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10 mai 2011 2 10 /05 /mai /2011 14:11

Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa ), is a country located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. HP 448007-001 battery

The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are part of Portugal.

The land within the borders of today's Portuguese Republic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times. In 29 B.C. the territory was occupied by the Gallaeci and the Lusitanians when it was integrated in the Roman Empire as the provinces of Lusitania and part of Gallaecia.HP Pavilion DV7 battery

Roman settlers strongly influenced Portuguese culture, particularly the Portuguese language, mostly derived from Latin. In the 5th century, after the fall of the Roman empire, it was occupied by several Germanic peoples, mainly the Suevi and the Visigoths. In the early 8th century Muslim Moors conquered those Christiankingdoms, occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula.HP DV6-1120SA battery

During the Christian Reconquista (English: Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula), the County of Portugal was settled, as part of the Kingdom of Galicia. With the establishment of the Kingdom in 1139, recognized in 1143, and the stabilization of its borders by 1249, Portugal claims to be the oldest European nation-state.HP DV6-1210SA battery

In the 15th and 16th centuries, as the result of maritime exploration, Portugal established a global empire that included possessions in Africa, Asia,Oceania and South America, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. Portugal's Empire was the first, and most long-lived Global Empire in the world, spanning almost six centuries ( 1415 - 1999 ).Compaq CQ50 battery

In 1580, after a succession crisis it was united with Spain for a period called the Iberian Union; however in 1640 it re-established full independence during the Portuguese Restoration War that resulted in the establishment of a new dynasty and a return to the previous separation between the two empires.HP Pavilion DV8 battery

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Spanish and French invasions, and Brazilian independence, resulted in both the disruption of political stability and economic growth and the reduction of Portugal's international status as a global power during the 19th century. Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

After the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910, a democratic but unstable republic was established that was then replaced by the "Estado Novo" dictatorship. After the Portuguese Colonial War and theCarnation Revolution in 1974, democracy was restored and the country handed over its last overseas provinces (most prominently Angola andMozambique in Africa);HP Pavilion TX1000 battery

the last overseas territory, Macau, was handed over to China in 1999.

Portugal is a developed country  with an advanced and high-income economy, with a very high Human Development Index and it has the world's 19th-highest quality-of-life, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. HP Pavilion DV3500  battery

It is the 13th-most peaceful and the 8th-most globalized country in the world. It is a member of the European Union, (joined the then EEC in 1986, leaving the EFTA where it was a founding member in 1960), and the United Nations; as well as a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, OECD, NATO, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the European Union's Eurozone, and also part of the Schengen Area.HP HDX X18-1005EA battery

Early history

The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula. 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, Compaq PF723A battery

visited by Phoenicians and Carthaginians, incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions as Lusitania after 45 BC until 298, 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. HP G6000 battery

Reconquista

During the Reconquista period, Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim and Moorish domination. In 868, the First County of Portugalwas formed. A victory over the Muslims at Battle of Ourique in 1139 is traditionally taken as the occasion when the County of Portugal as a fief of theKingdom of León was transformed into an the independent Kingdom of Portugal.HP Compaq Business Notebook NW9440 battery

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 Henriques officially declared Portugal's independence when he proclaimed himself king of Portugal on 25 July 1139, after the Battle of Ourique. Compaq Evo N800W battery

He was recognized as such in 1143 by Alfonso VII, king 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. Compaq Evo N620C battery

In 1249, this Reconquista ended with the capture of the Algarve on the southern coast, giving Portugal its present-day borders, with minor exceptions.

In 1348 and 1349, like the rest of Europe, Portugal was devastated by the Black Death. HP Pavilion DV7 battery

In 1373, Portugal made an alliance with England, which is the longest-standing alliance in the world.

In 1383, the king of Castile, husband of the daughter of the Portuguese king who had died without a male heir, claimed his throne. An ensuing popular revolt led to the 1383-1385 Crisis.HP Pavilion DV2745SE battery

A faction of petty noblemen and commoners, led by John of Aviz (later John I), seconded by General Nuno Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. This celebrated battle is still a symbol of glory and the struggle for independence from neighboring Spain.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM battery

Exploration, colonization and trade

In the following decades, Portugal spearheaded the exploration of the world and undertook the Age of Discovery. PrinceHenry the Navigator, son of King João I, became the main sponsor and patron of this endeavor.HP Compaq 490306-001 battery

In 1415, Portugal conquered the first of its overseas colonies by conquering Ceuta. It was the first prosperous Islamic trade center in North Africa. There followed the first discoveries in the Atlantic: Madeira and the Azores, which led to the first colonization movements.HP 520 battery

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.HP TouchSmart TX2-1150EG battery

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).HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

In 1498, Vasco da Gama finally reached India and brought economic prosperity to Portugal and its population of 1.7 million residents.

