As an outstanding Nation Portugal was a world power during the 15th
and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with
the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during
the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a
colony. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next
six decades repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a
left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The
following year Portugal granted independence to all of its African
colonies. Portugal entered the EC in 1985.
Population: 108.2 per sq km.
Capital : Lisbon. Population: 3,319,900 (1997).
Religion : Roman Catholic.
Portugal occupies the southwest part of the Iberian Peninsula and
shares borders in the north and the east with Spain, while to the south
and west lies the Atlantic Ocean. The country is divided into various
provinces, including the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores; the
latter lying some 1220km (760 miles) due west of Lisbon. The Douro, Tejo
and Guadiana rivers flow across the border from Spain. North Portugal is
mountainous, the highest part being the Serra da Estrela, a popular area
for skiing. South of Lisbon stretch the vast plains of the Alentejo
region. A range of mountains divides the Alentejo from the Algarve,
which runs along the south coast, and is one of the most popular resort
areas with wide sandy beaches and attractive bays.
Language : Portuguese. English is widely spoken within the
Time : GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before
last Sunday in October).