplemental labor to the Peasant household. In the much less densely populated region of northeastern Portugal, ethnographers have described a form of communal property ownership and communal farming that survived well into the twentieth century.

Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kinship and Domestic Groups. Although all Portuguese reckon kinship bilaterally, the structure of domestic groups and the kinship links that are emphasized vary by both region and social class. Portuguese kinship terms have Latin roots, with the exception of the Greek roots of tio (uncle) and tia (aunt). In northern Portugal, nicknames (apelidos ) are extremely important as terms of reference. Some anthropologists have suggested that they connote moral equivalence in otherwise socially stratified rural communities. In the Northwest, nicknames serve to identify localized kin groups linked through females. In this region there is a preference for uxorilocality and uxorivicinality, both of which can be linked to male emigration. At some point in the domestic cycle, Households in northern Portugal tend to be complex, many of them composed of a three-generation stem family. Some villages of the northeast follow a custom of natalocal residence for many years after marriage. In southern Portugal, however, a Household usually is a nuclear family. The obligations between friends sometimes are felt to be more important than those between kin. Among the rural peasantry, particularly in the northwest, household headship is held jointly by a married couple, who are referred to as o patrão and a patroa. By contrast, among urban bourgeois groups and in the south the concept of a dominant male head of household is more prevalent. Spiritual kinship ties are established at baptism and marriage. Kin are frequently chosen to serve as godparents (padrinhos ), and when this arrangement occurs the godparent-godchild relationship takes precedence over the kinship relationship.

Marriage. The marriage rate has demonstrated a progressive rise during the twentieth century. Age at marriage has been characterized by both spatial and temporal variationthat is, marriage generally occurs later in the north than in the south, though differences are slowly disappearing. In southern Portugal there are significant numbers of consensual unions, and northern Portugal has had high rates of Permanent spinsterhood. Although it has declined since 1930, the illegitimacy rate formerly was high in rural northern Portugal. It remains high in Porto and Lisbon. Marriage has generally been class-endogamous and there is a tendency, though by no means a rule, for villages to be endogamous. Although the Catholic church traditionally prohibited cousin marriage within the fourth degree (inclusive of third cousins), dispensations as well as unions between first cousins were by no means unusual among all classes of Portuguese society. This kind of marriage was traditionally associated with a desire to rejoin divided properties.

Inheritance. In accordance with the Civil Code of 1867, the Portuguese practice partible inheritance. Parents, However, have the right to dispose freely of a third share (terço ) of their property, and women share the right to both receive and bestow property. (The Civil Code of 1978 did not significantly change the articles pertaining to these practices.) Among the peasants of northern Portugal, where inheritance is generally postmortem, parents use the promise of the terço as a form of old-age security by marrying a child, often a daughter, into the household. At their death, this child becomes the owner of the house (casa ). The rest of the property is divided equally among all heirs. Partilhas, whether in the north or the south, can be an occasion for friction between siblings since land is variable in quality. Some peasants hold land under long-term lease agreements; traditionally these agreements also were passed on "for three lives" in one piece to one heir, their value being calculated against the total assets. The Civil Code of 1867 eliminated the system of entailed estates (vínculos ) that made it possible for wealthier classes to pass on property to a single heir, usually by a rule of male primogeniture. Wealthier landowners have been able to keep property intact by having one heir buy out the interests of his siblings.

Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Salazarist Portugal was a hierarchical society with a small upper class composed of latifundists, industrialists, financiers, top military personnel, the Catholic episcopate, university professors, and other professionals; a small middle class composed of people in the service sector; and a mass of urban and rural poor. Since 1960, as urbanization has progressed, a lower-middle class of skilled workers and technicians has emerged.

Political Organization. Before 1974, the Portuguese state was based on corporative bodies that in theory channeled class interests but in practice were often circumvented by means of personal contacts. Electoral politics were absent. Between 1974when the Salazar regime was bloodlessly overthrownand 1976, the Portuguese established a constitutional democratic representative system. Recently, some of the more socialist clauses of the 1976 constitution have been revised. At the local level, villages are still run by a parish council (junta da frequesia ), the members of which are elected by village households. Throughout the Salazar period, the juntas had little real power and few economic resources of their own, though the members had local prominence. They depended on the câmara, the administrative body in the county seat, and today the câmara is still the important unit of political organization and administration. Since 1974 Political parties and agricultural cooperatives have assumed importance, though participation varies by region. The other important local social institutions are the religious Brotherhoods (confrarias ). Traditionally they served as lending institutions; today they are largely ceremonial and cover funeral expenses.

Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. The bulk of the Portuguese population is nominally Catholic. During its history, Portugal has Experienced waves of political anticlericalismin the latter half of the eighteenth century; during the 1830s, when religious orders were banned and church properties were confiscated; and under the First Portuguese Republic, when education was secularized, properties again confiscated, folk celebrations restricted, and religious orders abolished. Under Salazar, Portugal experienced a religious revival, and the position of the local priest in the villages throughout the country was greatly enhanced. Since 1974, however, this position has been challenged, and in recent years there has been a decline in the number of clergy. A form of "pious" anticlericalism exists among the people who view the priest as a spiritual leader on the one hand and a man like every other man on the other. Religiosity is generally weaker in Lisbon and in the south of continental Portugal and stronger in the center, in the north, and on the islands. Portuguese Catholicism has produced fewer mystics than that of Spain, and people develop personal relationships with particular saints who are never represented with the suffering and anguish that characterizes some Spanish representations. Much of Portuguese religious life exists beyond the official structures of the Catholic church.

Ceremonies. The rhythms of local village life are marked by various celebrations honoring the saints. Romarias (pilgrimages) to regional shrines are a central feature of religious practice, especially in northern Portugal. Portuguese villagers also celebrate an annual festa (generally but not always to honor the patron saint) that includes a procession and combines elements of both the sacred and the secular. In the Azores, the festas of the Holy Ghost (Espirito Santo) predominate. In conjunction with these festas people fulfill Religious vows (promessas ). Cults of death, magical practices, sorcery (feitiço ), witchcraft (bruxeria ), which is largely associated with notions of illness and healing, and beliefs in envy (inveja ) that invokes the evil eye are still part of the belief System of many Portuguese.

Arts. Craftspeople can be found throughout Portugal. The rugs made in Arraiolas (in southern Portugal) are well known internationally. Women of the north and the island of Madeira produce embroidered goods, many of which are sold to tourists. This is also true of pottery, which varies in style according to geographic region. Artistic expression is also evident in the items that are produced for decorating the floats carried in religious processions.

Medicine. Modern medical practice now reaches all sectors of Portuguese society. Few women, for example, give birth at home, a practice that was common into the 1960s. Good health is often associated with what is natural, and changes in the diet (the consumption of unnatural and synthetic foodstuffs) are frequently cited as the cause of diseases such as stomach cancer. Folk medical practices are still prevalent in some parts of the country. Curers use a combination of prayer, religious paraphernalia, and traditional and Modern medicines in their healing. Among some Azorean Portuguese at home and abroad there is a high incidence of Machado-Joseph disease. It is an inherited disorder of the central nervous system, colloquially known as the "stumbling disease" because the carriers demonstrate a staggering and lurching gait, spasticity, and uncoordinated body movements.

Death and Afterlife. Death is a fundamental part of Portuguese village life. Church bells toll to send the message that a neighbor (vizinho ) has passed away. In some parts of Portugal the gates and doors of the dead person's house are opened to allow anyone to enter, and relatives begin to wail around a body prepared for viewing. Burial is in local cemeteries, and family graves are well tended by living kin. Each village has several burial societies (confrarias) to which individuals belong in order to help defray the costs of a funeral and help pay for commemorative masses that continue for several years after death. All Saints' Day is an occasion for special reverence for those who have departed. Mourning is signified by the wearing of black; a widow will generally wear black for the rest of her life, while other kin remain in mourning for varying lengths of time depending on their age and relationship to the deceased. Portugal is also characterized by various cults of deathfor example, beliefs about souls in purgatory or incorrupt bodies. Such beliefs are by no means confined to rural areas; in Portuguese cities a network of spirit mediums who can contact the dead for the living has arisen.


Bretteil, Caroline (1986). Men Who Migrate, Women Who Wait: Population and History in a Portuguese Parish. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Cutileiro, José (1971). A Portuguese Rural Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Keefe, Eugene K., et al. (1977). Area Handbook for Portugal Washington, D.C.: Foreign Area Studies of American University.

O'Neill, Brian (1987). Social Inequality in a Portuguese Hamlet. London: Cambridge University Press.

Pina-Cabral, João de (1986). Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve: The Peasant Worldview of the Alto Minho. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Robinson, Richard (1979). Contemporary Portugal London: George Allen & Unwin.


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LOCATION: Portugal

POPULATION: 10.5 million

LANGUAGE: Portuguese

RELIGION: Roman Catholicism; Islam; Judaism; Protestantism


Portugal was one of the first European nations to be unified into a single country. It gained independence from Spain with the accession of King Alfonse I in 1143. The country is located in southwestern Europe. Due to colonization and emigration, there are Portuguese-speaking peoples living in North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

The Portuguese Age of Discovery began in the fifteenth century. This marked the beginning of a vast overseas empire which expanded for over three centuries. Portugal's wealth and importance declined after the loss of Brazil in 1822. In 1910, the monarchy was eliminated and a republic was declared. This was replaced by the dictatorial rule of António Salazar (18891970) in 1926.

The Salazar government was finally overthrown in 1974. A democratic government was established and a new constitution was adopted in 1976. During this period Portugal granted independence to its remaining colonies, including Angola and Mozambique. In spite of continuing poverty, especially in rural areas, the nation has seen numerous advances since the 1970s.


Portugal occupies about one-fifthand most of the western coastof the Iberian Peninsula (the rest of it is Spain). It is bordered on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the north and east by Spain, its only neighbor.

Portugal's population of 10.5 million people is ethnically homogeneous. This means that nearly all the people are of the same ethnic group. There is a small Muslim population of guest workers from North Africa and small Jewish and Protestant communities composed mainly of foreigners. There are also as many as 100,000 Roma, sometimes called Gypsies, mostly in the Algarve region.


Portuguese is a Romance language that is most closely related to the Spanish dialect Galician. Over time it was modified by the language of the Muslim Moors living in lands taken over by Portugal.

English Portuguese
good morning bom dia
good afternoon boa tarde
good evening boa noite
yes sim
no não
please por favor
thank you men say "obrigado;"
women say "obrigada"
goodbye adeus


The Portuguese are a deeply superstitious people. Their formal Catholicism is mixed with pre-Christian practices and beliefs. Offerings to saintsintended to promote healinghang on strings near many church altars. Images on these offerings depict whatever is to be (or has been) healed. These include hands, heads, breasts, babies, and animals.

Popular superstitions involve the phases of the moon, the healing power of fountains, and the evil eye, which is the power to inflict bad luck on someone. The evil eye is feared in a number of situations. Ceremonies surrounding death and the occult abound. Portuguese widows are expected to wear black for about seven years, and many wear it for the rest of their lives. The loss of a parent is mourned for up to three years.


The overwhelming majority of Portuguese (97 percent) are Roman Catholics. Catholicism is at the center of Portuguese life. Portugal's holidays, its moral and legal codes, health and education systems have been greatly impacted by its Catholic heritage. While only about a third of the population attends church regularly, almost all Portuguese are baptized and married within the church and receive its last rites when they die. Religious observance is greater in the northern part of the country than in the south.

Churches occupy a prominent physical location in almost every Portuguese village. Many Portuguese make pilgrimages (romarias) to religious shrines. The most famous such shrine is the one at Fátima where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared before three children in 1917. The cult of the Virgin is very powerful in Portugal, and images of Mary and Christ are commonly seen even in such non-religious places as labor union offices.

There are small numbers of Muslims, Jews, and Protestants.


Most holidays celebrated in Portugal are those of the Christian calendar. Those with the status of national holidays are Shrove Tuesday (in February or March), Good Friday (in March or April), Corpus Christi (in June), All Saints' Day (November 1), the Immaculate Conception (December 8), and Christmas (December 25). Secular holidays include New Year's; Liberty Day (April 25), which commemorates the death of the national poet, Luiz Vaz de Camões, in 1580; Portugal Day (June 10), which celebrates the 1974 Revolution; Proclamation of the Republic Day (October 5), celebrating the founding of the Republic in 1910; and Restoration of Independence Day (December1).

In rural areas, villagers honor their patron saint during the annual festa. This celebration is both religious and secular. There is a procession, and people fulfill their religious vows (promessas) for the occasion. The festivities may last several days and often include such non-religious elements as picnics, dancing, fireworks, and bullfights.


Portugal is a modern, industrialized, Christian country. Because of this, many of the rites of passage that young people undergo are religious rituals, such as baptism, first communion, confirmation, and marriage. Also, a student's progress through the education system is marked by many families with graduation parties.


