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Saturday 29th November
Portugal Facts
Well preserved dinosaur tracks can be found in the Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros and Parque Natural da Arrabida.

Rock carvings in the Coa Valley date from 22000 BC to 10000 BC.

Roman Portugal was called Luisitania. Cunard named one of two ships built at the beginning of the twentieth century, Luisitania: her sister ship was the Mauretania.

Portugal was founded in 1152 by Alfonso Henriques.

A University was established in 1290 in Lisbon.

Portugal has a long association with England: in 1308 they signed the Treaty of Friendship; 1386 saw another Alliance and the 1654 Treaty of commercial cooperation was accompanied by British aid for independence from Spain.

The Portuguese caravel, whose design enabled it to carry cargo and sail close to the wind made the great voyages of exploration possible.

Prince Henry the Navigator set up a school at Sagres, where he gathered the finest map-makers, astronomers and navigators of the age. Magellan and Vasco da Gama were among the great explorers who studied there.

The island of Madeira was claimed for Portugal in 1419. Its name comes from the Portuguese word for wood because it is heavily forested.

At the end of the 1490s Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India.

Bartholomew Diaz, the Portuguese explorer, was the first to sail round the southern tip of Africa which he named the Cape of Good Hope.

Pedro Alvarez Cabral was the discoverer of Brazil.

The Portuguese established a trading post in Goa, India, in 1510.

In 1522 Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, financed by Spain, became the first to complete a circumnavigation of the world.

Both Columbus (from Genoa) - the European discoverer of America and Magellan asked the Portuguese to finance their voyages. When they were refused, they went to Spain, where they received the support they needed.

Between 1580 and 1640 Spain and Portugal became united adding the Portuguese Empire to that of the Spanish including Brazil.

In 1661 King Afonso's sister, Catherine of Braganza, married King Charles II of England.

The people of Madeira were given, by Charles II, a special right to sell wine to England and all her colonies.

Funchal, the main town of Madeira, is named after the herb, fennel (funchal), which grew wild on the island.

Since the eighteenth century it has been illegal for the bull to be killed in Portuguese bullfighting.

The 1755 earthquake in Lisbon destroyed much of the city: thirty thousand people were killed.

The Portuguese slave trade was outlawed in 1850.

King Manuel II, Portugal's last king, was deposed in 1910 and lived in exile in Twickenham, just outside London.

In 1917 the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to children in Fatima. The town is now a major centre of pilgrimage.

Portugal was an ally of Britain in the First Word War and during the Second World War the Azores were used by the British as a military base.

In 1986 Mario Soares became the first civilian President of Portugal.

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