The image is from Wikipedia Commons
República Portuguesa (Portuguese)
Anthem: " A Portuguesa"
and largest city
and national language
|Government||Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic|
|Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa|
|Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues|
|Legislature||Assembly of the Republic|
|24 June 1128|
|25 July 1139|
|1 December 1640|
|23 September 1822|
|5 October 1910|
|25 April 1974|
|25 April 1976[note 3]|
|1 January 1986|
|92,226 km2 (35,609 sq mi) (109th)|
• Water (%)
|1.2 (as of 2015)|
• 2019 estimate
• 2011 census
|114.5/km2 (296.6/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2020 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
• Per capita
|Gini (2018)|| 31.9
|HDI (2019)|| 0.864
very high · 38th
|Currency||Euro (€) (EUR)|
|Time zone||UTC (WET)
• Summer ( DST)
|Note: Mainland Portugal and Madeira use WET/WEST, the Azores are 1 hour behind.|
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (CE)|
|ISO 3166 code||PT|
Portugal (Portuguese: [puɾtuˈɣaɫ]), officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa [ʁɛˈpuβlikɐ puɾtuˈɣezɐ]),[note 4] is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state in mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. The official and national language is Portuguese.
Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. It was inhabited by pre-Celtic and Celtic peoples, visited by Phoenicians-Carthaginians, Ancient Greeks and ruled by the Romans, who were followed by the invasions of the Suebi and Visigothic Germanic peoples. After the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, most of its territory was part of Al-Andalus. Portugal as a country was established during the early Christian Reconquista. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede (1128). The Kingdom of Portugal was later proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique (1139), and independence from León was recognized by the Treaty of Zamora (1143).
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global maritime and commercial empire, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration with the discovery of what would become Brazil (1500). During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castile, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of Brazil (1822) erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence.
After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, later being superseded by the Estado Novo authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution (1974), ending the Portuguese Colonial War. Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories. The handover of Macau to China (1999) marked the end of what can be considered one of the longest-lived colonial empires in history.
Portugal has left a profound cultural, architectural and linguistic influence across the globe, with a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers, and many Portuguese-based creoles. It is a developed country with an advanced economy and high living standards. Additionally, it is highly placed in rankings of moral freedom (2nd), peacefulness (3rd), democracy (7th), press freedom (10th), stability (14th), social progress (21st), and prosperity (27th). A member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Schengen Area and the Council of Europe (CoE), Portugal was also one of the founding members of NATO, the eurozone, the OECD, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.
The word Portugal derives from the Roman-Celtic place name Portus Cale; a city where present-day Vila Nova de Gaia now stands, at the mouth of the River Douro in the north of what is now Portugal. The name of the city is from the Latin word for port or harbour, portus, but the second element of Portus Cale is less clear. The mainstream explanation for the name is that it is an ethnonym derived from the Castro people, also known as the Callaeci, Gallaeci or Gallaecia, who occupied the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. The names Cale and Callaici are the origin of today's Gaia and Galicia.
Another theory proposes that Cale or Calle is a derivation of the Celtic word for port, like the Irish caladh or Scottish Gaelic cala. These explanations, would require the pre-Roman language of the area to have been a branch of Q-Celtic, which is not generally accepted because the region's pre-Roman language was Gallaecian Celtic, usually considered P-Celtic. However, scholars like Jean Markale and Tranoy propose that the Celtic branches all share the same origin, and placenames such as Cale, Gal, Gaia, Calais, Galatia, Galicia, Gaelic, Gael, Gaul, Wales, Cornwall, Wallonia and others all stem from one linguistic root.
Another theory has it that Cala was the name of a Celtic goddess (drawing a comparison with the Gaelic Cailleach, a supernatural hag). Some French scholars believe the name may have come from "Portus Gallus", the port of the Gauls or Celts.
Around 200 BC, the Romans took the Iberian Peninsula from the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War. In the process they conquered Cale, renaming it Portus Cale ("Port of Cale") and incorporating it in the province of Gaellicia with its capital in Bracara Augusta (modern day Braga, Portugal). During the Middle Ages, the region around Portus Cale became known by the Suebi and Visigoths as Portucale. The name Portucale evolved into Portugale during the 7th and 8th centuries, and by the 9th century, that term was used extensively to refer to the region between the rivers Douro and Minho. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Portugale, Portugallia, Portvgallo or Portvgalliae was already referred to as Portugal.
