|Portugal||Introduction||Back to Top|
Portugal, republic in south-western Europe, situated in the western portion of the Iberian Peninsula, bordered on the north and east by Spain and on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Azores and Madeira Islands in the Atlantic are considered integral parts of the republic. The total area of metropolitan Portugal, including the Azores (2,335 sq km/902 sq mi) and the Madeira Islands (796 sq km/307 sq mi), is 92,082 sq km (35,553 sq mi). Portugal has one overseas territory, Macau (Macao), in eastern Asia near Hong Kong. The capital of Portugal is Lisbon.Official Name- Republic of Portugal
|Portugal||Provinces||Back to Top|
18 districts (distritos, singular - distrito) and 2 autonomous regions* (regioes autonomas, singular - regiao autonoma); Aveiro, Acores (Azores)*, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Madeira*, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu
|Portugal||People||Back to Top|
Lisbon (population, 1997 estimate, 563,210), the capital and largest city, is a leading seaport of Portugal. Lisbon was the site of the 1998 World’s Fair. Other important cities include Porto, the second largest city and seaport; Coimbra, an industrial center; and Faro, in the Algarve resort area.
western Iberia has been occupied for a long time, relatively few human remains of the Paleolithic Period have been found. Neolithic and Bronze Age discoveries are more common, among them many dolmens. Some of the earliest permanent settlements were the northern castros, hill villages first built by Neolithic farmers who began clearing the forests. Incoming peoples—Phoenicians, Greeks, and Celts—intermingled with the settled inhabitants, and Celticized natives occupied the fortified castros. For 200 years these were centres of resistance to the Roman legions. Subsequently the Romans, Suebi, Visigoths, Moors, and Jews exerted influence on the territory. Portugal's situation at the western extremity of Europe made it a gathering place for invaders by land, and its long coastline invited settlement by seafarers.
|Portugal||History||Back to Top|
Middle Ages, the history of Portugal is inseparable from that of Spain. Present-day Portugal became a part of the Roman province of Lusitania in the 2nd century bc. In the 5th century ad control of the region passed to the Visigoths, and in the 8th century it was included in the area of Moorish Muslim conquest. In 997 the territory between the Douro and Minho rivers (now northern Portugal) was retaken from the Moors by Bermudo II, king of León, and in 1064 the reconquest was completed as far south as present-day Coimbra by Ferdinand I, king of Castile and León. The reconquered districts were then organized into a feudal county, composed of Spanish fiefs. Portugal later derived its name from the northernmost fief, the Comitatus Portaculenis, which extended around the old Roman seaport of Portus Cale .
Portugal became an independent monarchy in 1139. Its name derives from Portus Cale, a pre-Roman or Roman settlement near the mouth of the Douro River. The southern part of the Roman province of Gallaecia (now Galicia) was occupied by the Germanic Suebi in AD 411, and Portucale (Porto) was held by them. They were subdued by the Visigoths, whose state was overthrown by Muslim invasions in the 8th century. A Christian territory of Portugal was constituted in 868; it later became a county and was extended to Coimbra. Afonso Henriques assumed the title of king (1139) and annexed Lisbon. His successors took Alentejo and Algarve from the Muslims (by 1252). Portugal now includes the Madeira Islands and the Azores, first settled in the 15th century.
King Afonso III, who reigned from 1248 to 1279, completed the expulsion of the Moors from the Algarve and moved the capital of Portugal from Coimbra to Lisbon. He also began the practice of governing with the aid of a Cortes (representative assembly), which included members of the nobility, the clergy, and the citizens, and he increased the power of the monarchy at the expense of the church. His son Diniz, called the Farmer King because of his encouragement of agriculture, founded the University of Coimbra, the nation’s first university, and was responsible for the development of the Portuguese navy. In 1294 he signed a commercial treaty with England, beginning a sequence of alliances between the two countries. Diniz’s successor, Afonso IV, joined with Alfonso XI of Castile to win a major victory over the Moors at the Battle of the Salado River in 1340. In this period the royal houses of Castile and Portugal frequently intermarried, repeatedly raising the possibility that one of the kingdoms might be absorbed by the other.
