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Capital : Lisbon

Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Evora, Faro, Guardo, Leina, Lisboa, Vianna do Castelo, Viseu, Vilareal, Santarem, Portalegre, Setubal, Porto, Tocantis

Size: 35 700 sq m Popn: 9 846 000


Like Spain, Portugal was part of the Roman Empire and was not established as a separate country until the C11th when it was subject to L¾ on. The southern part was ruled by the Moors. It became an independent monarchy under Alfonso I (1128-85) who took Lisbon in 1147 and Alfonso III (1248-79) expelled the Moors. During the C13th, the Cortes, an assembly of nobles, clergy and city representatives, began to meet and gained control of taxation. A commercial treaty with England was signed in 1294 and an alliance was formed in 1373.

During the C15th, Portuguese navigators explored the African coast. Vasco da Gama opened the sea route to India in 1497-8 and Cabral reached Brazil in 1500, with colonists following in the C16th. Spain was growing in size and strength and Philip II of Spain seized the crown of Portugal in 1580 to rule the entire Iberian Peninsula. The Portuguese rebelled in 1640 and placed the Braganza dynasty on the throne, forcing Spain to reorganize their independence in 1668. Portugal fought as an ally of Britain during the War of the Spanish Succession. The country was invaded by France in 1807-11 during the Peninsular War and there was civil war from 1828-34, but a strong democratic movement developed and a constitutional government was established.

In 1908, King Carlos I was assassinated and his son, Manuel II, was driven out in 1910 when a republic was proclaimed. Portugal was economically weak and corrupt but improved under the dictatorship of AntoÕio de Oliveira Salazar, who had become prime minister in 1928. Although social conditions improved, personal freedoms were lost and when Dr Marcello Caetano succeeded as prime minister in 1968, he was unable to liberalize the political system. The expensive wars in Portugal's African colonies, Angola and Mozambique, weakened his administration and in April 1974, there was a military coup 'to save the nation from government'. General AntoÕio Ribeiro de SpÍnola set up the 'Junta of National Salvation' and became president, with a military colleague instead of a prime minister, but there were internal disagreements and he resigned in September. He was replaced by Colonel Francisco da Costa Gomez who managed to avoid a communist coup in 1975 by a collaboration with the moderate Socialist Party (PS) under Mario Soares.

The first free assembly elections for 50 years were held in 1976 with Soares forming a minority government after the PS gained 36% of the vote. The army chief, General AntoÕio Ramalho Eanes, became president, supported by centre and left-of-centre parties. Soares' administration survived for two years but he resigned in 1978 and a period of political instability followed, with five prime ministers in two and a half years. In 1980, President Eanes asked Dr Francisco Balsem±o, co-founder of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) to form a centre-party coalition. There were many challenges to his leadership but in 1982, the assembly approved his new constitution which would reduce the president's powers and move towards an entirely civilian government. Professor AnÍbal Cavaco Silva of the PSD, a former finance minister, formed a minority government in 1985, and in 1986, Soares became Portugal's first civilian president for 60 years. Silva favoured a free market and privatization and economic growth and living standards improved. Portugal joined the EC in 1986 and is a member of NATO. In July 1987, the PSD won an absolute majority in parliament and the PRD and Communists lost seats. In June 1989, parliament approved the denationalization of major industries and renounced the socialist economy. Soares was re-elected president in January 1991 and in the general election of October, the PSD was re-elected with only a slightly reduced majority.

Rulers of Portugal

Dynasty of Burgundy (Dinastia de Borgonha)

Name Reign Family Spouse
Afonso I Henriques 1128-85 son of Henry of Burgundy +Theresa of Castile  
Sancho I 1185-1211 son of Afonso I  
Afonso II 1211-23 son of Sancho I  
Sancho II the Fat 1223-48 son of Afonso I  
Afonso III 1248-79 son of Sancho II  
Dinis 1279-1325 son of Afonso III  
Afonso IV 1325-57 son of Dinis  
Pedro I 1357-67 son of Afonso IV  
Fernando I (Ferdinand) 1367-83 son of Pedro I  
João of Castile 1383 Claimant son in law of Ferdinand I  
João 1383 Claimant illeg son of Pedro I  
Dinis 1383 Claimant illeg son of Pedro I  

Dynasty of Avis

Name Reign Family Spouse
João I (John) of Avis 1385-1433 (Regent 1383-5) illeg son of Pedro I  
Duarte I 1433-8 son of João I  
Afonso V el Africano 1438-81 son of Duarte I  
João II 'the Perfect' 1481-95 son of Afonso V  
Manuel I the Fortunate 1495-1521 grandson of Duarte I 1 Isabella of Spain 2 Maria, Infanta of Spain
João III the Pious 1521-57 son of Manuel I  
Sebastião I (Sebastian) 1557-78 grandson of John III, son of Joanna of Austria, daughter of Charles V  
Cardeal Henriques (Cardinal Henry) 1578-80 son of Manuel I  
5 claimants      

