From Academic Kids

The Republic of Portugal (Portuguese: Republic of Portugal) is a democratic republic located on the west and southwest parts of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, and is the westernmost country in continental Europe. Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. In addition, Portugal includes several island territories in the Atlantic, such as the Azoresand Madeira and Porto Santo (including the Savage Islands).

Template:Portugal infobox

Portugal has witnessed a constant flow of different civilizations during the past 3100 years. Iberian, Celtic, Phoenician and Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, Germanic and Arab cultures have all made an imprint on the country. The naming of Portugal itself reveals most of the country's early history, stemming as it does from the Roman name Portus Cale, a possibly mixed Greek and Latin name meaning "Beautiful Port". During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was a major economic, political, and cultural power. The Portuguese Empire stretched across the world. After the rise of other colonial powers, Portugal declined.

The modern Portugal has its political roots in the democratic revolution that overthrew a dictatorial regime in 1974 and the subsequent entry in the EEC (today's European Union) in 1986. Portugal made significant social and economic progress in the subsequent decades, with a clear slow-down in the last few years.



Main article: History of Portugal


Main articles: Pre-Roman and Roman Lusitania

In the early first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and intermarried with local peoples, the Iberians, forming the Celt-Iberians. Early Greek explorers named the region "Ophiussa" (Greek for "land of serpents") because the natives worshiped serpents. In 238 BC, the Carthaginians occupied the Iberian coasts. In this period several small tribes occupied the territory, the main were the Lusitanians, who lived between the Douro and Tagus rivers, and the Callaeci who lived north of the Douro river among some other tribes. Template:Inote The Conii were established in southern Portugal for a long time. The Celtics, a later wave of Celts, settled in Alentejo.

In 219 BC, the first Roman troops invaded the Iberian Peninsula, driving the Carthaginians out in the Punic Wars. The Roman conquest of Portugal started from the south, where they found friendly natives, the Conii. Over decades, the Romans increased their sphere of control. But in 194 BC a rebellion began in the north, the Lusitanians successfully held off the Romans, took back land and ransacked Conistorgis, the Conii capital, because of their alliance with Rome. Viriathus, the Lusitanian leader, drove the Roman forces out. Rome sent numerous legions, but success was only achieved by bribing Lusitanian officials to kill their own leader. During this period, a process of Romanization was carried out, leading Lusitania to gain Latin Right in 73 AD.Template:Inote

The kingdom

Main articles: Establishment and Consolidation of the kingdom

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The 10th-century Castle of Guimar㥳, a national symbol, is known as the "Cradle of Portugal." The Battle of S㯠Mamede took place nearby in 1128. (courtesy IPPAR)

In the 5th century, Germanic barbarian tribes, most notably the Suevi and the Visigoths, invaded the Iberian peninsula, set up kingdoms, and became assimilated. The Vandals (Silingi and Hasdingi) and the sarmatian Alans, were also present, but were both expelled or partially integrated by the Visigoths.

An Islamic invasion took place in 711. Many of the ousted nobles took refuge in the unconquered north Asturian highlands. From there they aimed to reconquer their lands from the Moors (mainly Berber with some Arab, mainly expelled after the Christian reconquest or Reconquista). In 868, Count V�ra Peres reconquered and governed the region between the Minho and Douro rivers. The county became known as Portucale (i.e. Portugal).

While a dependency of the Kingdom of Leon, Portugal occasionally gained de facto independence during weak Leonese reigns. Then at the end of the 11th century, a knight from Burgundy named Henry became Count of Portugal as a payment for military services to Leon. Henry declared Portugal independentTemplate:Ref while a war raged between Leon and Castile. Henry died and his son, Afonso Henriques (Afonso I), took control of the county. The city of Braga, the Catholic center of the Iberian Peninsula, faced new competition from other regions. The lords of the cities of Coimbra and Porto, together with the clergy of Braga, demanded the independence of the county.

Portugal traces its emergence as a nation to June 24, 1128, with the Battle of S㯠Mamede by Afonso I. On October 5, 1143, Portugal was formally recognized. Afonso, aided by the Templar Knights, continued to conquer southern lands from the Moors. In 1250, the Portuguese Reconquista ended when it reached the southern coast of Algarve.

In an era of several wars when Portugal and Castile tried to control one another, King Ferdinand was dying with no male heirs. His only child, a single daughter, married King John I of Castile who would therefore be the King of Portugal after Fernando's death. However, the impending loss of independence to Castile was not accepted by the majority of the Portuguese people, which led to the 1383-1385 Crisis. A loyalist faction led by John of Aviz (later John I), with the help of Nuno ?vares Pereira, finally defeated the Castilians in Portugal's most historic battle of Portugal, the Battle of Aljubarrota. The victorious John was then acclaimed as king by the people.

In the meantime, the Black Death reached Portugal.

The Portuguese discoveries

Main articles: The discoveries and Portuguese Empire

In the following decades, Portugal created the conditions that would make it the pioneer in the exploration of the world. On July 25, 1415, the Portuguese Empire began when a Portuguese fleet, with King John I and his sons Duarte, Pedro, Henry the Navigator, and Afonso, along with the Portuguese supreme constable Nuno ?vares Pereira departed to besiege and conquer Ceuta in North Africa, a rich Islamic trade center. On August 21, the city fell.

