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During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias' sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope (1488), Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India (1497–98) and the European discovery of Brazil (1500).Portugal monopolized the spice trade during this time, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia.Although historically a Catholic-majority country, in the last decades Portugal has transformed itself into a secular state with one of the world's highest rates of moral freedom.It was the first country to abolish life imprisonment have been legalized.Among the lesser tribes or sub-divisions were the Bracari, Coelerni, Equaesi, Grovii, Interamici, Leuni, Luanqui, Limici, Narbasi, Nemetati, Paesuri, Quaquerni, Seurbi, Tamagani, Tapoli, Turduli, Turduli Veteres, Turdulorum Oppida, Turodi, and Zoelae.A few small, semi-permanent, commercial coastal settlements (such as Tavira) were also founded in the Algarve region by Phoenicians-Carthaginians.The region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and then by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula.
Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers, and many Portuguese-based creoles.
The Pre-Celts, Celts, Carthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples.
Portugal as a country was established in the aftermath of the Christian Reconquista against the Muslim Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD.
Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, ending the Portuguese Colonial War.
Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories.