What Is The Meaning Of The Name Portugal?

Lisbon, Portugal.
Lisbon, Portugal.

Portugal is a European country located on the Iberian Peninsula. Popular for being among the world’s best golf destinations, the country is decorated with magnificent cities, medieval castles, and great culture. Lisbon is the capital as well as the largest city in Portugal. Inhabitants of the country officially speak Portuguese with most of them (81%) subscribing to the Christian faith. As of 2018, the estimated population of Portugal was 10.3 million. Portugal is one of the oldest states in Europe as it can be traced back to 400,000 years ago when the Homo heidelbergensis inhabited the area where the country stands today. The name Portugal originally came from two Latin words: Portus and Cale.

Meaning Of The Name Portugal

Portugal was named after the country’s second largest city, called Porto. The Latin name for the city was Portus Cale. The word “Cale” is believed to have come from a Celtic word meaning “port.” In other contexts, it means “tranquil port.” Cale also referred to a group of early settlers who occupied the area around Douro River in present-day Portugal. The word was an ethnonym of the Castro people who were also called Callaeci or Gallaeci. Some historians believe that Cale originated from a Greek word meaning “beautiful.” The word described the magnificence of the Douro River. On the other hand, Hector Boece - a Scottish historian – argued that the name Portugal came from Porto Gartelli. Other people believe that Cale was a Latin word meaning warm. Consequently, “Portus Cale” means “warm port.” Portus Cale evolved into Portugale between the 7th and 9th Century.

Therefore, the name Portugal means tranquil, beautiful, or warm port as per the varied explanations of the root words Portus and Cale.


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