In 1418 two captains of Prince Henry the Navigator, were driven by a storm to an island which they called Porto Santo, or Holy Port, in gratitude for their rescue from the shipwreck. Also in early 15th century, Madeira Island and the Azorean islands were discovered. Henry the Navigator's interest in exploration, together with some technological developments in navigation, made Portugal's expansion possible and led to great advances in geographic knowledge. The discoveries were financed by the wealth of the Order of Christ, an order founded by King Denis for the Templar knights, who found refuge in Portugal after being pursued all over Europe. The Templars had their own objective, searching for the legendary Christian Kingdom of Prester John.

In 1434, Gil Eanes rounded Cape Bojador, south of Morocco. The trip marked the beginning of the Portuguese exploration of Africa. Before this voyage very little information was known in Europe about what lay beyond it. At the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries, those who tried to venture there became lost, giving birth to legends of sea monsters. Fourteen years later, on a small island known as Arguim off the coast of Mauritania a castle was built, working as a feitoria (a trading post) for commerce with inland Africa thus, circumventing the Arab caravans that crossed the Sahara. Some time later, the caravels explored the Gulf of Guinea, leading to the discovery of several uninhabited islands and reaching the Congo River.

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Palace of Pena in Sintra, over big mountain top rocks, is a mixture of neo-gothic, neo-manueline, neo-islamic, and neo-renaissance styles. (courtesy IPPAR)

A remarkable achievement was the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope by Bartholomew Dias in 1487. By then the spices of India were nearby, hence the name of the cape. In the last decade of the 15th century, P겯 de Barcelos and Jo㯠Fernandes Lavrador explored North America Template:Inote, [[P겯 da Covilh㝝 reached Ethiopia, searching for the mythical kingdom of Prester John, and Vasco da Gama sailed to India. In 1500, Pedro ?vares Cabral landed on the Brazilian coast. Ten years later, Alfonso d'Albuquerque conquered Goa, in India.

In 1578, the young King Sebastian decided to enlarge portuguese possesions in nothern Africa and, despite having no son and heir to the throne, decided to go personnaly into battle, where he was slain. Because Philip II of Spain was the son of a Portuguese princess, the Spanish ruler became Philip I of Portugal in 1581. Some men claimed to be King Sebastian between 1584 and 1598, originating the Sebastian myth. Portugal formaly maintained its independent law, currency, colonies, and government, under a personal union between Portugal and Spain. New empires had emerged and started to assault the Portuguese Empire. The third Spanish king, Philip III tried to further enforce integration, openly attacking the Portuguese nobility that was not in his favour. In December 1 1640, the Duke of Bragan硬 of the Portuguese Royal Family, John IV, was acclaimed after a revolutionary turmoil, and a Restoration War was fought for a few more years.


The 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami, which killed more than a third of the capital's population and devastated the Algarve as well, had a profound effect on domestic politics and on European philosophical thought. From 1801, the country was occupied during the Napoleonic Wars.The Portuguese Court fled to Brazil. Shortly after, Brazil proclaimed its independence, under the rule of the Portuguese King Pedro IV (Emperor Pedro I of Brazil), who abdicated from the Portuguese Crown and left his daughter D. Maria I as Queen in a liberal regime.

Portuguese 19th Century is marked by the Liberalism. The divisions between king Pedro IV - liberal - and his brother, King Miguel, a conservative who overthroned Queen Maria I, led to the civil war between 1832 and 1834 and the signing of the new constitutions in 1836. The political and social evolution in the late 19th century is marked by instability.

The republics

A 1910 revolution deposed the Portuguese monarchy starting the First Republic. Political chaos, several strikes, harsh relations with the Church, and considerable economic problems aggravated by a disastrous military intervention in the First World War led to a military coup d'鴡t in 1926, installing the Second Republic that would later become the Estado Novo in 1933, led by Ant󮩯 de Oliveira Salazar, which transformed Portugal into a Fascist leaning state, which later evolved into some mixture of single party corporative regime. Template:InoteIndia invaded and annexed Portuguese India in 1961. Independence movements also became active in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea, and a series of colonial wars started.

Maybe due the inglorious way the regime fell and general popular dissatisfaction in the early 1970's, the negative image of the corporative regime is sometimes overemphasised, with negative impact for the country image. Evidence exists that the regime was trying (albeit slowly) to change from within and to eventually give way to a full democracy and to give independence to the major colonies or to create a federation. The economy was growing robustly. Additionally, and unlike any true autocracy, Portugal was a founding member of OECD, and (unlike Spain's Franco dictatorship), also a founding member of NATO and EFTA.

The burden of so many overseas wars and the lack of political and civil freedoms led to the end of the regime Template:Inote after the Carnation Revolution in April 25 of 1974, an effectively bloodless left-wing military coup, that promised to install a new democratic regime. In 1975, Portugal had its first free multi-party elections, granted independence to its colonies in Africa. In the same year Indonesia invaded and annexed the Portuguese province of Timor in Asia before legal recognition of its independence by Portugal. In 1986, Portugal entered the EEC, today's European Union. In 1999, the Asian dependency of Macau, was returned to Chinese sovereignty, today seen as a success by China and Portugal. After a referendum in 1999, East Timor voted for independence and Portugal recognized it in 2002.

Government and politics

Main article: Politics of Portugal

The four main organs of Portuguese politics are the President of the Republic, the Parliament, the Council of Ministers (Government), and the Judiciary.

