|THE PORTUGAL COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Portugal within the continent of Europe
Map of Portugal
Portugal Flag Description: The Portugal flag was officially adopted on June 30, 1911.
This historic flag is symbolic of epic Portuguese voyages that would make them the first to discover the ocean routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan, and at the same time establish settlements on the east and west coasts of Africa.
Green is representative of King Henry the Navigator, a famed Portuguese explorer. The centered shield is representative of ocean exploration and the expansion of Portugal's influence during the reign of King Afonso Henriques. Red recalls the internal revolution of the early 1800s.
Official name República Portuguesa (Portuguese Republic)
Form of government republic with one legislative house (Assembly of the Republic )
Head of state President: Aníbal Cavaco Silva
Head of government Prime Minister: Pedro Passos Coelho
Official language Portuguese
Official religion none1
Monetary unit euro (€)
Population (2013 est.) 10,610,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 35,603
Total area (sq km) 92,212
- Urban: (2011) 61.1%
- Rural: (2011) 38.9%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2011) 77.6 years
- Female: (2011) 84 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: not available
- Female: not available
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 20,670
1A 2004 concordat with the Vatican acknowledges the special role of the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal.
Portugal, officially Portuguese Republic, Portuguese República Portuguesa, country lying along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Once continental Europe’s greatest power, Portugal shares commonalities—geographic and cultural—with the countries of both northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Its cold, rocky northern coast and mountainous interior are sparsely settled, scenic, and wild, while the country’s south, the Algarve, is warm and fertile. The rugged Estrela Mountains (Serra da Estrela, or “Star Mountain Range”), which lie between the Tagus and Mondego rivers, contain the country’s highest point.
In the 1st millennium bce the Celtic Lusitani entered the Iberian Peninsula and settled the land, and many traces of their influence remain. According to national legend, though, Lisbon, the national capital, was founded not by Celts but by the ancient Greek warrior Odysseus, who was said to have arrived at a rocky headland near what is the present-day city after leaving his homeland to wander the world and who, liking what he saw, stayed there for a while; his departure was said to have broken the heart of the nymph Calypso, who, the legend goes, turned herself into a snake, her coils becoming the seven hills of Lisbon. Of course, had Odysseus actually come to Portugal, he would have found the land already well settled by the Lusitani.
Lusitani tribes battled the Romans for generations before acceding to empire, whereupon Rome established several important towns and ports; the Roman presence can be seen in the very name of the country, which derives from Portus Cale, a settlement near the mouth of the Douro River and the present-day city of Porto. Later, the descendants of Romans and the Lusitani would live under Moorish rule for several centuries until an independent kingdom was established.
In constant battle and rivalry with Spain, its eastern neighbour, Portugal then turned to the sea and, after Henry the Navigator’s establishment of a school of navigation at Sagres, in time founded a vast overseas empire that would become Europe’s largest and richest. Much of that empire was quickly lost, but even then Portugal retained sizable holdings along the African coast, in southern and eastern Asia, and in South America. Portugal remained a colonial power until the mid-1970s, when a peaceful revolution transformed the country from a dictatorship into a democratic republic. Long among the poorest countries of Europe, Portugal modernized in the last decades of the 20th century, expanding its economy from one based primarily on textile manufacture and livestock raising to include a range of manufactures and services.
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and economic and cultural centre. The city clings to low but steep hills situated on the right bank of the Tagus and is a popular tourist destination. Lisbon is rather more tranquil and reserved than Madrid in neighbouring Spain, but it shares with it a reputation for great food, melancholy and romantic music, dance, and sport. Portuguese traditionally have prized a simple and unostentatious life, favouring the rural over the urban and the traditional to the modern, where a fine meal might consist of carne de porco à Alentejana (lean pork stuffed with clams), thick-crusted bread, and dark wine. Portuguese delight in the countryside, where they gather to hold family picnics, tend to their gardens and orchards, and relax. It is from the countryside that the fado, a form of romantic ballad, is thought to have come (though it is now clearly associated with the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra), and it is in the countryside that the country’s traditional sport of bullfighting takes its finest form, though in Portuguese bullfighting the bull is not killed but rather is retired to the countryside for the rest of its life.
Geography of Portugal
The Land Portugal occupies one-sixth of the Iberian Peninsula at Europe’s southwestern perimeter. To its north and east is Spain, which makes up the rest of the peninsula; to the south and the west is the Atlantic Ocean; and to the west and southwest lie the Azores (Açores) and the Madeira Islands, which are part of metropolitan Portugal. Portugal is not a large country, but it offers a great diversity of physical geography, ranging from low-lying coasts and plains to the Estrela Mountains, which rise to nearly 6,500 feet (2,000 metres) at the country’s highest point.
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); southern Portugal also contains extensive areas of limestone and other sedimentary strata, mostly plateaus or plains. Other physical features link Portugal with Spain: its major rivers—Douro, Tagus (Rio Tejo), 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 affects the climate and increases the rainfall of the northern Portuguese interior, contributing to that region’s verdant vegetation. Southern Portugal, however, is predominantly Mediterranean both in vegetation and in climate. Despite Portugal’s remarkable scenic diversity, the essence of its relief and underlying geology can be described under three headings: the north, the northern interior, and the south. The old coastal provinces of Beira Litoral (see Beira) and Estremadura are transitional in cultural landscape, vegetation, and climate but southern in relief and geology.