Dynasty of the Filipes

Name Reign Family Spouse
Spanish conquest      
Filipe I (Philip II of Spain) 1580-98 grandson of Manuel  
Filipe II (Philip III of Spain) 1598-1621    
Filipe III (Philip IV of Spain) 1621-40    

House of Braganza (Braganca)

Name Reign Family Spouse
Newly Independent      
João IV, 7th Duque of Braganca 1640-56 desc Afonso, 1st Duque of Braganca, illeg son Joao I  
Afonso VI 1656-83    
Pedro II 1683-1706 brother of Alfonso VI  
João V 1707-50 son of Pedro II  
José (Joseph) I 1750-77 son of Joao V Maria Anna
Maria I 1777-1816 daughter of Jose I  
João VI 1816-26 + Brazil son of Maria I  
Pedro IV 1826-8 abd. son of Joao VI  
Miguel 1828-34 Pretender brother of Pedro IV  
Maria II 1826-53 daughter of Pedro IV  
Pedro V 1853-61 son of Maria II  
Luis I 1861-89 son of Maria II  
Carlos I 1889-1908 son of Luis I  
Manuel II 1908-10 dep son of Carlos I  
Republic declared      

Portuguese Names

The Portuguese language is similar to Spanish but has distinct differences in spelling and pronunciation and this can also be seen in names. For instance, the Spanish form of John, 'Juan' becomes 'João' in Portuguese and the name Julia, although spelt the same way in both countries, is pronounced 'Hulia' in Spanish and 'Julia' in Portuguese. Biblical names are popular and it is common for 'José' to be combined with another name to produce José Claúdio, José Marcelo, José Mario (often shortened to Zemario). The endings '-inho' or '-inha' meaning 'young' or 'small' are added to names as a diminutive form. Portuguese names are also used in former colonies such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.

Portuguese Names of Biblical Origin


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Adão   Adam
Andre   Andrew
Bartholomeu   Bartholomew
Batista   Baptist
Christiano   Christian
Eloi   Eli
Estevão   Stephen
João   John
Joaquim, Joaquin   Joachim
José, Zeusef   Joseph
Manuel   Manuel
Mateus   Matthew
Melchiore   Melchior
Miguel   Michael
Nazario   From 'Nazareth'
Paolo, Paulo Paulino Paul
Pascoal   Pascal
Pedro   Peter
Sansão   Sampson
Serafino   From 'seraphim'
Simão   Simon
Timoteo   Timothy
Tomas, Tomaz, Tome To Thomas
Xadreque   Shadrach
Yoelbi, Yoelvis   Joel


Ana and Maria are particularly common, often as elements in compounds, as are names associated with the Virgin Mary.

Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Ana   Anne
Caridade   Charity
Carmo   Our Lady of Carmel
Conceiçao   Immaculate Conception
Cristina   Christina
Fatima   Our Lady of Fatima
Isabel   Elizabeth
Joana   Joanna
Maria   Mary
Maria de los Dolores Dores Mary of Sorrows
Neves   Our Lady of the Snows
Trinidade   Trinity
Visitaçao   Visitation

Portuguese Names of Latin Origin


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Adrião   Adrian
Agostinho   Augustine
AntoÕ io   Anthony
Aquiles   Achilles
Augusto   Augustus
Bento   Benedict
Bras, Braz   Blaise
Caetano   Cajetan
Camilo   Camillus
Domingos   Dominic
Donato   Donatus
Emilio   Aemilius
Fabião   Fabian
Felix, Feliciano   Felix
Firmino   Firminus
Florencio   Florence
Fortunato   Fortunatus
Francisco   Francis
Germano   Germanus 'brother'
Graciano   Gratian
Laurenço   Laurence
Leão   Leon Or Gk Leander
Liberaratore, Liberio    
Lopes   Lupus 'wolf'
Luciano   Lucian
Marcelo Marcelino Marcellus
Mario   Marius
Martinho   Martin
Màximo   Maximus
Modesto   Modestus
Pio   Pius
Remigio   Remigius
Romão   Romanus
Santos   All Saints
Saturnino   Saturninus
Severiano, Severino   Severinus
Torquato   Torquatus
Valentim   Valentine
Victor   Victor


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Clara   Clare
Emilia   Emily
Felicidade   Felicity
Graca   Grace
Inês   Agnes

