Portugal: political system
Portugal is a parliamentary republic. The constitution came into force in
1976 and was last amended in 1997. The one-chamber parliament (Assembléia da
República) with 230 members is elected every four years. The president is
directly elected every five years; re-election is possible once. He appoints the
Prime Minister, who heads a cabinet of 17 ministers. The general right to vote
applies from the age of 18.
According to Digopaul.com,
the official name of the country is:
Based on flag descriptions by
Countryaah.com, the national anthem of Portugal was written in 1891 by Henrique Lopes de
Mendonça (1856-1931), the music was composed by Alfredo Keil (1850-1907). In
1910 it became the country's official national anthem.
|Heróis do mar, nobre povo,
Nação valente, imortal,
Levantai hoje de novo
Os esplendor de Portugal
Entre as brumas da memória.
Ó Pátria sente-se a voz
Dos teus egrégios avós
Que há-de guiar-te à vitória.(Coro)Às armas! Às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar!
Às armas! Às armas!
Pela Pátria lutar!
Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!
Desfralda a invicta bandeira
À luz viva do teu céu
Brade à Europa à terra inteira
Portugal not pereceu!
Beija o solo teu jucundo
O oceano a rujir d'amor;
E o teu braço vencedor
Deu mundos novos ao mundo!
Saudai o sol que desponta
Sobre um ridente porvir;
Seja o eco d'uma afronta
O sinal de ressurgir.
Ráios d'essa aurora forte
São como beijos de mãe
Que nos guardam, nos sustêm,
Contra as injúrias da sorte.
In the English translation
|Heroes of the sea, noble people;
Brave and immortal nation.
Now the hour has come
to show Portugal's splendor again.
From the fog of the past,
O Fatherland, we hear the voices of
Our venerable forefathers.
This should lead us to victory!(Refrain)To the weapons, the weapons;
On land and at sea!
To the weapons, the weapons;
To defend our fatherland!
To march towards the enemy guns!
Unroll the invincible flag
In the shining light of your heaven.
Europe and the whole world proclaim
that Portugal was not conquered.
Your happy fatherland is kissed;
From the ocean that mumbles with love.
And your conquering arm of discovery
has given the world new lands.
Greet the rising sun,
which shows a prosperous future.
Let the end of the past be
the signal for our new beginning.
The rays of this important beginning
are like the mother's kisses, who
protect and support us in the
struggle against fate.
Portugal: writer and poet
Gil Vicente (around 1465 - around 1536)
playwright. He wrote about 44 plays for the court of Johann III.
Luis de Camoes (1524-1580)
national poet. His most important work is the verse epic “The Lusiads”, a
mythical seafaring legend that he wrote while exiled in India.
Camilo Castelo Branco (1825-1890)
Writer. He has published around 100 works, including poems, dramas, reviews and
Teixeira de Pascoais (1877-1952)
Writer. Pascoais became known as the author of essays, poems, and biographies of
early Church Fathers such as Paul, Augustine, and Jerome.
Jose Maria Eca de Queiroz (1845-1900)
Author. He became known as a chronicler of the Lisbon Belle Epoque. His best
known work is "The Maias".
Fernando Pessoa Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)
Writer. He is named as the most important representative of Portuguese
modernism. Among other things, he wrote “Letters to the Bride” and “The Book of
Unrest of the Assistant Accountant Bernardo Soares”.
Jose Cardoso Pires (1907-1998)
author. He wrote, among other things, “Highly praiseworthy dinosaur” and “Ballad
from the dog beach”.
Antonio Lobo Antunes (born 1942), writer. His works include “Elephant
Memory”, “Fado Alexandrino” and “Don't go so fast into this dark night”. In 2000
he received the Austrian State Prize for European Literature ”.
Jose Saramago (born 1922)
author and Nobel Prize winner. His most famous works are "Hope in Allentejo" and
Agustina Bessa Luis (born 1922)
author. Among other things, she wrote “Die Sybille”.
Lidia Jorge (born 1946)
author. Her best-known works are "Paradise Without Borders" and "The Soldier's
Eugénio de Andrade (1923-2005)
poet. He wrote mostly prose. In 2001 he received the highest Portuguese literary
award, the Prémio Camões
Maria Isabel Barreno (born 1939)
Writer. She wrote, among other things, "The Nun and the Monk" and "The Lord of
Almeida, Visconde de Garrett(1799-1854)
Writer and poet. He wrote mainly political, historical and critical works.
Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (1919-2004)
Writer. In 1999 she received the highest Portuguese literary prize. Her works
include "Islands", "Sea Day" and numerous children's books.
Fernando Namora (1919-1989)
Writer. His works include “Sunday Afternoon” and “Chaff and Wheat”.
Portugal: doctors and scientists
Cristobal Acosta (1515 - 1594)
Doctor and healer
Mário Corino da Costa Andrade (1906 - 2005)
Antonio R. Damasio (born 1944)
Pedro Nunes (1502 - 1578)
Mathematician and astronomer. He mainly dealt with navigation at sea.
António Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz (1874-1955)
neurologist and Nobel Prize winner from 1949.
Portugal: architects and builders
Alvaro Siza (born 1933)
Architect. His internationally renowned buildings include the lido in Leça da
Palmeira, the “Bonjour Tristesse” residential building in Berlin and the
university library in Aveiro.
Eduardo Souto de Moura (born 1952)
Architect. Among other things, he designed the “Cinemas House” in Manoel de
Oliveira, the center for photography and the cultural center in Porto.
Fernando Luís Cardoso Meneses de Tavares e Távora (1923-2005)
Architect. His buildings include the “Gondomar” monastery, the large lecture
hall of the University of Coimbra and the “Torre dos 24” in Porto.
Portugal: visual artists
Pedro Calapez (born 1953)
Nuño Gonçalves (1425 - 1492)
Mário Chichorro (born 1932)
Painter and architect
Rui Palma Carlos (born 1947)
Painter and architect.
Portugal: musician and writer
Amalia Rodrigues (date of birth uncertain; d. 1999)
José Afonso (1929-1987)
Singer and composer. The song Grândola, Vila Morena, composed and forbidden by
him, was the signal for the soldiers and civilians to rise up against the
Salazar dictatorship, which evoked the Carnation Revolution.
João Domingos Bomtempo (1775 - 1842)
Composer, pianist and conductor. He founded the Lisbon Conservatory in 1835.
Emmanuel Nunes (born 1941)
Composer and professor of composition in Paris.
Carlos Paredes (1925 - 2004)
Composer and internationally famous guitar player.
Marcos António Portugal (1762-1830)
Composer. He wrote mainly church music.
José Antonio Carlos de Seixas (1704-1742)
Francisco d'Andrade (1859-1921)
Cristina Branco (born 1972)
Carlos do Carmo (born 1941)
Jorge Chaminé (born 1956)
Alfredo Keil (1854-1907)
Composer. Among other things, he composed the Portuguese national anthem.
Alfredo Marceneiro (1891-1982)
Dulce Pontes (born 1969), pop singer.
José Saramago (1922-2010)
Saramago was a novelist, poet and storyteller, as well as an atheist and
communist. In 1998 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. He died on June
18, 2010 on the Canary Island of Lanzarote.
Politicians and rulers
- Henry of Burgundy (1069 - 1112), Count of Portugal from the House of
- Alfonso I the Conqueror (1109 - 1185), first king of Portugal from 1139
to 1185. He drove the Moors out of Portugal.
- Sancho I (1154-1211), King of Portugal from 1185 to 1211.
- Alfonso II (1185-1223), King of Portugal from 1211 to 1223.
- Sancho II the Monk (1207-1248), King of Portugal from 1223 to 1248.
- Alfons III (1210 - 1279), King of Portugal from 1248 to 1279.
- Dionysius (1261-1325), King of Portugal from 1279 to 1325.
- Alfonso IV (1291-1357), King of Portugal from 1325-1357.
- Peter I (1320-1367), King of Portugal from 1357 to 1367.
- Ferdinand I (1345 - 1383), King of Portugal from 1367 to 1383. He was
the last King of Portugal from the House of Burgundy.
- Leonore Teles de Menezes (1340-1386), wife of King Ferdinand I and ruler
- Johann von Avis (1357 - 1433), regent from 1383 and king of Portugal
from 1385 to 1433. He was the first king of the house of Avis.
- Edward I (1391-1438), King of Portugal from 1433 to 1438.
- Alfonso V (1432-1481), King of Portugal from 1438 to 1481.
- John II (1455 - 1495), King of Portugal from 1481 to 1495.