The President of the Republic, elected to a 5-year term by universal suffrage is also commander in chief of the armed forces. Presidential powers include appointing the Prime Minister, as advised by the Parliament which elects the Prime Minister, and the Council of Ministers, named by the Prime Minister. Some other major powers include dismissing the Government, dissolving the Parliament, and declaring war or peace. These have several constitutional restrictions, namely the need to previously consult the presidential advisory body. This is the Council of State, composed of six senior civilian officers, all former presidents elected since 1976, and ten citizens, five chosen by the President and other five by the Parliament. The most commonly used power is that of approving or vetoing any legislation.

The Parliament, or Assembly of the Republic (Assembleia da Rep?a in Portuguese) is a unicameral body composed of 230 deputies. It is elected by universal suffrage according to a system of proportional representation to multi-member constituencies. Deputies serve terms of office of 4 years. The Assembly of the Republic is the main legislative body. The President of Parliament substitutes the President of the Republic in the event of his absence.

The Government is headed by the Prime Minister, who names the Council of Ministers.

The Courts have several categories, including judicial, administrative and fiscal. The national Supreme Court is the court of last appeal. A nine-member Constitutional Tribunal reviews the constitutionality of legislation.

The national and regional governments are dominated by two political parties, the PS (Partido Socialista) – Social Democratic and the PSD (Partido Social Democrata) - Conservative . Within the Portuguese political culture, the PSD is described as center-right and the PS is described as center-left. Other parties with seats in the parliament are the PCP (Partido Comunista Portugu곧' – Communists), PP (Partido Popular – Popular Party), BE (Bloco de Esquerda – Left Block) and PEV (Partido Ecologista Os Verdes – Ecologists). PCP, BE, and Os Verdes are left wing and the PP right wing. As of 2005, Jos頓󣲡tes is the prime minister for the Socialists, the party also has an absolute majority in the parliament (121 MPs).

Portuguese public opinion and media tend to be Europhile. In the EuroBarometer's 2004 Spring survey, 60% of the Portuguese said they trusted the European Union.

The Abortion law is restrictive, alowing for legal abortion under some circumstances, such as rape or a life-threatening situation for the mother or the foetus. In a referendum held in 1998 proposing almost free abortion until 12 weeks of gestation, the results were 51% against, 49% in favor. A new referendum will possibly be held in 2006. Possessing small doses of drugs for personal use is not a crime in Portugal, but it can be seen as a cause for civil disorder. Handing out or producing drugs is considered a crime.

Foreign relations and military

Main articles: Foreign relations of Portugal and Military of Portugal

Foreign relations were essential to Portugal. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, an alliance dating from 1294, was retained throughout its history, making it the oldest alliance still in force in the world. This English–Portuguese alliance was renewed in 1386 with the Treaty of Windsor. The treaty established a pact of mutual support between the countries. This alliance was used in the successive expulsion of the Spanish kings and break England's isolation from continental Europe during Napoleon's era. The alliance is kept through NATO, a military organisation in which both countries are founders along with other 10 countries including the United States of America. Beyond the EU, the country has established a community with its former colonies, the CPLP, and today has very close and prosperous relations with all of them. It has very close close relations with Cape Verde and East Timor. It has a friendship alliance and a dual citizenship treaty with Brazil. The new government has also prioritized relations with neighbouring Spain. It also has very good relations with China, due to Macau, a meeting-point of both nations, and century-old diplomatic ties with Morocco.

Portugal considers [[Oliven硝] (Olivenza in Spanish, Administrated by Spain) Portuguese territory de jure, based on agreements of both nations in the Vienna Treaty of 1815 Template:Inote, but there are not strong diplomatic actions to take it back. Yet, this issue has been discussed at the Portuguese Parliament as recently as 2004.

The Portuguese Armed Forces are divided into three branches: Army, Navy, and Air Force. In the 20th century, Portugal had only two major military interventions, the first one in the 1st World War and the other between 1961 and 1974 in the former colonial territories of Africa. Portugal was involved in several peacekeeping missions abroad, namely in East Timor, Bosnia, and Kosovo. The government of Dur㯠Barroso by its Minister of Defense attained new submarines and other equipment, professionalized the Armed Forces and, since 2003, military service became non-obligatory.


Template:Main article

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Map of mainland Portugal. Download an official map (http://www.igeoe.pt/downloads/500mil/500mil_24bits2.zip).
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Map of the Portuguese islands.

Portugal has a complicated administrative structure. The base is composed by 308 municipalities (concelho - singular, concelhos - plural), and these are divided into more than 4,000 parishes (freguesias, singular - freguesia). All these are grouped into several superior divisions, some purely administrative, some specify a given activity (i.e. tourist regions or judicial areas), others have a more technical feature, while other have historical or cultural backgrounds: Alentejo, Algarve, Beira, Douro Litoral, Estremadura, Minho, Ribatejo, and Tr᳭os-Montes.

The most important division, is from 1976, dividing the continental territory (Portugal continental) and the two island groups (Portugal insular), the Azores and Madeira Islands - the Autonomous regions (regi?aut󮯭as, singular - regi㯠aut󮯭a), the country keeps as an unitary republic.

The districts (distritos, singular - distrito), are being dismantled, but they keep as the most relevant sub-division of the mainland, serving several purposes: electoral areas or regional football championships. In 1976, the districts were dismantled in the islands.

There was made a referendum in Portugal to create administrative regional autonomies in continental Portugal, but the population refused it. The need for a better organisation lead to a newer and urbanized administrative division. Thus they are continuous territorial units made by groups of municipalities.