When the Portuguese greet each other, they kiss on both cheeks. Those who live in the northern part of the country, which has been isolated from foreign influences, are formal, conservative, and reserved among strangers. In the south people are generally more casual, relaxed, and friendly. In the north, many people are referred to by nicknames (alcunhas), which are an important part of their identities.


Over half of all Portuguese rent their homes. Rural villagers often live without electricity or running water. Migration to the cities made an already existing shortage of urban housing worse. It also resulted in the growth of shantytowns (bairros da lata) which lack sewage systems. In response to this situation, the Portuguese government has instituted a $2 billion program to clear these slums and build low-income housing units.

Almost all sectors of Portuguese society have access to modern medical care. Portugal's national health service was inaugurated in 1979. While infant mortality rates were cut nearly in half between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the government program is still insufficient to meet the nation's health care needs. It is supplemented by church-supported services. While home birth was common as recently as the 1960s, today almost all Portuguese women have their babies in hospitals.


The nuclear family headed by a father is the ideal throughout Portugal. But in reality families vary considerably according to class and region. Middle-and upper-class Portuguese, and those in the southern part of the country, are more likely to conform to the tradition. Women stay at home to raise children and run the household while men engage in business or the professions.

Among the poor, especially in the northwest, the relationship between husband and wife is a more equal one. Households are headed jointly. In farming families, women may work the fields alongside their husbands. Fishermen's wives may help repair nets or sell the day's catch. Due to high rates of male emigration, a relatively large number of women in the north never marry. Many have traditionally managed their own farms and remain financially independent.

The position of women in Portugal improved greatly after the end of the military dictatorship in 1974. The 1976 constitution guaranteed them full legal equality. By the early 1990s, women accounted for more than half of all persons enrolled in higher education and 37 percent of the country's physicians.


Western-style clothing is the norm, and people in the cities, especially in the city of Lisbon, dress well. However, traditional clothessuch as berets and loose-fitting shirts for men and black shawls for womenmay still be seen in some rural areas.


Fish is the main staple of the Portuguese diet. Cod is the most popular. The average Portuguese eats about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of it every year. It is prepared so many different ways in Portugal that there is said to be a different recipe for every day of the year.

Other commonly eaten seafoods include sardines, salmon, sole, sea bass, and hake, as well as eel, squid, octopus, and lamprey. Practically every Portuguese meal is accompanied by soup. The most popular is caldo verde (green soup), made with couve galega (Galician cabbage), sausage, potatoes, and olive oil. Another popular soup is sopa alentejana, simmered with bread, garlic (another staple of the Portuguese diet), and other ingredients. Caldeirada, a fish stew, is another popular national dish.

Portugal's varieties of succulent fruit, which vary regionally, provide some of its best desserts. These include peaches, strawberries, oranges, figs, plums, pineapples, and passionfruit. Of the sweet dessert offerings, the most common is arroz doce, a cinnamon-flavored rice pudding. Flan, a custard with caramel topping, is also very popular.


Education is free and compulsory to the age of fifteen. Many children, however, drop out after primary school to begin working. Secondary education is completed either at state-run high schools or at technical or professional institutes. The twelfth grade (at age eighteen) consists of preparatory study for university or technical college.

An estimated 2 percent of the population continue their education beyond the secondary level. Portugal's main universities are located in Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, and Braga. There is also a government-supported adult education program, as well as hundreds of private schools, most supported by the Catholic Church.


Portugal's most famous poet was Luiz Vaz de Camões (152480), who wrote during Portugal's Age of Discovery. He was also an explorer himself. His epic poem, Os Lusiadas (The Lusiads), is based on the life of the famous explorer Vasco da Gama (c.14601524). In modern times, the poems of Fernando Pessoa (18881935) are popular. Freedom of expression has thrived in the period since the 1974 revolution. It has seen the publication of books that used to be banned as well as new ones by women writers such as novelist Olga Goncalves. Portuguese-Africans, including Angolan Jose Luandino Viera, have also become popular writers.

The Age of Discovery produced the Manueline style in architecture. This style expressed the national passion for exploration and the sea through the use of sailing images in buildings. Famous examples of this style include the Tomar and Batalha convents.

Also unique to Portugal are the decorative tiles known as azulejos. Adopted from Spain, they were modified by the Portuguese, who added a variety of colors, most notably the blue, or azure, from which they get their name.

