Portugal day: Three Atlantic milestones

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A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC coordinator

Commemorating the death of Luis de Camões, famous Portuguese and Atlantic writer, each June 10th, Portugal celebrates its history and culture. Every year a different city hosts the Official Commemorations, being in 2014 Guarda the chosen city. Across the Atlantic, other countries like Canada, United Kingdom or France observe parallel festivities.

So, for this occasion, let’s focus on three less known facts of Portugal history:

In the XV century, descending from the kings of England and Portugal, Prince Henry was among the first to promote trans-Atlantic explorations. At his initiative, Portugal takes the enclave of Ceuta, discovers Madeira and Açores, reaches the Sargasso Sea and conquers land in Western Africa. In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first European sailor to reach India by sea.

The “francesinha” (“small French lady”), a typical Porto sandwich born in the sixties, has received several world acknowledgements, such as the AOL travel in 2011. As the couple fabada /cassoulet, it is an example of gastronomy cross-over on the Atlantic Arc, as its creator was a cook who had lived in France and wanted to produce a Portuguese version of the notorious “croque-monsieur”.

As coordinator of the Leadership Group, Portugal will spearhead the launch of the European Strategy for the Atlantic Area through the implementation of its Action Plan between 2014 and 2015. This leadership group is composed of high level representatives of the EU institutions (Commission, Parliament, Committee of Regions, Economic and Social Committee) and of Atlantic Member States.

May you add other “Atlantic” milestones?

Happy day, Portugal!

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