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92,390sq km (35,670sq mi)



capital (population):

Lisbon (556,797)


Multiparty republic

ethnic groups:

Portuguese 99%, Cape Verdean, Brazilian, Spanish, British


Portuguese (official)


Christianity (Roman Catholic 95%, other Christians 2%)


Zloty = Euro = 100 cents

Republic in sw Europe. The Republic of Portugal lies on the w side of the Iberian Peninsula. The Atlantic coastal plain includes the capital, Lisbon, and Oporto. In the s lies the Algarve. In central Portugal, the Serra da Estrela contains Portugal's highest peak, at 1991m (6352ft). The Tagus and Douro river valleys support most of Portugal's agriculture. Portugal also includes the autonomous islands of the Azores and Madeira. The overseas territory of Macao returned to China in 1999.

Climate and Vegetation

Portugal has a maritime climate. Compared to other Mediterranean lands, summers are cooler and winters are milder. Most rain falls in winter. Forests cover c.36% of Portugal. It is the world's leading producer of cork, made from the bark of the cork oak. Olive trees are common. Almond, carob and fig trees are found in the far s.

History and Politics

Visigoths conquered the region in the 5th century ad. In 711, the Moors ejected the Visigoths. In 1139, Alfonso I defeated the Moors. Spain recognized Portuguese independence in 1143. The reconquest ended when the Moors retreated from the Algarve in 1249. John I founded the Aviz dynasty in 1385, and launched Portugal's colonial and maritime expansion. His son, Henry the Navigator, captured the Azores and Madeira. The reign of Manuel I was Portugal's ‘golden age’. By 1510, Portugal had established colonies in Africa, Asia and South America. The fall of the Aviz dynasty brought Philip II of Spain to the throne. For the next 60 years, Portugal was under Spanish control. John IV established the Braganza dynasty (1640–1910). In the 18th century, Marquês de Pombal reformed Portugal's institutions and rebuilt Lisbon. John VI fled to Brazil during the Peninsular War (1808–14) and his son, Pedro I, declared Brazilian independence in 1822.

In 1910, Portugal became a republic. In 1926, a military coup overthrew the government. António de Oliveira Salazar became prime minister in 1932. The terms of the 1933 constitution enabled Salazar to become Western Europe's longest-serving dictator. The Estado Novo (‘New State’) was repressive and the economy stagnated. In 1968, Marcello Caetano replaced Salazar. Failure to enact liberal reforms, and the cost of fighting liberation movements in Portugal's African colonies, led to a military coup in 1974. In 1975, many Portuguese colonies gained independence. In 1976, a new liberal constitution was adopted. In 1986, Portugal joined the European Union and Marco Soares became president. Jorge Sampaio became president in 1996 elections. He was re-elected in 2001.


In 1999, Portugal was one of the 11 states to adopt the euro. Its commitment to the European Union (EU) saw the economy emerge from recession (2000 GDP per capita, US$15,800). Manufacturing accounts for 33% of exports. Textiles, footwear, and clothing are major exports. Portugal is the world's fifth-largest producer of tungsten, and the world's eighth-largest producer of wine. It also produces olives, potatoes, and wheat. Tourism is a rapidly growing sector.

Political map

Physical map


http://www.portugal.org/; http://www.nortenet.pt/web/lumby/portinfo.htm