|Portugal||Culture||Back to Top|
Portuguese culture is based on a past that dates from prehistoric times into the eras of Roman and Moorish invasion. All have left their traces in a rich legacy of archaeological remains, including prehistoric cave paintings at Escoural, the Roman township of Conimbriga, the Temple of Diana in Évora, and the typical Moorish architecture of such southern towns as Olhão and Tavira. Throughout the centuries, Portugal's arts have been enriched by foreign influences, including Flemish, French, and Italian. The voyages of the Portuguese discoverers opened the country to Oriental influences, and the revelation of Brazil's wealth of gold and jewels fed the Baroque flame in decoration.
Lisbon has a number of important libraries, including the Library of the Academy of Sciences, the Ajuda Library, the National Library, and the Military Historical Archives. The National Archives of Torre do Tombo, also in Lisbon, is noteworthy for its collection of historical documents dating from the 9th century. The provincial libraries in Porto, Évora, Braga, and Mafra contain many rare old books and large manuscript collections. Various specialized libraries are attached to the universities.
Portuguese have their own distinctive way of life. The geographic variety of the country has evoked different responses, but there is less regionalism than in Spain. Dancing and singing play a prominent part in the life of the people. Almost every village has its own terreiro, or dance floor of beaten earth. Each region has its own style of dances and songs; most traditional songs are of a slower rhythm than those in Spain. Small accordions are often used to accompany dances, and Portuguese guitars accompany the fado, a song form that epitomizes saudade, the yearning, romantic aspect of the Portuguese character. Some of the best examples of the regional dances are the vira, chula, corridinho, tirana, and fandango, many of which reflect the courting and matrimonial traditions of the area. Much has been done to preserve these and other folk expressions as tourist attractions.
|Portugal||Life||Back to Top|
The population of Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira Islands, is 10,066,253 (2001 estimate). The overall population density is 109 persons per sq km (282 per sq mi).
|Portugal||Land||Back to Top|
Portugal occupies one-sixth of the Iberian Peninsula along its western (Atlantic) side. Thus, even more than Spain, which accounts for the rest, Portugal lies much farther to the west of Europe than is usually remembered. With Spanish Galicia, northern Portugal comprises the mountainous border of the Meseta (the block of ancient rock that forms the core of the Iberian Peninsula), while southern Portugal also contains extensive areas of limestone and other sedimentary strata, mostly plateaus or plains. Other physical features link Portugal with Spain: the major rivers (Douro, Tagus, Guadiana) rise in the central Meseta before draining west (or, in the case of the Guadiana, south) to the Atlantic, while the proximity of the Meseta gives a continental nuance to the climate of the northern Portuguese interior and to that region's vegetation. Southern Portugal, however, is predominantly Mediterranean both in vegetation and climate.
|Portugal||Plants and Animal||Back to Top|
population supports itself by agriculture, the land is not particularly suited to this occupation. The plants and animals of Portugal are virtually identical with those of Spain. The most abundant trees are the evergreen oak, cork oak, poplar, and olive. Grapevines flourish in the arid soil, and port wine from Porto and Madeira wine from Madeira are world famous. Wild animals include the wolf, lynx, wildcat, fox, wild boar, wild goat, deer, and hare. Birdlife and insects abound. Portugal also has an abundance of waterpower resources in its rivers and mountain streams.
|Portugal||Economy||Back to Top|
Crop yields and animal productivity are well below the EC average because of low agricultural investment, minimal mechanization, little use of fertilizers, and the fragmented land-tenure system. The main crops grown in Portugal are cereals (wheat, barley, corn [maize], and rice), potatoes, grapes (for wine), olives, and tomatoes. Portugal is the world's largest exporter of tomato paste and a leading exporter of wines. These exports help offset the cost of imported wheat and meat.