There are three types of Urban areas:

Geography and climate

Main article: Geography of Portugal

Mount Pico in Pico Island as viewed from Faial Island.
Mount Pico in Pico Island as viewed from Faial Island.
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Santana in the Northern coast of Madeira Island.

Continental Portugal is split in two by its main river, the Tagus (Tejo). To the north the landscape is mountainous in the interior areas with plateaus, cut by four breaking lines that allow the development of relevant agricultural areas. The south down as far as the Algarve features mostly rolling plains with a climate somewhat warmer and drier than the cooler and rainier north. Other major rivers include the Douro, the Minho and the Guadiana, similar to the Tagus in that all originate in Spain. Another important river, the Mondego, originates in the Serra da Estrela (the highest mountains in mainland Portugal - 1,991 m).

The islands of the Azores and Madeira are located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, some of the islands had recent volcanic activity. Originally two islands, S㯠Miguel Island was joined by a volcanic eruption in 1563. The last volcano to erupt was the Vulc㯠dos Capelinhos (Capelinhos Volcano) in 1957, in western part of Faial Island, increasing the size of that island. Dom Jo㯠de Castro Bank is a large submarine volcano that lies midway between the islands of Terceira and S㯠Miguel and rises 14 m bellow the sea surface. It last erupted in 1720 and formed an island, it remained above the water for several years. A new island can be formed in a not so distant future. Portugal's highest point is Mount Pico in Pico Island, an ancient volcano, with 2,351 metres.

The Portuguese coast is extensive, it has 943 km at continental Portugal, 667 km at the Azores, 250 km at Madeira and the Savage Islands Template:Inote. The coast developed fine beaches, the Algarve ones are worldwide famous. In Porto Santo Island, a dune formation is appealing to many tourists. An important feature in its coast is the Ria de Aveiro (near Aveiro), a delta with 45 km in length and a maximum of 11 km width, rich in fish and sea birds. There are four main channels, between them several islands and islets, and it is where four rivers meet the ocean. A sort of narrow headlands formed a lagoon, seen has one of the most remarkable hydrographic features of the Portuguese coast. Portugal possesses one of the largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in Europe, covering 1,727,408 km?.

Portugal is one of the warmest European countries. In mainland Portugal, average temperatures are 13?C in the North and 18?C in the South. Madeira and Azores, due to their location in the Atlantic, are rainy and wet, and have a narrower range of temperatures. Spring and Summer months are usually sunny and the temperatures very high during July and August, with highs in the centre of the country between 30?C and 35?C, reaching sometimes highs of 45?C in the southern interior. Autumn and Winter are typically rainy and windy, yet sunny days are not rare either, the temperatures rarely fall below 5?C, usually staying at an average of 10?C. Snow is common in the mountainous areas of the north, especially in Serra da Estrela. Portugal's climate is classified as Atlantic-Mediterranean.

Flora and fauna

Main article: Conservation areas of Portugal

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Typical landscape of Alentejo.

The action of man, the diversity of the climate, and the geographical diversity has shaped the Portuguese Flora. There are almost 2,800 autochthonous species. Template:Inote Due to economic reasons the pines tries (especially the Pinus pinaster and Pinus pinea species), the chestnut tree and the eucalyptus are very widespread.

The Peneda-Ger고National Park (mostly known has Ger곧') is located in the extreme northwest of Portugal. The park has a wide variety of oaken and mixed forests, groves, peat bogs, and diverse bushes, including autochthonous and rare species. It is one of the last Iberian harbours of wolves, garranos, golden eagles and honey buzzards amongst many others. The Natural parks of Serra da Estrela, with its broad valleys and turf soils and the Arrᢩda with is Mediterranean character and the sand varieties of its beaches unveil the ecological variety of Portugal.

The Tapada Nacional de Mafra is conspicuous, due to its rich flora and fauna. The Tapada was created in the reign of King John V for royal delight, in an area of 8 square kilometres with stags, boars, foxes, rapine birds and several other species. Today, the Tapada is classified as an area of national hunting (Zona de Ca硠Nacional).


Main article: Economy of Portugal

Economic growth has been above the EU average for much of the past decade, but GDP per capita stands at just 75% of that of the leading EU economies. As of 2005, Portuguese GDP grew 1% in real terms in 2004 it is expected to grow 1.8% (IMF) in 2005. In the last quarter of 2004 the unemployment rate was 7.1%.

Historically, the 19th century was a failure to Portugal as it was for Spain and other countries in southern Europe, and in the end of that century, Portugal entered a serious economic and financial crisis, thus it turned to colonial expansion in Africa, careless of internal reforms. Template:Inote

Industrialization boomed in the 1950s with Salazar's regime, leading to an average of 6% annual growth of the GDP between 1959 and 1963, 7% between 1965 and 1967, after lowering to 5,2% in 1964. Due to international crisis, the growth decrease largely. Since 1985, the country started its modernization in a very stable environment (1985 - to the present day) and it join the European Economic Community in 1986. Template:Inote Successive governments have done various reforms and privatised many state-controlled firms and liberalised key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. Portugal developed an increasingly service-based economy and it was one of the eleven founding countries of the Euro in 1999, with very restrictive criteria, and began circulating its new currency on January 1, 2002 along with 12 other EU members.

