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Portugal

1174

Country codes:PT

Introduction

Portugal /ˈpɔrtʃʉɡəl/ (Portuguese: Portugal, IPA: [puɾtuˈɣaɫ]), officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa) is a country situated 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. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are part of Portugal. The country is named after its second largest city, Porto, whose Latin name was Portus Cale.

The land within the borders of today's Portuguese Republic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times: occupied by Celts like the Gallaeci and the Lusitanians, integrated into the Roman Republic and later settled by Germanic peoples such as the Suebi and the Visigoths, in the 8th century the lands were conquered by Moors. During the Christian Reconquista, Portugal established itself as an independent kingdom from León, claiming to be the oldest European nation-state.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, as the result of pioneering the Age of Discovery, Portugal expanded western influence and 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. The Portuguese Empire was the first global empire in history, and also the longest lived of the European colonial empires, spanning almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415, to the handover of Macau to China in 1999. However, the country's international status was greatly reduced during the 19th century, especially following the independence of Brazil, its largest colony.

After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established being then superseded by the "Estado Novo" authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974, after which Portugal's last overseas provinces became independent (most prominently Angola and Mozambique); the last overseas territory, Macau, was ceded to China in 1999.

Portugal is a developed country with an advanced and high-income economy, with a very high Human Development Index. It has the world's 19th-highest quality-of-life, one of the top health care systems, and it's also one of the world's most globalized and peaceful nations. A member of the European Union and the United Nations, it is as well a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, OECD, NATO, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the Eurozone and the Schengen Agreement.

History

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, 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.

Reconquista

During the Reconquista period, Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim and Moorish domination. In 868, the First County of Portugal was 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 the Kingdom of León was transformed into the independent Kingdom of Portugal.

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

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. 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.

Exploration, colonization and trade

In the following decades, Portugal spearheaded the exploration of the world and undertook the Age of Discovery. Infante Dom Henry the Navigator, son of King João I, became the main sponsor and patron of this endeavor.

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.

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.

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 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. 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.

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.

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. 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 a union of kingdoms, as a personal union. 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 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 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.

Official estimates - and most estimates made so far - place the number of Portuguese migrants to Colonial Brazil during the gold rush of the XVIII century at 600,000. Though not usually studied, this represented one of the largest movements of European populations to their colonies to the Americas during the colonial times. According to historian Leslie Bethell, "In 1700 Portugal had a population of about two million people." During the eighteenth century hundreds of thousands left for the Portuguese Colony of Brazil, despite efforts by the crown to place severe restrictions on emigration.

Pombaline era

In 1738, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the talented son of a Lisbon squire, 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. 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. 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: 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. 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 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 of Oeiras in 1759.

In 1762 Spain invaded Portuguese territory as part of the Seven Years' War, however 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.

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.

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.

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. 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 court to 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.

Due to 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 be able to safely return 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 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.

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. 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 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

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 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 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, which aggravated by the Portuguese military intervention in World War I, 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. 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, with Angola and Mozambique, as the largest and richest overseas territories, being the main targets of those initiatives.

End of colonialism

After India attained independence in 1947, the residents of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, with the support of the Indian government and the help of pro-independence organisations, liberated the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese rule in 1954. 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 Portuguese defensive garrison, which was forced to surrender. The outcome was the loss of the remaining Portuguese territories in the Indian subcontinent.

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).

Carnation Revolution

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 km. 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, or On-Going Revolutionary Process). This period was 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, 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).

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. 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. 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. In the following years, Portugal's economic situation obliged the government to pursue International Monetary Fund (IMF)-monitored stabilization programs in 1977–78 and 1983–85.

European integration

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 result of EEC/EU structural and cohesion funds and Portuguese companies' easier access to foreign markets. 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. 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 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 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.

Culture

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, Portugal modernized its public cultural facilities, in addition to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation established in 1956 in Lisbon. These include the Belém Cultural Center 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.

Architecture

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, incorporating maritime elements and representations of the Portuguese Age of Discovery. 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 due to stadium design.

Cinema

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, António-Pedro Vasconcelos, João César Monteiro, 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, Soraia Chaves, Vasco Santana, Ribeirinho, and António Silva, among many others

Literature

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

Adventurer and poet Luís de Camões (ca. 1524–1580) wrote the epic poem "Os Lusíadas" (The Lusiads), with Virgil's Aeneid as his main influence. 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, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, António Lobo Antunes and Miguel Torga. Particularly popular and distinguished is José Saramago, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for literature.

Cuisine

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).

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 deserved 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.

Music

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.

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, 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 Gerardo Ribeiro, Carlos Damas, 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.

Painting

It has also a rich history as far as painting is concerned. 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 painter/writer was 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.

Sport

Football (soccer) is the most popular and played sport. 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, are among the numerous examples of other world-class football (soccer) players born in Portugal and noted worldwide. Portuguese football managers are also noteworthy, with José Mourinho, André Villas-Boas, Carlos Queiroz and Manuel José among the most renowned.

The Portuguese national teams, have 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.

Futebol Clube do Porto, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, and Sporting Clube de Portugal are the largest sports clubs by popularity and by number of trophies won, often known as "os três grandes" ("the big three"). They have 12 titles won 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 basketball, futsal, handball, and volleyball.

Portugal has a successful rink 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 rink hockey clubs in the history of European championships are Futebol Clube do Porto, Sporting Clube de Portugal, Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Óquei de Barcelos.

The 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 motor sport, 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 motor sports.

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 swimming 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.

Geography

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, 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.

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.

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). 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 km. This is the 3rd largest Exclusive Economic Zone of the European Union and the 11th largest in the world.

Climate

Portugal is defined as a Mediterranean climate (Csa in the south and Douro region, and Csb in the north and western Alentejo), and also Semi-arid climate or Steppe climate (Bsk in certain parts of Beja district) 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 Guadiana river basin. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo region by mountains reaching up to 900 metres 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 the Douro river. 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). 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).

Snowfalls occur regularly in the interior North and Center of the country in particular in the districts of Vila Real, Bragança, Viseu and Guarda. In winter temperatures may drop below −10 °C (14.0 °F) in particular in Serra da Estrela, Serra do Gerês 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 southeast and lower in the northwest. The sea surface temperature on the west coast of mainland Portugal varies from 13 °C (55.4 °F)-15 °C (59.0 °F) in winter to 18 °C (64.4 °F)-20 °C (68.0 °F) in the summer while on the south coast in the summer the water temperature is typically around 22 °C (71.6 °F) occasionally reaching 25 °C (77.0 °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 topography, temperature and humidity). 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. 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 Koppen-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 16 °C (60.8 °F)-18 °C (64.4 °F) in winter to 23 °C (73.4 °F)-25 °C (77.0 °F) in the summer occasionally reaching 26 °C (78.8 °F).

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 surface temperatures are over 20 °C (68 °F) even during the winter (Source AEMET).

Biodiversity

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. 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).

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 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. 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.

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. 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. 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 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.

Inforamtion above from the Wikipedia article Portugal, licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.

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