Main Births etc
Portuguese Republic
  • República Portuguesa(Portuguese)
Flag of Portugal Coat of arms of Portugal
Anthem: A Portuguesa(Portuguese)
The Portuguese
Location of  Portugal  (dark green) – on the European continent  (green & dark grey) – in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Portugal  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  —  [Legend]

Portugal - Location Map (2013) - PRT - UNOCHA
and largest city
Lisbonne blason Lisbon
38°46′N 9°9′W / 38.767, -9.15
Official languages Portuguese
Recognised regional languages Mirandesea
Ethnic groups (2007)
Demonym Portuguese
Government Unitary semi-presidential
 -  President Aníbal Cavaco Silva
 -  Assembly President Assunção Esteves
 -  Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho
Legislature Assembly of the Republic
 -  Foundation 868 
 -  Re-founding 1095 
 -  Sovereignty 24 June 1128 
 -  Kingdom 26 July 1139 
 -  Recognized 5 October 1143 
 -  Papal recognition 23 May 1179 
 -  Republic 5 October 1910 
 -  Redemocratization 25 April 1974 
 -  Current constitutionc 25 April 1976 
 -  Joined the EEC (now the
European Union)
1 January 1986 
 -  Total 92,212[5] km2 (111th)
35,603 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0.5
 -  2013 estimate 10,427,301[6] (83th)
 -  2011 census 10,562,178[7]
 -  Density 115/km2 (97th)
298/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $251.451 billion[8] (51rd)
 -  Per capita $23,671[8] (46th)
GDP (nominal) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $231.214 billion[8] (47th)
 -  Per capita $21,765[8] (38th)
Gini (2011)34.2[9]
HDI (2013)increase 0.816[10]
very high · 43rd
Currency Euro ()b (EUR)
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 -  Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
Note that the Azores are in a different time zone.
Date format
  • dd/mm/yyyy
  • dd-mm-yyyy
Drives on the right
Calling code +351
Patron saint St Anthony of Padua
Saint George
Immaculate Conception
Internet TLD .pt
a. Mirandese, spoken in some villages of the municipality of Miranda do Douro, was officially recognized in 1999 (Lei n.° 7/99 de 29 de Janeiro), awarding it an official right-of-use.[11]
Portuguese Sign Language is also recognized.
b. Before 1999, the escudo.
c. Constitution had a recent minor revision in 2004.

Portugal (UK /ˈpɔ:ʊɡl/; US /ˈpɔrʉɡəl/; Portuguese: Portugal [puɾtuˈɣaɫ]), officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa), is a unitary semi-presidential republic. It is located in South-Western Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula, and it is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. Aside from continental Portugal, the Portuguese Republic holds sovereignty over the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, which are autonomous regions of Portugal. The country is named after its second largest city, Porto, whose name derives from Latin "Portus" and Celtic "Cale".[12]

The land within the borders of the current Portuguese Republic has been continually fought over and settled since prehistoric times. The Celts and the Romans, followed by the Visigothic and Suebian domination, and the Moorish invaders, who were eventually expelled during the Reconquista. Portugal by 1139 established itself as an independent kingdom from Galicia.[13] In the 15th and 16th centuries, as the result of pioneering the Age of Discovery, Portugal expanded western influence and established the first global empire,[14][15][16] becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers, and ultimately dividing the world with Spain.

The Portuguese Empire was the longest-lived of the modern European colonial empires, spanning almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415 to the handover of Macau to China in 1999 (de facto) or the granting of sovereignty to East Timor in 2002 (de jure). The empire spread throughout a vast number of territories that are now part of 53 different sovereign states, leaving a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today (making it the sixth most spoken first language) and a number of Portuguese-based creoles. Portugal's international status was greatly reduced during the 19th century, especially following the Independence of Brazil, its largest and most important colony. After 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, itself being superseded by the "Estado Novo" right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974. The revolution in 1974 also resulted in the independence of Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau in 1975.

Portugal is considered a developed country with an advanced economy and high living standards.[17][18][19] It's one of the world's most globalized and peaceful nations.[20] It is a member of the United Nations, European Union, Eurozone, OECD, NATO, WTO, Schengen Area, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. On 31 May 2010, Portugal became the sixth country in Europe and the eighth country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriage on the national level.[21] Portugal also received international attention for being the first country in the world to fully decriminalize the usage of all drugs in 2001.[22]


Early history[]

Citania de Briteiros - casas reconstruidas - pavimentos

Citânia de Briteiros, in the Minho Province, is the best preserved Iron Age and Castro culture site in Portugal.

The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in South Western Europe. The name of Portugal derives from the Roman name Portus Cale. The region was settled by Pre-Celts and Celts, giving origin to peoples like the Gallaeci, Lusitanians, Celtici and Cynetes, visited by Phoenicians and Carthaginians, incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions as Lusitania and part of Gallaecia (both part of Hispania), after 45 BC until 298 AD, settled again by Suebi, Buri, and Visigoths, and conquered by Moors. Other minor influences include some 5th-century vestiges of Alan settlement, which were found in Alenquer, Coimbra and even Lisbon.[23]

Mapa de Portugal tribos principais

The pre-Roman tribes of ancient Portugal and their expansion patterns.

The region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and then by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula.[24] These were subsistence societies that, although they did not establish prosperous settlements, did establish organized societies. Neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing.[24]

Early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and inter-married with the local populations, forming different ethnic groups, with many tribes.

Chief among these tribes were the Calaicians or Gallaeci of Northern Portugal, the Lusitanians of central Portugal, the Celtici of Alentejo, and the Cynetes or Conii of the Algarve. Among the lesser tribes or sub-divisions were the Bracari, Coelerni, Equaesi, Grovii, Interamici, Leuni, Luanqui, Limici, Narbasi, Nemetati, Paesuri, Quaquerni, Seurbi, Tamagani, Tapoli, Turduli, Turduli Veteres, Turdulorum Oppida, Turodi, and Zoelae.

There were in the southern part of the country some small, semi-permanent commercial coastal settlements founded by Phoenicians-Carthaginians (such as Tavira, in the Algarve).

Roman Lusitania and Gallaecia[]

Romans first invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 219 BC. By 19 BC, almost the entire peninsula had been annexed to the Roman Republic. The Carthaginians, Rome's adversary in the Punic Wars, were expelled from their coastal colonies.

The Roman conquest of what is now part of modern day Portugal took almost two hundred years and took many lives of young soldiers and the lives of those who were sentenced to a certain death in the slavery mines when not sold as slaves to other parts of the empire. It suffered a severe setback in 150 BC, when a rebellion began in the north. The Lusitanians and other native tribes, under the leadership of Viriathus, wrested control of all of western Iberia.

Evora-RomanTemple edit

The Roman Temple of Évora, in the Alentejo, is a symbol of Lusitania, Roman rule in Portugal.

Rome sent numerous legions and its best generals to Lusitania to quell the rebellion, but to no avail — the Lusitanians kept conquering territory. The Roman leaders decided to change their strategy. They bribed Viriathus's allies to kill him. In 139 BC, Viriathus was assassinated, and Tautalus became leader.

Rome installed a colonial regime. The complete Romanization of Lusitania only took place in the Visigothic era.

In 27 BC, Lusitania gained the status of Roman province. Later, a northern province of Lusitania was formed, known as Gallaecia, with capital in Bracara Augusta, today's Braga. There are still many ruins of castros (hill forts) all over modern Portugal and remains of Castro culture. Numerous Roman sites are scattered around present-day Portugal, some urban remains are quite large, like Conimbriga and Mirobriga. Several works of engineering, such as baths, temples, bridges, roads, circus, theatres and layman's homes are preserved throughout the country. Coins, some of which coined in Lusitanian land, as well as numerous pieces of ceramics were also found. Contemporary historians include Paulus Orosius (c. 375–418)[25] and Hydatius (c. 400–469), bishop of Aquae Flaviae, who reported on the final years of the Roman rule and arrival of the Germanic tribes.

Suebi and Visigoths[]

Visigothic Kingdom

The Suebi Kingdom in Green and the Visigothic one in Orange

In the early 5th century, Germanic tribes invaded the Iberian Peninsula, namely the Suebi and the Vandals (Silingi and Hasdingi) together with their allies, the Sarmatian and Alans where they would form their kingdom. The Kingdom of the Suebi was the Germanic post-Roman kingdom, established in the former Roman provinces of Gallaecia and northern Lusitania. About 410 and during the 6th century it became a formally declared kingdom, where king Hermeric made a peace treaty with the Gallaecians before passing his demise to Rechila, his son. In 448 Réchila died, leaving the state in expansion to Rechiar.

It maintained its independence until 585, when it was annexed by the Visigoths, and turned into the sixth province of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania.

In the year 500, the Visigothic Kingdom was installed in Hispania, cored in Toledo. The Visigoths eventually conquered the Suebi and its capital city Bracara (modern day Braga) in 584–585.

By the year 700, the entire Iberian Peninsula was ruled by Visigoths, having survived until 711, when King Roderic (Rodrigo) was killed while opposing an invasion from the south by the Umayyad Muslims.

Moorish Iberia[]

A significant part of the land was part of the Caliphate for approximately five and a half centuries, following the Umayyad Caliphate conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 until 1249 with the conquest of Algarve by King Afonso III of Portugal during the Reconquista.

After beating the Visigoths in only a few months, the Umayyad Caliphate started expanding rapidly in the peninsula. Beginning in 711, the land that is now Portugal became part of the vast Umayyad Caliphate's empire of Damascus that stretched from the Indus river in Pakistan up to the South of France until its collapse in 750, a year in which the west of the empire gained its independence under Abd-ar-Rahman I with the creation of the Emirate of Córdoba. After almost two centuries, the Emirate turned into the Caliphate of Córdoba in 929 until its dissolution a century later in 1031 to no less than 23 small kingdoms, called Taifa kingdoms.

The governors of the taifas proclaimed themselves each Emir of his province and established diplomatic relations with the Christian Kingdoms of the north. Most of Portugal fell into the hands of the Taifa of Badajoz of the Aftasid Dynasty, and after a short spell of an ephemera taifa of Lisbon in 1022, fell within the dominion of the Taifa of Seville of the Abbadids poets. The Taifa period ended with the conquest of the Almoravids that came from Morocco in 1086 with a decisive victory in the Battle of Sagrajas followed one century later by the Almohads also coming from Marrakesh in 1147 after the second period of Taifa.[26]

Al-Andalus was divided into different districts called Kura. Gharb Al-Andalus at its largest was constituted of ten kuras,[27] each with a distinct capital and governor. The main cities of the period were Beja, Silves, Alcácer do Sal, Santarém, Lisbon and Coimbra.

The Muslim population of the region consisted mainly of Berbers, Arabs and native Iberian converts to Islam (the so-called Muwallad or Muladi). The Arabs were principally noblemen coming from Yemen, though they were only few in numbers they constituted the elite of the population. The Berbers were originally from the Atlas mountains and Rif mountains of North Africa and were essentially nomads. In Portugal, the Muslim population (or "Moors"), very small in numbers,[28] stayed largely in the Algarve region, and south of the Tagus.[28]



The Battle of Ourique, a major stepping stone in the Portuguese Reconquista and path to sovereignty.

After the Muslim conquests, the land between the Minho and Douro rivers maintained a significant share of its populations, between the 8th and the third quarter of the 9th century in a social and political area where there was no acting state powers.[29] In 868, this region became dynamic and was organized as the County of Portugal (Condado de Portugal,[30] a government) and appeared as part of the Galician-Asturian, Leonese and Portuguese systematic power structures.[29]

During the Reconquista period, Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim and Moorish domination. A victory over the Muslims at the Battle of Ourique in 1139 is traditionally taken as the occasion when the County of Portugal as a fief of the Kingdom of León was transformed into the independent Kingdom of Portugal.

File:Spanish reconquista.gif

Reconquista made Portugal one of the oldest countries in Europe

Henry, to whom the newly formed county was awarded by Alfonso VI for his role in reconquering land from the Moors, based his newly formed county in Bracara Augusta (nowadays Braga), capital city of the ancient Roman province, and also previous capital of several kingdoms over the first millennia.

On 24 June 1128, the Battle of São Mamede occurred near Guimarães. Afonso Henriques, Count of Portugal, defeated his mother Countess Teresa and her lover Fernão Peres de Trava, thereby establishing himself as sole leader. Afonso then turned his arms against the persistent problem of the Moors in the south. His campaigns were successful and, on 25 July 1139, he obtained an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Ourique, and straight after was unanimously proclaimed King of Portugal by his soldiers.


John I of Portugal laid the pathway to Portugal becoming a global power.