More than half (50,8%) of continental Portugal is dedicated to agriculture.Template:Inote The south has developed an extensive monoculture on cereals and olive trees and the Douro Valley in vineyards. Olive trees (4,000 km²), vineyards (3,750 km²), wheat (3,000 km²) and maize (2,680 km²) are produced in vast areas. Portuguese wine and olive oil are specially appraised by nationals due to these products quality. Also, Portugal is a quality producer of fruits, namely the Algarve oranges, and Oeste region's Pera Rocha (a type of pear). Among other productions such has horticulture, floriculture, beet sugar, sunflower oil, and tobacco.

Natural resources, such has copses cover about 34% of the country, namely pine trees (13,500 km²), cork oak (6,800 km²), holm oak (5,340 km²), and the eucalyptus (2,430 km²). Cork is a major production, Portugal produces half of the world's cork.Template:Inote Significant mining resources are tungsten, tin, and uranium.Template:Inote

Parque das Na絥s in Lisbon.
Parque das Na絥s in Lisbon.

The major industries are the textile, footwear, leather, furniture, ceramics (highlighting the international popularity of Vista Alegre), and cork. Modern industries had developed significantly: oil refineries, petrochemistry, cement production, automotive and ship industries, electrical and electronics industries, machinery and paper industries.Template:Inote Portugal has an ambitious and well-planned complex of petrochemical industries in Sines. Automotive and other mechanical industries are located in Set? Porto, Aveiro, Braga, Santar魬 and Azambuja.

Portugal's balance of trade is negative. It buys mostly in the European Union: Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. It also sells most of its products within the union: Germany, Spain, and France are the main partners.

Transportation and communications

Main articles: Transportation in Portugal and Communications in Portugal

 near Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe, it has 17.2 km of length.
Vasco da Gama Bridge near Lisbon is the longest bridge in Europe, it has 17.2 km of length.

Transportation was seen has a priority in the 1990s, pushed by the growing use of automobiles and industries. The country has a 68,732 km network of highways. 1,300 km are expressways connecting all the coastline, and the northern, centre-southern, and southern boarders with Spain. Template:Inote

Seaports are important due to Portugal's relation with the sea, and its strategic position in Europe and in the Atlantic ocean. The main seaports are Lisbon in the centre, Leix?(Porto) in the North, Set?and Sines in the south, Funchal and Ponta Delgada in the Atlantic. The most important airports are those of Lisbon, Faro and Porto, these last two had great development recently. There are also important airports in the islands, such has the airport of Funchal (Madeira Island), Porto Santo (Porto Santo Island), and Ponta Delgada (Azores).Template:Inote

Lisbon has a Metro system since 1959, today Lisbon Metro has a length of 36.9 km. Porto Metro system is operating since 2002, by 2006, it will have 70 km of line connecting, for instance, the airport to trains to Lisbon. In fact, Lisbon Metro (Oriente station) and Porto Metro (Campanh㠳tation) are linked by sharing stations with modern pendular trains. Pendular and other trains connect Oriente station to the Algarve. Other two metro systems for other cities are projected. TGV trains are also projected, it will connect Porto and Lisbon, and these with Spanish cities, and works will start in a couple of years.

In the technology area, Portugal has one of the higher rates in the world when possessing a mobile phone (over 100%) and there are more mobile phone subscribers than main line ones for some years. Third generation mobile phones, UMTS, are being largely commercialized by operators since early 2004. The main telecom company is PT (Portugal Telecom), a telecommunications multinational, it dominates some markets, among them the national one. In the mobile section, the market is split between three operators: TMN (PT group), Vodafone, and Optimus (SONAE group). Strangely while it has such a high mobile phone rate Portugal has one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in the european economic union.

Main television broadcasters are the state-run RTP1 and RTP2 and the privatly owned SIC and TVI. Most Portuguese see television through cable (in the end of 2004: 72% of the homes), where the major boradcasters keep thematic channels. The main cable company TV Cabo (PT group) is trying to shift all its costumers services to digital after an unsuccessful experience with Interactive TV.

The competition between the major broadband Internet providers of the PT and Clix groups has recently caused free increases in the available bandwidth provided to home users (from 512 kbit/s and 1 Mbit/s to 2 and 4 Mbit/s), speeds go up to 16 Mbit/s in Clix (SONAE group) lines and 8 Mbit/s in other companies, most notably PT Group cable and ADSL companies, where a 20Mbit/s service is expected to be launched in later 2005, to compete with the much lower-priced services of Clix, although PT group is the leader of the market. More than 8% (4th quarter, 2004) of the population use high-speed internet services, the number pratically doubled comparing with the data from the previous year. Considering that 41% of the homes in Portugal had a computer in the first quarter of 2004, only 26% of the population had Internet; an additional 4% also used it. While 78% of the companies with more than 10 employees had an Internet service.


Main article: Demographics of Portugal

Population of Portugal (INE, Lisbon)
Year Total Change Year Total Change
1864 4,188,419 - 1950 8,510,240 10.2%
1890 5,049,729 20.5% 1960 8,851,240 4.0%
1911 5,969,056 18,2% 1970 8,648,369 -2.3%
1920 6,032,991 1,1% 1981 9,833,041 13.7%
1930 6,825,883 13.1% 1991 9,862,540 0.3%
1940 7,722,152 13.1% 2001 10,356,117 5.0%
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Pre-Roman tribes in Portugal and their main migrations: Turduli in red, Celtic in brown and Lusitanian in blue. Names are in Latin.

Portugal is a fairly homogeneous country linguistically and religiously. Ethnically, the Portuguese people is a combination of several ethnicities: pre-Roman Iberian and Celtic tribes with Romans and Germanic tribes. Moors became a reduced influence, as essentialy they were expelled during the Reconquista.