In order to discuss Portugal’s physiographic regions, however, it is necessary to consider the provincial divisions of the country that no longer exist as administrative entities but that survive as important geographical designations. Although superseded by several planning regions and districts (see below Local government) that now organize Portugal, six provinces have traditionally divided the country since the Middle Ages (though these never served as administrative units): Minho, located between the Minho and Douro rivers; Trás-os-Montes, bounded by Spain (north and east), by the gorges of the Douro River (south), and by the mountains (west); Beira, extending from the Douro River in the north to the Tagus in the southeast and from the border with Spain to the Atlantic Ocean; Estremadura, containing Lisbon; the Alentejo, covering south-central Portugal; and the Algarve, in southern Portugal. From 1933 to 1959, mainland Portugal also was officially further divided into 11 new provinces that were created on a geographic and economic basis: the Algarve, the Alto (Upper) Alentejo, the Baixo (Lower) Alentejo, Beira Alta (Upper Beira), Beira Baixa (Lower Beira), Beira Litoral, Douro Litoral, Estremadura, Minho, Ribatejo, and Trás-os-Montes e Alto (Upper) Douro.
Less than one-eighth of Portugal rises above 2,300 feet (700 metres). Most of the country’s mountains are north of the Tagus River, which flows northeast to southwest and divides the country. North of the Tagus, more than nine-tenths of the land rises above 1,300 feet (400 metres); in the south, only one range, São Mamede, surpasses 3,200 feet (1,000 metres).--->>>>Read More.<<<
All of Portugal’s main rivers flow from Spain over the edge of the Meseta in a series of defiles (narrow gorges), and their usefulness, either for navigation or as routeways for roads and railways, is thus limited. The longest river crossing Portugal, the Douro, which extends some 200 miles (300 km) in the country, has been made navigable from near Porto to the Spanish frontier. In its upper reaches, the Douro riverbed drops 16 feet (5 metres) per mile in gorges 90 to 160 feet (30 to 50 metres) deep, a navigability problem resolved by locks built into five dams, including one that is 115 feet (35 metres) high. The longest river wholly in the country is the 137-mile (220-km) Mondego River, which rises in the Estrela Mountains. Other mainly Portuguese rivers include the Vouga, Sado, and Zêzere (a tributary of the Tagus). Like the Mondego, all are navigable for short distances. Rich silt land (campo) in the lower Tagus valley is the result of regular flooding, which is especially severe when strong southerly gales drive high seas up the estuary. The Guadiana, which flows south into the Gulf of Cádiz, forms part of the frontier with Spain, as does the Minho in the north.
Portugal has more than 500 miles (800 km) of coastline, four-fifths of which faces westward. Except at the mouths of the larger rivers, there are few major indentations or natural harbours; the most important are those of Lisbon, on the Tagus, and Setúbal, on the Sado. The entrance to the Tagus is a long, narrow deepwater channel opening out into a broad expanse of inland water. Other harbours depend on the protection of headlands (e.g., the artificial harbours of Leixões and Sines).
Most of Portugal’s soils are arid, acidic, and sandy, though in the north the soil often is rocky. Except for parts of northern Portugal that receive significant precipitation and along the country’s primary rivers, which deposit fertile alluvium, the soils are not suitable for intensive agricultural production. In the central and southern parts of the country, the soils are generally poor and incapable of significant agricultural production without extensive irrigation schemes.
Climate, through its effect on vegetation, divides Portugal. As in Spain, three sets of influences are involved: Atlantic, continental (Mesetan), and Mediterranean. The Atlantic climate predominates overall, putting most of the country into the humid zone of the Iberian Peninsula; this is especially true in the northwest, where the climate is mild and rainy. Summer temperatures near sea level may average up to 76 °F (24 °C) but are rather lower at exposed higher elevations. Winter temperatures average 37 to 40 °F (3 to 4 °C) but tend to be milder south of the Douro. Annual rainfall averages more than 40 inches (1,000 mm).
In the extreme northwest, much of the Minho receives 40 to 80 inches (1,000 to 2,000 mm) of precipitation, with more than 100 inches (2,500 mm) falling on mountain slopes. Inland, lee slopes are arid, receiving at most 20 inches (500 mm), much of which is lost through high evaporation rates. In the interior, continental influences increase the duration of the summer drought to more than a month and intensify winter severity. High-pressure conditions from the Spanish Meseta or from Siberian anticyclones bring very cold temperatures. The Alentejo can experience both acute winter cold and extreme summer heat. In the highest areas of the Estrela Mountains and northern ranges, temperatures drop to 32 °F (0 °C), and snow remains on the summits for several months. In the south, where the Azores high-pressure system prevails in summer, the period of drought lengthens to two months or more. Temperatures average about 75 °F (24 °C) in summer and 50 °F (10 °C) in winter. Mean annual precipitation is slightly more than 20 inches (500 mm) along the coast and a bit higher in the mountains of the Algarve. Nevertheless, there is considerable climatic variability from one year to the next.
Mediterranean, Saharan, and oceanic influences produce seasonal precipitation, occasional dry winds, and thermal equability, respectively, in the Madeiras. Climate varies markedly with altitude. In the Azores the anticyclone dominates, though conditions can be highly variable. Rainfall, for example, is irregular both in annual total and in regime: Horta (on Faial Island) may have more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) a year or may suffer severe drought.
Portugal’s vegetation is a mixture of Atlantic, or European, and Mediterranean (with some African) species. Overall, the former accounts for some two-thirds of species, but the regional distribution is revealing. North of the Mondego valley, nearly three-fifths of the plants are European species (some seven-eighths in the northern interior), and only one-fourth are Mediterranean. In the south the proportions are three-tenths and nearly one-half, respectively. One-third are foreign species, introduced in periods of colonization.--->>>>Read More.<<<
Demography of Portugal
- Ethnic groups and languages
Although western Iberia has been occupied for a long time, relatively few human remains of the Paleolithic Period (Old Stone Age) have been found. Neolithic Period (New Stone Age) and Bronze Age discoveries are more common, among them many dolmens (stone monuments). 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 two centuries these were centres of resistance to the Roman legions. Subsequently the Romans, Suebi, Visigoths, Moors, and Jews exerted influence on the territory. Portugal’s location at the western extremity of Europe made it a gathering place for invaders by land, and its long coastline invited settlement by seafarers.
