Totally agree with the sentence. Living and relying on one language is SO boring and dull. Which is why I'm enjoying my Portuguese, French (2nd time after high school), and Romanian (a little more challenging than the other two). I'm just glad to be a native Spanish speaker because it helps a LOT with Portuguese (then again, Spain and Portugal border each other and were once one country in their history). If I'm bored speaking one language, I switch to the next one of my choice. Besides, I hunger for a lot of travel, dang it! Este homem boricua aqui ama ás mulheres brasilheiras.
It's great that you are learning so many languages. In the hierarchy of Romance languages, Portuguese is near the top making it easier for Portuguese speakers to understand French, Italian, Spanish, while Spanish is at the bottom so they have the most difficulty understanding the other Romance languages. Well, I knew this already but still I have been amazed that just from my Portuguese studies I can almost understand Spanish better than the Portuguese that is my goal. =]
All this gives the Portuguese a bit of smugness (no harm, they can use it) with regard to languages as they can almost understand, without studying, 4 other languages who in return find it difficult to understand the Portuguese...
Then into this comes the Romanians who the Portuguese cannot understand but are understood by the Romanians. It is a bit shocking for the Portuguese; this is not something they are used to... =D
However, to address the "one country" thing, Portugal was born from Galicia/Galiza which was a kingdom in what is now Spain. Spain itself was not a country until a few centuries after Portugal was established as a country:
In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north, lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada. This led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castille, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion. Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs.
Portugal is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. The Pre-Celts, Celts, Carthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples.
Portugal as a country was established during the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Despite attempts at independence since its foundation as a county in 868, only after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128, where Portuguese forces led by Afonso Henriques defeated forces led by his mother, Teresa, the County of Portugal affirmed its sovereignty and Afonso styled himself Prince of Portugal. He would later be proclaimed King of Portugal at the Battle of Ourique in 1139 and was recognised as such, by neighbouring kingdoms, on the Treaty of Zamora, in 1143.
Anyway, there was a brief period (in the overall length of history) when Portugal had a "Spanish" king (because he was the grandson of a Portuguese king, all that intermarriage between countries then) but it never stopped being the country of Portugal, and Spain was not a country then.
Portugal voluntarily entered a dynastic union between 1580 and 1640. This occurred because the last two kings of the House of Aviz – King Sebastian, who died in the battle of Alcácer Quibir in Morocco, and his great-uncle and successor, King-Cardinal Henry of Portugal – both died without heirs, resulting in the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580.
Subsequently, Philip II of Spain claimed the throne and was accepted as Philip I of Portugal. Portugal did not lose its formal independence, briefly forming a union of kingdoms. At this time Spain was a geographic territory. The joining of the two crowns deprived Portugal of an independent foreign policy and led to its involvement in the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands.
Portugal has a national holiday on the 1st of December in honor of kicking the Spanish out. =]
In 1640, John IV spearheaded an uprising backed by disgruntled nobles and was proclaimed king. The Portuguese Restoration War ended the sixty-year period of the Iberian Union under the House of Habsburg. This was the beginning of the House of Braganza, which reigned in Portugal until 1910.
Portugal has another national holiday for that:
Which led to another holiday in 1974:
To really get into this in depth, this is a great (and surprisingly interesting) online book for the history of what led up to the discovery of the "New World" by the "Old World" with a lot of focus on Portugal (for good reason):
It's really interesting isn't it? Especially as Uruguay at least has mandatory Portuguese lessons in their schools.
I consider Portuguese the bargain language as we almost get two for the price of one. =)
Though in my next life I am going to go straight for Romanian first for the bundled language deal. :D