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Portuguese Language Facts:
Today Portuguese is one of the world's major languages, ranked sixth according to number of native speakers (over 200 million). It is the language with the largest number of speakers in South America (188 million, over 51% of the continent's population), and also a major lingua franca in Africa. It is the official language of nine countries, being co-official with Spanish and French in Equatorial Guinea, with Chinese in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau, and with Tetum in East Timor.
History of Portuguese
Portuguese developed in the Western Iberian Peninsula from the spoken Latin language brought there by Roman soldiers starting in the 3rd century BC. The language began to differentiate itself from other Romance languages after the fall of the Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions in the 5th century. It started to be used in written documents around the 9th century, and by the 15th century it had become a mature language with a rich literature.