More than nine-tenths of the country’s population are ethnic Portuguese, and there are also small numbers of Brazilians, Han Chinese, and people from Portugal’s former colonial possessions in Africa and Asia. Ethnic Marranos (descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity but who secretly continued to practice Judaism) constitute about 1 percent of the population, and the country’s Roma (Gypsy) population lives primarily in the Algarve. Language is an extremely common bond: Portuguese is the first language of nearly the entire population.
More than ninth-tenths of Portugal’s citizens are Roman Catholic. Regular attendance at mass, however, has declined in the cities and larger towns, particularly in the south. Less than 2 percent of the population is Protestant, with Anglicans and Methodists the oldest and largest denominations. In the late 20th century, fundamentalist and Evangelical churches grew in popularity, though the number of their adherents remained quite small. The Jewish population of Portugal is also tiny, as Jews were forced to convert or emigrate during the Inquisition in the late 15th century.
- Settlement patterns
The landscapes of mainland Portugal are the result of human activity since prehistoric times. Inhabited caves and rock shelters, some with rock art (e.g., in Escoural), indicate occupation during the Upper Paleolithic Period. The discovery of 20,000-year-old engravings in the Côa River valley led to the opening in 1996 of an archaeological park of prehistoric rock art. Most of the later Neolithic megalithic monuments and rock-cut tombs are found in west-central Portugal or south of the Tagus. Known sites of early metal-using (Copper Age [Chalcolithic Period] and Bronze Age) people are concentrated in the drier portions of Portugal. Only from the Early Iron Age onward does the whole of Portugal appear to have been equally densely occupied, although the area lying between Braga and the Gerez (Gerês) valley is singularly rich in Roman remains.
Many of Portugal’s urban centres date from Roman times. Settlements developed on lower ground around native fortified hilltop castros in northern Portugal. The harbour at Lisbon had been used by the Carthaginians, but it was the Romans who enlarged the site into a strategically located administrative centre for the province of Lusitania. Lisbon continued as a Visigothic stronghold. Indeed, fortification is the keynote for most of Portugal’s settlement history. The Middle Ages and the Reconquista (Reconquest) left fortified, usually hilltop towns throughout the country but especially toward the Spanish frontier in the south (e.g., Santarém, Tomar, Évora, Portalegre, Estremoz, Beja, Castelo Branco, Abrantes, and Monsanto). Other small towns grew from Cistercian colonization on the Estremadura coast (e.g., the abbey at Alcobaça and granges at Alvominha, Cós, Maiorga, Salir do Porto, and Turquel). New towns were created later for a variety of reasons, including proximity to mineral springs (Caldas da Rainha) or important fortresses (Leiria and Viana do Castelo). Along the coasts the fortunes of port settlements were as unstable as the shifting sands that blocked their harbours, and most modern ports are of relatively recent origin (e.g., Faro, in the south, and Olhão, an 18th-century fishing settlement).
The pattern of rural settlement also reflects both historical and physical factors. The bocage (hedgerow country: fields surrounded by woodlands) of the Minho is associated with a dense distribution of individual holdings on granite that drops to a thin scatter in areas of schist. Most buildings are of two stories with an outside staircase. Nucleated settlement, formerly associated with communal farming systems, is characteristic of the Trás-os-Montes and the pastoral districts of Beira Alta. In Estremadura, traditional farmsteads consist of a number of single-storied buildings. In the formerly feudal south, estate labourers and tenants were housed centrally in long barracklike buildings grouped around montes (courtyards), whose origins date from Arab and even Roman times. The waterwheels and fig-drying floors associated with the dispersed farmsteads of arboriculture districts in the Algarve are another Arab legacy. Neither the Madeiras nor the Azores were occupied before the start of colonization by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
Today the population distribution within Portugal reveals striking contrasts between the more densely populated north and the more sparsely populated south. A number of rural areas have suffered considerable population losses, resulting in economic and social depression, particularly in parts of the north, the Alentejo, and southern inland areas. The coastal zones between Braga and Setúbal, with their low-lying plains and urban development, have attracted a large proportion of the population. Few places outside the industrial areas of Lisbon, Setúbal, and Porto are able to absorb their own working populations. Areas such as the Minho and parts of the coastal plains are seriously overpopulated. Overall, about two-thirds of Portugal’s population live in urban areas.
In the main, rural settlement is dispersed, with inhabitants living in small villages under a system of open-field farming. Beira Litoral and Estremadura have settlements varying between dispersed and clustered farmsteads. In the Aveiro district, clusters of farmsteads and other dwellings are strung along roads in strips, often of considerable length and density. Fishing, one of the earliest enterprises of the Portuguese, still plays an important role in coastal communities. Owing in part to the rigours and hazards of this and certain other traditionally male occupations, as well as intensive waves of largely male emigration, women have substantially outnumbered men in the Portuguese population since the first modern census in 1864 (a previous census had been carried out in 1527).
Demographic trends The decolonization process that took place after the Revolution of the Carnations (April 25, 1974) inevitably had demographic repercussions on metropolitan Portugal because of the large number of people (mostly Portuguese) who left the former overseas provinces. Some one million refugees, most of whom came from Angola in part because of the civil war between the liberation movements, settled in Portugal. The majority of the repatriates (retornados) crowded into Portuguese cities and towns, the effect of which was a high unemployment rate that continued for the next decade.