In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil and claimed it for Portugal. Ten years later, Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa, in India, Ormuz in the Persian Strait, and Malacca, now a state in Malaysia. Compaq Presario CQ70 battery

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, the island of Timor, and may have been the first Europeans to discover Australia and even New Zealand.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

The Treaty of Zaragoza, signed on 22 April 1529 between Portugal and Spain, specified the antimeridian 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 to the beginning of the 16th century.Compaq Presario CQ71 battery

Iberian Union and Restoration

Portugal's independence 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 extinction of that royal house. HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO battery

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 Spain, briefly forming aunion of kingdoms, as a personal union.Compaq Presario CQ50-105EL battery

The joining of the two crowns deprived Portugal of a separate foreign policy, and led to the involvement in the Eighty Years War being fought in Europe at the time between Spainand the Netherlands. War led to a deterioration of the relations with Portugal's oldest ally, England, and the loss of Hormuz. HP Compaq 572190-001 battery

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.HP Pavilion DV6373EA battery

In 1640, John IV spearheaded an uprising backed by disgruntled nobles and was proclaimed king. ThePortuguese Restoration War between Portugal and Spain 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.HP Pavilion DV2820EA battery

According to Leslie Bethell, "In 1700 Portugal had a population of about two million people. During the eighteenth century approximately 400,000 left for Brazil, despite efforts by the crown to place severe restrictions on emigration."HP Compaq Business Notebook 6735S battery

Pombaline era

In 1738, Sebastião de Melo, the talented son of a Lisbon squire, began a diplomatic career as the Portuguese Ambassador in London and later inVienna. The Queen consort of Portugal, Archduchess Maria Anne Josefa of Austria, was fond of Melo;Compaq Presario 300 battery

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. HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL battery

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. HP Compaq Business Notebook TC4400 battery

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.HP Pavilion ZD8227 battery

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. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 battery

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.HP Compaq 491278-001 battery

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.HP DV9700 battery

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 feed the living."

Despite the calamity and huge death toll, Lisbon suffered no epidemics and within less than one year was already being rebuilt.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

The new downtown 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 Downtown of Lisbon still remain as one of Lisbon's tourist attractions: Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

They represent the world's first quake-proof buildings . 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. HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

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.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

Sebastião de Melo showed no mercy and prosecuted every person involved, even women and children. This was the final stroke that broke the power of the aristocracy and ensured the victory of the Minister against his enemies. Based upon his swift resolve, Joseph I made his loyal minister Count ofOeiras in 1759.Sony VGN-CR11M Battery

In 1762 Spain invaded Portuguese territory as part of the Seven Years' War, however by 1763 the status-quo between Spain and Portugal of 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. Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery

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.Sony VGN-NR11S Battery

The new ruler, Queen Maria I of Portugal, disliked the Marquis because of the power he amassed, and never forgave him for the ruthlessness at which he dispatched the Távora family, and upon her accession to the throne, she did what she had long vowed to do: she withdrew all his political offices. Pombal died peacefully on his estate at Pombal in 1782.Sony VGN-NR110E Battery

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, including Maria I, relocated to the Portuguese territory of Brazil, in South America.Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery

Brazilian independence

Portugal began a slow but inexorable decline until the 20th century. This decline was hastened by the independence in 1822 of the country's largest colonial possession, Brazil. Sony VGN-NR110E/S Battery

In 1807, as Napoleon Bonaparte's army closed in on Portugal's capital city of Lisbon, the Prince Regent João VI of Portugal transferred his courtto Brazil and established Rio de Janeiro as the capital of the Portuguese Empire. In 1815, the Portuguese Empire changed its name to the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.Sony VGN-NR110E/W Battery

Due to the change in its status and the arrival of the Portuguese royal family, Brazilian administrative, civic, economical, military, educational, and scientificapparatus 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 be able to safely return to Lisbon.Sony VGN-CR11SR Battery

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. Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery

When the king attempted the following year to return the Kingdom of Brazil to subordinate status as a principality, 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.Sony VGN-CR11S Battery

Colonial Portuguese 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. Sony VGN-CR11M Battery

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.Sony VGN-CR11E Battery

Portuguese Africa's cities and towns like Nova Lisboa, Sá da Bandeira, Silva Porto, Malanje, Tete, Vila Junqueiro, Vila Pery and Vila Cabralwere 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. Sony VGN-CR21E Battery

Even before the turn of the 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. Sony VGN-CR21S Battery

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.Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery

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.Sony VGN-CR21SR Battery

Regime changes

On 1 February 1908, the king Carlos I of Portugal and his heir apparent, Prince Luis Filipe, were murdered in Lisbon. Under his rule, Portugal was twice declaredbankrupt - on 14 June 1892, and again on 10 May 1902 - causing social turmoil, economic disturbances, protests, revolts and criticism of the monarchy.Sony VGN-CR31SR Battery

Manuel II of Portugal become the new king, but was eventually overthrown by the 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, Sony VGN-CR31S Battery

aggravated by the Portuguese military intervention in World War I, which led to a military coup d'état in 1926 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. Sony VGN-CR31E Battery

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 white mainland Portuguese citizens into the overseas colonies in Africa were initiated,Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery

with Angolaand Mozambique, as the largest and richest overseas territories, being the main targets of those initiatives.

In 1961, São João Baptista de Ajudá's annexation by Dahomey was the start of a process that led to the final dissolution of the centuries-old Portuguese Empire. Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery

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. Sony VGN-CR41S Battery

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 Portuguese defensive garrison, which was forced to surrender. The outcome was the loss of the Portuguese territories in the Indian subcontinent.Sony VGN-CR41E Battery

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). 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. Sony VGN-CR41SR Battery

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.Sony VGN-CR42ZR Battery

In April 1974 a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, led the way for a modern democracy as well as the independence of the last colonies in Africa, after two years of a transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso, or On-Going Revolutionary Process), Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery

characterized by social turmoil and power disputes between left- and right-wing political forces. Some factions, including Álvaro Cunhal's Partido Comunista Português (PCP), unsuccessfully tried to turn the country into a communist state. The retreat from the overseas territories and the acceptance of its independence terms by Portuguese head representatives for overseas negotiations,Sony VGN-CR42S Battery

which would create newly-independent communist states in 1975 (most notably the People's Republic of Angola and the People's Republic of Mozambique), prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angola and Mozambique). Sony VGN-CR42E Battery

Over a million destitute Portuguese refugees fled the former Portuguese colonies. 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. Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery

However, the country continued to be governed by a military-civilian provisional administration until the Portuguese legislative election of 1976 that took place on 25 April, exactly one year after the previous election, and two years after the Carnation Revolution. Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/P Battery

With a new Constitution approved, the country's main aim was economic recovery and strengthening of the nation's democracy. 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.Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/R Battery

European integration

In 1986, Portugal joined the European Economic Community that later became the European Union. Portugal's last overseas territory, Macau, was not handed over to the People's Republic of China (PRC) until 1999, under the 1987 joint declaration that set the terms for Macau's handover from Portugal to the PRC. Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/W Battery

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. Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery

In 1996 the country was a co-founder of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) headquartered in Lisbon. The 1998 World Exposition took place in Portugal and in 1999 it was one of the founding countries of the euro and the Eurozone.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery

On 5 July 2004, José Manuel Durão 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 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.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery

Geography

The territory of Portugal includes an area in the Iberian Peninsula (referred to as the continent by most Portuguese) and several 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.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery

Mainland Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus that flows from Spain and disgorges in Tagus Estuary, 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 Alentejoregions, is characterized by rolling plains.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery

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 a highly 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.Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N Battery

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 (much like the Hawaiian Islands).Sony Vaio VGN-CR21Z/R Battery

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.Sony Vaio VGN-CR220E/R Battery

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.Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery

Climate

Portugal is defined as a Mediterranean climate (Csa in the south and Csb in the north, according to the Koppen-Geiger Climate Classification), and is one of the warmest European countries: the annual average temperature in mainland Portugal varies from 13 °C (55.4 °F) (in the mountainous interior north) to over 18 °C (64.4 °F) (in the south and on the Guadian River basin).Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery

The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo region by mountains reaching up to 900 metres in altitude (in Pico da Foia), has a climate similar to that of the southern coastal areas of Spain.

