Portugal in briefPortugal in brief
Major cities: Porto, Braga, Aveiro, Faro, Coimbra
Official language: Portuguese
Population: 10.4 million
Religion: Roman Catholic (81%)
Area: 35,603 square miles
Number of Korean expats: 148 (2013)
Historical relations between Korea and Portugal date far back to the period of Portuguese discovery. The first Westerner to visit Korea was a Portuguese merchant, Joao Mendes, in 1604, and Korea was represented for the first time on a Western map in 1615, which was a Portuguese map known as the Manuel Godinho de Eredia.
The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1961, and Portugal opened an embassy in Seoul in 1988. For the 50th anniversary in 2011, Park Geun-hye visited Portugal as a special representative of then-President Lee Myung-bak.
A first for Samsung
The balance of trade between the two countries came to a total value of $312 million in 2014. Korea’s main exports to Portugal were synthetic resin, ships, synthetic rubber and wireless phones. Portugal’s exports to Korea were chiefly tires, clothing and footwear.
Last year, the countries signed an agreement on working holiday visas and memoranda of understanding in the fields of tourism and energy cooperation.
Notably, the first Samsung manufacturing subsidiary to be established abroad was in Portugal in 1982.