Tuesday, 01 May 2012 18:20 | By Francis Whittaker

Ten things you never knew about Portugal



Portugal (© Reuters)

1) Between 1910 and 1926 Portugal had 44 governments, 20 military takeovers and 12 different presidents.

2) While bullfighting is still legal in Portugal, the act of killing the bull during the fight is not.

3) Portugal was responsible for the first commercial wave farm to produce electricity.

4) Portugal saw the first ever hot air balloon flight. In 1709, a Brazilian priest named Bartolomeu de Gusmão elevated himself four metres above the ground in front of King John V in front of the Portuguese court in Lisbon. However, the concept of a man flying was so alien that de Gusmão was accused of witchcraft and consequently persecuted by the Holy Inquisition.

5) Amazingly, less than 20 people died during Portugal's carnation revolution, which ended the country's oppressive dictatorship on 25 April 1976.

6) Portugal's star player Cristiano Ronaldo was named after former US President Ronald Reagan.

7) Portugal was the venue for the largest ever firework display. A grand total of 66,326 fireworks were let off in Funchal, Madeira on 31 December 2006.

8) Portuguese people celebrate Christmas with their dead relatives. Empty places and food are left around the table on Christmas day in honour departed family members.

9) From 1808 to 1821, the capital of Portugal was Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

10) Portugal has the most liberal drugs policy in Europe. In 2001, it became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

IE11