- Emanuel I (1469 - 1521), King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521. During his
reign, the sea route to India was discovered and colonies were established
in the Indian Ocean.
- Johann III. (1502 - 1557), King of Portugal from 1521 to 1557.
- Isabella of Portugal (1503-1539), wife of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
- Sebastian I (1554-1578), King of Portugal from 1557 to 1578.
- Heinrich I (1512 - 1582), King of Portugal from 1578 to 1580. He was the
last king of the House of Avis.
- Philip I (1527-1598), son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and
Isabellas of Portugal. He was King of Portugal from 1580 to 1598 and, as
Philip II, King of Spain, the American colonies, the Netherlands, the Free
County of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Sicily and the Duchy of Lombardy. He was
the first king from the House of Habsburg in Spain.
- Philip II (1578 - 1621), King of Portugal from 1598 to 1621 and as
Philip III. King of Spain, Naples and Sicily.
- Philip III (1605 - 1665), King of Portugal from 1621 to 1640 and King of
Spain, Naples and Sicily. He was the last king from the house of the Spanish
- John IV (1604 - 1656), King of Portugal from 1640 to 1656. He was the
first ruler of the House of Braganza.
- Alfonso VI (1643 - 1682), King of Portugal from 1656 to 1682. However,
he only ruled until 1667, after which his brother Peter II took over the
- Peter II. (1648 - 1706), King of Portugal from 1682 to 1706. However, he
ruled from 1667.
- John V (1689-1750), King of Portugal from 1706 to 1750.
- Joseph I (1714-1777), King of Portugal from 1750 to 1777.
- Peter III (1717 - 1786), King of Portugal from 1777 to 1786.
- Maria I (1734 - 1816), wife of Peter III. and Queen of Portugal from
1777 to 1816. However, she was incapacitated in 1792 and her son Johann
VI. represented. From 1815 to 1816 she was also officially Queen of Brazil.
- Johann VI. (1767 - 1826), King of Portugal from 1816 to 1826 and Brazil
from 1816 to 1822. However, he ruled from 1792.
- Peter IV (1798 - 1834), King of Portugal in 1826 and from 1822 to 1831
under the name of Peter I Emperor of Brazil. He abdicated in 1826 in favor
of his daughter Maria II as King of Portugal and in 1831 in favor of his son
Peter II as Emperor of Brazil, but ruled as regent on behalf of his minor
daughter Maria II from 1831 to 1834.
- Maria II da Gloria (1819 - 1853), Queen of Portugal from 1826 to 1828.
She ruled from 1837 to 1853 at the side of her husband Ferdinand II.
- Michael I (1802-1866), King of Portugal from 1828 to 1834.
- Ferdinand II. (1816 - 1885), King of Portugal from 1837 to 1853. He was
the first ruler of Portugal from the House of Saxons Coburg and Gotha.
- Peter V (1837-1861), King of Portugal from 1853 to 1861.
- Ludwig I (1838-1889), King of Portugal from 1861 to 1889.
- Charles I (1863-1908), King of Portugal from 1889 to 1908.
- Emanuel II (1889-1932), last king of Portugal from 1908 to 1910.
- Joaquim Teófilo Fernandes Braga (1843-1924), first President of Portugal
after the fall of the monarchy. He was President of Portugal from 1910 to
1911 and in 1915.
- Manuel José de Arriaga Brum da Silveira (1840-1917), first
constitutional president of Portugal from 1911 to 1915.
- Bernardino Luís Machado Guimarães (1851-1944), President of Portugal
from 1915 to 1917 and 1925 to 1926.
- Sidónio Bernardino Cardoso da Silva Pais (1872-1918), Portuguese
military dictator from 1917 to 1918.
- João do Canto e Castro da Silva Antunes (1862-1934), President of
Portugal from 1918-1919.
- António José de Almeida (1866-1929), President of Portugal from 1919 to
- Manuel Teixeira Gomes (1860-1941), President of Portugal from 1923 to
- Bernardino Luís Machado Guimarães (1851-1944), President of Portugal
from 1915 to 1917 and from 1925 to 1926.
- José Mendes Cabeçadas Junior (1883-1965), President of Portugal in 1926.