Afonso then established the first of the Portuguese Cortes at Lamego, where he was crowned by the Archbishop of Braga, though the validity of the Cortes of Lamego has been disputed and called a myth created during the Portuguese Restoration War. Afonso was recognized in 1143 by King Alfonso VII of León and Castile, and in 1179 by Pope Alexander III.

Afonso Henriques and his successors, aided by military monastic orders, pushed southward to drive out the Moors, as the size of Portugal covered about half of its present area. In 1249, this Reconquista ended with the capture of the Algarve on the southern coast, giving Portugal its present-day borders, with minor exceptions.

The reigns of Dinis I, Afonso IV, and Pedro I for the most part saw peace with the Christian kingdoms of Iberia, and thus the Portuguese kingdom advanced in prosperity and culture.

In 1348 and 1349, like the rest of Europe, Portugal was devastated by the Black Death.[31] In 1373, Portugal made an alliance with England, which is the longest-standing alliance in the world.

In 1383, John I of Castile, husband of Beatrice of Portugal and son-in-law of Ferdinand I of Portugal, claimed the throne of Portugal. A faction of petty noblemen and commoners, led by John of Aviz (later King John I of Portugal) and commanded by General Nuno Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. With this battle, the House of Aviz became the ruling house of Portugal.

Joanine era[]

Portugal spearheaded the European exploration of the world and undertook the Age of Discovery. Prince Henry the Navigator, son of King João I, became the main sponsor and patron of this endeavour. During this period, Portugal explored the Atlantic Ocean, discovering several Atlantic archipelagos like the Azores, Madeira, and Cape Verde, explored the African coast as well as colonizing selected areas of Africa, discovered an eastern route to India that rounded the Cape of Good Hope, discovered Brazil, explored the Indian Ocean and established trading routes throughout most of southern Asia, and sent the first direct European maritime trade and diplomatic missions to China and Japan.

Retrato de Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama opened Portugal to the East and gave way for its monopoly there.

In 1415, Portugal acquired the first of its overseas colonies by conquering Ceuta. It was the first prosperous Islamic trade centre in North Africa. There followed the first discoveries in the Atlantic: Madeira and the Azores, which led to the first colonization movements.

Throughout the 15th century, Portuguese explorers sailed the coast of Africa, establishing trading posts for several common types of tradable commodities at the time, ranging from gold to slaves, as they looked for a route to India and its spices, which were coveted in Europe.

Lisbon 09973 Lisboa Padrão dos Descobrimentos 2006 Luca Galuzzi

Padrão dos Descobrimentos. The Portuguese Empire was the longest global empire in History, spanning almost 600 years

The Treaty of Tordesillas, intended to resolve the dispute that had been created following the return of Christopher Columbus, was signed on 7 June 1494, and divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Portugal and Spain along a meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands (off the west coast of Africa).

In 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India and brought economic prosperity to Portugal and its population of 1.7 million residents, which helped start the Portuguese Renaissance. In 1500, the Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real reached what is now Canada and founded the town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, Newfoundland and Labrador, arriving long before the English, who did it only in the 17th century, and being just one of many Portuguese Colonizations of the Americas.[32][33][34]

In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil and claimed it for Portugal.[35] Ten years later, Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa in India, Ormuz in the Persian Strait, and Malacca, now a state in Malaysia. Thus, the Portuguese empire held dominion over commerce in the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic. The Portuguese sailors set out to reach Eastern Asia by sailing eastward from Europe landing in such places as Taiwan, Japan, and the island of Timor.

Although being contentious, strong evidence leads to the Portuguese Discovery of Australia,[36][37][38] in 1521.

The Treaty of Zaragoza, signed on 22 April 1529 between Portugal and Spain, specified the anti-meridian to the line of demarcation specified in the Treaty of Tordesillas. All these facts made Portugal the world's major economic, military, and political power from the 15th century until late 16th century.

Iberian Union and Restoration[]

Acclamation of King John IV of Portugal

John IV of Braganza waged the Portuguese Restoration War and restored home-rule to Portugal as King John IV.

Portugal's sovereignty was interrupted between 1580 and 1640. This occurred because the last two kings of the House of Aviz – King Sebastian, who died in the battle of Alcácer Quibir in Morocco, and his great-uncle and successor, King Henry of Portugal – both died without heirs, resulting in the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580.

Subsequently, Philip II of Spain claimed the throne and so became Philip I of Portugal. Although Portugal did not lose its formal independence, it was governed by the same monarch who governed the Spanish Empire,[39] briefly forming a union of kingdoms, as a personal union. At this time Spain was a geographic territory.[40] The joining of the two crowns deprived Portugal of a separate foreign policy and led to the involvement in the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands.

War led to a deterioration of the relations with Portugal's oldest ally, England, and the loss of Hormuz. From 1595 to 1663 the Dutch-Portuguese War primarily involved the Dutch companies invading many Portuguese colonies and commercial interests in Brazil, Africa, India and the Far East, resulting in the loss of the Portuguese Indian Sea trade monopoly.

In 1640, John IV spearheaded an uprising backed by disgruntled nobles and was proclaimed king. The Portuguese Restoration War between Portugal and the Spanish Empire, on the aftermath of the 1640 revolt, ended the sixty-year period of the Iberian Union under the House of Habsburg. This was the beginning of the House of Braganza, which reigned in Portugal until 1910.

Official estimates – and most estimates made so far – place the number of Portuguese migrants to Colonial Brazil during the gold rush of the 18th century at 600,000.[41] This represented one of the largest movements of European populations to their colonies to the Americas during the colonial times.

Early Brigantine and Pombaline era[]

O marques de pombal, conde de Oeiras

Sebastião José, Marquis of Pombal, revolutionized and enlightened Portugal.

In 1738, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal, began a diplomatic career as the Portuguese Ambassador in London and later in Vienna. The Queen consort of Portugal, Archduchess Maria Anne Josefa of Austria, was fond of Melo; and after his first wife died, she arranged the widowed de Melo's second marriage to the daughter of the Austrian Field Marshal Leopold Josef, Count von Daun. King John V of Portugal, however, was not pleased and recalled Melo to Portugal in 1749. John V died the following year and his son, Joseph I of Portugal, was crowned. In contrast to his father, Joseph I was fond of de Melo, and with the Queen Mother's approval, he appointed Melo as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

As the King's confidence in de Melo increased, the King entrusted him with more control of the state. By 1755, Sebastião de Melo was made Prime Minister. Impressed by British economic success he had witnessed while Ambassador, he successfully implemented similar economic policies in Portugal. He abolished slavery in Portugal and in the Portuguese colonies in India; reorganized the army and the navy; restructured the University of Coimbra, and ended discrimination against different Christian sects in Portugal.

But Sebastião de Melo's greatest reforms were economic and financial, with the creation of several companies and guilds to regulate every commercial activity. He demarcated the region for production of Port to ensure the wine's quality, and this was the first attempt to control wine quality and production in Europe. He ruled with a strong hand by imposing strict law upon all classes of Portuguese society from the high nobility to the poorest working class, along with a widespread review of the country's tax system. These reforms gained him enemies in the upper classes, especially among the high nobility, who despised him as a social upstart.

Disaster fell upon Portugal in the morning of 1 November 1755, when Lisbon was struck by a violent earthquake with an estimated Richter scale magnitude of 9. The city was razed to the ground by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami and ensuing fires.[42] Sebastião de Melo survived by a stroke of luck and then immediately embarked on rebuilding the city, with his famous quote: "What now? We bury the dead and take care of the living."


The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 devastated much of central and southern Portugal and Northern Africa.

Despite the calamity and huge death toll, Lisbon suffered no epidemics and within less than one year was already being rebuilt. The new city centre of Lisbon was designed to resist subsequent earthquakes. Architectural models were built for tests, and the effects of an earthquake were simulated by marching troops around the models. The buildings and big squares of the Pombaline City Centre still remain as one of Lisbon's tourist attractions. Sebastião de Melo also made an important contribution to the study of seismology by designing an inquiry that was sent to every parish in the country.

Following the earthquake, Joseph I gave his Prime Minister even more power, and Sebastião de Melo became a powerful, progressive dictator. As his power grew, his enemies increased in number, and bitter disputes with the high nobility became frequent. In 1758 Joseph I was wounded in an attempted assassination. The Távora family and the Duke of Aveiro were implicated and executed after a quick trial. The Jesuits were expelled from the country and their assets confiscated by the crown. Sebastião de Melo prosecuted every person involved, even women and children. This was the final stroke that broke the power of the aristocracy. Joseph I made his loyal minister Count of Oeiras in 1759.

In 1762, Spain invaded Portuguese territory as part of the Seven Years' War, but by 1763 the status quo between Spain and Portugal before the war had been restored.

Following the Távora affair, the new Count of Oeiras knew no opposition. Made "Marquis of Pombal" in 1770, he effectively ruled Portugal until Joseph I's death in 1779. However, historians also argue that Pombal’s "enlightenment," while far-reaching, was primarily a mechanism for enhancing autocracy at the expense of individual liberty and especially an apparatus for crushing opposition, suppressing criticism, and furthering colonial economic exploitation as well as intensifying book censorship and consolidating personal control and profit.[43]

National and Imperial change[]

Joao VI Portugal

John VI's reign was the first time that Portugal was a transcontinental country.

The new ruler, Queen Maria I of Portugal, disliked the Marquis because of the power he amassed, and never forgave him for the ruthlessness with which he dispatched the Távora family, and upon her accession to the throne, she withdrew all his political offices. Pombal died on his estate at Pombal in 1782.

In the autumn of 1807, Napoleon moved French troops through Spain to invade Portugal. From 1807 to 1811, British-Portuguese forces would successfully fight against the French invasion of Portugal, while the royal family and the Portuguese nobility, including Maria I, relocated to the Portuguese territory of Brazil, at that time a colony of the Portuguese Empire, in South America. This episode is known as the Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil.

With the occupation by Napoleon, Portugal began a slow but inexorable decline that lasted until the 20th century. This decline was hastened by the independence in 1822 of the country's largest colonial possession, Brazil. In 1807, as Napoleon's army closed in on Lisbon, the Prince Regent João VI of Portugal transferred his court to Brazil and established Rio de Janeiro as the capital of the Portuguese Empire. In 1815, Brazil was declared a Kingdom and the Kingdom of Portugal was united with it, forming a pluricontinental State, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.

As a result of the change in its status and the arrival of the Portuguese royal family, Brazilian administrative, civic, economical, military, educational, and scientific apparatus were expanded and highly modernized. Portuguese and their allied British troops fought against the French Invasion of Portugal and by 1815 the situation in Europe had cooled down sufficiently that João VI would have been able to return safely to Lisbon. However, the King of Portugal remained in Brazil until the Liberal Revolution of 1820, which started in Porto, demanded his return to Lisbon in 1821.

Thus he returned to Portugal but left his son Pedro in charge of Brazil. When the Portuguese Government attempted the following year to return the Kingdom of Brazil to subordinate status, his son Pedro, with the overwhelming support of the Brazilian elites, declared Brazil's independence from Portugal. Cisplatina (today's sovereign state of Uruguay), in the south, was one of the last additions to the territory of Brazil under Portuguese rule.

Colonial restoration[]

Mouzinho a

Mouzinho de Albuquerque, key to Portuguese colonization in Africa

At the height of European colonialism in the 19th century, Portugal had already lost its territory in South America and all but a few bases in Asia. Luanda, Benguela, Bissau, Lourenço Marques, Porto Amboim and the Island of Mozambique were among the oldest Portuguese-founded port cities in its African territories. During this phase, Portuguese colonialism focused on expanding its outposts in Africa into nation-sized territories to compete with other European powers there.

With the Conference of Berlin of 1884, Portuguese Africa territories had their borders formally established on request of Portugal in order to protect the centuries-long Portuguese interests in the continent from rivalries enticed by the Scramble for Africa. Portuguese Africa's cities and towns like Nova Lisboa, Sá da Bandeira, Silva Porto, Malanje, Tete, Vila Junqueiro, Vila Pery and Vila Cabral were founded or redeveloped inland during this period and beyond. New coastal towns like Beira, Moçâmedes, Lobito, João Belo, Nacala and Porto Amélia were also founded. Even before the turn of the 20th century, railway tracks as the Benguela railway in Angola, and the Beira railway in Mozambique, started to be built to link coastal areas and selected inland regions.

Other episodes during this period of the Portuguese presence in Africa include the 1890 British Ultimatum. This forced the Portuguese military to retreat from the land between the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola (most of present-day Zimbabwe and Zambia), which had been claimed by Portugal and included in its "Pink Map", which clashed with British aspirations to create a Cape to Cairo Railway. The Portuguese territories in Africa were Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Portuguese Guinea, Angola, and Mozambique. The tiny fortress of São João Baptista de Ajudá on the coast of Dahomey, was also under Portuguese rule. In addition, the country still ruled the Asian territories of Portuguese India, Portuguese Timor and Macau.

