The word Portugal derives from the Roman-Celtic place name Portus Cale. Portus, the Latin word for port or harbour, Cala or Cailleach was the name of a Celtic goddess – in Scotland she is known as Beira – and also the name of an early settlement located at the mouth of the Douro River (present-day Vila Nova de Gaia) which flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the north of what is now Portugal. At the time the land of a specific people was frequently named after its deity. Those names are the origins of the -gal in Portugal and Galicia. Incidentally, the meaning of Cale or Calle is also a derivation of the Celtic word for port which would confirm very old links to pre-Roman, Celtic languages which compare to today’s Irish caladh or Scottish cala, both meaning port. Some French scholars believe it may have come from ‘Portus Gallus’, the port of the Gauls or Celts.
Around 200 BC, the Romans took the Iberian Peninsula from the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War, and in the process conquered Cale and renamed it Portus Cale (Port of Cale) incorporating it to the province of Gaellicia with capital in Bracara Augusta (modern day Braga, Portugal). During the Middle Ages, the region around Portus Cale became known by the Suebi and Visigoths as Portucale. The name Portucale evolved into Portugale during the 7th and 8th centuries, and by the 9th century, that term was used extensively to refer to the region between the rivers Douro and Minho. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Portugale, Portugallia or Portvgalliae was already referred to as Portugal.