- António Óscar de Fragoso Carmona (1869-1951), President and Dictator of
- António de Oliveira Salazar (1889 - 1970), dictator of Portugal from
1932 to 1968. Salazar established a military dictatorship called the “New
State”, which was only dissolved after his death by the so-called Carnation
Revolution. Despite the dictatorial regime, Portugal was admitted to the
United Nations in 1955 under Salazar's rule.
- Francisco Craveiro Lopes (1894-1964), President of Portugal from 1951 to
- Américo de Deus Rodrigues Tomás (1894-1987), President of Portugal from
1958 to 1974. Tomas was overthrown during the Carnation Revolution and had
to leave the country.
- António Sebastião Ribeiro de Spínola (1910-1996), provisional president
of Portugal during the Carnation Revolution. After a failed coup attempt in
1975, he had to leave the country.
- Francisco da Costa Gomes (1914-2001), President of Portugal from 1974 to
- António dos Santos Ramalho Eanes (born 1935), President of Portugal from
1976 to 1986.
- Mário Soares (1924-2017), founder of the Portuguese Socialist Party in
1973 and President of Portugal from 1986 to 1991 and from 1991 to 1996. He
played a major role in the democratization of the country.
- Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio (born 1939), President of Portugal from
1996 to 2006. He was actively involved in the resistance against the Salazar
dictatorship and joined the Socialist Party after the Carnation Revolution.
- Aníbal António Cavaco Silva (born 1939), President of Portugal since
- José Manuel Durão Barroso (born 1956), Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004
and President of the European Commission since 2004.
- Maria de Medeiros (born 1965), actress and director. You could see them
in "Siblings", "Henry and June" and "My Life Without Me", among others.
- Lúcia Moniz (born 1976), singer and actress. Among other things, she
played in "Love Actually".
- João César Monteiro (1934-2003), director, screenwriter and actor.
- Manoel de Oliveira (born 1908), director. He shot, among other things,
"I'm going home", "On the banks of the river" and "Cannibals".
- Pedro Mascarenhas (1484-1555), navigator and
explorer. He discovered the Mascarene archipelago, which was named after him
and which includes the islands of Mauritius, La Réunion and Rodrigues.
- Vasco da Gama (1468 - 1524), navigator and discoverer
of the sea route to India.
- Fernando Magellan (1480-1521), navigator and
explorer. He discovered one of the first straits of the sea from South
America and Tierra del Fuego, the Strait of Magellan. In 1521 he also
discovered the Mariana Islands and the Philippines.
- Bartolomeu Diaz (around 1450-1500), navigator and
explorer. He was the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa.
- Afonso de Albuquerque (1453-1515), politician and
- Pedro Álvares Cabral (around 1467 - around 1526),
navigator. He is considered to be one of the discoverers of Brazil.
- Diogo Cão (died around 1486), navigator and explorer.
- Duarte Pacheco Pereira (around 1469 - 1533), navigator,
astronomer and geographer.
- Francisco Marto (1908-1919), witness to an apparition
of the Virgin Mary. He was beatified in 2000 together with his sister
Jacinta Marto (born 1910), who also witnessed an apparition of Mary.
- Hadi Al Somayli (born 1976), track and field
athlete. He won Olympic silver in the 400 m hurdles in 2000.
- Khaled Al Eid (born 1969), show jumper. Al Eid won the
bronze medal in show jumping in Sydney in 2000.
- Luís Figo (born November 4, 1972) football player. The
popular soccer player played for internationally renowned clubs and received
numerous awards. Figo was named Europe's Footballer of the Year in 2000 and
World Footballer of the Year in 2001. At the 2004 European Championships, he
and his team were vice-European champions. He played for Real Madrid until
the end of the 2004/2005 season. Since summer 2005 he has been playing in
the traditional Italian club Inter Milan.
- Eusébio da Silva Ferreira (born January 25, 1942)
football player. In the 1960s he had a major impact on European football. He
reached a first high point in his career when he was voted Europe's
Footballer of the Year in 1965. He was known for his spectacular shots, his
fine dribbling and the enormous basic speed.
Due to a serious knee injury, he ended his career in 1974 at the age of 32,
but is still active as an official and advisor for Benfica and as a
representative for football in Portugal.
- Manuel Rui Costa (born March 29, 1972) football
player. He was considered a national hero after he scored the decisive
penalty in the 1991 junior world championship against Brazil and Portugal
became junior world champion. In 1993 he was called up to the Portuguese
national football team, where he and Luís Figo belonged to the "golden
generation" of Portugal.
