Portugal Day, officially Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities (Portuguese: Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas), is Portugal's National Day celebrated annually on 10 June.
Although officially observed only in Portugal, Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís de Camões on 10 June 1580.
Luís de Camões was a poet, a writer, a soldier, a swordsman and a traveler. He was born in a time when the Portuguese seafarers were rapidly discovering new lands across the World. His life became, therefore, part of that dynamic that, eventually, brought Humanity closer together.
From what we know, Luís de Camões was born in a family of minor aristocracy. Therefore, he had a gentry’s education and, as well, benefited from intensive Classic and Humanistic academic studies, probably in the University of Coimbra.
As a young nobleman, he attended the court of King John, the Third of Portugal. There, he became known for his bravery, his easy coming poetry and for his ever-loving heart. He wrote love poems addressed to high ranking young ladies and, perhaps, even to the King’s daughter.
As a soldier, he served militarily in Northern Africa, where he lost one of his eyes while battling. He returned to Portugal and finally left to Asia, where the Portuguese have started to settle since some time ago.
There he served the Portuguese local Governments and had the opportunity to experience a New World. It was in Asia where Luís de Camões presumably wrote his work, the poetic masterpiece «The Lusíadas» (The Portuguese – being allegedly the «Lusitanos» the ancestors of the Portuguese before the Roman invasion of the Iberian Peninsula). It narrates the voyage of Vasco da Gama from Portugal to the Indian Subcontinent around the Cape of Good Hope. In between the reader gets a glimpse of the History of Portugal till the XVIth Century.
Luís de Camões wrote also lyric poetry, many times in the form of sonnets. They depict a very beautiful and sensible content, perfection of form and delicate and subtle ideas embedded in solid philosophic knowledge.
In the poem «Endechas a Bárbara Escrava» he brings down the concept of slavery, exalting the humanity, wisdom and gentleness of a «captive» with whom he falls in love: «That captive who holds me captive».