The 14th century Middle French name for the country, Portingal, which added an intrusive /n/ sound through the process of excrescence, spread to Middle English. Middle English variant spellings included Portingall, Portingale,[note 5] Portyngale and Portingaill. The spelling Portyngale is found in Chaucer's Epilogue to the Nun's Priest's Tale. These variants survive in the Torrent of Portyngale, a Middle English romance composed around 1400, and "Old Robin of Portingale", an English Child ballad. Portingal and variants were also used in Scots and survive in the Cornish name for the country, Portyngal.
The early history of Portugal is shared with the rest of the Iberian Peninsula located in Southwestern Europe. The name of Portugal derives from the joined Romano-Celtic name Portus Cale. The region was settled by Pre-Celts and Celts, giving origin to peoples like the Gallaeci, Lusitanians, Celtici and Cynetes (also known as Conii), visited by Phoenicians-Carthaginians and Ancient Greeks, was incorporated in the Roman Republic dominions as Lusitania and part of Gallaecia, after 45 BC until 298 AD.
The region of present-day Portugal was inhabited by Neanderthals and then by Homo sapiens, who roamed the border-less region of the northern Iberian peninsula. These were subsistence societies and although they did not establish prosperous settlements, they did form organized societies. Neolithic Portugal experimented with domestication of herding animals, the raising of some cereal crops and fluvial or marine fishing.
It is believed by some scholars that early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and inter-married with the local populations, forming different tribes. Another theory suggests that Celts inhabited Western Iberia / Portugal well before any large Celtic migrations from Central Europe. In addition, a number of linguists expert in ancient Celtic have presented compelling evidence that the Tartessian language, once spoken in parts of SW Spain and SW Portugal, is at least proto-Celtic in structure.
Modern archaeology and research shows a Portuguese root to the Celts in Portugal and elsewhere. During that period and until the Roman invasions, the Castro culture (a variation of the Urnfield culture also known as Urnenfelderkultur) was prolific in Portugal and modern Galicia. This culture, together with the surviving elements of the Atlantic megalithic culture and the contributions that come from the more Western Mediterranean cultures, ended up in what has been called the Cultura Castreja or Castro Culture. This designation refers to the characteristic Celtic populations called 'dùn', 'dùin' or 'don' in Gaelic and that the Romans called castrae in their chronicles.
Based on the Roman chronicles about the Callaeci peoples, along with the Lebor Gabála Érenn narrations and the interpretation of the abundant archaeological remains throughout the northern half of Portugal and Galicia, it is possible to infer that there was a matriarchal society, with a military and religious aristocracy probably of the feudal type. The figures of maximum authority were the chieftain (chefe tribal), of military type and with authority in his Castro or clan, and the druid, mainly referring to medical and religious functions that could be common to several castros. The Celtic cosmogony remained homogeneous due to the ability of the druids to meet in councils with the druids of other areas, which ensured the transmission of knowledge and the most significant events. The first documentary references to Castro society are provided by chroniclers of Roman military campaigns such as Strabo, Herodotus and Pliny the Elder among others, about the social organization, and describing the inhabitants of these territories, the Gallaeci of Northern Portugal as: "A group of barbarians who spend the day fighting and the night eating, drinking and dancing under the moon."
There were other similar tribes, and chief among them were the Lusitanians; the core area of these people lay in inland central Portugal, while numerous other related tribes existed such as the Celtici of Alentejo, and the Cynetes or Conii of the Algarve. Among the tribes or sub-divisions were the Bracari, Coelerni, Equaesi, Grovii, Interamici, Leuni, Luanqui, Limici, Narbasi, Nemetati, Paesuri, Quaquerni, Seurbi, Tamagani, Tapoli, Turduli, Turduli Veteres, Turdulorum Oppida, Turodi, and Zoelae. A few small, semi-permanent, commercial coastal settlements (such as Tavira) were also founded in the Algarve region by Phoenicians–Carthaginians.
Roman Lusitania and Gallaecia
Romans first invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 219 BC. The Carthaginians, Rome's adversary in the Punic Wars, were expelled from their coastal colonies. During the last days of Julius Caesar, almost the entire peninsula was annexed to the Roman Republic.
The Roman conquest of what is now part of Portugal took almost two hundred years and took many lives of young soldiers and the lives of those who were sentenced to a certain death in the slave mines when not sold as slaves to other parts of the empire. It suffered a severe setback in 155 BC, when a rebellion began in the north. The Lusitanians and other native tribes, under the leadership of Viriathus, wrested control of all of western Iberia.