After Portugal lost the European Championship in 2004, he said goodbye to
the national team.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (born 1985)
Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira. Cristiano Ronaldo
was voted European Footballer of the Year in Europe that year and World
Footballer that same year. He has been playing for Real Madrid since 2009.
Theologians and philosophers
- Luís Cabral de Moncada (1888-1974), legal philosopher.
In certain regions of Portugal you can meet wild goats, red deer, wolves,
foxes and lynxes.
The two species of predator, the Ichneumon, the only European mongoose, and
the gorse are noteworthy. The latter was already worshiped as a cat-like
deity in ancient Egypt.
The small spot genet is the only European species that can be found
in France as well as Portugal.
With an average height of around 100 cm, the bushy and ringed tail alone
accounts for 45 cm.
The fur is gray or brown with a black patch pattern. The pointed muzzle is
typical. In addition to mice and birds, their prey also includes insects and
Bats are the only native mammals on the islands, and other animals such as
dogs, cats and cows have been introduced.
Geckos and agamas are most common in Portugal, but the bright green emerald
lizard is also hard to miss. With a body length of around 50 cm, the emerald
lizard is one of the four largest lizards in the world, even if 2/3 of them are
on the tail. Their diet consists of insects, spiders, worms and snails.
A special feature that it has in common with some other lizard species is
that it can actively detach its tail from its body in a dangerous
situation. This wriggles for around 20 minutes and thus distracts the robber
from the fleeing lizard. After a while the tail grows back, but then it can no
longer be separated. The green lizard inhabits mostly dry terrain with a lot of
sunlight, meadows with bushes, scree slopes, light hedges and rocky slopes.
The European chameleon, on the other hand, can hardly be distinguished from
its environment due to its inconspicuous camouflage color, and you have to have
a very close look to be able to recognize it on a branch.
The sea turtles on the coasts of Portugal are also a specialty.
Gironndian smooth snake
The Gironndian smooth snake (Coronella girondica) belongs to the genus of smooth
snakes. It becomes about 60 to 80 cm long. There are no subspecies of this type
Their coloration varies from gray to clay to reddish-brown, with the back being
covered with irregular cross bars.
In addition to Portugal, the snake is also found in Spain, southern France,
Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
The horseshoe snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) has a length of about 1.70 m. A
special feature are a series of small labels that separate the eye from the
shields of the upper lip.
The top is black and has a slightly bluish shimmer. A series of regularly
arranged yellow or maroon spots form a kind of chain pattern.
There are two black cross bars on the head, one between the eyes and a
horseshoe-shaped one behind it, which is what gave the species its name.
Their underside is yellowish or orange in color, each with a row of black spots
on the side and now and then another one in the middle
There are the following subspecies of the snake Hemorrhois hippocrepis
hippocrepis and Hemorrhois hippocrepis nigrescens.
Besides Portugal, the horseshoe snake can also be found in Spain. She also lives
in Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
The grass snake (Natrix natrix) can be recognized by the layman by two yellow to
orange crescent-shaped spots. When threatened, it plays itself dead with its
tongue hanging out.
The snake can be found in Ireland and some islands almost all over Europe up to
Norway, Sweden and Finland.
In Asia it occurs as far as southern Siberia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Also in
Iran and Turkey. In northwest Africa it occurs in Morocco and Algeria. There are
15 subspecies of the species Natrix natrix.
A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>
The stair snake (Rhinechis scalaris) can be recognized by its dark longitudinal
stripes on the back. It reaches a length between 1 m and a maximum of 1.60 m.
It occurs throughout Portugal as well as in Spain and the south of France. There
are no subspecies of the snake species.
Viper snake (Natrix maura) reaches a length of about 70 to 90 cm - in rare
Feller also of 100 cm.. From the snake there are no subspecies.
Their relatively broad head is recognizable from the trunk. Your body has a
brownish or gray basic color with a yellow, reddish or olive green tint.
On the back there are two rows of staggered dark spots that can merge into bars
or a zigzag strip.
The snake can easily be mistaken for the adder. But if you look closely, you
will see that the viper snake, unlike the adder, has round pupils.
In addition to Portugal, they can be found in Spain, France, Italy, Morocco,
Algeria and Tunisia.