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 Douro River. Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/R Battery

Mount Pico is recognized as receiving the largest annual rainfall (over6,250 mm (246.1 in) per year) in Portugal, according to Instituto de Meteorologia (English:Portuguese Meteorological Institute).

In some areas, such as the Guadiana basin, annual average temperatures can be as high as 20 °C (68 °F), but summer temperatures may be over 45 °C (113 °F) (as a study from the Archeological Park in Côa determined).HP Pavilion DM3 battery

In the high mountains, such as Peneda-Gerês National Park, a temperate maritime climate permeates (Cfb, according to Koppen-Geiger). The record high of 47.4 °C (117.3 °F) was recorded in Amareleja (although this is not the hottest spot in summer, according to satellite readings). HP Pavilion DM4 battery

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 southeast and lower in the northwest.

Both the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira have a subtropical climate, although variations between islands exist, making weather predictions very difficult (owing to topography, temperature and humidity). HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA battery

The Madeiran 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.Dell N3010 battery

Consequently, the island of the Azores have been identified as having a Mediterranean climate (both Csa and Csb types), while some islands (such asFlores or Corvo) are classified as Maritime Temperate (Cfb) or Humid subtropical (Cfa), respectively, according to Koppen-Geiger classification. Dell Inspiron N4010 battery

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). Ocean surface mean temperatures in the archipelagos vary from between 16 °C (60.8 °F) - 18 °C (64.4 °F) (in winter) to 23 °C (73.4 °F) -24 °C (75.2 °F) (in the summer), occasionally reaching 26 °C (78.8 °F).Dell INSPIRON 9100 battery

In the southern Azores, and still within the Portuguese maritime territory, there is a unique area of tropical climate (as defined by Koppen-Geiger), influenced by Gulf Stream where sea temperatures are over 20 °C (68 °F), even during the winter (Source AEMET).Dell XPS 1340 battery

Biodiversity

Owing to humans occupying the territory of Portugal for thousands of years, little is left of the original vegetation. TheConservation areas of Portugal include one national park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional), 12 natural parks (Portuguese: Parque Natural), Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

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, theParque Natural da Serra da Estrela and the Paul de Arzila. Dell Inspiron 1564 battery

These natural environments are shaped by diverse flora, and include widespread species of pine (especially the Pinus pinasterand 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). Dell Inspiron 1720 battery

All are prized for their economic value. Laurissilva 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 Laurasilva forests (the latter protected as a natural heritage preserve).Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery

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[citation needed] (spotted near Rio Minho, close to Peneda-Gerês) and many others. Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

Portugal is an important stopover for migratory birds, in places such as Cape St. Vincent or the Monchique mountain, where thousands of birds cross from Europe to Africa during the autumn or in the spring (return migration). Most of the avian species congregate along the Iberian Peninsula since it is the closest stopover between northern Europe and Africa. Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

Six hundred bird species make their nests in Portugal (either permanently 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.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31Z Battery

There are over 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. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31M Battery

Upwelling 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.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31B Battery

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 thecicada. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31E Battery

The Macronesian islands (Azores and Madeira) have many endemic species (like birds, reptiles, bats, insects, snails and slugs) that evolved independent from other regions of Portugal. In Madeira, for example, it is possible to observe more than 250 species of land gastropods.SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

Administrative divisions

Administratively, Portugal is divided into 308 municipalities (Portuguese: concelhos), which are subdivided into 4260 civil parishes (Portuguese: freguesia).Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

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). Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

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;Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

the largest units, established since 1976, are either mainland Portugal (Portuguese: Portugal Continental) and the autonomous regions of Portugal (Azores and Madeira).Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

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.SONY VGP-BPS21 Battery

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.SONY VGP-BPS21A Battery

Politics

Portugal has been a democratic 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, and judicial branches. SONY VGP-BPS21B Battery

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.

The President, who is elected to a five-year term, has a supervisory non-executive role: the current President is Aníbal Cavaco Silva.SONY VGP-BPS21/S Battery

The Parliament is a chamber composed of 230 deputies elected for a four-year term. The government, whose head is the Prime Minister (currently José Sócrates), chooses a Council of Ministers, that comprises the Ministers and State Secretaries. The courts are organized into several levels: judicial, administrative, and fiscal branches. SONY VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

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. SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

The Legislative Assembly, Regional Assemblies and local municicpalities and/or parishes, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party, in addition to theUnitarian Democratic Coalition (Portuguese Communist Party plus Ecologist Party "The Greens"), SONY VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

the Left Bloc and the Democratic and Social Centre – People's Party, which garner between 5 and 15% of the public regularly.