Rome sent numerous legions and its best generals to Lusitania to quell the rebellion, but to no avail – the Lusitanians kept conquering territory. The Roman leaders decided to change their strategy. They bribed Viriathus's allies to kill him. In 139 BC, Viriathus was assassinated and Tautalus became leader of the Lusitanians.
Rome installed a colonial regime. The complete Romanization of Lusitania only took place in the Visigothic era.
In 27 BC, Lusitania gained the status of Roman province. Later, a northern province of Lusitania was formed, known as Gallaecia, with capital in Bracara Augusta, today's Braga. There are still many ruins of castros (hill forts) throughout modern Portugal and remains of the Castro culture. Some urban remains are quite large, like Conímbriga and Mirobriga. The former, beyond being one of the largest Roman settlements in Portugal, is also classified as a National Monument. Conímbriga lies 16 kilometres (10 miles) from Coimbra, which in turn was the ancient Aeminium. The site also has a museum that displays objects found by archaeologists during their excavations.
Several works of engineering, such as baths, temples, bridges, roads, circuses, theatres and laymen's homes are preserved throughout the country. Coins, some coined in Lusitanian land, as well as numerous pieces of ceramics, were also found. Contemporary historians include Paulus Orosius (c. 375–418) and Hydatius (c. 400–469), bishop of Aquae Flaviae, who reported on the final years of the Roman rule and arrival of the Germanic tribes.
Germanic kingdoms: Suebi and Visigoths
In the early 5th century, Germanic tribes, namely the Suebi and the Vandals (Silingi and Hasdingi) together with their allies, the Sarmatians and Alans invaded the Iberian Peninsula where they would form their kingdom. The Kingdom of the Suebi was the Germanic post-Roman kingdom, established in the former Roman provinces of Gallaecia-Lusitania. 5th-century vestiges of Alan settlements were found in Alenquer (from old Germanic Alan kerk, temple of the Alans), Coimbra and Lisbon.
About 410 and during the 6th century it became a formally declared Kingdom of the Suebi, where king Hermeric made a peace treaty with the Gallaecians before passing his domains to Rechila, his son. In 448 Rechila died, leaving the state in expansion to Rechiar. After the defeat against the Visigoths, the Suebian kingdom was divided, with Frantan and Aguiulfo ruling simultaneously. Both reigned from 456 to 457, the year in which Maldras (457–459) reunified the kingdom. He was assassinated after a failed Roman-Visigothic conspiracy. Although the conspiracy did not achieve its true purposes, the Suebian Kingdom was again divided between two kings: Frumar (Frumario 459–463) and Remismund (Remismundo, son of Maldras) (459–469) who would re-reunify his father's kingdom in 463. He would be forced to adopt Arianism in 465 due to the Visigoth influence. By the year 500, the Visigothic Kingdom had been installed in Iberia, it was based in Toledo and advancing westwards. They became a threat to the Suebian rule. After the death of Remismund in 469 a dark period set in, where virtually all written texts and accounts disappear. This period lasted until 550. The only thing known about this period is that Theodemund (Teodemundo) most probably ruled the Suebians. The dark period ended with the reign of Karriarico (550–559) who reinstalled Catholic Christianity in 550. He was succeeded by Theodemar (559–570) during whose reign the 1st Council of Braga (561) was held.
The councils represented an advance in the organization of the territory (paroeciam suevorum (Suebian parish) and the Christianization of the pagan population (De correctione rusticorum) under the auspices of Saint Martin of Braga (São Martinho de Braga).
After the death of Teodomiro, Miro (570–583) was his successor. During his reign, the 2nd Council of Braga (572) was held. The Visigothic civil war began in 577. Miro intervened. Later in 583 he also organized an unsuccessful expedition to reconquer Seville. During the return from this failed operation Miro died.
In the Suebian Kingdom many internal struggles continued to take place. Eborico (Eurico, 583–584) was dethroned by Andeca (Audeca 584–585), who failed to prevent the Visigothic invasion led by Leovigildo. The Visigothic invasion, completed in 585, turned the once rich and fertile kingdom of the Suebi into the sixth province of the Gothic kingdom. Leovigild was crowned King of Gallaecia, Hispania and Gallia Narbonensis.