In music, Portugal is known for its fado songs. These plaintive songs reflect the fatalistic Portuguese spirit of melancholy and nostalgia known as saudade. Performers of fado (which, roughly translated, means "fate") are known as fadistas.


Portuguese are known for being reliable and hard working. Industry employs about a third of the country's labor force. Nearly half work in service jobs. This is partially accounted for by the rapid growth in civil service employment since 1974. Employment varies by region.

In the Portuguese islands, the Azores and Madeira, the main occupation is agriculture. Madeira's embroidery industry employs about 70,000 women. In the south, the people in Portugal's Algarve region find employment in agriculture, fishing, and the tourist industry. Fishing is most important in the coastal villages. Cash-crop agriculture (wheat, corn, rice) employs most people in the Alentejo region in the southeast. Heavy industry, including steelworking, shipbuilding, and iron production, is concentrated in the Lisbon-Setubal region to the south. Other occupations include forestry, furniture making, food processing, winemaking, and pulp and paper production.


Soccer (called football) is the foremost sport in Portugal, as in much of Europe. Golf has grown increasingly popular, and the country now boasts more than twenty world-class golf courses. Tennis is widely played as well, and auto racing becomes the focus of attention during the annual Grand Prix of Portugal held in September.


One of the most popular recreational activities in Portugal is bullfighting (Tourada), with cavaleiros (bullfighters) dressed in eighteenth-century costumes. These costumes include tricornered hats, silk jackets, and riding breeches. In contrast to the violent bullfights in Spain and parts of Latin America, in Portugal the bull's horns are sheathed to avoid injuries, and bulls are not killed at the end of the event.

Another well-known national pastime is dancing. The fandango and other popular folk dances are enjoyed throughout the country. Other forms of recreation include horseback riding, fishing, hunting, skiing, and water sports.


Traditional craft industries can be found throughout Portugal. The people of the south are renowned for their rug making. Other regions are known for fine embroidery, black pottery, and basket weaving. Characteristic folk art is also seen on floats carried in religious pageants.


Violent crime is rare in Portugal. Murders generally occur in the context of personal conflicts rather than during the commission of other crimes, such as robbery. Many illegal drugs are shipped through Portugal because of its strategic location in relation to Western Europe and South America. There is no serious domestic drug problem, however. Emigration has served as a release for social tensions and discontent, helping to keep the crime rate low.


Ballard, Sam, and Jane Ballard. Pousadas of Portugal. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 1986.

Cross, E., and W. Cross. Portugal. Chicago: Children's Press, 1986.

Gall, Timothy, and Susan Gall, eds. Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. Detroit: UXL, 1996.

Hubbard, Monica M., and Beverly Baer, eds. Cities of the World: Europe and the Middle East. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993.

Kaplan, Marion. The Portuguese: The Land and its People. London: Viking, 1991.

McCarry, John. "Madeira Toasts the Future." National Geographic (November 1994): 90113.

Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson. Peoples of the World: Western Europeans. Detroit: Gale Research, 1993.

Porter, Darwin. Frommer's Comprehensive Travel Guide (Portugal '94'95). New York: Prentice Hall Travel, 1994.

Severy, Merle. "Portugal's Sea Road to the East." National Geographic (November 1992): 5693.

Solsten, Eric. Portugal: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994.


Investments, Trade and Tourism of Portugal. [Online] Available, 1998.

World Travel Guide, Portugal. [Online] Available, 1998.

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Portuguese language

Portuguese language, member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Romance languages). It is the mother tongue of about 170 million people, chiefly in Portugal and the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic (11 million speakers); in Brazil (154 million speakers); and in Portugal's former overseas provinces in Africa and Asia—Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Principe—(about 5 million speakers). (These nations are members of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, which was founded 1996.) Although the Portuguese spoken in Portugal differs to some extent from the Portuguese current in Brazil, with reference to pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, the differences are not major. The Portuguese spelling reform agreed to in 1990 simplifies the spelling of both Brazilian and European/African Portuguese, and greatly reduces the differences in orthography between the two forms. A distinctive phonetic feature of Portuguese is the nasalization of certain vowels and diphthongs, which can be indicated by a tilde (˜) placed above the appropriate vowel. The acute (´) and circumflex (ˆ) accents serve to make clear both stress and pronunciation and also to distinguish homonyms (for example, e "and," but é "is" ). The grave accent (`) is a guide to pronunciation. It can also indicate a contraction, as in às, which is a combination of a "to" and as "the" (feminine plural). A c with a cedilla (ç) is pronounced like c in English place when used before the vowels a, o, and u. As in Spanish, there are two forms of the verb "to be" : ser, which denotes a comparatively permanent state and which also precedes a predicate noun, and estar, which denotes a comparatively temporary condition. Again like Spanish, Portuguese tends to use reflexive verbs instead of the passive voice. Historically, Portuguese, which developed from the Vulgar Latin (see Latin language) brought to the Iberian Peninsula by its Roman conquerors, could be distinguished from the parent tongue before the 11th cent. The Portuguese spoken in Lisbon and Coimbra gave rise to the Standard Portuguese of today. Although the greater part of the Portuguese vocabulary comes from Latin, a number of words have also been absorbed from Arabic, French, and Italian, and also from some of the indigenous South American and African languages.