Executive branch

The President, elected to a five-year term by direct, universal suffrage, is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

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.SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

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. Toshiba Satellite 1200 Battery

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.Toshiba Satellite M300 Battery

Legislative branch

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.Toshiba Satellite A200 Battery

Law and criminal justice

The Portuguese legal system is part of the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system. Until the end of the 19th century, French law was the main influence. Since then, the major influence has been German law. The main laws include the Constitution (1976, as amended), the Civil Code (1966, as amended) and thePenal Code (1982, as amended).Sony VGP-BPS21 battery

Other relev

ant 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;Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

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.Sony VGP-BPL8 battery

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.Sony VGP-BPS22 battery

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. Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

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 HIVinfection cases, which had dropped 50% by 2009.Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

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.

Foreign relations

A member state of the United Nations since 1955, Portugal is also a founding member of NATO (1949), OECD (1961) and EFTA (1960);Sony VGP-BPS10 battery

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.Toshiba PA3399U-2BRS battery

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.Toshiba Satellite T4900 Battery

The only international dispute concerns the municipality of Olivença. 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.Toshiba Satellite L305 Battery

Military

The armed forces have three branches: Army, Navy, and Air Force. The military of Portugal serves primarily as a self-defense force whose mission is to protect the territorial integrity of the country and providing humanitarian assistance and security at home and abroad. SONY VGN -FZ210CE Battery

As of 2002, the total armed forces of Portugal numbered 43,600 active personnel including 2,875 women. Reservists numbered 210,930 for all services.

The army had 25,400 personnel with equipment including 187 main battle tanks. The navy of 10,800, including 1,580 marines, had two submarines, six frigates, and 28 patrol and coastal combatants. Dell Precision M70 Battery

The air force of 7,400 was equipped with 50 combat aircraft. Paramilitary police and republican guards, theGuarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), number 40,900. GNR is a police force under the authority of the military, its soldiers are subject to military law and organization. Acer Aspire One battery 10400mAh

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 USA Air Force Base at Terceira Island, in the Azores. Portugal participates in peacekeeping operations in several regions. Defense spending in 1999–00 was $1.3 billion, representing 2.2 percent of GDP.Dell RM791 battery

Since the early 2000s compulsory military service is no longer practiced. The changes also turned the forces' focus towards professional military engagements. The age for voluntary recruitment is set at 18. In the 20th century, Portugal engaged in two major military interventions: World War I and thePortuguese Colonial War (1961–1974). Dell Inspiron E1505 battery

After the end of the Portuguese Empire in 1975, Portugal has participated in peacekeeping missions in East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq (Nasiriyah) and Lebanon. The Portuguese Military's Rapid Reaction Brigade, a combined force of the nation's elite Paratroopers, Special Operations Troops Centre and Commandos, is a special elite fighting force.Dell Studio 1737 battery

Economy

Since the Carnation Revolution (1974) which culminated with the end of one of its most notable phases of economic expansion (that started in the 1960s),there has been a significant change in annual economic growth. After the turmoil of the 1974 revolution and the PREC period, Portugal has been trying to adapt itself to a changing modern global economy. Dell Inspiron 300M Battery

Since the 1990s, Portugal's economic development model has been slowly changing from one based onpublic consumption to one focused on exports, private investment, and development of the high-tech sector. Business services have overtaken more traditional industries such as textiles, clothing, footwear, cork (of which Portugal is the world's leading producer), wood products and beverages. Dell Latitude E4200 Battery

Sectors

Traditionally a sea-power, Portugal has had a strong tradition in the fishing sector and is one of the countries with the highest fish consumption per capita.