For the next 300 years and by the year 700, the entire Iberian Peninsula was ruled by the Visigoths. Under the Visigoths, Gallaecia was a well-defined space governed by a doge of its own. Doges at this time were related to the monarchy acted as princes in all matters. Both 'governors' Wamba and Wittiza (Vitiza) acted as doge (they would later become kings in Toledo). These two became known as the 'vitizians', who headquartered in the northwest and called on the Arab invaders from the South to be their allies in the struggle for power in 711. King Roderic (Rodrigo) was killed while opposing this invasion, thus becoming the last Visigothic king of Iberia. From the various Germanic groups who settled in Western Iberia, the Suebi left the strongest lasting cultural legacy in what is today Portugal, Galicia and western fringes of Asturias. According to Dan Stanislawski, the Portuguese way of living in regions North of the Tagus is mostly inherited from the Suebi, in which small farms prevail, distinct from the large properties of Southern Portugal. Bracara Augusta, the modern city of Braga and former capital of Gallaecia, became the capital of the Suebi. Apart from cultural and some linguistic traces, the Suebians left the highest Germanic genetic contribution of the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal and Galicia. Orosius, at that time resident in Hispania, shows a rather pacific initial settlement, the newcomers working their lands or serving as bodyguards of the locals. Another Germanic group that accompanied the Suebi and settled in Gallaecia were the Buri. They settled in the region between the rivers Cávado and Homem, in the area known as Terras de Bouro (Lands of the Buri).
Islamic period and the Reconquista
Today's continental Portugal, along with most of modern Spain, was part of al-Andalus between 726 and 1249, following the Umayyad Caliphate conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. This rule lasted from some decades in the North to five centuries in the South.
After defeating the Visigoths in only a few months, the Umayyad Caliphate started expanding rapidly in the peninsula. Beginning in 726, the land that is now Portugal became part of the vast Umayyad Caliphate's empire of Damascus, which stretched from the Indus river in the Indian sub-continent up to the South of France, until its collapse in 750. That year the west of the empire gained its independence under Abd-ar-Rahman I with the establishment of the Emirate of Córdoba. After almost two centuries, the Emirate became the Caliphate of Córdoba in 929, until its dissolution a century later in 1031 into no less than 23 small kingdoms, called Taifa kingdoms.
The governors of the taifas each proclaimed themselves Emir of their provinces and established diplomatic relations with the Christian kingdoms of the north. Most of present-day Portugal fell into the hands of the Taifa of Badajoz of the Aftasid Dynasty, and after a short spell of an ephemeral Taifa of Lisbon in 1022, fell under the dominion of the Taifa of Seville of the Abbadids poets. The Taifa period ended with the conquest of the Almoravids who came from Morocco in 1086 winning a decisive victory at the Battle of Sagrajas, followed a century later in 1147, after the second period of Taifa, by the Almohads, also from Marrakesh. Al-Andaluz was divided into different districts called Kura. Gharb Al-Andalus at its largest was constituted of ten kuras, each with a distinct capital and governor. The main cities of the period in Portugal were in the southern half of the country: Beja, Silves, Alcácer do Sal, Santarém and Lisbon. The Muslim population of the region consisted mainly of native Iberian converts to Islam (the so-called Muwallad or Muladi) and berbers. The Arabs were principally noblemen from Syria and Oman; and though few in numbers, they constituted the elite of the population. The Berbers were originally from the Rif and Atlas mountains region of North Africa and were nomads.
County of Portugal
An Asturian Visigothic noble named Pelagius of Asturias in 718 was elected leader by many of the ousted Visigoth nobles. Pelagius called for the remnant of the Christian Visigothic armies to rebel against the Moors and regroup in the unconquered northern Asturian highlands, better known today as the Cantabrian Mountains, in what is today the small mountain region in North-western Spain, adjacent to the Bay of Biscay.
Pelagius' plan was to use the Cantabrian mountains as a place of refuge and protection from the invading Moors. He then aimed to regroup the Iberian Peninsula's Christian armies and use the Cantabrian mountains as a springboard from which to regain their lands. In the process, after defeating the Moors in the Battle of Covadonga in 722, Pelagius was proclaimed king, thus founding the Christian Kingdom of Asturias and starting the war of Christian reconquest known in Portuguese as the Reconquista Cristã.
At the end of the 9th century, the region of Portugal, between the rivers Minho and Douro, was reconquered from the Moors by the nobleman and knight Vímara Peres on the orders of King Alfonso III of Asturias. Finding that the region had previously had two major cities – Portus Cale in the coast and Braga in the interior, with many towns that were now deserted – he decided to repopulate and rebuild them with Portuguese and Galician refugees and other Christians. Apart from the Arabs from the South, the coastal regions in the North were also attacked by Norman and Viking raiders mainly from 844. The last great invasion, through the Minho (river), ended with the defeat of Olaf II Haraldsson in 1014 against the Galician nobility who also stopped further advances into the County of Portugal.
