Portugal Day on June 10 (1580) commemorates the death of the great Portuguese poet Luís de Camões. He wrote Portugal’s epic national poem Os Lusíadas in 1572. It’s about the opening of the sea route to India by the great Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama in the 15th century (1497 – 1499).
We commemorate his death because nobody knows for sure when he was born. De Camões’ died in an important year in the history of Portugal. 1580 marked the end of Portugal as an independent nation until self rule was won back from Spain in 1640.
Portuguese explorers played an important role in history. They opened European trade routes around coastal Africa and all the way to Asia and the Pacific, and then Brazil.
Portugal Day NYC
New York City’s big celebration is the Portugal Day Festival and Parade in the Ironbound District of Newark, New Jersey. It’s NYC’s biggest Portuguese and Brazilian community. The seafood is incredible.