Portugal's melancholy fado music is
internationally known. One fado singer who achieved
world renown was Amália Rodrigues. Among the country's
most recognized authors is José Saramago, who in 1998
was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.
Portugal's heyday as a shipping nation around the
turn of the century also marked a cultural highlight.
"The father of the Portuguese drama" Gil Vicente wrote
at this time a large number of plays, farces and
comedies. A little later, Luís Vaz de Camões wrote the
historical epic Lusiades.
Latest population statistics of Portugal, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Architecture developed the distinctive manual style
(after King Manuel I, 1469-1521) where the voyages of
discovery are clearly reflected in the decoration. At
about the same time, the Portuguese began to decorate
their houses with painted tiles, azulejos. The
technology, originally introduced by Arabs who had come
to Portugal via Spain, gained its breakthrough and
national character in the 18th century. Around Portugal,
tiles nowadays, often with historical motifs in blue and
white, adorn walls and public places.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the poet
Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), one of the most
internationally known Portuguese writers, appeared. In
1991, a Swedish new translation of his work Oron's book
was published. Among the most prominent Portuguese
writers are also José Maria Eça de Queiroz (1845-1900)
and Miguel Torga (1907-1995).
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Portugal. Artists and albums are also included.
Among Portuguese contemporary writers is José
Saramago (1922–2010) with works such as The History of
Lisbon's Siege, and António Lobo Antunes (born 1942),
with the novel Fado Alexandrino, among others. Both
authors are translated into Swedish. Among the most
prominent poets are Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen,
Eugénio de Andrade and Herberto Hélder.
Fado is the name of a special Portuguese music genre
with roots in old seamans' songs and with Brazilian,
African and Arabic influences. It is characterized by
melancholy (sauded) and is often performed by a
black-clad person for accompaniment of guitar and a kind
of lute (Portuguese guitar). In addition to singer
Amália Rodrigues (1920–1999), who made fadon
internationally famous, mention is made of fado stars
such as Mariza and Carlos do Carmo.
The most famous Portuguese filmmaker is Manoel de
Oliveira, who has made dozens of feature films but also
short films and documentaries. He passed away in 2015,
106 years old. As late as 2014, his last film, "The Old
Man from Belem", premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
Miguel Gomes (born 1972) represents a younger generation
of film directors. He received an international
breakthrough in 2012 with the film "Tabu", which
received a number of awards.
The Minister of Defense will resign in connection with an investigation into
Defense Minister José Alberto de Azeredo Lopes resigns in connection with an
investigation that the army has tried to black out a comprehensive theft of
rockets, grenades and cartridges from an army depot in Tancos in June 2017.
Several high-ranking military and military police have been arrested for
smuggling weapons, abuse of power and falsification of documents. Lopes leaves
his post, but says he has not known anything about it. In July 2017, the police
managed to track down weapons in a hideout near the depot, after receiving an
The National Assembly votes no for euthanasia
The National Assembly votes against a new law to allow euthanasia in certain
aggravating cases. 115 members vote no, 110 for and four members cast their
votes. The bill that has been tabled by the Socialist Party means that incurably
ill people and people suffering from extreme pain should be able to get help to
take their lives. Other similar proposals put forward by the Left Bloc, the
Green Party and People, Animals, the Nature Party are also rejected.
The trial of Angola's former vice president is being moved to Luanda
A Portuguese court ruled that the trial of former Angolan Vice President
Manuel Vicente, who was charged with attempting to bribe the Portuguese
prosecutor (see January 2018), may be moved to Angola.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa says he hopes this will lead to
better relations between Portugal and Angola. The Angolan government has accused
Portugal of violating Angola's sovereignty through the legal process.
Unemployment is falling, but many young people still lack jobs
Unemployment has fallen to 7.4 percent, which is the lowest figure in
Portugal in 14 years. Youth unemployment has also declined, but remains at a
high level, 21.3 percent (compared with 22.9 percent a year earlier).
The Socialist Party settles reforms with the Social Democrats
The Socialist Party and the Social Democrats (PSD) agree on several reforms,
including giving municipalities greater powers, and a strategy on how Portugal
will use money from EU structural funds in the coming years. The settlement
became possible after the change of party leader in the Social Democrats, where
new leader Rui Rio promised to seek consensus with the Socialists. This reduces
the influence of the Left Bloc and the Communist Party which supported the
government after the 2015 election, which opposed the Socialist government's
plans to reduce the budget deficit. Instead, they want to see investments in
care and higher salaries.
New law makes it easier to change legal gender
The National Assembly approves a law that makes it easier for people to have
legal sex. This means that people over the age of 16 who want to change gender
affiliation in their identity documents can do so without having any medical
documentation. It is also prohibited to carry out unnecessary surgical
procedures on children with unclear gender identity (intersexual children). 109
of the 230 members of the National Assembly vote in favor of the amendment.
Lack of educated labor is hampering growth
The Portuguese economy is growing. Growth in 2017 was 2.7 percent, the
highest figure since 2000. Unemployment has also fallen to just under 8 per
cent, which is more than one-half that of 2013. At the same time, it is clear
that continued growth is hampered by a shortage of skilled labor, in both the
tourism and automotive and textile industries. This is partly due to the low
level of education (only about a quarter of the adult population has
post-secondary education) and that many well-educated Portuguese emigrated
during the crisis years. Today, however, it is more common than before that
young Portuguese are getting higher education.
Trial against Angolan politicians creates tensions between Portugal and
The trial of Angola's former Vice President Manuel Vicente begins in Lisbon.
The prosecution is based on suspicions that he bribed the Portuguese State
Prosecutor for allegedly filing two charges against him for money laundering.
Vicente is not in court. Angola presses for the case against Vicente to be
transferred to his home country, but the prosecutor says no as it means that the
legal process against him is closed down, as Vicente is subject to an amnesty
that the former Angolan President dos Santos issued in 2017. The trial has
created tensions between Portugal and Angola. The new Angolan president João
Lourenço does not have the same close relationship with the former colonial
power as his representative, whose family has made major investments in
Portugal. Angola is also an important exporting country for Portugal.
Rui Rio becomes new leader of the Social Democrats
The Social Democrats appoint Rui Rio, an economist and former mayor of Porto,
as new party leader. He wins with 54 percent of the vote. During the campaign
for the party leadership election, Rio says he can support a minority government
led by the Socialist Party unless the Social Democrats win the next
parliamentary election. As it is now, Rio's party is far behind the socialists
in opinion polls.
Migration problems in focus for EU countries in the south
Leaders of seven EU countries in southern Europe (except Portugal, Cyprus,
France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain) gather for a summit in Rome. There, they
make a joint statement expressing their support for the EU's common migration
policy. They have agreed that the EU needs to strengthen its external border
guarding, fight human smuggling and do more to address problems in migrants'
home countries. They call on all EU countries to do more to help those countries
receiving the most asylum seekers / migrants.