Count Vímara Peres organized the region he had reconquered, and elevated it to the status of County, naming it the County of Portugal after the region's major port city – Portus Cale or modern Porto. One of the first cities Vimara Peres founded at this time is Vimaranes, known today as Guimarães – the "birthplace of the Portuguese nation" or the "cradle city" (Cidade Berço in Portuguese).
After annexing the County of Portugal into one of the several counties that made up the Kingdom of Asturias, King Alfonso III of Asturias knighted Vímara Peres, in 868, as the First Count of Portus Cale (Portugal). The region became known as Portucale, Portugale, and simultaneously Portugália – the County of Portugal.
Later the Kingdom of Asturias was divided into a number of Christian Kingdoms in Northern Iberia due to dynastic divisions of inheritance among the king's offspring. With the forced abdication of Alfonso III "the Great" of Asturias by his sons in 910, the Kingdom of Asturias split into three separate kingdoms. The three kingdoms were eventually reunited in 924 under the crown of León.
In 1093, Alfonso VI of León bestowed the county to Henry of Burgundy and married him to his illegitimate daughter, Teresa of León, for his role in reconquering the land from Moors. Henry based his newly formed county in Bracara Augusta (modern Braga), capital city of the ancient Roman province, and also previous capital of several kingdoms over the first millennia.
On 24 June 1128, the Battle of São Mamede occurred near Guimarães. Afonso Henriques, Count of Portugal, defeated his mother Countess Teresa and her lover Fernão Peres de Trava, thereby establishing himself as sole leader. Afonso then turned his arms against the Moors in the south.
Afonso's campaigns were successful and, on 25 July 1139, he obtained an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Ourique, and straight after was unanimously proclaimed King of Portugal by his soldiers. This 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.
Afonso then established the first of the Portuguese Cortes at Lamego, where he was crowned by the Archbishop of Braga, though the validity of the Cortes of Lamego has been disputed and called a myth created during the Portuguese Restoration War. Afonso was recognized in 1143 by King Alfonso VII of León, and in 1179 by Pope Alexander III.
During the Reconquista period, Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula from Moorish domination. Afonso Henriques and his successors, aided by military monastic orders, pushed southward to drive out the Moors. At this time, Portugal covered about half of its present area. In 1249, the Reconquista ended with the capture of the Algarve and complete expulsion of the last Moorish settlements on the southern coast, giving Portugal its present-day borders, with minor exceptions.
In one of these situations of conflict with the kingdom of Castile, Dinis I of Portugal signed with the king Fernando IV of Castile (who was represented, when a minor, by his mother the queen Maria de Molina) the Treaty of Alcañices (1297), which stipulated that Portugal abolished agreed treaties against the kingdom of Castile for supporting the infant Juan de Castilla. This treaty established among other things the border demarcation between the kingdom of Portugal and the kingdom of Leon, where the disputed town of Olivenza was included.
In 1348 and 1349 Portugal, like the rest of Europe, was devastated by the Black Death. In 1373, Portugal made an alliance with England, which is the longest-standing alliance in the world. Over time, this went far beyond geo-political and military cooperation (protecting both nations' interests in Africa, the Americas and Asia against French, Spanish and Dutch rivals) and maintained strong trade and cultural ties between the two old European allies. In the Oporto region, in particular, there is visible English influence to this day.
Joanine era and Age of Discoveries
In 1383, John I of Castile, husband of Beatrice of Portugal and son-in-law of Ferdinand I of Portugal, claimed the throne of Portugal. A faction of petty noblemen and commoners, led by John of Aviz (later King John I of Portugal) and commanded by General Nuno Álvares Pereira defeated the Castilians in the Battle of Aljubarrota. With this battle, the House of Aviz became the ruling house of Portugal.
Portugal spearheaded European exploration of the world and the Age of Discovery. Prince Henry the Navigator, son of King John I of Portugal, became the main sponsor and patron of this endeavour. During this period, Portugal explored the Atlantic Ocean, discovering the Atlantic archipelagos the Azores, Madeira, and Cape Verde; explored the African coast; colonized selected areas of Africa; discovered an eastern route to India via the Cape of Good Hope; discovered Brazil, explored the Indian Ocean, established trading routes throughout most of southern Asia; and sent the first direct European maritime trade and diplomatic missions to China and Japan.