Republic and turmoil[]

Revoltosos nas barricadas marcha com a bandeira da carbonaria

The 5 October 1910 Republican Revolution was initially unsupported and assumed to become nothing but a failure.

On 1 February 1908, the king Don Carlos I of Portugal and his heir apparent, Prince Royal Dom Luís Filipe, Duke of Braganza, were murdered in Lisbon. Under his rule, Portugal had twice been declared bankrupt – on 14 June 1892, and again on 10 May 1902 – causing social turmoil, economic disturbances, protests, revolts and criticism of the monarchy. Manuel II of Portugal become the new king, but was eventually overthrown by 5 October 1910 revolution, which abolished the regime and instated republicanism in Portugal. Political instability and economic weaknesses were fertile ground for chaos and unrest during the Portuguese First Republic. These conditions would lead to the failed Monarchy of the North, 28 May 1926 coup d'état, and the creation of the National Dictatorship (Ditadura Nacional).

This in turn led to the establishment of the right-wing dictatorship of the Estado Novo under António de Oliveira Salazar in 1933. Portugal was one of only five European countries to remain neutral in World War II. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Portugal was a founding member of NATO, OECD and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Gradually, new economic development projects and relocation of mainland Portuguese citizens into the overseas provinces in Africa were initiated, with Angola and Mozambique, as the largest and richest overseas territories, being the main targets of those initiatives. These actions were used to affirm Portugal's status as a transcontinental nation and not as a colonial empire.

After India attained independence in 1947, pro-Indian residents of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, with the support of the Indian government and the help of pro-independence organisations, separated the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese rule in 1954.[44] In 1961, São João Baptista de Ajudá's annexation by the Republic of Dahomey was the start of a process that led to the final dissolution of the centuries-old Portuguese Empire.

According to the census of 1921 São João Baptista de Ajudá had 5 inhabitants and, at the moment of the ultimatum by the Dahomey Government, it had only 2 inhabitants representing Portuguese Sovereignty. Another forcible retreat from overseas territories occurred in December 1961 when Portugal refused to relinquish the territories of Goa, Daman and Diu. As a result, the Portuguese army and navy were involved in armed conflict in its colony of Portuguese India against the Indian Armed Forces.

The operations resulted in the defeat of the limited Portuguese defensive garrison, which was forced to surrender to a much larger military force. The outcome was the loss of the remaining Portuguese territories in the Indian subcontinent. The Portuguese regime refused to recognize Indian sovereignty over the annexed territories, which continued to be represented in Portugal's National Assembly until the military coup of 1974.

Also in the early 1960s, independence movements in the Portuguese overseas provinces of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea in Africa, resulted in the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974).

Revolution and imperial end[]

Throughout the colonial war period Portugal had to deal with increasing dissent, arms embargoes and other punitive sanctions imposed by most of the international community. However, the authoritarian and conservative Estado Novo regime, firstly installed and governed by António de Oliveira Salazar and from 1968 onwards led by Marcelo Caetano, tried to preserve a vast centuries-long intercontinental empire with a total area of 2,168,071 km2.[45]

Portuguese colonial war map1

The overseas provinces of Africa were granted independence after the revolution.

Caravela Vera Cruz no rio Tejo

Portuguese Caravel, used during the Age of Discovery

The Portuguese government and army successfully resisted the decolonization of its overseas territories until April 1974, when a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, led the way for the independence of the overseas territories in Africa and Asia, as well as for the restoration of democracy after two years of a transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso). This period was characterized by social turmoil and power disputes between left- and right-wing political forces. The retreat from the overseas territories and the acceptance of its independence terms by Portuguese head representatives for overseas negotiations, which would create independent states in 1975, prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angola and Mozambique).[46][47]

Over one million Portuguese refugees fled the former Portuguese provinces as white settlers were usually not considered part of the new identities of the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia. Mário Soares and António de Almeida Santos were charged with organising the independence of Portugal's overseas territories. By 1975, all the Portuguese African territories were independent and Portugal held its first democratic elections in 50 years.

The country continued to be governed by a Junta de Salvação Nacional until the Portuguese legislative election of 1976. It was won by the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) and Mário Soares, its leader, became Prime Minister of the 1st Constitutional Government on 23 July. Mário Soares would be Prime Minister from 1976 to 1978 and again from 1983 to 1985. In this capacity Soares tried to resume the economic growth and development record that had been achieved before the Carnation Revolution, during the last decade of the previous regime. He initiated the process of accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) by starting accession negotiations as early as 1977.

The country bounced between socialism and adherence to the neoliberal model. Land reform and nationalizations were enforced; the Portuguese Constitution (approved in 1976) was rewritten in order to accommodate socialist and communist principles. Until the constitutional revisions of 1982 and 1989, the constitution was a highly charged ideological document with numerous references to socialism, the rights of workers, and the desirability of a socialist economy. Portugal's economic situation after its transition to democracy, obliged the government to pursue International Monetary Fund (IMF)-monitored stabilization programs in 1977–78 and 1983–85.

Region States Countries with Territories part of the Portuguese Empire
Africa 26 States
Countries with at least one territory (anachronistic) part of the Portuguese Empire
Dark Blue: Countries with at least one Territory (anachronistic) part of the Portuguese Empire.
Light Blue: Countries with at least one Claimed territory (anachronistic) part of the Portuguese Empire
North America 3 States
Central and South America 4 States
Asia and Oceania 22 States

European integration[]

Tratado de Lisboa 13 12 2007 (081)

When the Lisbon Treaty was signed, the Portuguese Republic held the presidency for the European Council.

In 1986, Portugal joined the European Economic Community (EEC) that later became the European Union (EU). In the following years Portugal's economy progressed considerably as a result of EEC/EU structural and cohesion funds and Portuguese companies' easier access to foreign markets.

Portugal's last overseas territory, Macau, was peacefully handed over to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1999, under the 1987 joint declaration that set the terms for Macau's handover from Portugal to the PRC. In 2002, the independence of East Timor (Asia) was formally recognized by Portugal, after an incomplete decolonization process that was started in 1975 because of the Carnation Revolution.

On 26 March 1995, Portugal started to implement Schengen Area rules, eliminating border controls with other Schengen members while simultaneously strengthening border controls with non-member states. In 1996 the country was a co-founder of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) headquartered in Lisbon. Expo '98 took place in Portugal and in 1999 it was one of the founding countries of the Euro and the eurozone.

On 5 July 2004, José Manuel Barroso, then Prime Minister of Portugal, was nominated President of the European Commission, the most powerful office in the European Union. On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, after it had been signed by the European Union member states on 13 December 2007 in the Jerónimos Monastery, in Lisbon, enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union and improving the coherence of its action.

Economic disruption and an unsustainable government debt in the wake of the late-2000s financial crisis led the country to negotiate in 2011 with the IMF and the European Union, through the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), a loan to help the country stabilise its finances.

According to EF International English Proficiency Index, Portugal has a high proficiency level in English, proficiency that can't be found in countries like: Spain, Italy, or France.


Portugal topographic map-pt

A topographic and administrative map of the mainland Portuguese Republic.

The territory of Portugal includes an area in the Iberian Peninsula (referred to as the continent by most Portuguese) and two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean: the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores. It lies between latitudes 32° and 43° N, and longitudes 32° and 6° W.

Mainland Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus that flows from Spain and disgorges in Tagus Estuary, in Lisbon, before escaping into the Atlantic. The northern landscape is mountainous towards the interior with several plateaus indented by river valleys, whereas the south, that includes the Algarve and the Alentejo regions, is characterized by rolling plains.

Azenhas do Mar

Azenhas do Mar, Sintra

Portugal's highest peak is the similarly named Mount Pico on the island of Pico in the Azores. This ancient volcano, which measures 2,351 m (7,713 ft) is an iconic symbol of the Azores, while the Serra da Estrela on the mainland (the summit being 1,991 m (6,532 ft) above sea level) is an important seasonal attraction for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.

The archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores are scattered within the Atlantic Ocean: the Azores straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on a tectonic triple junction, and Madeira along a range formed by in-plate hotspot geology. Geologically, these islands were formed by volcanic and seismic events, although the last terrestrial volcanic eruption occurred in 1957–58 (Capelinhos) and minor earthquakes occur sporadically, usually of low intensity.

Portugal's Exclusive Economic Zone, a sea zone over which the Portuguese have special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, has 1,727,408 km2. This is the 3rd largest Exclusive Economic Zone of the European Union and the 11th largest in the world.


Portugal is defined as a Mediterranean climate (Csa in the South, interior, and Douro region; Csb in the North, Central Portugal and coastal Alentejo; and also Semi-arid climate or Steppe climate (BSk in certain parts of Beja district) according to the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification), and is one of the warmest European countries: the annual average temperature in mainland Portugal varies from 12 °C (53.6 °F) in the mountainous interior north to over 18 °C (64.4 °F) in the south and on the Guadiana river basin. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo region by mountains reaching up to 900 metres (3,000 ft) in Alto de Fóia, has a climate similar to that of the southern coastal areas of Spain or Southern California.

Annual average rainfall in the mainland varies from just over 3,000 mm (118.1 in) in the northern mountains to less than 300 mm (11.8 in) in the area of the Massueime River, near Côa, along the Douro river. Mount Pico is recognized as receiving the largest annual rainfall (over 6,250 mm (246.1 in) per year) in Portugal, according to Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (English: Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere).[48]

In some areas, such as the Guadiana basin, annual average temperatures can be as high as 20 °C (68 °F), but summer highest temperatures may be over 45 °C (113 °F). The record high of 47.4 °C (117.3 °F) was recorded in Amareleja, although this might not be the hottest spot in summer, according to satellite readings.[49][50]

Snowfalls occur regularly in the interior North and Centre of the country in particular in the districts of Vila Real, Bragança, Viseu and Guarda. In winter temperatures may drop below −10 °C (14 °F) in particular in Serra da Estrela, Serra do Gerês, Serra do Marão and Serra de Montesinho. In these places snow can fall any time from October to May. In the South of the country snowfalls are rare but still occur in the highest elevations.

The country has around 2500 to 3200 hours of sunshine a year, an average of 4–6 h in winter and 10–12 h in the summer, with higher values in the south-east and lower in the north-west.

The sea surface temperature on the west coast of mainland Portugal varies from 13–15 °C (55.4–59 °F) in winter to 18–20 °C (64.4–68 °F) in the summer while on the south coast it ranges from 15 °C (59.0 °F) in Winter and rises in the summer to about 23 °C (73.4 °F) occasionally reaching 26 °C (78.8 °F).

Both the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira have a subtropical climate, although variations between islands exist, making weather predictions very difficult (owing to rough topography). The Madeira and Azorean archipelagos have a narrower temperature range, with annual average temperatures exceeding 20 °C (68 °F) along the coast (according to the Portuguese Meteorological Institute). Some islands in Azores do have drier months in the summer. Consequently, the island of the Azores have been identified as having a Mediterranean climate (both Csa and Csb types), while some islands (such as Flores or Corvo) are classified as Maritime Temperate (Cfb) or Humid subtropical (Cfa), respectively, according to Köppen-Geiger classification. Porto Santo island in Madeira has a semi-arid Steppe climate (BSh). The Savage Islands, which are part of the regional territory of Madeira are unique in being classified as a Desert climates (BWh) with an annual average rainfall of approximately 150 mm (5.9 in). The sea surface temperature in the archipelagos varies from 17–18 °C (62.6–64.4 °F) in winter to 24–25 °C (75.2–77 °F) in the summer occasionally reaching 26 °C (78.8 °F).

Landscapes and climates of Portugal
Dona Ana beach, Lagos
The cliffs and white sanded beaches of the Algarve.  
Lagoa das Sete Cidades, Miradouro da vista do Rei, Sete Cidades, Ponta Delgada, ilha de São Miguel, Açores
The volcanic lakes of Sete Cidades on the island of São Miguel.  
The Serra da Estrela, the highest point on continental Portugal.  
Alentejo oak on wheat field
The vast and long rolling plains and cork tree clumps of Alentejo.  
The deep valleys of Curral das Freiras, on Madeira island.  
Alto Douro
The cultivated hillsides and river valleys of Northern Portugal.  
Montezinho 7
A typical forest in Montesinho Natural Park, Bragança.  
2010-08-09 Ponta do Pico 01
Mount Pico, the highest peak in all Portugal, on volcanic Pico Island.  
Parque Natural da Arrábida, Setúbal, Portugal, 2012-05-11, DD 05
The Arrábida Natural Park with the mountain and the sea.  
Ilha do Pessegueiro 2007.03.23
The desert Pessegueiro Island in the Alentejo coast region.  