Portugal remains the least developed nation in Western Europe. Although the Portuguese economy grew by 5.3 percent annually from 1965 to 1980, the economic growth rate slowed to less than 1 percent during the 1980s; in the period 1990-1999 the gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual average of 2.5 percent. The GDP in 1999 was $114 billion. Agriculture, including forestry and fishing, engages 14 percent of the working population and accounts for 4 percent of the GDP. Chief crops and production figures for 2000 were vegetables such as tomatoes (2.3 million metric tons), fruit such as grapes and olives (1.4 million), root crops such as potatoes (1.3 million), and cereal grains such as maize and wheat (1.5 million). Portugal is one of the world’s leading producers of wine and olive oil. Livestock numbered 1.2 million cattle, 5.8 million sheep, 2.3 million pigs, and 35 million poultry.
Portugal is an upcoming capitalist economy with a per capita GDP two-thirds that of the four big West European economies. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and joined with 10 other European countries in launching the euro on 1 January 1999. The year 2000 was marked by moderation in growth, inflation, and unemployment. The country continues to run a sizable trade deficit. The government is working to reform the tax system, to modernize capital plant, and to increase the country's competitiveness in the increasingly integrated world markets. Growth is expected to fall off slightly in 2001. Improvement in the education sector is critical to the long-run catch-up process.
|Portugal||Communications||Back to Top|
undergoing rapid development in recent years, Portugal's telephone system, by the end of 1998, achieved a state-of-the-art network with broadband, high-speed capabilities and a main line telephone density of 53% domestic: integrated network of coaxial cables, open wire, microwave radio relay, and domestic satellite earth stations international: 6 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to Azores; note - an earth station for Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region) is planned.
|Portugal||Languages||Back to Top|
Roman Catholicism is the faith of more than 94 percent of the Portuguese people. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and some Protestant churches have been established. The official language of the country is Portuguese.
|Portugal||Politics||Back to Top|
The Greens or PEV [leader NA]; Popular Party or PP [Paulo PORTAS]; Portuguese Communist Party/United Democratic Coalition or PCP/CDU [Carlos CARVALHAS]; Portuguese Socialist Party or PS [Antonio GUTERRES]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [leader vacant]; The Left Bloc [no leader]
|Portugal||Government||Back to Top|
Portugal is governed under a constitution promulgated in 1976 and revised in 1982. Although the constitution initially called for the creation of a “classless” state based on public ownership of land, natural resources, and the principal means of production, this socialist language was stricken in 1989. The right to strike and the right of assembly are guaranteed, and censorship and the death penalty are proscribed. Portugal is a republic with a president, popularly elected to a five-year term, as head of state. The president of the republic appoints the prime minister, who is the country’s chief administrative official. The prime minister presides over a cabinet of about 15 ministers.
|Portugal||Legal||Back to Top|
Legal system: civil law system; the Constitutional Tribunal reviews the constitutionality of legislation; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal Executive branch: chief of state: President Jorge SAMPAIO (since 9 March 1996) head of government: Prime Minister Antonio Manuel de Oliviera GUTERRES (since 28 October 1995) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister note: there is also a Council of State that acts as a consultative body to the president elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 14 January 2001 (next to be held NA January 2006); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president election results: Jorge SAMPAIO re-elected president; percent of vote - Jorge SAMPAIO (Socialist) 55.8%, Joaquim FERREIRA Do Amaral (Social Democrat) 34.5%, Antonio ABREU (Communist) 5.1% Legislative branch: unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (230 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 10 October 1999 (next to be held by NA October 2003) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PS 115, PSD 81, PCP 15, PP 15, PEV 2, The Left Bloc 2 Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal de Justica (judges appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura)
|Portugal||organization||Back to Top|
AfDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNTAET, UPU, WCL, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
|Portugal||Education||Back to Top|
Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15. Secondary education is voluntary. In the 1993-1994 school year Portugal had 12,472 primary schools attended by 929,471 pupils and staffed by 76,444 teachers. The country’s general and vocational education secondary schools had about 938,700 students.
|Portugal||Defence||Back to Top|
Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, National Republican Guard
Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 2,530,466 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 2,030,759 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 71,404 (2001 est.)
|Portugal||International Disputes||Back to Top|
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