In 1415, Portugal acquired the first of its overseas colonies by conquering Ceuta, the first prosperous Islamic trade centre in North Africa. There followed the first discoveries in the Atlantic: Madeira and the Azores, which led to the first colonization movements.
Throughout the 15th century, Portuguese explorers sailed the coast of Africa, establishing trading posts for several common types of tradable commodities at the time, ranging from gold to slaves, as they looked for a route to India and its spices, which were coveted in Europe.
The Treaty of Tordesillas, intended to resolve the dispute that had been created following the return of Christopher Columbus, was made by Pope Alexander VI, the mediator between Portugal and Spain. It was signed on 7 June 1494, and divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between the two countries along a meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands (off the west coast of Africa).
In 1498, Vasco da Gama accomplished what Columbus set out for and became the first European to reach India by sea, bringing economic prosperity to Portugal and its population of 1.7 million residents, and helping to start the Portuguese Renaissance. In 1500, the Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real reached what is now Canada and founded the town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, Newfoundland and Labrador, long before the French and English in the 17th century, and being just one of many Portuguese colonizations of the Americas.
In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil and claimed it for Portugal. Ten years later, Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa in India, Muscat and 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. 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 in the Moluccas.
Although for a long period it was believed the Dutch were the first Europeans to arrive in Australia, there is also some evidence that the Portuguese may have discovered Australia in 1521. From 1519 to 1522, Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão de Magalhães) organized a Spanish expedition to the East Indies which resulted in the first circumnavigation of the globe. Magellan never made it back to Europe as he was killed by natives in the Philippines in 1521.
The Treaty of Zaragoza, signed on 22 April 1529 between Portugal and Spain, specified the anti-meridian to the line of demarcation specified in the Treaty of Tordesillas.
All these factors made Portugal one of the world's major economic, military, and political powers from the 15th century until the late 16th century.
Iberian Union, Restoration and early Brigantine era
Portugal voluntarily entered a dynastic union 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-Cardinal Henry of Portugal – both died without heirs, resulting in the Portuguese succession crisis of 1580.
Subsequently, Philip II of Spain claimed the throne and was accepted as Philip I of Portugal. Portugal did not lose its formal independence, briefly forming a union of kingdoms. At this time Spain was a geographic territory. The joining of the two crowns deprived Portugal of an independent foreign policy and led to its involvement in the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands.
War led to a deterioration of the relations with Portugal's oldest ally, England, and the loss of Hormuz, a strategic trading post located between Iran and Oman. 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 of Portugal spearheaded an uprising backed by disgruntled nobles and was proclaimed king. The Portuguese Restoration War 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.
King John IV's eldest son came to reign as Afonso VI, however his physical and mental disabilities left him overpowered by Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa, 3rd Count of Castelo Melhor. In a palace coup organized by the King's wife, Maria Francisca of Savoy, and his brother, Pedro, Duke of Beja, King Afonso VI was declared mentally incompetent and exiled first to the Azores and then to the Royal Palace of Sintra, outside Lisbon. After Afonso's death, Pedro came to the throne as King Pedro II. Pedro's reign saw the consolidation of national independence, imperial expansion, and investment in domestic production.
Pedro II's son, John V, saw a reign characterized by the influx of gold into the coffers of the royal treasury, supplied largely by the royal fifth (a tax on precious metals) that was received from the Portuguese colonies of Brazil and Maranhão.
Disregarding traditional Portuguese institutions of governance, John V acted as an absolute monarch, nearly depleting the country's tax revenues on ambitious architectural works, most notably Mafra Palace, and on commissions and additions for his sizeable art and literary collections.
Owing to his craving for international diplomatic recognition, John also spent large sums on the embassies he sent to the courts of Europe, the most famous being those he sent to Paris in 1715 and Rome in 1716.
Official estimates – and most estimates made so far – place the number of Portuguese migrants to Colonial Brazil during the gold rush of the 18th century at 600,000. This represented one of the largest movements of European populations to their colonies in the Americas during colonial times.
Pombaline era and Enlightenment
In 1738, fidalgo Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo (later ennobled as the 1st Marquis of Pombal) began a diplomatic career as the Portuguese Ambassador in London and later in Vienna. The Queen consort of Portugal, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, was fond of Carvalho e Melo; and after his first wife died, she arranged the widowed Carvalho e Melo's second marriage to the daughter of the Austrian Field Marshal Leopold Josef, Count von Daun. King John V, however, was not pleased and recalled Carvalho e Melo to Portugal in 1749. John V died the following year and his son, Joseph I, was crowned. In contrast to his father, Joseph I was fond of Carvalho e Melo, and with the Queen Mother's approval, he appointed Carvalho e Melo as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As the King's confidence in Carvalho e Melo increased, the King entrusted him with more control of the state. By 1755, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo was made Prime Minister. Impressed by British economic success that he had witnessed from his time as an Ambassador, he successfully implemented similar economic policies in Portugal. He abolished slavery in mainland Portugal and in the Portuguese colonies in India, reorganized the army and the navy, restructured the University of Coimbra, and ended legal discrimination against different Christian sects in Portugal by abolishing the distinction between Old and New Christians.