Peneda-Gerês National Park, the only national park in Portugal

Owing to humans occupying the territory of Portugal for thousands of years, little is left of the original vegetation. Protected areas of Portugal include one national park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional), 12 natural parks (Portuguese: Parque Natural), nine natural reserves (Portuguese: Reserva Natural), five natural monuments (Portuguese: Monumento Natural), and seven protected landscapes (Portuguese: Paisagem Protegida), which include the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela and the Paul de Arzila.

These natural environments are shaped by diverse flora, and include widespread species of pine (especially the Pinus pinaster and Pinus pinea species), the chestnut (Castanea sativa), the cork-oak (Quercus suber), the holm oak (Quercus ilex), the Portuguese oak (Quercus faginea), and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus). All are prized for their economic value. Laurisilva is a unique type of subtropical rainforest found in few areas of Europe and the world: in the Azores, and in particular on the island of Madeira, there are large forests of endemic Laurisilva forests (the latter protected as a natural heritage preserve).

Playa Praia de Moledo Caminha (9308433135)

Moledo Beach, in Viana do Castelo

There are several species of diverse mammalian fauna, including the fox, badger, iberian lynx, iberian wolf, wild goat (Capra pyrenaica), wild cat (Felis silvestris), hare, weasel, polecat, chameleon, mongoose, civet, brown bear (spotted near Rio Minho, close to Peneda-Gerês) and many others. Portugal is an important stopover for migratory birds, in places such as Cape St. Vincent or the Monchique mountains, where thousands of birds cross from Europe to Africa during the autumn or in the spring (return migration).

File:Green Chameleo.jpg

Chameleon in the region of Algarve

Most of the avian species congregate along the Iberian Peninsula since it is the closest stopover between Northern Europe and Africa. Six hundred bird species occur in Portugal (either for nesting or during the course of migration), and annually there are new registries of nesting species. The archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are transient stopover for American, European, and African birds, while continental Portugal mostly encounters European and African bird species.

There are more than 100 varieties of freshwater fish species, varying from the giant European catfish (in the Tagus International Natural Park) to some small and endemic species that live only in small lakes (along the western lakes for example). Some of these rare and specific species are highly endangered because of habitat loss, pollution and drought. Up-welling along the west coast of Portugal makes the sea extremely rich in nutrients and diverse species of marine fish; the Portuguese marine waters are one of the richest in the world. Marine fish species are more common, and include thousands of species, such as the sardine (Sardina pilchardus), tuna and Atlantic mackerel. Bioluminescent species are also well represented (including species in different colour spectrum and forms), like the glowing plankton that are possible to observe in some beaches.

There are many endemic insect species, most only found in certain parts of Portugal, while other species are more widespread like the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) and the cicada. The Macaronesian islands (Azores and Madeira) have many endemic species (like birds, reptiles, bats, insects, snails and slugs) that evolved independently from other regions of Portugal. In Madeira, for example, it is possible to observe more than 250 species of land gastropods.


Pedro Passos Coelho 1
Pedro Passos Coelho, 118th Prime Minister of Portugal, in office since 21 June 2011.

Portugal has been a semi-presidential constitutional republic since the ratification of the Constitution of 1976, with Lisbon, the nation's largest city, as its capital. The constitution grants the division, or separation, of powers among legislative, executive (whereby the President and the Prime Minister share key executive powers), and judicial branches. The four main institutions as described in this constitution are the President of the Republic, the Parliament, known as the Assembleia da República (English: Assembly of the Republic), the Government, headed by a Prime Minister, and the courts.[1]

The President, who is elected to a five-year term, has a supervisory executive role: the current President is Aníbal Cavaco Silva. The Parliament is a chamber composed of 230 deputies elected for a four-year term. The government, whose head is the Prime Minister (currently Pedro Passos Coelho), chooses a Council of Ministers, that comprises the Ministers and State Secretaries. The courts are organized into several levels: judicial, administrative, and fiscal branches. The Supreme Courts are institutions of last resort/appeal. A thirteen-member Constitutional Court oversees the constitutionality of the laws.

Portugal operates a multi-party system of competitive legislatures/local administrative governments at the national-, regional- and local-levels. The Legislative Assembly, Regional Assemblies and local municipalities and/or parishes, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party, in addition to the Democratic Unity Coalition (Portuguese Communist Party plus Ecologist Party "The Greens"), the Left Bloc and the Democratic and Social Centre – People's Party, which garner between 5 and 15% of the vote regularly.

Executive branch[]

The President, elected to a five-year term by direct, universal suffrage, is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Presidential powers include the appointment of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (where the President is obligated by the results from Legislative Elections); dismissing the Prime Minister; dissolving the Assembly (to call early elections); vetoing legislation (which may be overridden by the Assembly); and declaring a State of War or siege.

The President is advised on issues of importance by the Council of State, which is composed of six senior civilian officers, any former Presidents elected under the 1976 Constitution, five-members chosen by the Assembly, and five selected by the president.

The Government is headed by the presidentially appointed Prime Minister, who names a Council of Ministers to act as the government and cabinet. Each government is required to define the broad outline of its policies in a program, and present it to the Assembly for a mandatory period of debate. The failure of the Assembly to reject the program by a majority of deputies confirms the government in office.

Legislative branch[]

Parlamento April 2009-1a

São Bento Palace in Lisbon is the seat of Portuguese Legislature.

The Assembly of the Republic is a unicameral body composed of up to 230 deputies. Elected by universal suffrage according to a system of proportional representation, deputies serve four-year terms of office, unless the President dissolves the Assembly and calls for new elections.

Law and criminal justice[]

Guimarães Tribunal

"Tribunal de Guimarães ", main courthouse in Guimarães

The Portuguese legal system is part of the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system. The main laws include the Constitution (1976, as amended), the Portuguese Civil Code (1966, as amended) and the Penal Code of Portugal (1982, as amended). Other relevant laws are the Commercial Code (1888, as amended) and the Civil Procedure Code (1961, as amended).

Portuguese law applied in the former colonies and territories and continues to be the major influence for those countries. Portugal's main police organizations are the Guarda Nacional Republicana – GNR (National Republican Guard), a gendarmerie; the Polícia de Segurança Pública – PSP (Public Security Police), a civilian police force who work in urban areas; and the Polícia Judiciária – PJ (Judicial Police), a highly specialized criminal investigation police that is overseen by the Public Ministry.

Portugal was one of the first countries in the world to abolish the death penalty. Maximum jail sentences are limited to 25 years.

Portugal has arguably the most liberal laws concerning possession of illicit drugs in the Western world. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized possession of effectively all drugs that are still illegal in other developed nations including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and LSD. While possession is legal, trafficking and possession of more than "10 days worth of personal use" are still punishable by jail time and fines. People caught with small amounts of any drug are given the choice to go to a rehab facility, and may refuse treatment without consequences. Despite criticism from other European nations, who stated Portugal's drug consumption would tremendously increase, overall drug use rose only slightly, whilst use among teenagers dropped, along with the number of HIV infection cases, which had dropped 50 percent by 2009.[51][52]

On 31 May 2010, Portugal became the sixth country in Europe and the eighth country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriage on the national level. The law came into force on 5 June 2010.[21]

Administrative divisions[]

Blick über Funchal, von der Seilbahn aus

A brief view of Funchal, Madeira

Administratively, Portugal is divided into 308 municipalities (Portuguese: municípios or concelhos), which are subdivided into 4,260 civil parishes (Portuguese: freguesia). Operationally, the municipality and civil parish, along with the national government, are the only legally identifiable local administrative units identified by the government of Portugal (for example, cities, towns or villages have no standing in law, although may be used as catchment for the defining services). For statistical purposes the Portuguese government also identifies NUTS, inter-municipal communities and informally, the district system, used until European integration (and being phased-out by the national government). Continental Portugal is agglomerated into 18 districts, while the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are governed as autonomous regions; the largest units, established since 1976, are either mainland Portugal (Portuguese: Portugal Continental) and the autonomous regions of Portugal (Azores and Madeira).

The 18 districts of mainland Portugal are: Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Bragança, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Évora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisbon, Portalegre, Porto, Santarém, Setúbal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real and Viseu – each district takes the name of the district capital.

Within the European Union NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) system, Portugal is divided into seven regions: the Azores, Alentejo, Algarve, Centro, Lisboa, Madeira and Norte, and with the exception of the Azores and Madeira, these NUTS areas are subdivided into 28 subregions.

  District Area Population PortugalNumbered   District Area Population
1 Lisbon 2,761 km2 (1,066 sq mi) 2,250,533 10 Guarda 5,518 km2 (2,131 sq mi) 160,939
2 Leiria 3,517 km2 (1,358 sq mi) 470,930 11 Coimbra 3,947 km2 (1,524 sq mi) 430,104
3 Santarém 6,747 km2 (2,605 sq mi) 453,638 12 Aveiro 2,808 km2 (1,084 sq mi) 714,200
4 Setúbal 5,064 km2 (1,955 sq mi) 851,258 13 Viseu 5,007 km2 (1,933 sq mi) 377,653
5 Beja 10,225 km2 (3,948 sq mi) 152,758 14 Bragança 6,608 km2 (2,551 sq mi) 136,252
6 Faro 4,960 km2 (1,915 sq mi) 451,006 15 Vila Real 4,328 km2 (1,671 sq mi) 206,661
7 Évora 7,393 km2 (2,854 sq mi) 166,706 16 Porto 2,395 km2 (925 sq mi) 1,817,117
8 Portalegre 6,065 km2 (2,342 sq mi) 118,506 17 Braga 2,673 km2 (1,032 sq mi) 848,185
9 Castelo Branco 6,675 km2 (2,577 sq mi) 196,264 18 Viana do Castelo 2,255 km2 (871 sq mi) 244,836
Autonomous Regions
Autonomous Region Area Population Demonym
2,333 km2 (901 sq mi)
801 km2 (309 sq mi)

Foreign relations[]

Palácio das Necessidades 1997

Necessidades palace in Lisbon, headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A member state of the United Nations since 1955, Portugal is also a founding member of NATO (1949), OECD (1961) and EFTA (1960); it left the latter in 1986 to join the European Economic Community, that would become the European Union in 1993. In 1996 it co-founded the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), which seeks to foster closer economic and cultural ties between the world's Lusophone nations.

In addition, Portugal is a full member of the Latin Union (1983) and the Organization of Ibero-American States (1949). It has a friendship alliance and dual citizenship treaty with its former colony, Brazil. Portugal and England (subsequently, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) share the world's oldest active military accord through their Anglo-Portuguese Alliance (Treaty of Windsor), which was signed in 1373.

There are two international territorial disputes, both with Spain:

  • Olivenza. Under Portuguese sovereignty since 1297, the municipality of Olivenza 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. However, since the 19th century, it has been continuously ruled by Spain which considers the territory theirs not only de facto but also de jure.
  • The Ilhas Selvagens (Savage Islands). The archipelago is under Portuguese domination but is geographically closer to the Canary Islands (165 km) than to Madeira (280 km). Found in 1364 by Italian navigators, the islands belonged to private owners until 1971, when the Portuguese government bought them and established a natural reserve area covering the whole archipelago. The islands have been claimed by Spain since 1911 and the dispute has caused some periods of political tension between the two countries. The main problem is not so much their intrinsic value but the fact that they expand considerably to the south the Exclusive Economic Zone of Portugal.


Branches of the Portuguese Armed Forces
PoA Chaimite V-200 convoy DF-SD-04-08002
Portuguese Army
Chaimite V-200
POS Corte Real (F 332)
Portuguese Navy
Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon of Portuguese Air Force @ Porto Red Bull Air Race 2008 02
Portuguese Air Force
F-16 Fighting Falcon

The armed forces have three branches: Navy, Army and Air Force. They serve primarily as a self-defense force whose mission is to protect the territorial integrity of the country and provide humanitarian assistance and security at home and abroad. As of 2008, the three branches numbered 39,200 active personnel including 7,500 women. Portuguese military expenditure in 2009 was $5.2 billion, representing 2.1 percent of GDP. Military conscription was abolished in 2004. The minimum age for voluntary recruitment is 18 years.

The Army (21,000 personnel) comprises three brigades and other small units. An infantry brigade (mainly equipped with Pandur II APC), a mechanized brigade (mainly equipped with Leopard 2 A6 tanks and M113 APC) and a Rapid Reaction Brigade (consisting of paratroopers, commandos and rangers). The Navy (10,700 personnel, of which 1,580 are marines) has five frigates, seven corvettes, two submarines, and 28 patrol and auxiliary vessels. The Air Force (7,500 personnel) has the Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet as the main combat aircraft.

In addition to the three branches of the armed forces, there is the National Republican Guard, a security force subject to military law and organization (gendarmerie) comprising 25,000 personnel. This force is under the authority of both the Defense and the Interior Ministry. It has provided detachments for participation in international operations in Iraq and East Timor.

