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Places where Portuguese is spoken.
  Native language
  Official and administrative language
  Cultural or secondary language
  Portuguese speaking minorities
  Portuguese-based creole

Lusophones (Portuguese: Lusófonos) are peoples that speak Portuguese as a native or as common second language and nations where Portuguese features prominently in society. Comprising an estimated 270 million people spread across 10 sovereign countries and territories, thus called Lusofonia or the Lusophone world (Portuguese: Mundo Lusófono), is the community of Portuguese-speaking (Lusophone) world; these include Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Galicia, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Cochin, Azores, Madeira, Goa, Daman and Diu, Singapore and Malacca to various degrees.

The history of the Lusophone world is intrinsically linked with the history of the Portuguese Empire, although the Portuguese diaspora, the Brazilian diaspora and the Cape Verdean diaspora communities have also played a role in spreading the Portuguese language and Lusophone culture. Portuguese-speaking nations cooperate in politics, culture and the economy through the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).


A Lusophone speaking Portuguese, recorded in the United States

The term Lusophone is a classical compound, wherein the combining form "Luso-" derives from the Latin term for an area roughly corresponding to modern Portugal, called Lusitania.[1] The suffix "-phone" derives from the Ancient Greek word φωνή (phōnē), meaning "voice".


Once the Portuguese mainland space had been established with the conquest of the Algarve, the last kings of the first dynasty dedicated themselves to organizing the national territory: they promoted settlement, agricultural exploitation, the creation of trade structures, the creation of defenses, not so much the south as east, &c. In this way, the Avis dynasty was able to engage in a new process of territorial expansion, which began in 1415 with the capture of Ceuta.

This was followed by the feat of the Discoveries, which involved the discovery of the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, the arrival in South America and various parts of Sub-Saharan Africa to Asia and the Pacific Ocean, such as Goa, Malacca, Macau and East Timor.

This long historical process has currently resulted in a cultural identity shared by eight countries, united by a shared past and by a language that, enriched in its diversity, is recognized as one. These countries - Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste -, (in addition to the special administrative region of Macau) with their respective nuclei of emigrants, make the Portuguese language one of the most spoken languages in the world, constituting a community of more than two hundred and forty million people. Lusofonia can also be the platform from which the peoples who speak Portuguese today will be able to approach and expand the scope and action of the CPLP.

Language and ethnicities in Portuguese-speaking areas around the world[edit]

Continent/region Country/territory Languages spoken[2] Ethnic groups[3] Image
Europe Portugal Portuguese (official), Galician, Mirandese Ancient civilizations: (Iberians, Celts, Greeks, Romans, Goths or Germans, Arabs, Jews or Sephardim, Phoenicians, Berbers and other African peoples, Guanches, Vikings, Gypsies and among others). Torre de Belem 20050728.jpg
Andorra Catalan 38.1% (Official), Spanish, French and Portuguese 15%. Spanish, French and Portuguese. Andorralavella03.jpg
Galicia (autonomous community of Spain) Galician, Spanish (official). Portuguese Galicians, Spaniards, Portuguese Grande place devant la cathédrale.jpg
Luxembourg Luxembourgish (official), German, French; Portuguese is spoken by 18% of the population Ancient Civilizations (Celts or Gauls, Romans, Goths or Germans and among others) Luxembourg City Chambre des députés Nov 2009.jpg
South America Brazil Portuguese (Official). Spanish, Italian, German, Guaraní and other Amerindian languages of the Amazonia. White 39.1% (Mainly of Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and German descent), Brown 27.6%, Black 31.9%, Asian 1.1% (Mainly Chinese, Japanese, and Korean), and Amerindian 0.3%. Elevador Lacerda 7610.jpg
Argentina Spanish (official), Portuguese other European and Amerindian languages European Argentine (mostly Spanish and Italian descent, (including Arab) and Mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian ancestry) 97.2%, Amerindian 2.4%, Black 0.4%.
(See: Argentinian people)
Catedral de Salta (552008).jpg
Paraguay Paraguayan Guaraní (official), Spanish (official), Portuguese Mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian) 95%, Other 5% Paraguay church.jpg
Uruguay Spanish (official), Uruguayan Portuguese White (mostly from Spanish and Italian ancestries) 87.7%, Black 4.6%, Amerindian 2.4%, Yellow (East Asian descent), Other/unspecified 5.1% Ciudad Vieja de Montevideo.jpg
Venezuela Spanish (official), Portuguese, numerous indigenous dialects Mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian ancestry) 49,9%, White 43,6%, Black 3,5% and Amerindians 2,7%
(See: Venezuelan people)
Casa natal del Libertador.JPG
North America Canada English 57.2% and French 21.8% (Official). Other non-official languages 19.7%: Spanish, Portuguese 1-2%, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Punjabi, Cree, Inuktitut, Ojibwa and Inuktitut. 90% White (primarily of British and French descent), Mixed Race, African American, Native American, and Asian. Toronto-cityhall.jpg
United States English 78.1%, Spanish 13.5%, other Indo-European 3.7%, Asian and Pacific Islander languages 3.6%, other 1.2% (2018 census), Portuguese 0.5% (Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii). White 79.96%, Black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska Native 0.97%, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific islanders 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate) Alamo Mission, San Antonio.jpg
Africa Angola Portuguese (official), umbundu, kimbundu, kikongo, chokwe language, Kituba and kwanyama Blacks and mulattoes (mestizos - Africans and Portuguese). Luanda from Fortaleza Feb 2006.jpg
Cape Verde Portuguese (official), Cape Verdean Creole Blacks and mulattoes (mestizos - Africans and Portuguese). Praia aerial.jpg
Guinea Bissau Portuguese (official), Guinea-Bissau Creole, Balanta, Fula, Mandjak, Mandinka and Papel Blacks and mulattoes (mestizos - Africans and Portuguese). Bissau4.jpg
Equatorial Guinea Spanish, French, Portuguese (official), Fang, Bubi, bioko, Fá d'Ambô, Balengue, Ibo and Kombe Blacks: (Fangs 85.7%, Bubis 6.5%, Mdowes 3.6%, Annobon 1.6%, Bujebas 1.1% and others 1.4%) (1994 Census) and mulattos (mestizos - Africans and Spaniards). Malabo a 13-oct-01.jpg
Mozambique Portuguese (official), Swahili, Makhuwa, Sena, Ndau, Tswa-Ronga (Tsonga), Lomwe, Ekoti, Makonde, Chopi, Chuwabu, Ronga, Kimwani, Shona, Chichewa Blacks and mulattoes (mestizos - Africans and Portuguese). Mosque Mozambique Island.jpg
São Tomé and Príncipe Portuguese (official), Forro, Angolar and Principense. Blacks and mulattoes (mestizos - Africans and Portuguese). Sao tome se.jpg
Asia Batticaloa (Sri Lanka territory) Sinhala language and Tamil (official). Sri Lankan Portuguese creole Burgher people Church of Our Lady of Presentation - Batticaloa.jpg
Macau (China special administrative region) Chinese and Portuguese (Official).

