The beach at Baleal

Baleal, today a small piece of rock attached to mainland Portugal by an isthmus, takes its name from Baleia, the Portuguese word for whale. Centuries ago, this location was a site where hunted whales were brought for butchering. Today it is one of Portugal’s surfing hotspots as the combination of ocean currents and geologic features funnels waves perfectly into the coast.

These tilted rocks line beach throughout this area. They are Jurassic-aged limestones, formed along the coastline of Europe as the Atlantic Ocean was opening. They represent a variety of facies, from deep-water shales to carbonate layers that avalanched downward from higher levels to near-shore, beach-like facies containing ooids. A variety of fossil shells and trace fossils are found throughout the sequence as well.


Image credit: Tiago Jesus


What race are the Portuguese?

I’ve seen some people complaining about “whitewashing” Portugal on Hetalia Axis Powers. 

As someone who is Portuguese and lives in Portugal, I’m aware that genetically the Portuguese descend from the pre-Celtic, proto-Celtic and Celtic peoples who inhabited the Iberian Peninsula such as the Celtici, Lusitanians (para-Celtic) and the Gallaeci forming the core identity of the country, followed by the Italics, the Romans. Other major segments include the Suebi, the Buri and the Visigoths.

A recent study by Candille et al. (2012) comparing pigmentation levels between the Portuguese and three other ethnically indigenous European national groups — the Irish, the Polish and the Italians — concluded that, in parts of the body not exposed to the sun, the Irish were in the lightest end of the spectrum, followed by the Portuguese, Poles and Italians, with the latter being darkest. In terms of hair color, the Portuguese averaged lighter hair than Italians and darker than Irish and Poles. The Portuguese exhibited significantly lower frequencies in lighter eye shades in comparison to the Irish and Polish, and marginally less, compared to Italians.

Those who are exposed to the sun are obviously more tanned, but most Portuguese people are Caucasian, or Mediterranean Caucasian if you like. Our skin is white, we just tan more because it’s sunnier here than on England or Poland and we usually don’t have light hair or light eye colors.