Even though the first settlement of the Portuguese in these areas was related to land use strategic options, exploitation of natural resources or evangelism, its effective settlement enabled the application of knowledge, adaptation to local realities and assimilation of indigenous habits and solutions.
It was this process of adaptation to existing natural realities, as well as the cultural interchange between the Portuguese and local populations that led to the uniqueness of the cultural heritage of Portuguese origin in the African, American and Asian continents.
The eleven properties chosen from UNESCO’s world heritage list are the ones that best exemplify the diversity of witnesses to the presence of the Portuguese across the world. As a matter of fact, this influence is still present today in different areas such as in their urban layout, extant buildings, language, habits, and religious devotion.
Apart from these 11 sites, there are other properties that also testify to the presence of the Portuguese across the world. However, the contribution of Portuguese culture to the creation, development or projection of such assets is similar to that of any other influences from other countries such as Spain, France, England or Holland. In such cases, we are not in the presence of assets of Portuguese origin. They are, instead, assets testifying to the Portuguese presence around the world.
There are other tenuous testimonies of such presence in isolated, de-characterised or ruined properties.
The two latter cases were not included on our list for the reasons mentioned.
Finally, there are other witnesses of the Portuguese presence in the world that will include our list when they are inscribed on UNESCO’s world heritage list.