The United States maintains a military presence with 770 troops in the Lajes Air Base at Terceira Island, in the Azores. The Allied Joint Force Command Lisbon (JFC Lisbon) – one of the three main subdivisions of NATO's Allied Command Operations – it is based in Oeiras, near Lisbon.

In the 20th century, Portugal engaged in two major military interventions: World War I and the Portuguese Colonial War (1961–1974). After the end of the Portuguese Empire in 1975, the Portuguese Armed Forces have participated in peacekeeping missions in East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq (Nasiriyah) and Lebanon. Portugal also conducted several independent unilateral military operations abroad, as were the cases of the interventions of the Portuguese Armed Forces in Angola in 1992 and in Guinea-Bissau in 1998 with the main objectives of protecting and withdrawing of Portuguese and foreign citizens threatened by local civil conflicts.

Government finance[]

Portuguese debt compared to Eurozone average

Government debt as a % of the national economy, compared to Eurozone average.

The Portuguese government is heavily indebted, and received a 78 billion euro bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in May 2011.[54] The ratio of Portugal’s debt to its overall economy, was 107 percent when it received the bailout.[54] As part of the deal, the country agreed to cut its budget deficit from 9.8 percent of GDP in 2010 to 5.9 percent in 2011, 4.5 percent in 2012 and 3 percent in 2013.[55]

After the bailout was announced, the Portuguese government headed by Pedro Passos Coelho managed to implement measures with the intention of improve the State's financial situation, including tax hikes, a freeze of civil service-related lower-wages and cuts of higher-wages by 14.3%, on top of the government's spending cuts. The Portuguese government also agreed to eliminate its golden share in Portugal Telecom which gave it veto power over vital decisions.[56][57] In 2012, all public servants had already seen an average wage cut of 20% relative to their 2010 baseline, with cuts reaching 25% for those earning more than 1,500 euro per month.[58]

The IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank said in September 2012 that Portugal’s debt would peak at 124 percent of gross domestic product in 2014.[59] The IMF previously said in July 2012 that Portugal’s debt would peak at about 118.5 percent of GDP in 2013.[59] In September 2013, the Portuguese Government reviewed again the public debt of Portugal for 2013 to 127.8 percent, after a peak of 130.9 percent in that month.[60]

A report released in January 2011 by the Diário de Notícias[61] and published in Portugal by Gradiva, had demonstrated that in the period between the Carnation Revolution in 1974 and 2010, the democratic Portuguese Republic governments encouraged over-expenditure and investment bubbles through unclear Public–private partnerships and funding of numerous ineffective and unnecessary external consultancy and advisory of committees and firms. This allowed considerable slippage in state-managed public works and inflated top management and head officer bonuses and wages. Persistent and lasting recruitment policies boosted the number of redundant public servants. Risky credit, public debt creation, and European structural and cohesion funds were mismanaged across almost four decades.[62]

After the financial crisis of 2007–2008, it was known in 2008–2009 that two Portuguese banks (Banco Português de Negócios (BPN) and Banco Privado Português (BPP)) had been accumulating losses for years due to bad investiments, embezzlement and accounting fraud. The case of BPN was particularly serious because of its size, market share, and the political implications - Portugal's then current President, Cavaco Silva, and some of his political allies, maintained personal and business relationships with the bank and its CEO, who was eventually charged and arrested for fraud and other crimes.[63][64][65] In the grounds of avoiding a potentially serious financial crisis in the Portuguese economy, the Portuguese government decided to give them a bailout, eventually at a future loss to taxpayers and to the Portuguese people in general.


Vasco da Gama Tower (8905075675)

Vasco da Gama Tower, in the Parque das Nações, is located in the central business district of LisbonExpo '98 was held here.

The Portuguese currency is the euro (€), which replaced the Portuguese Escudo, and the country was one of the original member states of the eurozone. Portugal's central bank is the Banco de Portugal, an integral part of the European System of Central Banks. Most industries, businesses and financial institutions are concentrated in the Lisbon and Porto metropolitan areas—the Setúbal, Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra and Leiria districts are the biggest economic centres outside these two main areas. According to World Travel Awards, Portugal is the Europe's Leading Golf Destination 2012 and 2013.[66][67]

Since the Carnation Revolution of 1974, which culminated in the end of one of Portugal's most notable phases of economic expansion (that started in the 1960s),[68] a significant change has occurred in the nation's annual economic growth. After the turmoil of the 1974 revolution and the PREC period, Portugal tried to adapt to a changing modern global economy, a process that continues in 2013. Since the 1990s, Portugal's public consumption-based economic development model has been slowly changing to a system that is focused on exports, private investment and the development of the high-tech sector. Consequently, business services have overtaken more traditional industries such as textiles, clothing, footwear and cork (Portugal is the world's leading cork producer),[69] wood products and beverages.[70]

In the second decade of the 21st century the Portuguese economy suffered its most severe recession since the 1970s resulting in the country having to be bailed out by the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. The bailout, agreed to in 2011, required Portugal to enter into a range of austerity measures in exchange for funding support of €78 billion. In May 2014 the country exited the bailout but reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining its reformist momentum. At the time of exiting the bailout the economy had contracted by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2014, however unemployment, while still high had fallen to 15.3 percent.[71]


Primary sector[]

Douro (do Museu do Côa) 2 (4928227584) (3)

The vineyards that produce port wine are common along the hillsides that flank the valley of the River Douro in northern Portugal.

Agriculture in Portugal is based on small to medium-sized family-owned dispersed units. However, the sector also includes larger scale intensive farming export-oriented agrobusinesses backed by companies (like Grupo RAR's Vitacress, Sovena, Lactogal, Vale da Rosa, Companhia das Lezírias and Valouro). The country produces a wide variety of crops and livestock products, including tomatoes, citrus, green vegetables, rice, corn, barley, olives, oilseeds, nuts, cherries, bilberry, table grapes, edible mushrooms, dairy products, poultry and beef.

Forestry has also played an important economic role among the rural communities and industry (namely paper industry that includes Portucel Soporcel Group, engineered wood that includes Sonae Indústria, and furniture that includes several manufacturing plants in and around Paços de Ferreira, the core of Portugal's major industrial operations of IKEA). In 2001, the gross agricultural product accounted for 4 per cent of the national GDP.

Traditionally a sea-power, Portugal has had a strong tradition in the Portuguese fishing sector and is one of the countries with the highest fish consumption per capita.[72] The main landing sites in Portugal (including Azores and Madeira), according to total landings in weight by year, are the harbours of Matosinhos, Peniche, Olhão, Sesimbra, Figueira da Foz, Sines, Portimão and Madeira. Portuguese processed fish products are exported through several companies, under a number of different brands and registered trademarks, such as Ramirez (the world’s oldest active canned fish producer), Bom Petisco, Nero, Combate, Comur, General, Líder, Manná, Murtosa, Pescador, Pitéu, Tenório, Torreira and Vasco da Gama.

Portugal is a significant European minerals producer and is ranked among Europe's leading copper producers. The nation is also a notable producer of tin, tungsten and uranium. However, the country lacks the potential to conduct hydrocarbon exploration and aluminium, a limitation that has hindered the development of Portugal's mining and metallurgy sectors. Although the country has vast iron and coal reserves—mainly in the north—after the 1974 revolution and the consequent economic globalization, low competitiveness forced a decrease in the extraction activity for these minerals. The Panasqueira and Neves-Corvo mines are among the most recognised Portuguese mines that are still in operation.

Secondary sector[]

Industry is diversified, ranging from automotive (Volkswagen Autoeuropa, Peugeot Citroen), aerospace (Embraer), electronics and textiles, to food, chemicals, cement and wood pulp. Volkswagen Group's AutoEuropa motor vehicle assembly plant in Palmela is among the largest foreign direct investment projects in Portugal.


The Lisbon Metropolitan Area is one of the most industrialized regions of Portugal. A panoramic view of Almada

Modern non-traditional technology-based industries, such as aerospace, biotechnology and information technology, have been developed in several locations across the country. Alverca, Covilhã,[73] Évora,[74] and Ponte de Sor are the main centres of the Portuguese aerospace industry, which is led by Brazil-based company Embraer and the Portuguese company OGMA. Following the turn of the 21st century, many major biotechnology and information technology industries have been founded, and are concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Coimbra and Aveiro.

Tertiary sector[]

Travel and tourism continue to be extremely important for Portugal, with visitor numbers forecast to increase significantly in the future. However, the increasing competition from Eastern European destinations continues to develop, with the presence of similar attractions that are often cheaper in countries such as Croatia. Consequently, it has been necessary for the country to focus upon its niche attractions, such as health, nature and rural tourism, to stay ahead of its competitors.[75]

File:Marina de Vilamoura.jpg

Vilamoura's Marine at night in Algarve

The banking and insurance sectors performed well until the late-2000s financial crisis, and this partly reflected a rapid deepening of the market in Portugal. While sensitive to various types of market and underwriting risks, it has been estimated that overall both the life and non-life sectors will be able to withstand a number of severe shocks, even though the impact on individual insurers varies widely.[76]

State-owned companies[]

Major state-owned companies include Águas de Portugal (water), Caixa Geral de Depósitos (banking), Comboios de Portugal (railways), Companhia das Lezírias (agriculture), RTP (media) and TAP Portugal (airline). Some former state-owned entities are managed by state-run holding company Parpública, which is a shareholder of several public and private companies.

Listed companies[]


Oeiras, in Lisbon Metropolitan Area, houses many multinational companies operating in Portugal.


Maia, in Porto Metropolitan Area, is home to many national companies including Portugal's largest private employer, Sonae.

Companies listed on Euronext Lisbon stock exchange like EDP, Galp, Jerónimo Martins, Mota-Engil, Novabase, Semapa, Portucel Soporcel, Portugal Telecom and Sonae, are among the largest corporations of Portugal by number of employees, net income or international market share. The Euronext Lisbon is the major stock exchange of Portugal and is part of the NYSE Euronext, the first global stock exchange. The PSI-20 is Portugal's most selective and widely known stock index.


The Global Competitiveness Report for 2005, published by the World Economic Forum, placed Portugal's competitiveness in the 22nd position, but the 2008–2009 edition placed Portugal in the 43rd position out of 134 countries and territories.[77] Research about quality of life by the Economist Intelligence Unit's quality of life survey placed Portugal as the country with the 19th-best quality of life in the world for 2005, ahead of other economically and technologically advanced countries like France, Germany, the United Kingdom and South Korea, but 9 places behind its only neighbour, Spain.[78] This is despite the fact that Portugal remains the country with the lowest per capita GDP in Western Europe.[79]

The poor performance of the Portuguese economy was explored in April 2007 by The Economist, which described Portugal as "a new sick man of Europe".[80] From 2002 to 2007, the unemployment rate increased by 65% (270,500 unemployed citizens in 2002, 448,600 unemployed citizens in 2007).[81] By early December 2009, unemployment had reached 10.2% – a 23-year record high. In December 2009, ratings agency Standard and Poor's lowered its long-term credit assessment of Portugal to "negative" from "stable," voicing pessimism on the country's structural weaknesses in the economy and weak competitiveness that would hamper growth and the capacity to strengthen its public finances and reduce debt.[82] In July 2011, ratings agency Moody's downgraded its long-term credit assessment of Portugal after warning of deteriorating risk of default in March 2011.[83]

Corruption has become an issue of major political and economic significance for the country. Some cases are well known and were widely reported in the media, such as the affairs in several municipalities that involved local town hall officials, businesspersons, and a number of politicians with wider responsibilities and power.[84][85] Nevertheless, the 2010 Transparency International report places Portugal in 31st position for perceived corruption, just below Israel and Spain.[86]

According to a 2013 report from the Ernst & Young quoted by the EU Observer Portugal is the most corrupt Country in Western Europe.[87]

Over time, the Portuguese economy converged with EU levels, with the period from 1986 to the early 2000s of particular significance.[88][89] According to Barry (2003), "what appears to have been crucial in the Portuguese case, relative to Spain at least, is the degree of labour-market flexibility that the economy exhibits.... Thus Portuguese convergence has been impressive, even though, consistent with its relatively low human-capital stock, the economy has specialised in low-tech production."[89]

On 6 April 2011, after his proposed "Plan for Stability and Growth IV" (PEC IV) was rejected by the Parliament, Prime Minister José Sócrates announced on national television that the country would request financial assistance from the IMF and the European Financial Stability Facility, as Greece and the Republic of Ireland had done previously. It was the third time that the Portuguese government had requested external financial aid from the IMF—the first occasion occurred in the late 1970s following the Carnation's Revolution. In October 2011, Moody's Investor Services downgraded nine Portuguese banks due to financial weakness.[90]

Public sector[]

Ria de Aveiro

One of the Aveiro's canals. Aveiro is known as the "Portuguese Venice".

