The Portuguese Navy (Portuguese: Marinha Portuguesa, also known as Marinha de Guerra Portuguesa or as Armada Portuguesa) is the naval branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in cooperation and integrated with the other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the military defence of Portugal. The Portuguese Navy also participates in missions related with international commitments assumed by Portugal (mainly within NATO and EUROMARFOR), as well as missions of civil interest.
The Portuguese Navy, tracing back to the 12th century, is the oldest continuously serving navy in the world. The first known battle of the Portuguese Navy was in 1180, during the reign of Portugal's first king, Afonso I of Portugal, but the date chosen for the anniversary was 20th of May to remember the greatest achievement of exploration voyages that were attained by Portuguese explorers, namely Vasco da Gama, who in 20th of May of 1498 arrived to India, becoming the European discoverer of the sea route to India.
The caravel Bérrio (50-90 tons), under Nicolau Coelho's command, returned on July 10, 1499, to give the news. The São Gabriel (flagship) without Vasco da Gama and directed by João de Sá came in one month later. Gama had left the São Gabriel on its final leg and commissioned another vessel to bring him with his dying brother Paulo to the Azores before he returned to Portugal in early September, 1499.
This year the celebrations took place in Oeiras, betweeen Cascais and Lisbon, very close to the beach where the caravel Bérrio arrived from the first voyage to India.
Congratulations from EUROMARFOR to the Portuguese Navy!