European lizard snake
The European lizard snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) reaches a length between 130
and 180 cm - it is seldom longer. The females are significantly smaller with a
length between 90 and 130 cm.
Because their fangs are far back, a bite usually does not result in a venom
In addition to Portugal, it occurs in Spain and the coastal regions of France,
in northwest Italy and in Morocco.
A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>
The hood snake (Macroprotodon cucullatus) is a rather small Schlänge with a
length between about 40 to 50 cm - cm rarely 60th
It is light gray, gray brown or reddish brown with fuzzy dark spots on the back
and the flank, which can also form stripes.
In the neck there is a noticeable dark spot ("hooded spot") which tapers to the
front and back and can occupy a large part of the neck or the head.
In addition to Portugal, the snake can be found in southern Spain, Italy,
Morocco, the Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, as well as
Since their fangs are far back, a bite usually does not result in a venom
injection and their venom is relatively harmless to humans.
North Iberian adder
Despite its name, the North Iberian adder (Vipera seoanei) is not an adder, but
is a separate species from the genus Vipera.
The snake can be found in northern Portugal across northern parts of Spain to
the outer southwest corner of France. The effect of its bite is comparable to
that of an adder.
There are the following subspecies of this snake: Vipera seoanei seoanei and
Vipera seoanei cantabrica.
The animal is between 50 and a maximum of 70 cm long and resembles the adder
with its zigzag pattern (wavy band) on the back. Their venom has roughly the
same effect as the adder.
A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>
The inverted-nosed viper (Vipera latastei) becomes about 40 to 60 cm long -
rarely longer. Like the adder, it has a zigzag pattern (wavy band) on its back.
In addition to Portugal, it occurs in Spain, northern Morocco, northern Algeria
and northwestern Tunisia. There are two subspecies of the snake: Vipera latastei
Latastei and the Vipera latastei gaditana.
Their poisonous effect is comparable to that of the adder.
A detailed description of the snake can be found at Goruma here >>>
More poisonous animals
Scorpions are particularly common in the interior of the country and should
not be underestimated, even if their bite is not life-threatening..
The puffer fish (fugu) that can be found in the waters around the Azores is
very poisonous. He has a compact, round body shape and no scales. The nerve
poison is created by the microorganisms it consumes, the Pseudomonas bacteria,
which in turn produce the poison.
It only becomes dangerous if it is prepared incorrectly, as the poison paralyzes
the nerves and dies from the resulting respiratory or cardiac arrest. Since the
brain is not attacked, one remains conscious the entire time.
In Japan it is considered a delicacy and is only prepared in restaurants by
specially trained chefs.
In the water there is the Portuguese galley, a species of jellyfish whose very
long tentacles contain a very strong poison that can even lead to death
Migratory birds are more common in Portugal, and they are particularly common
in the Azores.
There are numerous species of eagles and vultures, such as the golden eagle in
coastal areas, other birds are the somewhat pale pink flamingos, bee-eater, blue
nack and hoopoe.
The great bustards, which are also represented in Portugal, belong to the
order of the crane birds and are very shy and sensitive to disturbance
birds. They live in steppe areas that have remained originally or in areas used
But despite this closeness to humans, you rarely see them, not least because of
the inconspicuous coloration outside of the courtship. Both males and females
have brown-black patterned plumage and a light gray head and neck. The main
difference between the two is in size. The males weigh 8-16 kg, while the
females weigh just 3 - 5 kg.
However, during courtship the male changes significantly. Its underside is
colored white, and this is turned upside down, so that it finally turns into a
white pile of feathers. The great bustard's diet includes buds, shoots, leaves,
seeds, but also mice, lizards, grasshoppers and other small animals. Despite a
relatively wide distribution, the great bustard is on the red list. A main
reason for the massive decline is the industrialization of agriculture.
The birds are particularly numerous in the Algarve in southern
Portugal. Cormorants and various species of gulls live here, including the
black-headed gull. These can often be seen on coasts, where they breed in
"laughs", which is what earned them their name. In the breeding season from
spring to summer, you can recognize them very well by the black hood on the
head, which is otherwise by a black spot The beak and legs of the smallest of
the most common seagulls are red. Black-headed gulls breed in colonies in the
reeds or in calm, stagnant waters, and they can often be seen foraging in
freshly mown or plowed fields They look for earthworms, beetles and larvae. They
also feed on crabs and small fish. The black-headed gull is widespread almost
everywhere and is only absent in theAntarctica.