In 2005, the number of public employees per thousand inhabitants in the Portuguese government (70.8) was above the European Union average (62.4 per thousand inhabitants). By EU and USA standards, Portugal's justice system was internationally known as being slow and inefficient, and by 2011 it was the second slowest in Western Europe (after Italy); conversely, Portugal has one of the highest rates of judges and prosecutors—over 30 per 100,000 people. The entire Portuguese public service has been known for its mismanagement, useless redundancies, waste, excess of bureaucracy and a general lack of productivity in certain sectors, particularly in justice.[91]

In the first week of May 2013, Prime Minister Passos Coelho announced a significant government plan for the public sector, whereby 30,000 jobs will be cut and the number of weekly working hours will be increased from 35 to 40 hours. Coelho reaffirmed the announcement by explaining that austerity measures are necessary if Portugal seeks to avoid another monetary bailout grant from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund—the overall plan intends to enact further cuts of €4.8 billion over a three-year period.[92]

Ongoing policies, reactions and consequences[]

Passos Coelho also announced that the retirement age will be increased from 65 to 66, announced cuts in the pensions, unemployment benefits, health, education and science expenses, abolished the English obligatory classes in Basic Education, but kept the pensions of the judges, diplomats untouched and didn't raise the retirement age of the military and police forces. He has, however, cut meaningfully the politicians salaries. These policies have led to social unrest and to confrontations between several institutions, namely between the Government and the Constitutional Court. Several individualities belonging to the parties that support the government have also raised their voices against the policies that have been taken in order to try to solve the financial crisis.

Since 2011, the Portuguese economy has already shrunk 4.5% and it's predicted that it will shrink more 2.3% in 2013 (totaling 6.7%). The Portuguese population has been shrinking since 2009 due to emigration caused by the economic crisis.[93] Between 2009 and 2012 the unemployed population rose from 473,000 to 769,000.[93] Meanwhile, the number of people in situation of poverty rose to 2.7 million people.[94]

Labour market[]

Nazare 001

Nazaré, worldwide known for its geological formation, idealizing the surfing practice.Nazaré is where the world's largest wave was ever surfed, in 2013, by the Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara

Although Portugal is still considered a developed country and a high income country, it has the lowest GDP per capita in Western Europe and its income per capita figure is one of the lowest among the EU's member states. According to Eurostat, Portugal's GDP per capita was registered at 80 per cent of the EU27 average in 2009,[95] making it the tenth lowest in the Union.

The average wage in Portugal is 910 € per month (net), excluding self-employed individuals[96] and the minimum wage, which is regulated/ref by law, is €485 per month (paid 14 times per annum). In 2008 the unemployment rate decreased to 7.3 per cent in the second quarter,[97] but the rate immediately rose again in the following period. By December 2009, unemployment had surpassed the 10 per cent mark nationwide in the wake of worldwide events—by 2010, the rate was around 11 per cent, and in 2011 it was above 12 per cent. The first quarter of 2013 signified a new unemployment rate record for Portugal, as it reached 17.7%—up from 17% in the previous quarter—and the government has predicted an 18.5% unemployment rate in 2014. However, in the third quarter of the same year, it has surprisingly declined to a rate of 15,6%[92]


Sintra Portugal Palácio da Pena-01

The Pena Palace in Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important tourist landmark.

Portugal is among the 20 most visited countries in the world, receiving an average of 13 million foreign tourists each year.[98] Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Portugal's economy, contributing to about 5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Tourist hotspots in Portugal are Lisbon, Algarve and Madeira, but the Portuguese government continues to promote and develop new tourist destinations, such as the Douro Valley, the island of Porto Santo, and Alentejo. Lisbon is the 16th European city which attracts the most tourists[99] (with seven million tourists occupying the city's hotels in 2006, a number that grew 11.8% compared to previous year).[100] Lisbon in recent years surpassed the Algarve as the leading tourist region in Portugal. Porto and Northern Portugal, especially the urban areas north of Douro River valley, was the tourist destination which grew most (11.9%) in 2006, surpassing Madeira (in 2010), as the third most visited destination.

Most tourists in Portugal are British-, French-, Spanish-, Dutch- or German-origin visitors, travel by low cost airliners, and not only seek sun and beaches, but increasingly search for cultural, gastronomic, environmental or nautical experiences (or travel for reasons of business).

In 2014, Portugal was elected The Best European Country by the USA Today.[101]

Panorama of the Historic Centre of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is known worldwide for being the centre for Port Wine.
Panorama of the Historic Centre of Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is known worldwide for being the centre for Port Wine.

Tourist regions[]

PA2900302 galo emiliarocha medio

Galo de Barcelos, a beloved symbol of Portugal

The main tourist regions can be broken-down into: the Greater Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa), the Algarve, Greater Porto and Northern Portugal (Portuguese: Porto and Norte), the Portuguese Islands (Portuguese: Ilhas Portuguesas: Madeira and Azores), and Alentejo. Other tourist regions include Douro Sul, Templários, Dão-Lafões, Costa do Sol, Costa Azul, Planície Dourada, that are unknown to many tourists or visitors.

Most of these regions are grouped in tourism reference areas, which continue to be in a state of reorganization and evolution, some based on the traditional regions of Portugal: the Costa Verde (Green Coast); Costa da Prata (Silver Coast)); Costa de Lisboa (Lisbon Coast); Montanhas (Mountains); Planícies (Plains); Algarve; and the islands of the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores.

The legend of the Rooster of Barcelos tells the story of a dead rooster's miraculous intervention in proving the innocence of a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death. The story is associated with the 17th-century calvary that is part of the collection of the Archeological Museum located in Paço dos Condes, a gothic-style palace in Barcelos, a city in the Braga District of northwest Portugal. The Rooster of Barcelos is bought by many tourists as a souvenir.


A310 apron 2

TAP Airways

By the early 1970s Portugal's fast economic growth with increasing consumption and purchase of new automobiles set the priority for improvements in transportation. Again in the 1990s, after joining the European Economic Community, the country built many new motorways. Today, the country has a 68,732 km (42,708 mi) road network, of which almost 3,000 km (1,864 mi) are part of system of 44 motorways. Opened in 1944, the first motorway (which linked Lisbon to the National Stadium) was an innovative project that made Portugal among one of the first countries in the world to establish a motorway (this roadway eventually became the Lisbon-Cascais highway, or A5). But, although a few other tracts were created (around 1960 and 1970), it was only after the beginning of the 1980s that large-scale motorway construction was implemented. In 1972, Brisa, the highway concessionaire, was founded to handle the management of many of the regions motorways. On many highways, toll needs to be paid, see Via Verde. Vasco da Gama bridge is the longest bridge in Europe.[102][103]

Continental Portugal's 89,015 km2 (34,369 sq mi) territory is serviced by three international airports located near the principal cities of Lisbon, Porto, Faro and Beja. Lisbon's geographical position makes it a stopover for many foreign airlines at several airports within the country. The primary flag-carrier is TAP Portugal, although many other domestic airlines provide services within and without the country. The government decided to build a new airport outside Lisbon, in Alcochete, to replace Lisbon Portela Airport, though this plan has been stalled due to the austerity. Currently, the most important airports are in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal (Madeira), and Ponta Delgada (Azores), managed by the national airport authority group ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal.


LRV in Almada

A national railway system that extends throughout the country and into Spain, is supported and administered by Comboios de Portugal. Rail transport of passengers and goods is derived using the 2,791 km (1,734 mi) of railway lines currently in service, of which 1,430 km (889 mi) are electrified and about 900 km (559 mi) allow train speeds greater than 120 km/h (75 mph). The railway network is managed by the REFER while the transport of passengers and goods are the responsibility of Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses (CP), both public companies. In 2006 the CP carried 133 million passengers and 9,750,000 t (9,600,000 long tons; 10,700,000 short tons) of goods.

The major seaports are located in Sines, Lisbon, Leixões, Setúbal, Aveiro, Figueira da Foz, and Faro.

The two largest metropolitan areas have subway systems: Lisbon Metro and Metro Sul do Tejo in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and Porto Metro in the Porto Metropolitan Area, each with more than 35 km (22 mi) of lines. In Portugal, Lisbon tram services have been supplied by the Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (Carris), for over a century. In Porto, a tram network, of which only a tourist line on the shores of the Douro remain, began construction on 12 September 1895 (a first for the Iberian Peninsula). All major cities and towns have their own local urban transport network, as well as taxi services.

Vasco da Gama Bridge, over the Tagus River, the largest in Europe.
Vasco da Gama Bridge, over the Tagus River, the largest in Europe.

Science and technology[]


The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, in Braga.

Scientific and technological research activities in Portugal are mainly conducted within a network of R&D units belonging to public universities and state-managed autonomous research institutions like the INETI – Instituto Nacional de Engenharia, Tecnologia e Inovação and the INRB – Instituto Nacional dos Recursos Biológicos. The funding and management of this research system is mainly conducted under the authority of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (MCTES) itself and the MCTES's Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). The largest R&D units of the public universities by volume of research grants and peer-reviewed publications, include biosciences research institutions like the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, the IPATIMUP, the Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular and the Abel Salazar Biomedical Sciences Institute.

Among the largest non-state-run research institutions in Portugal are the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and the Champalimaud Foundation, a neuroscience and oncology research centre, which in addition awards every year one of the highest monetary prizes of any science prize in the world. A number of both national and multinational high-tech and industrial companies, are also responsible for research and development projects. One of the oldest learned societies of Portugal is the Sciences Academy of Lisbon, founded in 1779.


António Egas Moniz was a Portuguese neurologist awarded with the Nobel Prize.

Iberian bilateral state-supported research efforts include the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and the Ibercivis distributed computing platform, which are joint research programmes of both Portugal and Spain. Portugal is a member of several pan-European scientific organizations. These include the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), ITER, and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Portugal has the largest aquarium in Europe, the Lisbon Oceanarium, and the Portuguese have several other notable organizations focused on science-related exhibits and divulgation, like the state agency Ciência Viva, a programme of the Portuguese Ministry of Science and Technology to the promotion of a scientific and technological culture among the Portuguese population,[104] the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra, the National Museum of Natural History at the University of Lisbon, and the Visionarium.

With the emergence and growth of several science parks throughout the world that helped create many thousands of scientific, technological and knowledge-based businesses, Portugal started to develop several[105] science parks across the country. These include the Taguspark (in Oeiras), the Coimbra iParque (in Coimbra), the biocant (in Cantanhede), the Madeira Tecnopolo[106] (in Funchal), Sines Tecnopolo[107] (in Sines), Tecmaia[108] (in Maia) and Parkurbis[109] (in Covilhã). Companies locate in the Portuguese science parks to take advantage of a variety of services ranging from financial and legal advice through to marketing and technological support.

Egas Moniz, a Portuguese physician who developed the cerebral angiography and leucotomy, received in 1949 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – he is the first Portuguese recipient of a Nobel Prize and the only in the sciences.

The European Innovation Scoreboard 2011, placed Portugal-based innovation in the 15th position, with an impressive increase in innovation expenditure and output.[110]


Alqueva dam

The Alqueva Dam created the largest artificial lake in all of Europe.

Portugal has considerable resources of wind and river power, the two most cost-effective renewable sources. Since the turn of the 21st century, there has been a trend towards the development of a renewable resource industry and reduction of both consumption and use of fossil fuel resources. In 2006, the world's largest solar power plant at that date, the Moura Photovoltaic Power Station, began operating near Moura, in the south, while the world's first commercial wave power farm, the Aguçadoura Wave Farm, opened in the Norte region (2008). By the end of 2006, 66% of the country's electrical production was from coal and fuel power plants, while 29% were derived from hydroelectric dams, and 6% by wind energy.[111]

In 2008, renewable energy resources were producing 43% of the nation's consumption of electricity, even as hydroelectric production decreased with severe droughts.[112] As of June 2010, electricity exports had outnumbered imports. In the period between January and May 2010, 70% of the national production of energy came from renewable sources.[113]

Portugal’s national energy transmission company, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN), uses sophisticated modeling to predict weather, especially wind patterns, and computer programs to calculate energy from the various renewable-energy plants. Before the solar/wind revolution, Portugal had generated electricity from hydropower plants on its rivers for decades. New programs combine wind and water: wind-driven turbines pump water uphill at night, the most blustery period; then the water flows downhill by day, generating electricity, when consumer demand is highest. Portugal’s distribution system is also now a two-way street. Instead of just delivering electricity, it draws electricity from even the smallest generators, like rooftop solar panels. The government aggressively encouraged such contributions by setting a premium price for those who buy rooftop-generated solar electricity.