Portugal has one of the highest rates of emigration in Europe. Before 1960 most of its émigrés went to Brazil and a few other Latin American countries. The population underwent its only decline in the modern period during the 1960s, when two external developments coincided: severe labour shortages in industrialized western Europe induced an outflow of Portuguese workers, and Portugal’s efforts to suppress the liberation movements in its African colonies prompted thousands of young men to emigrate illegally in order to avoid conscription. From Madeira and the Azores too, emigration was a continuing pattern—from the Azores mainly to the United States and from Madeira mainly to South America.
Life expectancy in Portugal is high in comparison with the rest of the world, but it is slightly lower than most other countries in western Europe. Birth rates are about half the world average; death rates are slightly higher than the world average. At the beginning of the 21st century, population growth was slow, and it was anticipated to begin a slight decline.
Economy of Portugal
Portugal was the world’s richest country when its colonial empire in Asia, Africa, and South America was at its peak. Because this wealth was not used to develop domestic industrial infrastructure, however, Portugal gradually became one of western Europe’s poorest countries in the 19th and 20th centuries. From the mid-1970s, after the Portuguese revolution, the country’s economy was disconnected from Portugal’s remaining overseas possessions in Africa and reoriented toward Europe. In 1986 Portugal joined the European Economic Community (ultimately succeeded by the European Union [EU]), spurring strong and steady economic growth. Similar to those of other western European countries, Portugal’s economy is now dominated by services; manufacturing constitutes a significant share of output, while agricultural output is relatively minor, accounting for less than 3 percent of output. In the early 21st century, economic growth had improved living standards dramatically, raised incomes, and reduced unemployment. In addition, since Portugal’s accession to the EU, large inflows of structural funds, private capital, and direct investment have fostered and sustained development. Portugal was one of the countries hardest hit by the euro-zone debt crisis that erupted in 2009, however, and a raft of government measures proved ineffective at halting the country’s economic meltdown. In 2011 the EU and the International Monetary Fund authorized a €78 billion (about $116 billion) bailout package for Portugal, contingent on the adoption of strict austerity guidelines.
Crop yields and animal productivity in Portugal are well below the EU 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. Since 1999, Portuguese farmers have planted genetically modified corn.--->>>>Read More.<<<
- Resources and power
Tungsten, tin, chromium, and other alloy metals are mined in commercial quantities, and most of the tungsten is exported. Ornamental and industrial rocks, especially marble, have become a substantial export. Coal mined at Moncorvo supplies the national steelworks. Copper is extracted at the extensive Neves Corvo mine, and since 1989 Portugal has exported large quantities of copper concentrates. Other products range from granite to mineral water, and the country has large uranium reserves.
Portugal imports about four-fifths of its energy supplies; it depends heavily on the importation of petroleum and petroleum products as well as coal, which accounts for about 25 percent of the country’s electricity production. (Domestic production of coal has increased since the mid-1980s, but the coal is of fairly low quality.) A natural gas pipeline from North Africa was completed in 1997. Nearly one-fifth of Portugal’s electricity is provided by hydropower, and a smaller proportion comes from thermal energy.
In the early 21st century, Portugal increased its use of alternative energy sources. A large wind farm—the largest in Europe at the time it was built—opened in 2008 in northern Portugal, and one of the world’s largest photovoltaic farms (which use solar panels to generate electricity) is near the town of Moura in southeastern Portugal. The country also has experimented with wave-power technology.
About four-fifths of Portugal’s industrial capacity is concentrated around Lisbon and Setúbal in the south and Porto, Braga, and Aveiro in the north. Lisbon and Setúbal support oil refining, chemical industries, cement processing, automobile manufacturing and assembly, electronics manufacture, wood-pulp and cork production, and fish and beverage processing. Light industry prevails in the north. Textiles, footwear, furniture, wine, and processed foods are produced in Porto. Aveiro is a centre for wood pulp and wood products, and Braga specializes in clothing, cutlery, and electronics. Fuel and energy production is important at Sines, a deepwater port about 90 miles (150 km) south of Lisbon, and Coimbra and Leira are notable for the production of plastic molds and machine tools.
In 1975 (after the revolution) Portugal’s heavy industry, basic industries (e.g., cement and petrochemical processing, shipbuilding, generation of electricity), and even some light industries were nationalized. However, in the late 1980s these industries underwent privatization, which has had far-reaching effects. Nearly all public enterprises were privatized, some in tranches, providing the central government with large revenues. Private domestic firms handle the traditional labour-intensive light industries and construction, and subsidiaries of multinational corporations dominate the more technologically advanced industries such as electronics manufacture, automobile manufacture and assembly, and pharmaceutical production.
Portugal’s currency was formerly the escudo, which had replaced the real in 1911 after the overthrow of the monarchy the previous year. However, after meeting the EU’s convergence criteria, Portugal adopted the euro, the EU’s single currency, in 1999. In 2002 the euro replaced the escudo as Portugal’s sole currency.
Like the manufacturing sector, the banking and insurance industries were nationalized in the mid-1970s. Beginning in the 1980s, however, these sectors were liberalized and reprivatized. By the beginning of the 21st century, with full liberalization long established, financial markets had been extensively modernized and insurance companies and banks privatized. Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Portugal’s largest bank, was an exception. New banks and brokerage houses were established and a wide range of financial instruments created. During the 1990s there was significant consolidation of the banking sector, and now only a handful of major groups dominate the market. Leading commercial banks, involved in securities, have established investment companies. Spanish banks are also important within Portugal. The Portuguese banking system was badly shaken by the euro-zone crisis, and in 2012 undercapitalized banks were forced to accept bailout funds that originated with the International Monetary Fund and the EU.
