Portugal

Portugal

Land of Tradition

A land of great tradition and famous for its warm hospitality, Portugal shared a common history with Spain for centuries, however, its regional individuality in culture and language, combined with a dogged determination for self-rule, brought its nationhood to the fore as early as the 12th century, when Afonso Henriques proclaimed himself King of Portugal. Recapturing regions from the Moors was the first priority and the fledgling nation would endure another four centuries of wars and dynastic succession with the Kingdom of Castile. Portugal like Spain, would develop and consolidate its vast empire, dividing the known world between them into two spheres of dominance and influence under the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494.

Always a great seafaring nation, Portugal provided a long and distinguished line of explorers and navigators, with its ships first to discover Brazil and the lucrative trade routes to Asia, Africa and India. Names such as Vasco da Gama, Henry the Navigator, Ferdinand Magellan and Pedro Alvares Cabral are now legendary, having made great discoveries in the name of Portugal in the New World.

The Republic of Portugal today is a small but vibrant nation of around 11 million people, with a deep sense of its history and tradition, and an important member of the EU as a consequence of a concerted policy of economic development over the last 15 years.

Together with its islands of Madeira and the Azores, the country offers an enormous variety of scenery, historical sites and monuments, heritage accommodation and fine food and wines for the visitor to enjoy. The pleasant and courteous nature of the Portuguese people is a welcome bonus!