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Numbers                

Roman Numeral TableAs you go through old records, there will always be a date present. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how numbers and dates work in Portuguese.

Numbers

In Portuguese records, there are two main types of numbers used to express figures and dates. The first group of numbers used in Portuguese records is the set of roman numerals. Even though they may show some variations from the ones still used today, they are also usually easy to read. The researcher must be aware of the common use of some lower-case letters to represent the roman numerals, for example, iii instead of III.

We recommend that the researcher check other records written by the same scribe to ensure the correct reading of a particular number. Check the chart of roman numerals below.​

Some of the older documents you look at may use the following symbol:

  This "U" like character signifies the space between the thousands place and the hundreds   place.

  For example:

  or "​1 U DXCI" would be 1591.

Before the "U," the scribe may place a "1" instead of an "M" (such as with our 1591 example.)    

            The second and most relevant types of numbers are Arabic numerals, which are the most widely used today. These are usually easy to read, but some are sometimes confusing because their shape could be similar to other numbers, such as 1 and 7, or 5 and 9. Here are some examples:

When dating documents, most records will use Cardinal Numerals (one, two, three) or Ordinal Numerals (first, second, third). When using Cardinal numbers, it is necessary to know that Portuguese places an e (&) between every number after twenty, e.g., vinte e um twenty & one or cento e trinta e três one hundred & thirty & three. A notable exception is between the thousands and hundred if there are other numbers, e.g., mil e cem 1,100 as opposed to mil cento e vinte 1,120. It is also important to note that in many older documents will have he instead of e.

Below is a basic guide to numbers you may encounter in Portuguese records:

Arabic

Roman

Cardinal

Ordinal

1

I

umm/umaf

primeiro

2

II

doism/duasf

segundo

3

III

três

terceiro

4

IV

quatro

quarto

5

V

cinco

quinto

6

VI

seis

sexto

7

VII

sete

sétimo

8

VIII

oito

oitavo

9

IX

nove

nono

10

X

dez

décimo

11

XI

onze

décimo primero/undécimo

12

XII

doze

décimo segundo/duodécimo

13

XIII

treze

décimo treceiro/tredécimo

14

XIV

quatroze/catorze

décimo quarto

15

XV

quinze

décimo quinto

16

XVI

dezesseis

décimo sexto

17

XVII

dezessete

décimo sétimo

18

XVIII

dezoito

décimo oitavo

19

XIX

deznove

décimo nono

20

XX

vinte

vigésimo

21

XXI

vinte e um/uma

vigésimo primero

22

XXII

vinte e dois/duas

vigésimo segundo

23

XXIII

vinte e três

vigésimo treceiro

30

XXX

trinta

trigésimo

31

XXX1

trinta e um/uma

trigésimo primero

32

XXXII

trinta e dois/duas

trigésimo segundo

33

XXXIII

trinta três

trigésimo treceiro

40

XXXX

quarenta

quadragésimo

50

L

cinquenta/cinqüenta

quindragésimo

60

LX

sessenta

sexagésimo

70

LXX

setenta

septuagésimo

80

LXXX

oitenta

octogésimo

90

XC

noventa

nonagésimo

100

C

cem (cento…)

centésimo