Rossio - Praca Dom Pedro IV

Rossio Square in Lisbon

The National Institute of Statistics (Portuguese: Instituto Nacional de Estatística) estimates that, according to the 2011 census, the population was 10,562,178 (of which 52% was female, 48% was male). This population has been relatively homogeneous for most of its history: a single religion (Catholicism) and a single language have contributed to this ethnic and national unity, namely after the expulsion of the Moors, Moriscos and Sephardi Jews.[114] A large number of Moors and Sephardic Jews, nevertheless, stayed in Portugal, under the condition that they converted to Catholicism, and afterwards they were known as Moriscos (former Muslims), New Christians or Marranos (former Jews) some of whom may have continued to observe rabbinic Judaism in secret. After 1772 the distinction between Old and New Christians was abolished by decree. Some famous Portuguese New Christians were the mathematician Pedro Nunes and the physician and naturalist Garcia de Orta. Former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio is a Sephardic Jew through his maternal grandmother, though as an agnostic, he doesn't practice any religion.

Antigo Cafe Imperial (Porto)

One of the oldest McDonald's in Portugal

Native Portuguese are an Iberian ethnic group, whose ancestry is very similar to other Western and Southern Europeans and Mediterranean peoples, in particular Spaniards, with whom they share a common ancestry, history and cultural proximity.

The most important demographic influence in the modern Portuguese seems to be the oldest one; current interpretation of Y-chromosome and mtDNA data suggests that the Portuguese have their origin in Paleolithic peoples that began arriving to the European continent around 45,000 years ago. All subsequent migrations did leave an impact, genetically and culturally, but the main population source of the Portuguese is still Paleolithic. Studies of mitochondrial DNA suggest that 7% and 5–9% of modern Portuguese have some North- and Subsaharan-African ancestry, respectively.[115] Other genetic studies show Iberian populations not significantly different from other European populations.[116]

The total fertility rate (TFR) as of 2013 was estimated at 1.51 children born/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2,1.[117] In 2013, 47.6% of births were to unmarried women.[118] Like most Western countries, Portugal has to deal with low fertility levels: the country has experienced a sub-replacement fertility rate since the 1980s.[119]


Metropolitan areas[]

Densidade populacional por concelho - INE 2001

Map of Portugal with the representation of population density (no. of inhabitants / km ²) by municipality.

There are two Greater Metropolitan Areas (GAMs): Lisbon and Porto.[120]

e • d 
Rank City name Metro
Population[121] Subregion Population
1 Lisbon Lisbon 2,821,699 Grande Lisboa 2,042,326
2 Porto Porto 1,758,531 Grande Porto 1,401,805
3 Braga Minho 814,083 Cávado 410,149
4 Aveiro Aveiro 461,819 Baixo Vouga 390,840
5 Faro Algarve 451,005 Algarve 451,005
6 Coimbra Coimbra 422,708 Baixo Mondego 332,306
7 Viseu Viseu 338,229 Dão-Lafões 277,216


SMG PDL PontaDelgada sunsetPortas

Sunset in Ponta Delgada, Azores

Portugal's colonial history has long since been a cornerstone of its national identity, as has its geographic position at the south-western corner of Europe, looking out into the Atlantic Ocean. It was one of the last western colonial European powers to give up its overseas territories (among them Angola and Mozambique in 1975), turning over the administration of Macau to the People's Republic of China at the end of 1999. Consequently, it has both influenced and been influenced by cultures from former colonies or dependencies, resulting in immigration from these former territories for both economic and/or personal reasons. Portugal, long a country of emigration (the vast majority of Brazilians have some Portuguese ancestry),[122] has now become a country of net immigration,[123] and not just from the last Indian (Portuguese until 1961), African (Portuguese until 1975), and Far East Asian (Portuguese until 1999) overseas territories. An estimated 800,000 Portuguese returned to Portugal as the country's African possessions gained independence in 1975.[122] By 2007, Portugal had 10,617,575 inhabitants of whom about 332,137 were legal immigrants.[124]

Since the 1990s, along with a boom in construction, several new waves of Ukrainian, Brazilian, people from the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and other Africans have settled in the country. Romanians, Moldovans and Chinese have also chosen Portugal as destination. Portugal's Romani population, estimated at about 40,000.[125] Most Romanis congregate with similar ethnic groups in the southern parts of the country and sell clothing and handicrafts in rural markets.

In addition, a number of EU citizens, mostly from the United Kingdom, northern European or Nordic countries, have become permanent residents in the country (with the British community being mostly composed of retired pensioners and choosing to live in the Algarve and Madeira).[126]


Religions in Portugal (Census 2011)[127]
Other Christianity
No Religion
Santuário de Fátima (3) - Jul 2008

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, one of the world's largest Marian shrines.

Portuguese shield

On the Portuguese Arm, the white dots inside the blue shields represent the Five Holy Wounds of Jesus Christ


Nossa Senhora da Consolação e dos Santos Passos Church, in Guimarães

According to the 2011 Census, 81.0% of the Portuguese population are Roman Catholic. The country has small Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baha'i, Buddhist, Jewish and Spiritist communities. Influences from African Traditional Religion and Chinese Traditional Religion are also felt among many people, particularly in fields related with Traditional Chinese Medicine and African Witch Doctors. Some 6.8% of the population declared themselves to be non-religious, and 8.3% didn't give any answer about their religion.[128]

In 2012, a study conducted by the Catholic University revealed 79.5% of the Portuguese considered themselves Catholics, and that 18% attended Mass regularly. These figures represent a drop from 86.9% of Catholics in 2001, while during the same period the number of people stating that they had no religion rose from 8.2% to 14.2%.[129]

Many Portuguese holidays, festivals and traditions have a Christian origin or connotation. Although relations between the Portuguese state and the Roman Catholic Church were generally amiable and stable since the earliest years of the Portuguese nation, their relative power fluctuated. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the church enjoyed both riches and power stemming from its role in the reconquest, its close identification with early Portuguese nationalism and the foundation of the Portuguese educational system, including the first university. The growth of the Portuguese overseas empire made its missionaries important agents of colonization, with important roles in the education and evangelization of people from all the inhabited continents. The growth of liberal and nascent republican movements during the eras leading to the formation of the First Portuguese Republic (1910–26) changed the role and importance of organized religion.

Portugal is a secular state: church and state were formally separated during the Portuguese First Republic, and later reiterated in the 1976 Portuguese Constitution. Other than the Constitution, the two most important documents relating to religious freedom in Portugal are: the 1940 Concordata (later amended in 1971) between Portugal and the Holy See, and the 2001 Religious Freedom Act.

On the Flag of Portugal, the Portuguese Arm rests over the armillary sphere. Except during the reign of Afonso I, it is present in every single historical flag, in one form or another. It is the prime Portuguese symbol as well as one of the oldest, with the first elements of today's shield appearing during the reign of Sancho I.[130] The evolution of the Portuguese flag is inherently associated with the evolution of the shield.

Within the white inescutcheon, the five quinas (small blue shields) with their five white bezants representing the five wounds of Christ (Portuguese: Cinco Chagas) when crucified and are popularly associated with the "Miracle of Ourique".[131] The story associated with this miracle tells that before the Battle of Ourique (25 July 1139), an old hermit appeared before Count Afonso Henriques (future Afonso I) as a divine messenger. He foretold Afonso's victory and assured him that God was watching over him and his peers. The messenger advised him to walk away from his camp, alone, if he heard a nearby chapel bell tolling, in the following night. In doing so, he witnessed an apparition of Jesus on the cross. Ecstatic, Afonso heard Jesus promising victories for the coming battles, as well as God's wish to act through Afonso, and his descendants, in order to create an empire which would carry His name to unknown lands, thus choosing the Portuguese to perform great tasks.[132]


File:Flag of the CPLP.svg

Portuguese-speaking countries community flag

Portuguese is the official language of Portugal. Portuguese is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia and Northern Portugal, originating from Galician-Portuguese, which was the common language of the Galician and Portuguese people until the independence of Portugal. Particularly in the North of Portugal, there are still many similarities between the Galician culture and the Portuguese culture. Galicia is a consultative observer of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

The Portuguese language is derived from the Latin spoken by the romanized Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula around 2000 years ago—particularly the Celts, Tartessians, Lusitanians and Iberians. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the language spread worldwide as Portugal established a colonial and commercial empire between 1415 and 1999. Portuguese is now spoken as a native language in four different continents, with Brazil accounting for the largest number of native Portuguese speakers of any country (184 million speakers in 2012).[133]

In 2013 the Portuguese language is the official language spoken in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and East Timor. These countries, plus Macau Special Administrative Region (People's Republic of China), make up the Lusosphere, a term derived from the ancient Roman province of "Lusitania", which currently matches the Portuguese territory south of the Douro river.

Mirandese is also recognized as a co-official regional language in some municipalities of North-Eastern Portugal. An estimate of between 6,000 and 7,000 Mirandese speakers has been documented for Portugal.



Coimbra University, founded in 1290, is one of the oldest universities in the world.

The educational system is divided into preschool (for those under age 6), basic education (9 years, in three stages, compulsory), secondary education (3 years, until 12th grade), and higher education (university and polytechnic).

The total adult literacy rate is 99 percent. Portuguese primary school enrollments are close to 100 percent. According to the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009, the average Portuguese 15-year-old student, when rated in terms of reading literacy, mathematics and science knowledge, is placed at the same level as those students from the United States, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, France, Denmark, United Kingdom, Hungary and Taipei, with 489 points (493 is the average).[134] Over 35% of college-age citizens (20 years old) attend one of the country's higher education institutions[135] (compared with 50% in the United States and 35% in the OECD countries). In addition to being a destination for international students, Portugal is also among the top places of origin for international students. All higher education students, both domestic and international, totaled 380,937 in 2005.

Portuguese universities have existed since 1290. The oldest Portuguese university was first established in Lisbon before moving to Coimbra. Historically, within the scope of the Portuguese Empire, the Portuguese founded in 1792 the oldest engineering school of Latin America (the Real Academia de Artilharia, Fortificação e Desenho), as well as the oldest medical college in Asia (the Escola Médico-Cirúrgica de Goa) in 1842. The largest university in Portugal is the University of Porto. Universities are usually organized into faculties.

Feup jardim

Engineering Faculty University of Porto, Portugal's largest university by enrolment.

Institutes and schools are also common designations for autonomous subdivisions of Portuguese higher education institutions. The Bologna process has been adopted since 2006 by Portuguese universities and poly-technical institutes. Higher education in state-run educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis, a system of numerus clausus is enforced through a national database on student admissions. However, every higher education institution offers also a number of additional vacant places through other extraordinary admission processes for sportsmen, mature applicants (over 23 years old), international students, foreign students from the Lusosphere, degree owners from other institutions, students from other institutions (academic transfer), former students (readmission), and course change, which are subject to specific standards and regulations set by each institution or course department. Most student costs are supported with public money. However, with the increasing tuition fees a student has to pay to attend a Portuguese state-run higher education institution and the attraction of new types of students (many as part-time students or in evening classes) like employees, businessmen, parents, and pensioners, many departments make a substantial profit from every additional student enrolled in courses, with benefits for the college or university's gross tuition revenue and without loss of educational quality (teacher per student, computer per student, classroom size per student, etc.).

Portugal has entered into cooperation agreements with MIT (US) and other North American institutions to further develop and increase the effectiveness of Portuguese higher education and research.


Hoptial Viseu

The Hospital of Santo Teotónio, in Viseu

According to the latest Human Development Report, the average life expectancy in 2012 was 79.7 years.[136]

The Portuguese health system is characterized by three coexisting systems: the National Health Service (NHS), special social health insurance schemes for certain professions (health subsystems) and voluntary private health insurance. The NHS provides universal coverage. In addition, about 25% of the population is covered by the health subsystems, 10% by private insurance schemes and another 7% by mutual funds.

The Ministry of Health is responsible for developing health policy as well as managing the NHS. Five regional health administrations are in charge of implementing the national health policy objectives, developing guidelines and protocols and supervising health care delivery. Decentralization efforts have aimed at shifting financial and management responsibility to the regional level. In practice, however, the autonomy of regional health administrations over budget setting and spending has been limited to primary care.

Hospital de Santa Maria

The Hospital of Santa Maria, Lisbon,
the largest hospital in the country.

The NHS is predominantly funded through general taxation. Employer (including the state) and employee contributions represent the main funding sources of the health subsystems. In addition, direct payments by the patient and voluntary health insurance premiums account for a large proportion of funding.

Similar to the other Eur-A countries, most Portuguese die from noncommunicable diseases. Mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is higher than in the eurozone, but its two main components, ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, display inverse trends compared with the Eur-A, with cerebrovascular disease being the single biggest killer in Portugal (17%). Portuguese people die 12% less often from cancer than in the Eur-A, but mortality is not declining as rapidly as in the Eur-A. Cancer is more frequent among children as well as among women younger than 44 years. Although lung cancer (slowly increasing among women) and breast cancer (decreasing rapidly) are scarcer, cancer of the cervix and the prostate are more frequent. Portugal has the highest mortality rate for diabetes in the Eur-A, with a sharp increase since the late 1980s.