Portuguese bond and stock markets operate on a par with other European and world markets. Trading activity has expanded, and Portuguese bonds appear in globally recognized indices. In 2000 the Lisbon exchange merged with the exchange in Porto. The Lisbon exchange handles spot transactions, while Porto is a futures and options exchange. In 2001 the Lisbon exchange became a member of Euronext, the first fully integrated cross-border equities market, which in 2006 merged with the New York Stock Exchange; the Lisbon exchange also formed an alliance with the Brazilian Securities, Commodities and Futures Exchange, a leading Latin American exchange.
For a relatively small country, Portugal has a large foreign trade. Total imports (primarily food and beverages, wheat, crude oil, machinery, automobiles, and raw materials) generally have far outpaced total exports. Among Portugal’s chief exports are automobiles and transport components, machine tools, textiles, clothing, footwear, paper pulp, wine, cork, plastic molds, and tomato paste. EU countries are Portugal’s principal trading partners, accounting for four-fifths of exports and three-fourths of imports. Major trading partners include Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Trade with Portugal’s former colonial possessions in Africa has declined to a small fraction of the total, but trade has increased with Latin America, especially Brazil. Brazil’s size and historical and linguistic relationship have made it attractive for investments from major Portuguese companies. Portugal’s trade deficit has traditionally been financed by emigrant worker remittances and income from tourism.
The service sector is extremely important to Portugal’s economy, accounting for more than three-fifths of total output. Tourism has surged to become a major industry, and millions of people visit Portugal annually. Notable tourist destinations include Lisbon, the Algarve, and the Douro valley. Visitors from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom make up the bulk of tourists.
Taxation, at about one-third to two-fifths of gross domestic product, is relatively low in comparison with that of many other western European countries. Individual income tax rates are progressive, varying considerably depending upon an individual’s level of income. Corporate taxes and the value-added tax provide a significant source of revenue for the government. Consumption taxes account for about one-third of total tax revenue, compared with about one-tenth for corporate taxes and one-fifth for individual income taxes. Payroll and social security taxes constitute about one-third of total tax revenue.
- Transportation and telecommunications
Several of Portugal’s main roads date to ancient times. Transport and communications were seriously neglected for much of the 20th century, but, beginning late in the century, there was a concerted effort backed by massive funding from the EU to remedy the situation. As a result, the total road network has been extended. A four-lane auto-estrada (superhighway) connects Lisbon to Porto, the capital of the north. A motorway links Lisbon with Madrid, and there is a four-lane highway from Lisbon to the Algarve. Expressways reach the largest towns and extend to the border and ports. Secondary roads link the towns with almost every part of the interior. The 10.7-mile (17.2-km) Vasco da Gama Bridge, the second bridge in Lisbon to span the Tagus River, was completed early in 1998. However, the bridge has not totally relieved traffic congestion, prompting consideration of building either a new bridge or a tunnel to cross the Tagus.
The Portuguese railway system has been improved, and the enterprise Rede Ferroviária Nacional (REFER) was established in 1997 to manage it. In the 1990s and early 21st century, Lisbon’s metro system was extended outside the city limits with the addition of several new stations. Among them was the Gare do Oriente, a main station located in the Parque das Nações (Park of Nations), on land east of the city centre, that was designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. Porto also has developed a light rail system, parts of which run underground. Lisbon’s 25th of April Bridge, once Europe’s longest suspension bridge, has been adapted to include a railway line.
Portugal’s main international airport is Lisbon’s Portela Airport. There are also international airports in Faro and Porto, and airports in Madeira and the Azores receive flights from international destinations. Small airports for domestic flights are located near several other cities. The country’s flagship airline is TAP Portugal. There are several other Portuguese airlines, and the country is also served by numerous international carriers that provide both passenger and cargo services.
Portugal’s ports have received considerable investment to improve and expand their ability to handle cargo and containers and to provide other services. Major Portuguese ports include Lisbon, the Port of Leixões (serving Porto), Setúbal, and Sines. The northern Douro is now navigable. River transport includes both pleasure cruisers and commercial barges.
Advances in technology and telecommunications have speeded the transformation of Portugal’s finance and business sector. Historically, the extension of fixed telephone lines in Portugal was slow; as a result, many individuals have adopted cellular phones, making Portugal among Europe’s early leaders (by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the country had 1.4 mobile phone subscriptions per person) in per capita mobile phone use. The cellular phone market is intensely competitive. Portugal has implemented reforms in its telecommunications sector that favoured liberalization and privatization. Internet use grew dramatically in the late 1990s and early 21st century, though computer use in Portugal remained low compared with that of most other EU countries.
Government and politics of Portugal
Portugal is a parliamentary representative democratic republic, as defined by the constitution of 1976, with separation of powers among legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The president, who is chief of state and is directly elected to a five-year term, appoints the prime minister and council of ministers, according to assembly election results. There is also a council of state, which is a presidential advisory body composed of six senior civilian officers. The unicameral assembly of the republic (Assembleia da Republica) has 230 members who are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president. Suffrage is universal to those aged 18 years of age and over.
Portugal uses the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system. Until the end of the nineteenth century, French law was the main influence. Since then the major influence has been German law. The Constitutional Tribunal reviews the constitutionality of legislation. Portugal accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction with reservations.
The national and regional governments, and the Portuguese parliament, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party. Minority parties CDU (Portuguese Communist Party plus Ecologist Party "The Greens"), Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc) and CDS-PP (People's Party) are also represented in the parliament and local governments.
The foreign relations of Portugal are linked with its historical role as a key player in the Age of Discovery and the holder of the now defunct Portuguese Empire. It is a member of the European Union (since 1986) and the United Nations (since 1955); as well as a founding member of the European Union's Eurozone, OECD, NATO, and CPLP (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa—Community of Portuguese Language Countries). The only international dispute concerns the municipality of Olivença (Olivenza in Spanish). Under Portuguese sovereignty since 1297, the municipality of Olivença was ceded to Spain under the Treaty of Badajoz in 1801, after the War of the Oranges. Portugal claimed it back in 1815 under the Treaty of Vienna. Nevertheless, bilateral diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries are cordial, as well as within the European Union.
