Portuguese inventions

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The Portuguese Caravel, one of the naval creations made by the Portuguese[1][2]

The Portuguese inventions are the inventions created by the people born in Portugal (continent or overseas) or whose nationality is Portuguese. These inventions were created mainly during the age of Portuguese Discoveries, but as well, during modernity.

Relying on trade secret explains, in part, the difficulty often experienced by researchers[3] in documenting Portuguese inventions, as many are not described in patent documents, or other technical documents. On the other hand, there are cases, like some types of swords, where the inventions themselves or the underlying documents were lost, having been destroyed, for example, during the French invasions. There are as well documentation and objects of Portuguese origin in private collections or museums outside of Portugal.[4]


The creation of new inventions in Portugal took its peak during the Age of Discovery. These inventions consisted mainly in the improvement of devices and techniques of ocean navigation and coastal cartography, such as the mariner's astrolabe and the chart of latitudes. On the field of military applications, the construction of cannons and new types of swords, like the carracks black sword.


More recently, the technical domain varies from computers to medicine. Such examples might be Via Verde, an automatic system for collecting tolls for vehicles, the Multibanco, an automatic teller machine network with a multitude of functions ranging from bank transfers to the payment of tickets for shows,[5] or in the field of medicine, a treatment of epilepsy, the drug Zebinix by Bial Laboratories.[6]

Gallery of Portuguese inventions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Caravela". Ciência Viva. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  2. ^ JOHN NOBLE WILFORD (June 4, 1985). "COLUMBUS'S SHIPS: A QUEST FOR FACS IN TIME FOR 1992". NYTimes. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
  3. ^ Daehnhardt, Rainer (1997). Homens Espadas e Tomates. Rua Maria, 48-3º - 1170 Lisbon: Publicações Quipu. p. 255. ISBN 972-8408-01-3. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
  4. ^ Robert Bud,Deborah Jean Warner. Instruments of Science: An Historical Encyclopedia. p. 36. ISBN 0-8153-1561-9.
  5. ^ "Multibanco português é dos mais avançados do mundo" (in Portuguese). Sociedade Interbancaria de Serviços S.A., citing Portuguese newspaper Semanário Económico in its 2006-10-27 edition. "A qualidade do sistema português de máquinas Automated Teller Machine (ATM) é reconhecida em qualquer ponto do globo, não só pela modernidade dos equipamentos como pela enorme quantidade de funcionalidades disponíveis." (The quality of the Portuguese system is recognized anywhere in the globe, not only for the modernity of its equipments, but also for the enormous amount of functionalities available.). Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
  6. ^ Community register of medicinal products for human use: Exalief