With the a transition towards tertiary sector growth, travel and tourism continues to become extremely important for Portugal, with visitor numbers forecast to increase significantly over the next five years.Dell Latitude E5400 Battery

However, there is increasing competition from Eastern European destinations such as Croatia who offer similar attractions, which are often cheaper. Consequently, the country is almost obligated to focus on its niche attractions such as health, nature and rural tourism in order to stay ahead of its competitors.Sony VGN-FW139E/H battery

The insurance sector has performed well, partly reflecting a rapid deepening of the market in Portugal. While sensitive to various types of market and underwriting risks, both the life and non-life sectors, overall, are estimated to be able to withstand a number of severe shocks, even though the impact on individual insurers varies widely.Sony VGN-FW11M Battery

Major State-owned companies include Águas de Portugal (water), ANA (airports), Caixa Geral de Depósitos (banking), Comboios de Portugal (railways), Companhia das Lezírias(agriculture), CTT (postal services), RTP (media) and TAP Portugal (airline). Some of the former are managed by state-run holding company Parpública, Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

which is a shareholder of several companies, both public and private. Companies listed on Euronext Lisbon stock exchange like EDP, Cimpor, Corticeira Amorim,Galp, Jerónimo Martins, Millennium bcp, Portucel Soporcel, Portugal Telecom and Sonae, are among the largest corporations of Portugal by number of employees, net income or international market share. Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Battery

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. Volkswagen Group's AutoEuropa motor vehicle assembly plant in Palmela is among the largest foreign direct investment projects in Portugal.Dell Latitude D620 Battery

Portugal's central bank is the Banco de Portugal, which is an integral part of the European System of Central Banks.

Most industry, business and finance are concentrated in Lisbon and Porto metropolitan areas. The districts of Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra, and Leiria are the biggest economic centres outside those two main metropolitan areas.Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Modern non-traditional technology-based industries like aerospace, biotechnology, and software, have been developed in several locations across the country. Alverca,Covilhã, Évora, and Ponte de Sor are the main centres of Portuguese aerospace industry, which is led by Brazil-based company Embraer.Toshiba Satellite M60 battery

Performance

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.Dell Studio 1457 Battery

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.Dell Latitude D610 Battery

This is despite the fact that Portugal remains the country with the lowest per capita GDP in Western Europe.

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".Dell Studio 1457 Battery

From 2002 to 2007, the unemployment rate increased by 65% (270,500 unemployed citizens in 2002, 448,600 unemployed citizens in 2007). 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," Dell Studio 1450 Battery

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.

Corruption has become an issue of major political and economic significance for the country. Dell Inspiron 1320n Battery

Some cases are well known and were widely reported in the media, such as the affairs in several municipalities involving local town hall officials and businesspersons, as well as a number of politicians with wider responsibilities and power. Nevertheless the Transparency International report for 2010 places Portugal in 31st position in terms of perceived corruption, just below Israel and Spain, and 34 positions above Italy. SONY VGP-BPS13AS Battery

A report published in January 2011 by the Diário de Notícias, a leading Portuguese newspaper, suggested that in the period between the Carnation Revolutionin 1974 and 2010, the democratic Portuguese Republic governments have encouraged over expenditure and investment bubbles through unclear public-private partnerships, SONY VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

funding numerous ineffective and unnecessary external counsultancy and advising committees and firms, allowing considerable slippage in state-managed public works, inflating top management and head officers's bonuses and wages, persistent and lasting recruitment policy that boosts the number of redundant public servants, along with the help of risky credit, public debt creation, and mismanaged European structural and cohesion funds SONY VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

If analysed under a wider time span, the convergence of the Portuguese economy to EU levels has been impressive, especially from 1986 to the early 2000s. 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.SONY VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

(...) Thus Portuguese convergence has been impressive, even though, consistent with its relatively low human-capital stock, the economy has specialised in low-tech production."

On April 6, 2011, already as a resigning Prime Minister, José Sócrates announced on the television that the country, facing a status of bankruptcy, SONY VGP-BPS13/S Battery

would request financial assistance to the IMF and the European Financial Stability Facility, like Greece and the Republic of Ireland had done before. It was the third time that external financial aid was requested to the IMF - the first was in the late 1970s following the Carnation Revolution.SONY VGP-BPS8 Battery

Labour market

Although a developed country and a high income country, Portugal has the lowest GDP per capita in Western Europe and its population has one of the lowest incomes per head among member states of the European Union. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ38M Battery

According to Eurostat, in 2009, Portugal's GPD per capita stood at 80% of the EU27 average, the 10th lowest in the Union.

