Pomelo + mandarine = sweet orange
Portugal and oranges have been tied together for generations… Since the 15th century at least. However if you ask a Portuguese if they have heard anything regarding their country’s connection with oranges, they will most likely raise an eyebrow…
During the XV century, brave sailors from Portugal began wandering into the vast ocean to uncover what was on other side, on other worlds… Today we know these adventures as the Portuguese Discoveries. They ventured into unknown territories along Africa, India and the far East.
Let’s first learn how to pronounce the word orange in several modern Indo-European languages:
Albanian | portokall
Bulgarian | портокал (portokal)
Greek | πορτοκάλι (portokali)
Macedonian | portokal
Persian | پرتقال (porteghal)
Romanian | portocală
Other languages have similar names as well:
Arabic | البرتقال (bourtouqal)
Georgian | ფორთოხალი (p’ort’oxali)
Turkish | portakal
Southern Italian dialects, such as Neapolitan, pronounce orange as portogallo or purtuallo.
I guess you can now sense the similarities between the pronunciation of the fruit orange and the country Portugal!
Portuguese merchants were the first to introduce the sweet orange in Europe. At the time, the orange was an hybrid fruit made from the crossover of a mandarine and a pomelo.
I guess we can thank the Portuguese for giving us the juicy sweet orange we all know and love!