Carvalho e Melo's greatest reforms were economic and financial, with the creation of several companies and guilds to regulate every commercial activity. He created one of the first appellation systems in the world by demarcating 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 moment magnitude of 8.5–9. The city was razed to the ground by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami and ensuing fires. Carvalho e Melo survived by a stroke of luck and then immediately embarked on rebuilding the city, with his famous quote: "What now? We bury the dead and take care of the living."
Despite the calamity and huge death toll, Lisbon suffered no epidemics and within less than one year was already being rebuilt. The new city centre of Lisbon was designed to resist subsequent earthquakes. Architectural models were built for tests, and the effects of an earthquake were simulated by having troops march around the models. The buildings and large squares of the Pombaline Downtown still remain as one of Lisbon's tourist attractions. Carvalho e Melo also made an important contribution to the study of seismology by designing a detailed inquiry on the effects of the earthquake, the Parochial Memories of 1758, that was sent to every parish in the country; this wealth of information allows modern scientists to reconstruct the event with some degree of scientific precision.
Following the earthquake, Joseph I gave his Prime Minister even more power, and Carvalho de Melo became a powerful, progressive dictator. As his power grew, his enemies increased in number, and bitter disputes with the upper nobility became frequent. In 1758 Joseph I was wounded in an attempted assassination. The Távora family and the Duke of Aveiro were implicated and summarily executed after a quick trial. The following year, the Jesuits were suppressed and expelled from the country and their assets confiscated by the crown. Carvalho e Melo spared none involved, even women and children (notably, 8-year-old Leonor de Almeida Portugal, imprisoned in a convent for nineteen years). This was the final stroke that crushed all opposition by publicly demonstrating even the aristocracy was powerless before the King's loyal minister. Joseph I ennobled Carvalho e Melo as Count of Oeiras in 1759.
Following the Távora affair, the new Count of Oeiras knew no opposition. Further titled "Marquês de Pombal" in 1770, he effectively ruled Portugal until Joseph I's death in 1777.
The new ruler, Queen Maria I of Portugal, disliked the Marquês de Pombal because of the power he amassed, and never forgave him for the ruthlessness with which he dispatched the Távora family, and upon her accession to the throne, she withdrew all his political offices. The Marquês de Pombal was banished to his estate at Pombal, where he died in 1782.
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.
With the occupation by Napoleon, Portugal began a slow but inexorable decline that lasted until the 20th century. This decline was hastened by the independence of Brazil, the country's largest colonial possession.
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 in the Peninsular War, during which 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.
In 1807, as Napoleon's army closed in on Lisbon, João VI of Portugal, the Prince Regent, transferred his court to Brazil and established Rio de Janeiro as the capital of the Portuguese Empire. In 1815, Brazil was declared a Kingdom and the Kingdom of Portugal was united with it, forming a pluricontinental state, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.
As a result of the change in its status and the arrival of the Portuguese royal family, Brazilian administrative, civic, economical, military, educational, and scientific apparatus were expanded and highly modernized. Portuguese and their allied British troops fought against the French Invasion of Portugal and by 1815 the situation in Europe had cooled down sufficiently that João VI would have been able to return safely to Lisbon. However, the King of Portugal remained in Brazil until the Liberal Revolution of 1820, which started in Porto, demanded his return to Lisbon in 1821.
Thus he returned to Portugal but left his son Pedro in charge of Brazil. When the Portuguese Government attempted the following year to return the Kingdom of Brazil to subordinate status, his son Pedro, with the overwhelming support of the Brazilian elites, declared Brazil's independence from Portugal. Cisplatina (today's sovereign state of Uruguay), in the south, was one of the last additions to the territory of Brazil under Portuguese rule.