Portugal's biggest metropolitan agglomerations are Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Aveiro, and Coimbra.

The first census in Portugal dates from 1864. But, in the 16th century, John III called for a populational count in continental Portugal and between 1527 and 1532 there was a population of 1 to 1.4 million. In 1801, there were circa 2,913,000 inhabitants.

Between 1960 and 1970, more than one million Portuguese emigrated, mostly to other European countries, resulting in a negative evolution of the population. Previously, Brazil has been the destination of many, especially since the 18th century. Since mid 1970s major changes started to influence the country's demography as life expectancy went up; the infant mortality rate and the fertility rate broadly declined; and, with the decolonisation, many Portuguese returned from Africa.

In the 2001 Census, Portugal had 10,356,117 inhabitants (51,7% female). Currently, there are almost 10,6 million inhabitants and most of the population growth is immigration derived. In the end of 2003, legal immigrants represented 4.2% of the population, and the largest communities were: Ukrainians (15%), Brazilians (14.8%), Cape Verdeans (14.4%), and Angolans (7.9%).

The great majority of the Portuguese population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. Religious minorities include a little over 300,000 Protestants. There are also about 50,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus (most of whom came from Goa, a former Portuguese colony on the west coast of India). There are also about 1,000 Jews.

The country is characterized by city, town or village cultural differentiation and there is virtually no regional diferentiation, unlike other European countries. Portuguese is spoken throughout the country, with only the villages of Miranda de Douro's Mirandese language recognised as a local language.


Portugal's education system is divided in Pr魅scolar (children less than 6 years old), Ensino Bᳩco (three phases in a total of 9 years), Ensino SecundᲩo (three years, several areas) and Ensino Superior (Universities and Colleges grouped in Polytechnic Institutes). Education is free and compulsory for 9 years of study. The country still has a 6.7% illiteracy rate, almost exclusively among the elderly.

In Portugal, going to the university before the carnation revolutionof 1974 was almost exclusive for the students from wealthy and influent families. Although today, the higher education is generalized and with some very good institutions, the country has problems due to its badly organized system and lobbies in the major political parties which form the government which reflects itself in the quality of education.

For many centuries there was only one university, the University of Coimbra. The University of ɶora was an old university, but it was shut down during the Marquis of Pombal government, because it was runned by Jesuits. There were some attempts to create new universities in the 19th century in Porto and Lisbon; however, due to lobbying by the University of Coimbra, no university was created until the advent of the republic, when new universities were created: the University of Lisbon and the University of Porto. In the 1930s, a new technical university in Lisbon was created by gathering several colleges, the Technical University of Lisbon. In the 1970s a new wave of state-runned universities opened in Lisbon, Vila Real, Braga, Aveiro, [[Covilh㝝, Faro, Madeira, and the Azores, and ɶora, which was reopened. Some time later, many private universities also opened. Most lack reputation, with only the Universidade Cat󬩣a Portuguesa at Lisbon and Porto is prestigious, but this university has a different status, being administered by the Catholic Church.

There are also many state-runned polytechnic institutes (Institutos Polit飮icos) in Beja, [[Bragan硝], Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Guarda, Leiria, Lisbon, Portalegre, Porto, [[Santar魝], [[Set?], Tomar, and Viana do Castelo, which are in fact, polytechnic universities, most of which congregate several schools, and some want its status changed to Universidade Polit飮ica (Polytechnic University) and to be capable of offering Doctor's degree, but these are not recognized, nor authorized by the state mostly due to the classical universities lobby, that the government of Santana Lopes was trying to eradicate. These were created in the 1970s and 1980s. In the Lisbon Polytechnic and Porto Polytechnic older colleges of Engineering and Commerce were joined to these new institutions and today these form the core of the Portuguese polytechnics. Several polytechnic schools were created recently in the interior areas of the country, and often with very low quality and the entrances were much eased until 2005. The polytechnics offer a Licenciatura Bietᰩca which are two bachelor degrees (a first of 3 - the Bacharelato and a second of 2 years - the Licenciatura), while the universities offer a single bachelor degree (Licenciatura) of 4 or 5 years. Due to this strange organization of the higher education in Portugal, this is to be changed in a new system of 3 or 4 years of bachelor and an additional 1 or 2 years will grant a Masters degree. A Doctors degree in the polytechnics will only be accepted if in association with a university, despite their desire and the existence of the main polytechnics which have a higher reputation among companies and future students than many universities.

With the Bologna process on the first decade of the 21st century some changes are made, but each institution continue to be a singular case based on its own history, organization, competence, reputation, responsibility and tradition.


Main article: Culture of Portugal

Missing image
Mariza, the new Fado Diva. She performed a duet with Sting for the Athens 2004 Olympic games.
Samples of Portuguese music:

Missing image

Fado: Mariza (http://www.worldconnection.nl/movies/test3wm9download.wmv)
image:Loudspeaker.png Fado: Cristina Branco (http://www.cristinabranco.com/cgi-bin/get/download.cgi?file=cristina_branco__corpo_Iluminado.mp3)
image:Loudspeaker.png Portuguese Guitar: Cha�o (http://www.arlivre.com/audio/aclr8.mp3)

A typical aspect of Portugal is its architecture, influenced by several early civilizations.
A typical aspect of Portugal is its architecture, influenced by several early civilizations.

