- Download our Moving to Portugal Guide (PDF)
Pre-Roman and Roman eras
- Many ethnic groups settle in prehistoric Iberia. In the first millennium BCE, Celts also spread through the region.
- 711 BCE: Phoenician traders establish colonies in what is now Portugal, including the city of Lisbon.
- 218 BCE: The Romans invade the Iberian Peninsula. Over the next 200 years, they expel the Carthaginian colonies, annex the Iberian Peninsula and install a colonial regime.
Visigoth and Moorish rule
- Early 5th century: Germanic tribes called the Suebi and Vandals invade the Iberian Peninsula and are quickly supplanted by the Visigoths, who rule the peninsula for the next 300 years.
- 711: The Moors invade and establish the Islamic state of Al-Andalus in the Iberian Peninsula.
- 722: The Visigoths regroup in the north with the eventual aim of retaking the land for Christendom. The resulting series of battles, known as the Reconquista, would continue for another 700 years.
- 1143: Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, is recognised as an independent ruler by the Kingdom of Leon, marking the beginning of Portugal's existence as a sovereign nation.
- 1249: The Reconquista period is marked by constant conflict and war between the Christians and Muslims in the peninsula, culminating in the capture of the southern coast and the expulsion of the last Moorish settlements.
Age of discoveries and empire
- 1415: The Portuguese Armada sets sail for and conquers Ceuta in North Africa, marking the beginnings of the Portuguese Empire.
- 1415–1580: The Empire expands rapidly. Portugal becomes a major naval power and establishes a global empire, with colonies in Africa, Asia and South America.
- 1492: The Reconquista period ends as the Christians successfully conquer the entire Iberian Peninsula.
- 1495–1521: King Manuel I of Portugal sponsors expeditions to the newly discovered lands, bringing back exotic goods, spices and animals to Europe.
- 1498: Vasco da Gama sails around the Cape of Good Hope and reaches India, opening up a new route to Asia for European traders.
- 1536–1605: The reign of King Sebastian I is marked by attempts to expand the Portuguese Empire, including the ill-fated invasion of Morocco in 1578, which leads to the king's death and a period of political instability.
Union with Spain and restoration of independence
- 1580: When the Portuguese king dies without heirs, Philip II of Spain claims the Portuguese throne.
- 1640: The country regains its independence with the help of the British. The Portuguese Empire continues to grow until the late 18th century.
- 1755: The Lisbon earthquake, along with the resulting fires and tsunami, cause widespread destruction and death in Portugal. This leads to significant changes in the country's architecture and urban planning.
- 1807–1811: Portugal is invaded by French forces under Napoleon, leading to the transfer of the Portuguese royal family to Brazil and the eventual establishment of Brazil as an independent kingdom.
- 1822: Brazil declares independence from Portugal.
- 1834: Economic decline and political instability lead to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
- 1910–1926: The Portuguese monarchy is overthrown, and the First Republic period is marked by political instability, including several coups and assassinations.
World War I, World War II and beyond
- 1914–1918: Portugal remains neutral for the first half of World War I but sends troops to fight on the Western Front in 1916.
- 1917: The First Republic is established, marking a period of political and social reforms, including the separation of church and state and the introduction of compulsory education.
- 1926: A military coup leads to the establishment of a dictatorship that lasts until the 1974 revolution.
- 1939–1945: During World War II, Portugal declares itself neutral but faces economic hardships and political turmoil.
- 1961–1974: The Portuguese Colonial Wars, fought against liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, lead to significant political and social changes in Portugal and its former colonies.
- 1974: A peaceful revolution leads to the establishment of a democratic government and the end of Portugal's colonial empire.
- 1975: Portugal's country's first democratic elections are held, leading to the establishment of a socialist government and significant social reforms, including the nationalisation of major industries and land redistribution.
- 1986: Portugal joins the European Union and has since modernised its economy and infrastructure, with a focus on tourism and technology.
- 1998: Lisbon hosts the World Exposition, marking Portugal's increasing presence on the world stage and revitalising the city's urban landscape.
- 1999: Macau, the last remaining Portuguese colony, is returned to Chinese control. Also, the euro becomes Portugal's official currency, replacing the escudo.
- 2010: Portugal requests a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union due to the country's debt crisis.
- 2011: Portugal faces a severe economic crisis and austerity measures are implemented to address the country's debt problem.
- 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic reaches Portugal, leading to a nationwide lockdown and significant loss of life and economic and social impact.
►To learn more about life in Portugal, read Culture Shock in Portugal
Are you an expat living in Portugal?
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