Celebrating the Portuguese language in its most diverse aspects and geographic presence constitutes the primary objective of the Commemorations of the 8 Centuries of the Portuguese Language which will be held between 5 May 2014 and 10 June 2015. A special stamp was issued by Portugal joining the commemorations.
The Portuguese language emerged from the Latin spoken in the north west of the Iberian Peninsula around the sixth century, at this time still scarcely differentiated from Galician, having expanded in the peninsular west towards the south. Its tessitura contains contributions of other languages. Although the first remnants of the written language are dated as far back as the twelfth century, it was King D. Dinis who endorsed its use, as of 1297, in official documents.
Figuring among the oldest documents written in Portuguese is the Last will of king Afonso II, drawn up on 27 June 1214, that will be precisely 800 years old, and which was chosen as the reference point for these Commemorations.
Since the Portuguese language is an ancient language straddling over three oceans and inhabiting four continents, spoken by more than two hundred million people, this fact represents political, economic and cultural potential which calls out to the dedication of Portuguese-speaking communities towards an increasingly stronger affirmation of its place in the world. In this context, the eight centuries of its most ancient written documents are celebrated, as a pretext to promote the coming Commemorations. They highlight the value of a common and immaterial heritage, an official language shared by eight countries: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé e Príncipe, Timor-Leste and Macau.
On 5 May, Day of the Portuguese Language and Culture in the CPLP (Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries) opened the Commemorations. This date represents an invitation to the countries of Portuguese official language, Macau and diasporas, to the broadest commemorations, celebrating the language that we all share.
The Commemorations will close on 10 June 2015, Day of Portugal, of Camões and the Portuguese Communities, paying tribute to literature through one of the greatest promoters of the Portuguese Language, Luís de Camões.