- Country name : Portugal
- Official name : Republic of Portugal.
- System of government : Parliamentary democracy.
- National anthem :
- Area : 92 391 km ².
- Capital : Lisbon.
- Border countries : Spain, (border with the Atlantic Ocean)
- Population : 10,1 millions (2003)
- Language(s) : Portuguese.
- Religions : Catholics (97 %), Protestants (1 %), others (2 %).
>Since its entry into the European Community in 1986, Portugal has enjoyed considerable economic progress. Foreign investments constitute the real motor of the economic development of Portugal.
>The Portuguese economy is mainly based on tourism and wines. Commercial fishing is also one of the main activities (sardines and tuna).
>Portugal possesses few natural resources. It has however one of the biggest forest resources of Europe. Portugal produces more than half of the world cork.
>The main industrial activities are the production of wine and the packaging of the fish ; the secondary industries are the textile industry and tobacco. Portugal also produces some olive oil and some flour.
>Encouraged by the European Union grants, Portugal has developed a program of extensive modernization of its infrastructures, in particular in the communications and the transports.
>Numerous civilizations settled down in the Iberian peninsula of which Portugal is a part : the Celts (approximately in 700 B.C.), then Phoenicians, who traded with current Lisbon, Greeks and Carthaginians, who established counters of business along the south coast.
>2nd cent. B.C. : Romans conquer the region which, for the first time, is under a unified control.
>5th cent. A.D. : Germanic tribes occupy the entire Iberian peninsula.
>8th cent. : the Moors cross the Strait of Gibraltar and settle down in the whole peninsula, except the north of the Douro.
>1097 : Henry of Burgundy receives from Alfonso VI, his father-in-law, the county of Portugal (between Minho and Mondego).
>1139 : this county forms an independent kingdom, whose sovereign, Alphonso Henriques, pushed away the Moors to Lisbon (1147). His successors pursued the reconquest.
>14th-16th cent. : expeditions and exploitation of the African, Indian and Brazilian coasts. In 1487, Bartolomeu Dias reaches the Cape of Good Hope and, in 1498, Vasco de Gama reaches Calcutta. It is the most glorious period of Portuguese history.
>1581 : Philip II of Spain invades Portugal. The country experiences a period of decline : its overseas territories are attacked by the English and the Dutch.
>1640 : the Portuguese rebel against Spain and achieve independence by the Treaty of Lisbon in 1668. John of Braganza is made king as John IV.
>19th cent. : the forces of Napoleon I marched on Portugal in 1807 but were driven out, with the help of Great Britain, in 1811. Brazil, a colony of Portugal, achieves independence in 1822.
>1910 : the monarchy is abolished and the Republic of Portugal is proclaimed. In 1926, a military coup marks the beginning of the dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar who will last until 1968.
>1974 : A bloodless military coup restores democracy in Portugal. By the end of 1975, independence is granted to all Portugal's African colonies (Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe and Angola).
>1976 : Mario Soares becomes prime minister.
>1986 : Portugal becomes member of the EEC (now European Union).
>1999 : Portugal hands over its last overseas territory, Macau, to Chinese administration.