English, Japanese, and Tagalog.

Chinese: Han, Cantonese and Hakka, Japanese and Filipino. Ruinas de Sao Paulo.jpg
Malacca (Malaysia territory) Malay and English (Official). Kristang language, a creole of Portugese (Minority), Bahasa and Chinese. About 2,000 Cristang (Portuguese Creoles) speakers A famosa.jpg
East Timor Tetun and Portuguese (Official). Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, English. Austronesian or Malays, mestizos (European-Malay) 3.6% and European Creoles of Portuguese origin respectively. Palacio do Governo 2011.jpg

Other areas where Portuguese is also spoken[edit]

Continent/region Country/territory Languages spoken[2] Ethnic groups[3]
Macaronesia Azores (Autonomous Regions of Portugal) Portuguese (official) Portuguese
Madeira (Autonomous Regions of Portugal) Portuguese (official) Portuguese
Asia Hong Kong (China special administrative region) Chinese and English (Official). Portuguese 92.0% Han Chinese, 2.5% Filipino, 2.1% Indonesian ,0.8% White ,0.5% Indian, 0.3% Nepalese, 1.6% Others
Nation Population More information Status
Brazil Brazil 212,559,409 Portuguese in Brazil Spoken by the vast majority as a native language
Angola Angola 32,866,268 Portuguese in Angola Spoken by a significant majority as a native language
Mozambique Mozambique 31,255,435 Portuguese in Mozambique Spoken by a significant minority as a native language
Portugal Portugal 10,305,564 Portuguese in Portugal Spoken by the vast majority as a native language
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau 1,967,998 Portuguese in Guinea-Bissau Spoken by a significant minority as a native language
Equatorial Guinea Equatorial GuineaA 1,402,985 Portuguese in Equatorial Guinea Spoken by a small minority as a second language
East Timor East Timor 1,318,442 Portuguese in East Timor Spoken by a significant minority as a second language
Macau MacauB 649,342 Portuguese in Macau Spoken by a small minority as a native language
Cape Verde Cape Verde 555,988 Portuguese in Cape Verde Spoken by the majority as a second language
São Tomé and Príncipe São Tomé and Príncipe 219,161 Portuguese in São Tomé and Príncipe Spoken by the vast majority as a native language
Total c. 293 million Community of Portuguese Language Countries


A Equatorial Guinea adopted Portuguese as one of its official languages in 2007, being admitted to CPLP in 2014. The use of the Portuguese language in this country is limited. However, a Portuguese-based creole language, Annobonese Creole, is used, mainly on islands of Annobón and Bioko.[citation needed]
B Macau is not a sovereign nation. It is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China (the other being Anglophone Hong Kong, a former British colony).

Further Lusophone territories[edit]

  • During the Portuguese rule of Goa from 1505 to 1961, Portuguese was the official language. The Goa, Daman and Diu Official Language Act, 1987 made Konkani in the Devanagari script the sole official language of Goa.[4] Goa is thus not included here.
  • 15% of Uruguay's population speaks Portuguese (in the northern regions near Brazil) as a native language, though it is not an official language. This makes Portuguese the second-most-spoken language of Uruguay.
  • Linguists such as Lindley Cintra and Teixeira de Pascoaes argue that Galician, spoken in Galicia, is merely a dialect of Portuguese rather than an independent language; this would make northwestern Spain a part of the Portuguese-speaking world.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "lusophone, adj". OED Online. Oxford University Press. September 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b "The World Factbook: Languages". Retrieved 19 January 2016.[dead link]
  3. ^ a b "The World Factbook: Ethnicity Notes". Retrieved 19 January 2016.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Goanet :: Where Goans connect". 24 July 2011. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2020.

External links[edit]