Military of Portugal
The armed forces have three branches: Army, Navy, and Air Force. The military of Portugal serves primarily as a self-defense force, and providing humanitarian assistance. Since the early 2000s, compulsory military service is no longer practiced. The age for voluntary recruitment is set at 18. In the twentieth century, Portugal engaged in two major military interventions: the First Great War and the Colonial War (1961-1974). Portugal has participated in peacekeeping missions in East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (Nasiriyah), and Lebanon.
Portugal has an administrative structure of 308 municipalities (Portuguese singular/plural: concelho/concelhos), which are subdivided into more than 4000 parishes (freguesia/freguesias). Municipalities are grouped for administrative purposes into superior units. For continental Portugal the municipalities are gathered in 18 districts, while the islands have a regional government directly above them. Since 1976, the main classifications have been either mainland Portugal or the autonomous regions of Portugal (Azores and Madeira), since 1978. The autonomies have regional governments that are constituted by the regional government president and by regional secretaries. The Portuguese territory was reorganized in accordance with a system of statistical regions and subregions known as N.U.T.S. (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) that are the basis of the statistical system of information for the entire European Union.
Culture of Portugal
History of Portugal
There is little direct filiation between the Portuguese of today and the early tribes who inhabited this region, although the Portuguese long considered themselves descendants of the Lusitanians, a Celtic people who came to the area after 1,000 B.C. The Lusitanians had their stronghold in the Serra da Estrela. Under Viriatus (2d cent. B.C.) and under Sertorius (1st cent. B.C.), they stoutly resisted the Romans (see Lusitania). Other tribes, such as the Conii in Algarve, submitted more readily. Julius Caesar and Augustus completed the Roman conquest of the area, and the province of Lusitania thrived. Roman ways were adopted, and it is from Latin that the Portuguese language is derived.
At the beginning of the 5th cent. A.D., the whole Iberian Peninsula was overrun by Germanic invaders; the Visigoths eventually established their rule, but in the north the Suevi established a kingdom that endured until late in the 6th cent., when they were absorbed by the Visigoths. Present-day Algarve was part of the Byzantine Empire during the 6th and 7th cent. In 711 the Visigoths were defeated by the Moors, who conquered the whole peninsula except for Asturias and the Basque Country. Muslim culture and science had a great impact, especially in the south. Religious toleration was practiced, but a large minority converted to Islam.
- Growth of the State
It was during the long period of the Christian reconquest that the Portuguese nation was created. The kings of Asturias drove the Moors out of Galicia in the 8th cent. Ferdinand I of Castile entered Beira and took the fortress of Viseu and the city of Coimbra in 1064. Alfonso VI of Castile obtained French aid in his wars against the Moors. Henry of Burgundy married an illegitimate daughter of Alfonso VI and became (1095?) count of Coimbra and later count of Portucalense. Henry's son Alfonso Henriques, wrested power (1128) from his mother and maintained the independence of his lands. After a victory over the Moors in 1139, he began to style himself Alfonso I, king of Portugal. Spain recognized Portugal's independence in 1143 and the Pope did so in 1179. Alfonso's long reign (1128–85) was an important factor in Portugal's attainment of independence.
Alfonso's successors were faced with the tasks of recapturing Alentejo and Algarve from the Moors and of rebuilding the areas devastated by the long wars. There was conflict with other Portuguese claimants and between the kings and powerful nobles, and there was continual strife between the crown and the church over land and power. Until the late 13th cent. the church was victorious, winning inviolability for ecclesiastic law as well as exemption from general taxation. Sancho I (1185–1211) captured the Moorish capital of Silves but could not hold it. Alfonso II (1211–23) summoned the first Cortes (council to advise the king). After Sancho II (1223–48) was deposed, Alfonso III (1248–79) took (1249) Algarve and thus consolidated Portugal. In Alfonso's reign the towns gained representation in the Cortes.
- Years of Glory
The reconquest and resettlement aided local liberties, since forais (charters) guaranteeing municipal rights were granted in order to encourage settlement. As former serfs became settlers, serfdom declined (13th cent.), but in practice many servile obligations remained. Alfonso's son Diniz (1279–1325) attempted to improve land conditions. He also established a brilliant court and founded the university that became the Univ. of Coimbra. The reign of his son, Alfonso IV, is remembered chiefly because of the tragic romance of Inés de Castro, the mistress of Alfonso's son, Peter (later Peter I; 1357–67); to avenge her fate, Peter, on his succession, had two of her murderers executed. Ferdinand I (1367–83) indulged in long Castilian wars. Ferdinand's heiress was married to a Castilian prince, John I of Castile; after the death of Ferdinand, John claimed the throne.
The Portuguese, largely due to the efforts of Nun'Álvares Pereira, defeated the Castilians in the battle of Aljubarrota (1385) and established John I, a bastard son of Peter, as king. At this time began the long alliance of Portugal with England. John founded the Aviz dynasty and his reign (1385–1433) commenced the most glorious period of Portuguese history. Portugal entered an era of colonial and maritime expansion. The war against the Moors was extended to Africa, and Ceuta was taken. Under the aegis of Prince Henry the Navigator, Portuguese ships sailed out along the coast of Africa. The Madeira Islands and the Azores were colonized. Duarte (1433–38) failed to take Tangier, but his son Alfonso V (1438–81) succeeded (1471) in doing so.
