Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/150

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136
[INHABITANTS
PORTUGAL


trees are extensively cultivated, Barbary oaks (Quercus ballota, Port. azfinheira) furnish edible acorns and excellent timber for! charcoal, and carob-trees (Ceratonia siligua, Port. alfarrobeira) also produce edible seed-pods somewhat resembling beans. Elms, limes and poplars are common north of the Tagus, ilexes, araucarias, myrtles, magnolias and a great variety of conifers in all parts. The Serra da Estrella has a rich alpine Hora, and the lagoon of Aveiro contains a great number of aquatic plants.

Inhabitants.—The population of Portugal numbered 4,550,699 in 1878, 5,049,729 in 1890 and 5,423,132 in 1900. These totals include the inhabitants of the Azores and Madeira, which together amounted to 406,865 in 1900. Few immigrants enter the country, but the birth-rate is about 30 per 1000, while the mortality is only about 20 per 1000. Large bodies of emigrants, chiefly recruited from the sober, hardy and industrious peasantry of the northern provinces, annually leave Portugal to seek fortune in America. A few go to the Portuguese colonies, the great majority to Brazil. Many of these emigrants return with considerable savings and settle on the land. The mortality is highest among male children, and the normal excess of females is in the proportion of 109 to 100. Six-sevenths of the population of continental Portugal inhabit the provinces north of the Tagus. The density of population is greatest in Madeira (479.5 per sq. m. in 1900), Entre-Minho-e-Douro (419.5) and the Azores (277-9), nowhere else does it reach 200 per sq. m. In Alemtejo the percentage sinks to 45.1, and for the whole country, including the islands, it amounts only to 152.8.