Portugal's infant mortality rate has dropped sharply since the 1980s, when 24 of 1000 newborns died in the first year of life. It is now around 3 deaths per a 1000 newborns. This improvement was mainly due to the decrease in neonatal mortality, from 15.5 to 3.4 per 1000 live births.

People are usually well informed about their health status, the positive and negative effects of their behaviour on their health and their use of health care services. Yet their perceptions of their health can differ from what administrative and examination-based data show about levels of illness within populations. Thus, survey results based on self-reporting at the household level complement other data on health status and the use of services. Only one third of adults rated their health as good or very good in Portugal (Kasmel et al., 2004). This is the lowest of the Eur-A countries reporting and reflects the relatively adverse situation of the country in terms of mortality and selected morbidity.[137]


Jerónimos April 2009-4

Jerónimos Monastery

Torre de Belém, Lisboa, Portugal, 2012-05-12, DD 01

Belém Tower is a typical example of Portugal's unique Manueline architecture.

Portugal has developed a specific culture while being influenced by various civilizations that have crossed the Mediterranean and the European continent, or were introduced when it played an active role during the Age of Discovery. In the 1990s and 2000s (decade), Portugal modernized its public cultural facilities, in addition to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation established in 1956 in Lisbon. These include the Belém Cultural Centre in Lisbon, Serralves Foundation and the Casa da Música, both in Porto, as well as new public cultural facilities like municipal libraries and concert halls that were built or renovated in many municipalities across the country. Portugal is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 8th in Europe and 17th in the world.


Palácio Nacional de Mafra (1)

Mafra National Palace

Traditional architecture is distinctive and include the Manueline, also known as Portuguese late Gothic, a sumptuous, composite Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation of the first decades of the 16th century. A 20th-century interpretation of traditional architecture, Soft Portuguese style, appears extensively in major cities, especially Lisbon. Modern Portugal has given the world renowned architects like Eduardo Souto de Moura, Álvaro Siza Vieira (both Pritzker Prize winners) and Gonçalo Byrne. In Portugal Tomás Taveira is also noteworthy, particularly for stadium design.[138][139][140]

Manoel de Oliveira Cannes

105 year old film director Manoel de Oliveira, currently the world's oldest man still in working activity


Portuguese cinema has a long tradition, reaching back to the birth of the medium in the late 19th century. Portuguese film directors such as Arthur Duarte, António Lopes Ribeiro, Pedro Costa, Manoel de Oliveira, João César Monteiro, António-Pedro Vasconcelos, Fernando Lopes, Bruno de Almeida, João Botelho and Leonel Vieira, are among those that gained notability. Noted Portuguese film actors include Joaquim de Almeida, Daniela Ruah, Maria de Medeiros, Diogo Infante, Ana Padrão, Soraia Chaves, Vasco Santana, Ribeirinho, António Silva, Lúcia Moniz, among many others.


Camões, por Fernão Gomes Fernando-pessoa1 JSJoseSaramago
Luís de Camões, Fernando Pessoa and José Saramago

Portuguese literature, one of the earliest Western literatures, developed through text as well as song. Until 1350, the Portuguese-Galician troubadours spread their literary influence to most of the Iberian Peninsula.[141] Gil Vicente (c. 1465–c. 1536), was one of the founders of both Portuguese and Spanish dramatic traditions.

Adventurer and poet Luís de Camões (c. 1524–1580) wrote the epic poem "Os Lusíadas" (The Lusiads), with Virgil's Aeneid as his main influence.[142] Modern Portuguese poetry is rooted in neoclassic and contemporary styles, as exemplified by Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935). Modern Portuguese literature is represented by authors such as Almeida Garrett, Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, António Lobo Antunes and Miguel Torga. Particularly popular and distinguished is José Saramago, recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature.


Portuguese cuisine is diverse. The Portuguese consume a lot of dry cod (bacalhau in Portuguese), for which there are hundreds of recipes. There are more than enough bacalhau dishes for each day of the year. Two other popular fish recipes are grilled sardines and caldeirada, a potato-based stew that can be made from several types of fish. Typical Portuguese meat recipes, that may be made out of beef, pork, lamb, or chicken, include cozido à portuguesa, feijoada, frango de churrasco, leitão (roast suckling pig) and carne de porco à alentejana, a very popular northern dish is the arroz de sarrabulho (rice stewed in pigs blood) or the arroz de cabidela (Rice and chickens meat stewed in chickens blood).

MargaretCafe PasteisDeNata

Pastéis de Nata

Bottles of tawny Port wine in Lisbon

Port Wine is Portugal's most famous, unique, and exported wine.

Typical fast food dishes include the francesinha from Porto, and bifanas (grilled pork) or prego (grilled beef) sandwiches, which are well known around the country. The Portuguese art of pastry has its origins in Middle Ages Catholic monasteries widely spread across the country. These monasteries, using very few ingredients (mostly almonds, flour, eggs and some liquor), managed to create a spectacular wide range of different pastries, of which pastéis de Belém (or pastéis de nata) originally from Lisbon, and ovos moles from Aveiro are examples. Portuguese cuisine is very diverse, with different regions having their own traditional dishes. The Portuguese have a culture of good food, and throughout the country there are myriad good restaurants and small typical tascas.

Portuguese wines have enjoyed international recognition since the times of the Roman Empire, which associated Portugal with their god Bacchus. Today, the country is known by wine lovers and its wines have won several international prizes. Some of the best Portuguese wines are: Vinho Verde, Vinho Alvarinho, Vinho do Douro, Vinho do Alentejo, Vinho do Dão, Vinho da Bairrada and the sweet: Port Wine, Madeira Wine and the Moscatel from Setúbal and Favaios. Port Wine is well known around the world and the most widely known wine type in the world. The Douro wine region is the oldest in the world.


Portuguese music encompasses a wide variety of genres. The most renowned is fado, a melancholy urban music, usually associated with the Portuguese guitar and saudade, or longing. Coimbra fado, a unique type of fado, is also noteworthy. Internationally notable performers include Amália Rodrigues, Carlos Paredes, José Afonso, Mariza, Carlos do Carmo, António Chainho, Mísia, and Madredeus.

Arte Amalia

Amália Rodrigues, the Portuguese singer known as Queen of Fado.

1-Casa da Musica-exterior (1)

Casa da Música, a concert hall in Porto

In addition to fado and folk, the Portuguese listen to pop and other types of modern music, particularly from North America and the United Kingdom, as well as a wide range of Portuguese and Brazilian artists and bands. Artists with international recognition include Moonspell, Buraka Som Sistema, Blasted Mechanism and The Gift, with the two latter being nominees for a MTV Europe Music Award.

Portugal has several summer music festivals, such as Festival Sudoeste in Zambujeira do Mar, Festival de Paredes de Coura in Paredes de Coura, Festival Vilar de Mouros near Caminha, Boom Festival in Idanha-a-Nova Municipality, and Optimus Alive!, Rock in Rio Lisboa and Super Bock Super Rock in Greater Lisbon. Out of the summer season, Portugal has a large number of festivals, designed more to an urban audience, like Flowfest or Hip Hop Porto. Furthermore, one of the largest international Goa trance festivals takes place in central Portugal every two years, the Boom Festival, that is also the only festival in Portugal to win international awards: European Festival Award 2010 – Green'n'Clean Festival of the Year and the Greener Festival Award Outstanding 2008 and 2010. There is also the student festivals of Queima das Fitas are major events in a number of cities across Portugal. In 2005, Portugal held the MTV Europe Music Awards, in Pavilhão Atlântico, Lisbon.

Fandango is one of the most popular regional dances.

In the classical music domain, Portugal is represented by names as the pianist Artur Pizarro, Maria João Pires, Sequeira Costa, the violinists Carlos Damas, Gerardo Ribeiro and in the past by the great cellist Guilhermina Suggia. Notable composers include José Vianna da Motta, Carlos Seixas, João Domingos Bomtempo, João de Sousa Carvalho, Luís de Freitas Branco and his student Joly Braga Santos, Fernando Lopes-Graça, Emmanuel Nunes and Sérgio Azevedo. Similarly, contemporary composers such as Nuno Malo and Miguel d'Oliveira have achieved some international success writing original music for film and television.

Visual arts[]


Portuguese Azulejo

Painel dos Infantes Nuno Gonçalves circa 1460

Saint Vincent Panels, attributed to Nuno Gonçalves, a Portuguese Renaissance artist.

Portugal has a rich history in painting. The first well-known painters date back to the 15th century – like Nuno Gonçalves – were part of the Gothic painting period. José Malhoa, known for his work Fado, and Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro (who painted the portraits of Teófilo Braga and Antero de Quental) were both references in naturalist painting.

The 20th century saw the arrival of Modernism, and along with it came the most prominent Portuguese painters: Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, who was heavily influenced by French painters, particularly by the Delaunays. Among his best-known works is Canção Popular a Russa e o Fígaro. Another great modernist painters/writers were Carlos Botelho and Almada Negreiros, friend to the poet Fernando Pessoa, who painted his (Pessoa's) portrait. He was deeply influenced by both Cubist and Futurist trends. Prominent international figures in visual arts nowadays include painters Vieira da Silva, Júlio Pomar, Helena Almeida, Joana Vasconcelos, Julião Sarmento and Paula Rego.


Cristiano Ronaldo 20120609

Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of the Portugal national football team.

Football is the most popular sport in Portugal. There are several football competitions ranging from local amateur to world-class professional level. The legendary Eusébio is still a major symbol of Portuguese football history. FIFA World Player of the Year winners Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo who won the FIFA Ballon d'Or for 2013, are among the numerous examples of other world-class football players born in Portugal and noted worldwide. Portuguese football managers are also noteworthy, with José Mourinho, André Villas-Boas, Fernando Santos, Carlos Queiroz and Manuel José among the most renowned.

The Portuguese national football team has titles in the FIFA World Youth Championship and in the UEFA youth championships. The main national team – Selecção Nacional – finished second in Euro 2004 (held in Portugal), reached the third place in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, and reached the fourth place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, their best results in major competitions to date.

SL Benfica, FC Porto, and Sporting CP are the largest sports clubs by popularity and by number of trophies won, often known as "os três grandes" ("the big three"). They have won eight titles in the European UEFA club competitions, were present in many finals and have been regular contenders in the last stages almost every season. Other than football, many Portuguese sports clubs, including the "big three", compete in several other sports events with a varying level of success and popularity, these may include roller hockey, basketball, futsal, handball, and volleyball.


Opening ceremony of the UEFA Euro 2004 at Estádio do Dragão, Porto.

Portugal has a successful roller hockey team, with 15 world titles and 20 European titles, making it the country with the most wins in both competitions. The most successful Portuguese roller hockey clubs in the history of European championships are Futebol Clube do Porto, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Sporting Clube de Portugal and Óquei de Barcelos.

The Portuguese national rugby union team made a dramatic qualification into the 2007 Rugby World Cup and became the first all amateur team to qualify for the World Cup since the dawn of the professional era. The Portuguese national rugby sevens team has performed well, becoming one of the strongest teams in Europe, and proved their status as European champions in several occasions.

In athletics, the Portuguese have won a number of gold, silver and bronze medals in the European, World and Olympic Games competitions. Cycling, with Volta a Portugal being the most important race, is also a popular sports event and include professional cycling teams such as Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Boavista, Clube de Ciclismo de Tavira, and União Ciclista da Maia.

The country has also achieved notable performances in sports like fencing, judo, kitesurf, rowing, sailing, surfing, shooting, triathlon and windsurf, owning several European and world titles. The paralympic athletes have also conquered many medals in sports like swimming, boccia and wrestling.

In motorsport, Portugal is internationally noted for the Rally of Portugal, and the Estoril, Algarve Circuits and the revived Porto Street Circuit which holds a stage of the WTCC every two years, as well as for a number of internationally noted pilots in varied motorsports.

In equestrian sports, Portugal won the only Horseball-Pato World Championship (in 2006), achieved the third position in the First Horseball World Cup (organized in Ponte de Lima, Portugal, in 2008), and has achieved several victories in the European Working Equitation Championship.

In water sports, Portugal has two major sports: swimming and water polo. Northern Portugal has its own original martial art, Jogo do Pau, in which the fighters use staffs to confront one or several opponents. Other popular sport-related recreational outdoor activities with thousands of enthusiasts nationwide include airsoft, fishing, golf, hiking, hunting and orienteering.

See also[]

  • Index of Portugal-related articles
  • Outline of Portugal
  • Castles in Portugal


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