Alfonso's attempt to gain the Castilian throne ended in defeat. Under his son John II (1481–95) voyages of exploration were resumed. Bartholomew Diaz rounded (1488) the Cape of Good Hope. By the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), Spain and Portugal divided the non-Christian world between them. During the glittering reign of Manuel I (1495–1521), Vasco da Gama sailed (1497–98) to India, Pedro Alvarez Cabral claimed (1500) Brazil, and Afonso de Albuquerque captured Goa (1510), Melaka (1511), and Hormoz (1515). The Portuguese Empire extended across the world, to Asia, Africa, and America. In 1497, as a precondition to his marriage with Ferdinand and Isabella's daughter, Manuel ordered the Jewish population to convert to Christianity or leave the country. Manuel's reign and that of John III (1521–57) marked the climax of Portuguese expansion.
- Years of Decline
The slender resources of Portugal itself were steadily weakened by depletion of manpower and the neglect of domestic agriculture and industry. Government policy and popular ambition concentrated on the rapid acquisition of riches through trade with East Asia, but foreign competition and piracy steadily decreased profits from this trade. Lisbon was for a time the center of the European spice trade, but, for geographical considerations and because of limited banking and commercial facilities, the center of the trade gradually shifted to N Europe. The reign (1557–78) of Sebastian proved disastrous. His rash Moroccan campaign was a national catastrophe, and he was killed at Ksar el Kebir (1578); but the lack of certainty over his death led to a legend that he would return, and Sebastianism (a messianic faith) persisted into the 19th cent.
The Aviz dynasty, founded by John I, disappeared with the death of Henry, the cardinal-king, in 1580. Philip II of Spain, nephew of John III, validated his claims to the Portuguese throne (as Philip I) by force of arms, and the long "Spanish captivity" (1580–1640) began. Spain's wars against the English and the Dutch cut off Portuguese trade with these nations; moreover, the Dutch attacked Portugal's overseas territories in order to obtain for themselves direct access to the sources of trade. Eventually the Dutch were driven from Brazil, but most of the Asian empire was permanently lost. Portugal was never again a great power.
- Absolutism and Reform
Portugal was compelled to participate in Spain's wars against the Dutch and in the Thirty Years War. Finally in 1640 the Portuguese took advantage of the preoccupation of Philip IV with a rebellion in Catalonia to revolt and throw off the Spanish yoke. John of Braganza was made king as John IV (1640–56). Portugal, however, continued to be threatened by its larger neighbor. Alfonso VI (1656–67), weak in mind and body, signed the crown away to his brother Peter II (1667–1706), who was first regent and then king. The alliance with England was revived by the Treaty of Methuen (1703), which gave mutual trade advantages to Portuguese wines and English woolens, and Portugal reluctantly entered the War of the Spanish Succession against Louis XIV. Gold from Brazil helped to recreate financial stability by 1730, but it also freed John V (1706–50) from dependence on the Cortes (last called in 1677).
Absolutism reached its height under John V and under Joseph (reigned 1750–77), when the marquês de Pombal was the de facto ruler of the land. Pombal attempted to introduce aspects of the Enlightenment in education, to achieve monarchical centralization, and to revitalize agriculture and commerce through the policies of mercantilism. His policies disturbed entrenched interests, and his new wine monopoly led to the Oporto "tippler's rebellion," which Pombal put down harshly. He also won a long contest with the Jesuits, expelling them from the land. After the terrible earthquake of 1755, Pombal began the rebuilding of Lisbon on well-planned lines. Finances again became disorganized as Brazilian treasure dwindled.
Most of Pombal's reforms were rescinded in the reign of Maria I (1777–1816) and her husband, Peter III. Under the regency of Maria's son (later John VI; 1816–26) Portugal's alliance with Britain led to difficulties with France; in 1807 the forces of Napoleon I marched on Portugal. The royal family fled (1807) to Brazil, and Portugal was rent by the Peninsular War. The French were driven out in 1811, but John VI returned only after a liberal revolution against the regency in 1820. He accepted a liberal constitution in 1822, and forces supporting him put down an absolutist movement under his son Dom Miguel. Brazil declared its independence, with Pedro I (John's elder son) as emperor.
After John's death (1826) Pedro also became king of Portugal but abdicated in favor of his daughter, Maria II (reigned 1826–53), on condition that she accept a new charter limiting royal authority and marry Dom Miguel. Miguel instead seized the throne and defeated the liberals, but Pedro abdicated the Brazilian crown, came (1832) to Portugal and led the liberals in the Miguelist Wars. Maria was restored to the throne. Although her reign was marred by coups and dictatorship, the activities of moderates and liberals laid a groundwork for the reforms—penal laws, a civil code (1867), and commercial regulations—of the reigns of Peter V (1853–61; begun under the regency of Maria's husband Ferdinand II) and of Louis I (1861–89).
Portuguese explorations in Africa strengthened Portugal's hold on Angola and Mozambique; conflicting claims with Britain in E Africa were settled in 1891. To end the inefficiency and corruption of the late 19th-century parliamentary regime, Charles I (1889–1908) established (1906) a dictatorship under the conservative João Franco, but, in 1908, Charles and the heir apparent were assassinated. Manuel II succeeded to the throne, but in 1910 a republican revolution forced his abdication.
- The Republic
The republic was established in 1910 with Teófilo Braga as president. The change of rule did not cure Portugal's chronic economic problems. Anticlerical measures aroused the hostility of the Roman Catholic Church. In World War I, Portugal was at first neutral, then joined (1916) the Allies. The economy deteriorated, and insurrections of both the right and the left made conditions worse. In 1926 a military coup overthrew the government, and General Carmona became president. António de Oliveira Salazar, the new finance minister, successfully reorganized the national accounts.
Salazar became premier in 1932; he was largely responsible for the corporative constitution of 1933, which established what was destined to become the longest dictatorship in Western European history. Portugal was neutral in World War II but allowed the Allies to establish naval and air bases. It became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949 but was not admitted to the United Nations until 1955. Under Salazar's "New State," economic modernization lagged, with the result that Portugal fell increasingly behind the rest of Europe in the 1950s and 60s.
