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Portuguese is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia and northern Portugal. It is derived from the Latin spoken by the romanized pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula (namely the Gallaeci, the Lusitanians, the Celtici and the Conii) around 2000 years ago. It spread worldwide in the 15th and 16th centuries as Portugal established a colonial and commercial empire (1415–1999) that spanned from Brazil in the Americas to Goa and other parts of India, Macau in China, Timor (north of Australia) and Angola in Africa. It was used as the exclusive lingua franca on the island of Sri Lanka for almost 350 years. During that time, many creole languages based on Portuguese also appeared around the world, especially in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

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10-Mar-10, 6:59 am

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