Portuguese literature developed as the 13th century arrived with texts and songs. And until 1350, the Portuguese-Galician troubadours spreeded their literary influence to most Iberian Peninsula.Template:Inote. The adventurer [[Lu�de Cam?] (c.1524 - 1580) wrote the epic The Lusiad, a work that he developed in his journeys in Africa and Asia. However, he was shipwrecked in Vietnam, and he saved himself and his work by floating on a board. Modern Portuguese poetry, since the 19th century, has its roots in a handful of relevant poets, ranging from neo-classicism to contemporary styles. A famous poet is Fernando Pessoa (1888 ? 1935), he wrote poetry in the voice, style and manner of many fictional poets under a large number of heteronyms. Modern literature also became internationally known, mostly the works of Almeida Garrett, Alexandre Herculano, [[E硠de Queir󳝝, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Ant󮩯 Lobo Antunes and the 1998 Nobel Prize for literature winner, Jos頓aramago.

Portuguese traditional architecture is notable and unique with several examples throughtout the world, where some are classified world heritage. Modern Portugal has one of the best architecture schools in the world, known as "Escola do Porto" or School of Porto, renowned by the names of Souto Moura and Alvaro Siza.

The most renowned Portuguese music is Fado, a form of melancholic music. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese guitar and the Portuguese word saudade. Although without an accurate equivalent in English, saudade is a common human feeling, it occurs when one is in love by someone or something; it conveys a complex mixture of sadness, pain, nostalgia, happiness and love. Fado origins are probably from a mixture of African slave rhythms with traditional music of Portuguese sailors, with Arabic influence.

There are two varieties of Fado: Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the popular, while the Coimbra's is the refined style; both are seen as ethnic music for sophisticated audience. Amᬩa Rodrigues introduced the most well-known variety of fado. After her disappearance, a new wave of performers added stylistic changes and brought more international popularity to the traditional Portuguese music: Mariza, M�a, Dulce Pontes, Madredeus, and Cristina Branco are some of the most notable internationally - all that they kept from the original Fado is its looks and the concept of "saudade".

Portuguese pop-rock has grown particularly after the 1974 revolution. In more recent years, the Hip Hop Tuga phenomenon, a genre of Hip Hop influenced by African music and Reggae and mostly performed by African-Portuguese, became popular between the younger and urban population.


Main articles: Portuguese cuisine and Portuguese wines

Eating in Portugal is often a visitor's most remembered characteristic of the country. Each region of Portugal has its own traditional dishes, including various kinds of meat, sea-food, diverse and fresh fish. Portuguese have a reputation for loving cod dishes (bacalhau in Portuguese), for which it is said that there are 365 ways of cooking it: [[Bacalhau ࠂr᳝] and [[Bacalhau ࠇomes de S᝝ are some of the most popular ones. Also very appreciated are the traditional dessert sweets, Lisbon's Past驳 de Nata are very popular, best eaten with a strong coffee. The Portuguese has their own version of fast food, one of the most popular is Porto's Francesinha.

Portuguese wines are exported since to Roman times. The Romans associated Portugal with Bacchus, their God of Winery and Feast. Today the country is known by wine lovers, and its wines had won several international prizes. Many famous Portuguese wines are known as some of the world's best: Vinho Verde, Vinho Alvarinho, Vinho do Douro, Vinho do Alentejo, [[Vinho do D㯝], Vinho da Bairrada and the sweet: Port Wine, Madeira wine and the Moscatels of [[Set?] and Favaios (Douro). Port Wine is largely exported, now followed by Vinho Verde. Exports of Vinho Verde are largely increasing, in response to the growing international demand.

Sports and games

European football is the most popular and practiced sport in Portugal. As of November 2004, the country is ranked 8th in 205 countries by FIFA. Lu�Figo is one of the world's top players, but the legendary Eus颩o, Rui Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo are also noteworthy. FC Porto crowned its international success by winning the UEFA Cup in 2003 and UEFA Champions League in 2004 as well as local cups. The team also won the Intercontinental Cup in Japan last December, by defeating Colombian champions Once Caldas in the penalty shootouts. Portugal is also very well represented in other sports, such has Rink hockey, being the country with most world titles. Golf is also worth mentioning, since its greatest players play in the sunny region of the Algarve during the "Algarve Open".

The country has an ancient martial art known as "Jogo do Pau" (Portuguese Stick Combat), used for self-protection and for duels between young men in dispute over young women. Having its origin in the Middle Ages, Jogo do Pau uses wooden sticks as a combat weapon. Other sports are the "Jogos Populares", a wide variety of traditional sports used for fun.

Festivals and holidays

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A street in Lisbon's old quarters.

Festivals play a major role in Portugal's summers. Even thought they have religious connotations, most of these celebrations are, in fact, everything but religious. Every city and town has its own or several festivals. The June Festivities are very popular, these festivities are dedicated to three saints known as Santos Populares (Popular saints) and take place all over Portugal. Why the populace associated the saints with these pagan festivities is not known. The practice is possibly related to Roman or local deities before Christianity spread in the region. The three saints are Saint Anthony, Saint John and Saint Peter. A common denominator in these festivities are the wine and ᧵a-p駧 (a watered kind of wine), traditional bread along with sardines, marriages, traditional street dances, fire, fireworks and joy.