Portugal's colony of Goa was seized by India in 1961. In Africa, armed resistance to Portuguese rule developed in Angola, Mozambique, and Portuguese Guinea in the early 1960s. On the domestic front, the 1958 antigovernment candidate, Gen. Humbert Delgado, contested the previously phony elections and received almost a quarter of the vote; a constitutional amendment the following year changed the method of electing the president. Censorship of the press and of cultural activities grew especially severe in the mid-1960s, as student demonstrations were sternly repressed.
- Portugal in the Late Twentieth Century
In 1968, Salazar suffered a stroke and was replaced by Marcello Caetano as premier. Under Caetano repression was eased somewhat and limited economic development programs were started in Portugal and in the overseas territories. The continuing armed conflicts with guerrillas in the African territories, requiring about 40% of Portugal's annual budget to be devoted to military spending, drained the country's resources. By early 1974 dissatisfaction with the seemingly endless wars in Africa, together with political suppression and economic difficulties, resulted in growing unrest within Portugal.
On Apr. 25 an organized group of officers toppled the government in the Captains' Revolution, encountering a minimum of resistance from loyal forces and enthusiastic acceptance from the people. The officers who initiated the revolution constituted the Armed Forces Movement (MFA). Gen. António de Spínola, who did not play an active role in the coup but had publicly criticized the Caetano government, was appointed head of the ruling military junta. The secret police force was abolished; all political prisoners were released; full civil liberties, including freedom of the press and of all political parties, were restored; and overtures were made to the guerrilla groups in the African territories for a peaceful settlement of the conflicts. In September, Spínola was forced to resign and the government became dominated by leftists.
In 1975, Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe, and Cape Verde were granted independence. East Timor was forcibly taken over by Indonesia and did not achieve independence until 2002. January to November of 1975 was the period of greatest leftist ascendancy domestically—most banks and industries were nationalized, a massive agrarian reform was begun in the Alentejo, and the MFA-dominated government tried to ignore the elections of Apr., 1975, which strongly favored moderate parties, and instead relied on Communist support. Leftist predominance vanished after a failed coup attempt by radical military units in November, but many features of the revolutionary period of 1974–75 were incorporated into the constitution of 1976.
From 1977 to 1980 several moderate, Socialist-dominated governments tried unsuccessfully to stabilize the country politically and economically. In 1980–82, a center-right coalition experienced a similar fate, although it did succeed in instituting a process of constitutional revision, which reduced presidential power, the right of the military to intervene in politics, and the anticapitalist biases of the 1976 constitution. From 1983 to 1985 a coalition government under Socialist leader Mário Soares began to make some headway against the chaos and poverty into which Salazar's long dictatorship, the African wars, and the 1974–75 leftist revolution had thrown Portugal.
In 1986, the centrist Social Democratic party under Aníbal Cavaco Silva won an undisputed majority in parliament, Soares was elected to the presidency, and Portugal was admitted to the European Community (now the European Union). Constitutional revision was furthered in 1989. Political stability and economic reforms created a favorable business climate, especially for renewed foreign investment, and there was strong economic growth. The Socialists returned to power as a minority government after the 1995 parliamentary elections; António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres became premier.
Barred from running for a third term, Soares retired as president in 1996; he was succeeded by another Socialist, Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio. Portugal became part of the European Union's single currency plan in 1999; in October, Guterres and the Socialists were returned to power, again as a minority government. Under a 1987 agreement, Portugal's last overseas territory, Macao, reverted to Chinese sovereignty at the end of 1999. Sampaio was reelected in Jan., 2001. Social Democratic victories in the Dec., 2001, local elections led Guterres to resign as premier and party leader in 2001. Early parliamentary elections in Mar., 2002, resulted in a defeat for the Socialists, and Social Democrat José Manuel Durão Barroso became premier, heading a coalition with the smaller Popular party. Barroso resigned in July, 2004, in anticipation of his being named president of the European Commission, and Social Democrat Pedro Miguel de Santana Lopes was appointed premier.
Parliamentary elections in Feb., 2005, resulted in a victory for the Socialists, who won more than half the seats, and José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa became premier. In 2006 former premier Aníbal Cavaco Silva was elected president, becoming the first center-right candidate to win the office since the 1974 revolution; he won a second term in 2011. The Socialists won the parliamentary elections in Sept., 2009, but failed to secure a majority of the seats. Sócrates subsequently formed a minority government.
High budget deficits in the wake of the global recession of 2008–9 forced the government to adopt an austerity budget in 2010. When additional austerity measures failed to win passage in Mar., 2011, Sócrates resigned, and in April, as cost of financing Portugal's debt increased, he asked for financial aid from the European Union in exchange for austerity measures that were enacted in May. Parliamentary elections in June led to a win for the Social Democrats and the Popular party; they formed a coalition government with Social Democrat Pedro Passos Coelho as premier. In Nov., 2011, the new government enacted austerity measures more severe than those put forward by the Socialists.
Dismal economic conditions, increasing unemployment, and decreasing government revenues in 2012 led to the need for greater austerities, and a proposal for a significant increase in employee social security contributions (coupled with a reduction in employer contributions) led to protests and government backtracking in Sept., 2012. A number of austerity measures have also been overturned by the constitutional court. In mid-2013 tensions within the governing coalition over austerity measures led to a brief crisis but little ultimate change.
Literature of Portugal
Portugal: Year In Review 2004 Portuguese literature suffered a grievous loss in 2004 with the death in Lisbon on July 2 of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, one of the greatest poets in the language. She was a prolific author...>>>Read On<<<
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