Portuguese Names of Greek Origin


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Aleixo   Alexius
Alexandre   Alexander
Aluizio   Aloysius
Ambrosio   Ambrose
Anacleto Cleto  
Aniceto   Gk Aniketos 'unconquered'
Cristovão   Christopher
Damião   Damian
Eugenio   Eugene
Evaristo   Gk Euarestos 'well + satisfy'
Filipe   Philip
Heitor   Hector
Helio   Helios
Hipolito   Hippolytos
Jacinto   Hyacinth
Jorgé   George
Leandro   Leander
Macario   Macarius
Narciso   Narcissus
Nicodemo   Nicodemus
Tadeu   Thaddeus
Teodosio   Theodosius
Teofilo   Theophilus


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Catarina, Caterina   Katherine
Eufemia   Euphemia
Filipa   Philippa
Helena   Helen
Leonor, Elana, Eliana   Eleanor
Margarida, Magarida Rita  
Sofia   Sophia
Teodora   Theodora
Teresa   Theresa

Portuguese Names of Germanic Origin


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Alberto   Albert
Afonso   Alphonse
Arcibaldo   Archibald
Carlos   Charles
Duarte, Edwardo   Edward
Fernão, Fernando   Ferdinand
Gervasio   Gervase
Gil   Giles
Godofredo   Godfrey
Guilherme   William
Henrique, Amerigo   Henry
Humberto   Humbert
Leonardo   Leonard
Leopoldo   Leopold
Luis   Louis
Ricardo   Richard
Roque   Rocco (hrok 'rest')
Roldão   Roland
Ronaldo Ronaldinho Ronald
Rui   Roderick
Valdinei   Baldwin


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Fernanda   fem of Ferdinand
Gertrudes   Gertrude

Various Portuguese Names

The Portuguese language is similar to Spanish but has distinct differences in spelling and pronunciation which can also be seen in names. For instance, the Spanish form of John, 'Juan' becomes 'João' in Portuguese and the name Julia, although spelt the same way in both countries, is pronounced 'Hulia' in Spanish and 'Julia' in Portuguese. The endings '-inho' or '-inha' meaning 'young' or 'small' are added to names as a diminutive form. Portuguese names are also used in former colonies such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.


Diogo - form of Diego



Javier - Xavier


Venceslau - Wenceslas










Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
José Claúdio    
José Marcelo    
José-Maria Zemario Joseph + Mary


Given Name and Variants Diminutives Meaning
Ana Flavia    
Ana Maria    
Ana Luiza    
Ana Cristina    
Maria Madalena    
Maria do Carmo    
Maria José    
Tina Maria    

Portuguese Surnames

Abrao Acuna Aldair
Alvares Alves Andrade
Anibal Anjos Arnos
Azevedo Azocar Baia
Baiano Balsemao Barbosa
Barreto Barrios Barros
Bastos Bessa Boas
Borreco Botelho Branco
Cabral Cadete Caeiro
Cafu Calado Caldeira
Cardenas Carvalhal Castelbranco
Castro Catarino Chagas
Chiamulera Chissano Cid
Cintra Claudio Coelho
Coimbra Conceicão Corneja
Correia Correja Costa
Couto Cristostome Cruz
Cunha Cuthiliero Da Assu¸ ao
Da Cunha-Lisboa Da Silva Dano
Dasmarinas De Albreuin De Almeida
De Brito De Faria De Freitas
De Menses De Mesquites De S« -Carneiro
Dida Dimas Diniz
Domingues Dos Santos Dourado
Dunga E¸ a de Queiroz Edhino
Elizalde Eronilde Feijo
Feitor Fernandes Figo
Figueiredo Figuiera Filho
Fofão Folha Frana
Futre Granda Guajira
Guera Guerra Guterres
Haraculamo Hechevaria Henriques
Izquierdo Jardim Joje
Julião Junqueira Kenedy
Labat Lapuente Leal
Lobato Lopes Machado
Madeira Magellan Maia
Marques Masarenhas Medeiros
Meireles Meirelles Mendes
Mestres Milazar Monteiro
Morais Morillo Mota
Moura Mundo Musrri
Negrão Neto Neves
Nunes Nunho Oceano
Oliveira Paes Paneira
Parrela Patricio Pauleta
Paulino Peixe Peixoto
Pereira Pessao Pessoa
Peteira Pinto Pitta
Pombal Porfirio Prazeres
Prestes Ramos Regalo
Reis Resende Ribeiro
Rios Rivaldo Rocha
Rodrigues Rosa Rubalcaba
Rui Sa Pinto Sacramento
Salazar Salvador Sampaio
Santos Santoso Secretario
Serpa Serrão Simoes
Simos Soares Sobrinho
Sousa Soveral Taffarel
Tanse Teixeira Torres
Travada Travassos Trigoso
Vaz Vento Vidigal
Vieira Vilela Villa
Vilna Vozone Zeimoto

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