See W. J. Entwistle, The Spanish Language, Together with Portuguese, Catalan and Basque (2d ed. 1962); E. B. Williams, From Latin to Portuguese (2d ed. 1962); M. E. de Alvelos Naar, Colloquial Portuguese (1968); J. M. Câmara, The Portuguese Language (tr. 1972).

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PORTUGUESE. A Romance language of Western Europe, closely related to SPANISH and the earliest of the major colonial languages originating in Europe. It is spoken by 135m people worldwide: in Europe, as the national language of Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira, islands in the Atlantic); in the Americas, as the official language of Brazil; in Africa, as the official language of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Saõ Tomé and Príncipe; in Asia, as the official language of the Portuguese colony of Macao, near Hong Kong, and in ex-colonial territories such as Goa in India and East Timor in the Indian Ocean. It is also spoken by immigrant communities in Canada, France, the US, and elsewhere, and has given rise to or influenced PIDGINS and CREOLES in many parts of the world. Like Spanish, it was influenced by ARABIC during the centuries of Muslim dominance in the Iberian peninsula. Although Portugal is the oldest ally of England (since the 14c), the impact of Portuguese on English has been slight. LOANWORDS (some of them undergoing adaptation) include albino, auto-da-fe, ayah, caste, madeira, marmalade, molasses, palaver, and port (wine). Many such words have reached English indirectly, as with ayah and caste, which are the outcome of Portuguese influence on English in India. See BORROWING, INDIAN ENGLISH, ROMANCE LANGUAGES.

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"PORTUGUESE." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . 10 Dec. 2017 <>.

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Por·tu·guese / ˈpôrchəˌgēz/ • adj. of or relating to Portugal or its people or language. • n. (pl. same) 1. a native or national of Portugal, or a person of Portuguese descent. 2. the Romance language of Portugal and Brazil.

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"Portuguese." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . 10 Dec. 2017 <>.

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Portuguese National language of both Portugal and Brazil, spoken by c.10 million people in Portugal and 100 million in Brazil. In addition, another 15 million people speak it in Angola, Mozambique, and other former Portuguese colonies. A Romance language, it is closely related to Spanish.

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"Portuguese." World Encyclopedia. . 10 Dec. 2017 <>.

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PortugueseAchinese, Ambonese, appease, Assamese, Balinese, Belize, Beninese, Bernese, bêtise, Bhutanese, breeze, Burmese, Cantonese, Castries, cerise, cheese, chemise, Chinese, Cingalese, Cleese, Congolese, Denise, Dodecanese, ease, éminence grise, expertise, Faroese, freeze, Fries, frieze, Gabonese, Genoese, Goanese, Guyanese, he's, Japanese, Javanese, jeez, journalese, Kanarese, Keys, Lebanese, lees, legalese, Louise, Macanese, Madurese, Maltese, marquise, Milanese, Nepalese, Nipponese, officialese, overseas, pease, Pekinese, Peloponnese, Piedmontese, please, Portuguese, Pyrenees, reprise, Rwandese, seise, seize, Senegalese, she's, Siamese, Sienese, Sikkimese, Sinhalese, sleaze, sneeze, squeeze, Stockton-on-Tees, Sudanese, Sundanese, Surinamese, Tabriz, Taiwanese, tease, Tees, telegraphese, these, Timorese, Togolese, trapeze, valise, Viennese, Vietnamese, vocalese, wheeze •superficies • Héloïse • Averroës •rabies • pubes • Maccabees •headcheese

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"Portuguese." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 10 Dec. 2017 <>.

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