The Portuguese people is composed of many racial elements. Its earliest known ancestors were the Iberians (q.v.). The peasantry, especially in the north, are closely akin to the Galician and Asturian Spaniards in character, physique and dialect; and these three ethnical groups-Portuguese of the north, Galicians, Asturians-may perhaps be regarded as the purest representatives of the Spanish stock. The first settlers with whom they intermarried were probably Carthaginians, who were followed in smaller numbers by Greeks; but the attempts which have sometimes been made to ascribe certain attributes of the Portuguese to the influence of these races are altogether fanciful. The Romans, whose supremacy was not seriously threatened for some six centuries after the Punic Wars, gave to Portugal its language and the foundation of its civilization; there is, however, no evidence that they seriously modified the physical type or character of its people. In these respects the Suevic and Visigothic conquests left a more permanent impression, especially in the northern provinces. After 711 came the long period of Moorish (i.e. Arab and Berber) predominance. The influence of the Moors was greatest south of the Tagus. In Alemtejo, and still more in Algarve, Arab and Berber types are common; and the influence of these races can everywhere be discerned in the architecture, handicrafts and speech of the peasantry. So complete was the intellectual triumph of the Moors that an intermediate “ Mozarabic ” population arose, Portuguese in blood, Christian in religion, but Arab in language and manners. Many of the Mozarabs even adopted the characteristic Mahommedan rite of circumcision. Under the tolerant rule of Islam the Portuguese lews rose to a height of wealth and culture unparalleled in Europe; they intermarried with the Christians both at this period and after their forced conversion by King Emanuel I. (1495–1521). After 1450 yet another ethnical element was introduced into the nation, through the importation of African slaves in vast numbers. Negroid types are common throughout central and southern Portugal. No European race confronted with the problem of an immense coloured population has solved it more successfully than the Portuguese and their kinsmen in Brazil; in both countries intermarriage was freely resorted to, and the offspring of these mixed unions are superior in character and intelligence to most half-breeds. National Characteristics.—The normal type evolved from this fusion of many races is dark-haired, sallow-skinned, brown eyed and of low stature. The poorer classes, above all the fishermen and small farmers, are physically much finer than the wellto-do, who are prone to excessive stoutness owing to their more sedentary habits. The staple diet of the labouring classes and small farmers is fish, especially the dried codfish called bacalhao, rice, beans, maize bread and meal, olive oil, fruit and vegetables. Meat is rarely eaten except on festivals. In Alemtejo chestnuts and figs are important articles of diet. Drunkenness is extremely rare. There 'is no single national dress, but a great variety of picturesque costumes are worn. The sashes, broad-brimmed hats and copper-tipped quarterstaves of the men, and the brilliant cotton dresses and gold or silver filigree ornaments worn on holidays by the women are common throughout the country; but many classes have their own costumes, varying in detail according to the district or province. These costumes may be seen at their best at bull-fights and at such popular festivals as the romarias or pilgrimages, which combine religion with the attractions of a fair. The national sport of bull-fighting (q.v.) is conducted as humanely as possible, for the Portuguese are lovers of animals. The artistic sense of the nation is perhaps greatest among the peasantry, although Portugal has the most illiterate peasantry in western Europe. It is manifested in their poetry and music even more than in their admirable costumes and in the good taste which has preserved the Roman or Moorish forms of their domestic pottery. Even the men and women who till the soil are capable of improvising verse of real merit, and sometimes excel in the ancient and difficult art of composing extempore amoebean rhymes. In this way, although the ancient ballads are not forgotten, new Words are also fitted to the plaintive folk-tunes (fades) which every farm-hand knows and sings, accompanied sometimes by a rude clarinet or bagpipes, but more frequently by the so-called Portuguese guitaran instrument which resembles a mandolin rather than the guitars of Italy and Spain. The native dances, slow but not ungraceful, and more restrained than those of Andalusia or the south of France, are obviously Moorish in origin, and depend for their main effects on the movement of the arms and body. Many curious superstitious survive in the country districts, including the beliefs in witches (feitigeiras, bruxas) and werewolves (lobishomens); in sirens (sereias) which haunt the dangerous coast and lure fishermen to destruction; in fairies (fadas) and in many kinds of enchantment. It will be observed that the nomenclature of Portuguese folk-lore suggests that the popular superstitions are of the most diverse origin-Latin, Greek, Arabic, native: lobishomem is the Latin lupus homo, wolf-man, sereia is the Greek aetphv, bruxa is Arabic, feitigeira and fada Portuguese. Other beliefs can be traced to Jewish and African sources. Chief Towns.-The chief towns of Portugal are Lisbon (pop. 1900, 356,009), the capital and principal seaport; Oporto (167,9 5 5), the capital of the northern provinces and, after Lisbon, the most important centre of trade; the seaports of Setubal (22,074), Ilhavo (12,617), Povoa de Varzim (12,623), Tavira (I2, I7§), Faro (1 I,78Q), Ovar (10,462), Olhao (10,009) Vianna do Castello (10,000), Aveiro (9975), Lagos (8291), Leixoes (7690) and Figueira da Foz (6221); and the inland cities or towns of Braga (24,202), Loulé (22,478), Coimbra (18,144), Evora (16,020), Covilha (r5,469), Elvas (13,981), Portalegre (1 I,82O), Palmella (II,478), Torres Novas (10,746), Silves (9687), Lamego (9471), Guimaraes (9104), Beja (8885), Santarem (8628), Vizeu (8057), Estremoz (7920), Monchique (7345), Castello Branco (7288), Abrantes (7255), Torres Vedras (6900), Thomar (6888), Villa Real (6716), Chaves (6388), Guarda (6124), Cintra (5914), Braganza (5535), Mafra (4769), Leiria (4459), Batalha (3858), Almeida (2330), Alcobaca (2309), Bussaco (1661). All these are described in separate articles. A

Communications.—Up to 1851 there was practically no good carriage road in the country except the highway between Lisbon and Cintra. In 1853 the work of constructing a proper system of roads was undertaken, and by the end of the century all the larger towns were linked together by the main or “royal” highways to which the “ district " and “ municipal ” roads were subsidiary. Each class of road was named after the authority responsible for its construction and upkeep. In some of the remoter rural districts there are only bridle-paths, or rough tracks, which become almost impassable in wet seasons, a11d are never suitable for vehicles less solid than the Portuguese ox-carts. The first railway was opened in 1853 to connect Lisbon with Badajoz. In 1910 1758 m. were

completed, of which 672 m. were state lines. The Portuguese