The average wage in Portugal is €804.22 per month, and the minimum wage, which is regulated by law, is €475 per month (although paid in 14 installments, which means that on average the minimum wage is 546 euros). SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31Z Battery

Officially, in 2008 the unemployment rate decreased to 7.3% in the second quarter of 2008.[52] However, it immediately rose again to higher rates. Influenced by events worldwide, by December 2009, unemployment had surpassed the 10% mark nationwide and, by 2010, it was about 11%.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery

Tourism

Portugal is among the 20 most visited countries in the world, receiving an average of 13 million foreign tourists each year.[53]Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Portugal's economy, contributing to about 5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31J Battery

Tourist hotspots in Portugal are Lisbon, the 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, after Barcelona, the European city which attracts the most tourists (with seven million tourists occupying the city's hotels in 2006, a number that grew 11.8% compared to previous year).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31B Battery

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.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ31E Battery

Most tourists in Portugal are British-, Spanish- 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).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ480E Battery

Tourist regions

The main tourist regions can be broken-down into (by order of importance): the Greater Lisbon (Portuguese:Lisboa), the Algarve, Greater Porto and Northern Portugal (Portuguese: Porto and Norte), the Portuguese Islands (Portuguese: Ilhas Portuguesas: Madeiraand Azores), and Alentejo.SONY VAIO VGN-FZ460E Battery

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: SONY VAIO VGN-FZ340E Battery

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.

Transport

By the early 1970s Portugal's fast economic growth with increasing consumption and purchase of new automobiles set the priority for improvements in transportation. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ220E Battery

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 SONY VAIO VGN-FZ180E Battery

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. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/T Battery

In 1972, Brisa, the highway concessionaire, was founded to handle the management of many of the regions motorways. Vasco da Gama bridge is the longest bridge in Europe.

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 and Faro. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

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, inAlcochete, to replace Lisbon Portela Airport. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

Currently, the most important airports are in Lisbon, Faro, Porto, Funchal (Madeira), and Ponta Delgada(Azores), managed by the national airport authority group ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal.

A national railway system that extends throughout the continent and into Spain, is supported and administered by Comboios de Portugal. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

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).Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

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 LT; 10,700,000 ST) of goods.SONY VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery

The major seaports are located in Leixões, Aveiro, Figueira da Foz, Lisbon, Setúbal, Sines 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.SONY VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery

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). SONY VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery

All major cities and towns have their own local urban transport network, as well as taxi services.

Science and technology

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. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

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, SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

include biosciences research institutions like the Instituto de Medicina Molecular, the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, the IPATIMUP, and the Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular.

Among the largest non-state-run research institutions in Portugal are the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and the Champalimaud Foundation, which yearly awards one of the highest monetary prizes of any science prize in the world. SONY VAIO VGN-FW31J Battery

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.

Iberian bilateral state-supported research efforts include the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory and the Ibercivisdistributed computing platform, which are joint research programmes of both Portugal and Spain. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ21E Battery

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).SONY VAIO VGN-FZ18 Battery

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,HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

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, HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

Portugal started to develop several science parks across the country. These include the Taguspark (in Oeiras), the Coimbra iParque (in Coimbra), the biocant (in Cantanhede), the Madeira Tecnopolo (in Funchal), Sines Tecnopolo (in Sines), Tecmaia (in Maia) and Parkurbis  (in Covilhã). HP Pavilion DV8000 battery

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.HP Pavilion DV6000 battery

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

Energy

There has been a recent trend towards the development of a renewable resource industry and reduction of both consumption and use of fossil fuel resources. SONY VAIO VGN-FZ Battery

In 2006, the world's largest solar power plant began operating in the south, while the world's first commercial wave power farm opened in the Norte region(October 2006). By the end of 2006, 66% of the country's electrical production was from coal and fuel power plants, while 29% were derived from hydroelectricdams, and 6% by wind energy.HP PAVILION DV8000 Battery

In 2008, renewable energy resource methods began to take-up 43% of the nation's consumption of electricity, even as hydroelectric production decreased due to severe droughts. As of June 2010 the electricity exports have outnumbered the imports; 70% of the national production of energy has transitioned to renewable sources.HP PAVILION DV6000 Battery

Demographics

The Instituto Nacional de Estatística (Portuguese: National Institute of Statistics) estimates that, according to the 2001 census, the population was 10,355,824 (of which 52% was female, 48% was male). HP Pavilion dv8000 battery

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.HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

Native Portuguese are an Iberian ethnic group, whose ancestry is very similar to other Western and Southern Europeans andMediterranean peoples, in particular Spaniards, with whom they share a common ancestry, history and cultural proximity.Sony VGP-BPL15 battery

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.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

All subsequent migrations did leave an impact, genetically and culturally, but the main population source of the Portuguese is still Paleolithic.

