The production of olive oil is an ancestral tradition and in the
Mediterranean basin its mastery dates back to 3000 BC.
In Portugal, the olive tree plantations can be
traced back to the "Visigothic Code" of 506 AD,
which punished anyone who pulled up an olive tree that did not
belong to them.
However, it was the Arabs, when conquering the Iberian Peninsula
in the 17th century, that expanded the olive culture and
plantations in this country. They perfected the techniques of
production and extraction of olive oil and placed the olive tree
above all other trees in terms of value.
The word "azeite" (olive oil) has its origin in
the Arab vocabulary - az-zait which means olive
juice, demonstrating yet again the ancestral influence of
the Arab people on the cultivation of olives.
In 1555 the consumption of olive oil increased
significantly when it became frequently used as a means of
illumination. The growing of olives increased considerably in all
areas of the country, and grew in economic and social importance
when Portugal started selling large amounts of olive oil both in
the kingdom as well as to other North European markets as well as
its Overseas Territories, notably India.
Olive Oil had also an important role in religion as the "sacred
Oil", fundamental in the economy of various convents and
Thus, we can say the olive oil has always had an important
role in the economy of the country, and has been present
in the lives of the Portuguese people. This explains why there has
been a constant and significant investment in plantations, in
their modernization and a continuous improvement in the harvesting
and oil extraction processes. In Portugal we find a mix of the
millenial cultivation of olives with technological innovation,
which allows us to produce more and better
maintaining our traditions.