Ringed plover with the two characteristic black bands on its neck hibernates
here and is a rather inconspicuous bird. Other species are the silk and gray
herons, the stilt, black-tailed godwit and white storks.
And of course numerous songbirds and corvids live here
The Azores, which are part of Portugal, are considered to be the most
fish-rich areas in the world. Barracudas, groupers and puffer fish are not
uncommon here. There are pike, trout, perch and carp in the lakes and rivers.
Dolphins and whales, especially the sperm whale, can also be seen occasionally.
Octopuses and moray eels also live here. The above-mentioned Portuguese galley -
a species of jellyfish - is dangerous.
Depending on the region, the number of trees in Portugal varies
considerably. In the north of the country, deciduous tree species such as
chestnut, English oak, holm oak, mountain ash and individual strawberry trees
In the south, Mediterranean vegetation dominates with evergreen hard-leaved
plants, including laurel trees, some oak species and maritime pines.
The most widespread, however, is the cork oak, which plays a very important
role economically. At higher altitudes you can go for a walk through pine and
pine forests. In the southern coastal regions, various palm species offer an
almost tropical picture, but only the dwarf palm is a native species.
Most of the trees growing here were once introduced to Portugal by the
Romans, including the carob, laurel, almond, fig and pomegranate trees.
In the north of the country potatoes, rice, maize and rye are grown and in
the south wheat, although all these products are used for personal consumption.
Wine is grown on the rather dry soils in central Portugal, from which the
famous Portuguese port wine is made, which is one of the country's few export
The wood from pine or pine trees is primarily used in shipbuilding and
furniture production, while the resin obtained from the trees is used to seal
ships. The cork oak plays an essential role in the Portuguese economy, and its
bark is used to make cork, insulating material, floor panels and wallpaper. A
very well-known and popular Portuguese schnapps, the medronho, is made from the
fruits of the strawberry trees found in the north of the country.
Lavender is part of the maquis formed by clearing and grows as a heavily
branched and partially woody 20-60 cm shrub. The purple flowers can be collected
in July and August. Used internally, they have a calming effect and are often
recommended for restlessness and difficulty falling asleep. Lavender also has a
diuretic and gas-inducing and antispasmodic effect. Applied externally, however,
it is irritating to the skin. It is also said that lavender pillows are supposed
to protect against moths in between washings.
Another plant of the maquis is thyme, which supports the digestion of fatty
and heavy foods and has a cough-relieving and expectorant effect. The essential
oil can also be used as a disinfectant. The Egyptians are said to have used the
plant to embalm the dead. Externally, thyme is used for inflammation of the
mouth and throat mucosa.
Especially in the southern coastal area there are numerous trees that are not
original for Portugal.
Most of them were once brought into the country by the Romans. Carob, almond,
fig, laurel and pomegranate trees are among them, but the olive tree, which is
native to the Middle East, is also believed to have been brought from the
Another tree introduced is the eucalyptus, which came to
Portugal from Australia. However, the fast spreading of the tree causes more
problems for the farmers than it brings benefits. The roots of the eucalyptus
tree reach very deep into the earth and thus lower the water table, which in
Portugal, which is already rather dry, has in part devastating consequences for
Extensive clearing of the forests has meant that this original vegetation has
been replaced by maquis.
This consists mainly of heather plants such as tree heather, lavender and
rosemary bushes, thyme and mastic bushes. The rock rose, a dense shrub between 1
and 2 m tall and with an aromatic smell, is also part of the maquis.
The dark green leaves are less hairy on the top, but densely hairy on the
underside and have a rolled edge. In very arid areas, plants that are resistant
to heat and drought, known as xerophytes, such as agaves and ear cacti, thrive
Together with Spain, Portugal is the only European country where agaves have
found a home.
Characteristic of this plant are its thick-fleshed leaves and the short,
compressed trunk. These properties serve on the one hand to store water and on
the other hand counteract the lowest possible water loss and thus represent the
perfect adaptation to the dry climate. Particularly interesting vegetation can
be admired on the Azores.
Hydrangeas are typical of these islands and bloom almost everywhere. Orleander
also grows here.
Bougainvilleas are very pretty to look at.
A large part of the original nature is in protected areas, especially the cliffs
are under strict nature protection to protect seabirds.