Immigration

Portugal's colonial history has long since been a cornerstone of its national identity, as has its geographic position at the southwestern corner of Europe, looking out into the Atlantic Ocean. Sony VGP-BPL9 battery

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. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

Portugal, long a country of emigration (the vast majority of Brazilians have some Portuguese ancestry), has now become a country of net immigration, and not just from the last Indian (Portuguese until 1961), African (Portuguese until 1975), and Far East Asian (Portuguese until 1999) overseas territories. Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

An estimated 800,000 Portuguese returned to Portugal as the country's African possessions gained independence in 1975. By 2007, Portugal had 10,617,575 inhabitants of whom about 332,137 were legal immigrants.

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. Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

Romanians, Moldovans and Chinese have also chosen Portugal as destination. Portugal's Romani population, estimated at about 40,000, offers another element of ethnic diversity. Most Romanis congregate with similar ethnic groups in the southern parts of the country and sell clothing and handicrafts in rural markets.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

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). Dell Studio 1555 battery

Religion

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.Dell KM958 battery

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. Dell XPS M1210 Battery

The growth of the Portuguese overseas empire made its missionaries important agents of colonization, with important roles in the education and evangelization of newly 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.SONY VAIO VGN-FW33GW Battery

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: SONY VAIO VGN-FW21Z Battery

the 1940 Concordata (later amended in 1971) between Portugal and the Holy See, and the 2001 Religious Freedom Act.

Today, 84.5% of the Portuguese population are Roman Catholic while 2.2% follow other Christian faiths. In addition, the country has small Protestant, Mormon,Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baha'i, Buddhist and Jewish communities.SONY VAIO VGN-FW21M Battery

Languages

Portuguese is the official language of Portugal. Portuguese is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia (Spain) and Northern Portugal, from the Galician-Portuguese language. SONY VAIO VGN-FW21L Battery

It is derived from theLatin spoken by the romanized Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula around 2000 years ago. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it spread worldwide as Portugal established a colonial and commercial empire (1415–1999).Dell Latitude E6400 ATG Battery

As a result, nowadays the Portuguese language is also official and spoken in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, and East Timor. These countries, plus Macau Special Administrative Region (People's Republic of China), make up the Lusosphere,Asus M52N Battery

term derived from the ancient Roman province of Lusitania, which currently matches the Portuguese territory south of the Douroriver. Mirandese is also recognized as a co-official regional language in some municipalities of northeastern Portugal. It retains fewer than 5,000 speakers in Portugal (a number that can be up to 12,000 if counting second language speakers). SONY VAIO VGN-FW21E Battery

Education

The educational system is divided into preschool (for those under age 6), basic education (9 years, in three stages, compulsory), secondary education (3 years, till the 12th grade), and higher education (university and polytechnic).Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Total adult literacy rate is 99%. Portuguese primary school enrollments are close to 100%. According to the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009, the average Portuguese 15-years 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).Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

Over 35% of college-age citizens (20 years old) attend one of the country's higher education institutions (compared with 50% in the United States and 35% in the OECD countries). In addition to being a key destination for international students, Portugal is also among the top places of origin for international students. Ibm THINKPAD X200 Battery

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 Lisbonbefore moving to Coimbra. The largest university in Portugal is the University of Porto. HP Pavilion DV7 battery

Universities are usually organized into faculties. Institutes and schools are also common designations for autonomous subdivisions ofPortuguese higher education institutions, and are always used in the polytechnical system. The Bologna processhas been adopted since 2006 by Portuguese universities and polytechnical institutes. Compaq CQ50 battery

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,HP Pavilion DV8 battery

mature applicants (over 23 years old), 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.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

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.

Health

According to the latest Human Development Report, the average Life Expectancy in 2007 was 78.6 years.HP DV9700 battery

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. Compaq CQ35-100 battery

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. HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

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. Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

In practice, however, the autonomy of regional health administrations over budget setting and spending has been limited to primary care.

The NHS is predominantly funded through general taxation. Employer (including the state) and employee contributions represent the main funding sources of the health subsystems. HP 448007-001 battery 

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