Saint Anthony is celebrated on the nights of the 12th and 13th, especially in Lisbon (where that saint was born and lived most of his life), with Marchas Populares (a sort of street carnival) and festivities. In the meantime, several marriages known as Casamentos de Santo Ant󮩯 (Marriages of Saint Anthony) are celebrated at the same time. But the most popular saint is Saint John. He is celebrated in many cities and towns throughout the country on the nights of the 23rd and 24th, especially in Porto and Braga, where the sardines, Caldo Verde (traditional soup) and plastic hammers to hammer on other peoples' heads for luck are indispensable. The final Saint is Saint Peter, celebrated on the nights of the 28th and 29th, especially in P󶯡 de Varzim and Barcelos, festivities are similar to the others, but mostly dedicated to the sea and extensive use of fire (fogueiras). In P󶯡 de Varzim, there is the Rusgas in the night, another sort of street carnival. Each festivity is a municipal holiday in the cities and towns where it occurs.

Carnival is also widely celebrated in Portugal, some traditional carnivals dates back several centuries. In January 6, Epiphany is celebrated in some families, especially in the North, where the family gathers to eat "Bolo-Rei" (King Cake); this is also the time for the traditional street songs - "As Janeiras" (The January ones). Monday after Easter, Pascolea (also known has Dia do Anjo, Angel Day), is used in some areas, usually in the north, to do a picnic, some people work on the Good Friday holiday to have this day off. Saint Martin Day, is celebrated in November 11. This day is the peak of three days, often with very good weather, it is known has Ver㯠de S㯠Martinho ("Saint Martin summer"), the Portuguese celebrate it with gerupiga (an alcoholic drink) and roasted Portuguese chestnuts (castanhas assadas), and it is called Magusto.

National Holidays
Date Name Remarks
January 1 Ano Novo New Year's Day. Beginning of the year, marks the traditional end of "holiday season."
Tuesday, date varies Carnaval Carnival. Not an "official" holiday, but declared by the government as a non-working day. Very ancient festivity celebrating the end of the winter. It gained Christian connotations, and now marks the first day of a period of 40 days before Easter Week (Semana Santa, Holy Week), thus also known as Entrudo.
Friday, date varies Sexta-Feira Santa Good Friday.
Sunday, date varies P᳣oa Easter. Used for family gathering to eat P㯭de-L󧧠(an Easter cake) and easter eggs. In the North, a sort of church members processions (compasso) visits and blesses every home with an open door, thus meaning they are catholics. Traditionally, this is the second visit of children and non-married youngsters to their godparents, receiving an Easter gift. The first visit is on Palm Sunday, 7 days before, where children give flowers and palms to their godparents.
April 25 Dia da Liberdade Literally, "Freedom Day". Celebrates the Carnation Revolution, marking the end of the dictatorial regime. Event of 1974.
May 1 Dia do Trabalhador Labour Day.
Thursday, date varies Corpo de Deus Ascension Day. 40 days after Easter.
June 10 Dia de Portugal Portugal Day. Marks the date of [[Luis de Cam?Cam?] death. Cam?wrote The Lusiad, Portugal's national epic. Event of 1580
August 15 Assun磯 Assumption of Mary.
October 5 Implanta磯 da Rep?a Implantation of the Republic. Event of 1910.
November 1 Todos os Santos All Saints Day. Day used for visiting deceased relatives.
December 1 Restaura磯 da Independꮣia Restoration of Independence. Event of 1640.
December 8 Imaculada Concei磯 Immaculate Conception. Patron Saint of Portugal since 1646.
December 25 Natal Christmas Day. Celebrated in the 24th to the 25th in a family gather to eat codfish with potatoes; seasonal sweets and dry fruits; drink Port wine; and share gifts.

Main local holidays (Popular Saints Festivities)
Date Name Remarks
June 13 Dia de Santo Ant󮩯 Saint Anthony Day. Celebrated in Lisbon among others.
June 24 Dia de S㯠Jo㯠 Saint John Day. This is the most popular festivity in Portugal. It is celebrated in Porto, Braga, Angra do Hero�o, Horta, and Vila do Conde among others
June 29 Dia de S㯠Pedro Saint Peter Day. Celebrated in ɶora, Set? P󶯡 de Varzim, and Barcelos among others.

Related topics

Template:Portugal topics


External links

Portuguese state
  • Portal do Governo (http://www.portugal.gov.pt/Portal/EN/) - Main governmental portal
  • Presidꮣia da Rep?a (http://www.presidenciarepublica.pt/en/main.html) - Official presidential site
  • Assembleia da Rep?a (http://www.parlamento.pt/ingles/index.html) - Official parliamentary site
Science and Tecnology
  • Institutions (http://www.fct.mces.pt/links/ct/index.htm) - A Web page of science and technology institutions, schools, universities, state laboratories, and polytechnic institutes
  • FCT (http://www.fct.mces.pt/) - Portuguese Science Funding Agency
  • GRICES (http://www.grices.mces.pt/) - The Portuguese Office for International Relations in Science and Higher Education
  • Ministry for Science and Higher Education of Portugal (http://www.mces.pt/)
  • AJC (http://www.ajc.pt/) - The Portuguese Youth Science Association, mainly undergraduate level
  • ABIC - young researchers national association, graduate level up to pos-doc
  • IGC (http://www.igc.gulbenkian.pt/) - Science and technology funding agency, goverment independent and non-profit
  • Centro de Astrof�ca (http://www.astro.up.pt/) - Centre for Astrophysics, University of Oporto.
  • Science Academy (http://www.acad-ciencias.pt/) - Academy of Sciences of Lisbon

European Union (EU)
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