Brazilian independence was recognized in 1825, whereby Emperor Pedro I granted to his father the titular honour of Emperor of Brazil. John VI's death in 1826 caused serious questions in his succession. Though Pedro was his heir, and reigned briefly as Pedro IV, his status as a Brazilian monarch was seen as an impediment to holding the Portuguese throne by both nations. Pedro abdicated in favour of his daughter, Maria II (Mary II). However, Pedro's brother, Infante Miguel, claimed the throne in protest. After a proposal for Miguel and Maria to marry failed, Miguel seized power as King Miguel I, in 1828. In order to defend his daughter's rights to the throne, Pedro launched the Liberal Wars to reinstall his daughter and establish a constitutional monarchy in Portugal. The war ended in 1834, with Miguel's defeat, the promulgation of a constitution, and the reinstatement of Queen Maria II.
Queen Maria II (Mary II) and King Ferdinand II's son, King Pedro V (Peter V) modernized the country during his short reign (1853–1861). Under his reign, roads, telegraphs, and railways were constructed and improvements in public health advanced. His popularity increased when, during the cholera outbreak of 1853–1856, he visited hospitals handing out gifts and comforting the sick. Pedro's reign was short, as he died of cholera in 1861, after a series of deaths in the royal family, including his two brothers Infante Fernando and Infante João, Duke of Beja, and his wife, Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Pedro not having children, his brother, Luís I of Portugal (Louis I) ascended the throne and continued his modernization.
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 territories in Africa 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 towns and cities in Africa like Nova Lisboa, Sá da Bandeira, Silva Porto, Malanje, Tete, Vila Junqueiro, Vila Pery and Vila Cabral were founded or redeveloped inland during this period and beyond. New coastal towns like Beira, Moçâmedes, Lobito, João Belo, Nacala and Porto Amélia were also founded. Even before the turn of the 20th century, railway tracks as the Benguela railway in Angola, and the Beira railway in Mozambique, started to be built to link coastal areas and selected inland regions.
Other episodes during this period of the Portuguese presence in Africa include the 1890 British Ultimatum. This forced the Portuguese military to retreat from the land between the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola (most of present-day Zimbabwe and Zambia), which had been claimed by Portugal and included in its "Pink Map", which clashed with British aspirations to create a Cape to Cairo Railway.
The Portuguese territories in Africa were Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Portuguese Guinea, Angola, and Mozambique. The tiny fortress of São João Baptista de Ajudá on the coast of Dahomey, was also under Portuguese rule. In addition, Portugal still ruled the Asian territories of Portuguese India, Portuguese Timor and Portuguese Macau.
On February 1, 1908, King Dom Carlos I of Portugal and his heir apparent and his eldest son, Prince Royal Dom Luís Filipe, Duke of Braganza, were assassinated in Lisbon in the Terreiro do Paço by two Portuguese republican activist revolutionaries, Alfredo Luís da Costa and Manuel Buíça. Under his rule, Portugal had been declared bankrupt twice – first on June 14, 1892, and then again on May 10, 1902 – causing social turmoil, economic disturbances, angry protests, revolts and criticism of the monarchy. His second and youngest son, Manuel II of Portugal, became the new king, but was eventually overthrown by the 5 October 1910 Portuguese republican revolution, which abolished the monarchy and installed a republican government in Portugal, causing him and his royal family to flee into exile in London, England.
First Republic and Estado Novo
The new republic had many problems. Portugal had 45 different governments in just 15 years. During World War 1 (1914–1918), Portugal helped the Allies fight the Central Powers. But the war hurt its weak economy. Political instability and economic weaknesses were fertile ground for chaos and unrest during the First Portuguese Republic. These conditions would lead to the failed Monarchy of the North, 28 May 1926 coup d'état, and the creation of the National Dictatorship (Ditadura Nacional). This in turn led to the establishment of the right-wing dictatorship of the Estado Novo under António de Oliveira Salazar in 1933.
Portugal remained neutral in World War II. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Portugal was a founding member of NATO, OECD and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Gradually, new economic development projects and relocation of mainland Portuguese citizens into the overseas provinces in Africa were initiated, with Angola and Mozambique, as the largest and richest overseas territories, being the main targets of those initiatives. These actions were used to affirm Portugal's status as a transcontinental nation and not as a colonial empire.
After India attained independence in 1947, pro-Indian residents of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, with the support of the Indian government and the help of pro-independence organizations, separated the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese rule in 1954. In 1961, Fort of 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 in India. 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 and surrender of the limited Portuguese defensive garrison, which was forced to surrender to a much larger military force. The outcome was the loss of the remaining Portuguese territories in the Indian subcontinent. The Portuguese regime refused to recognize Indian sovereignty over the annexed territories, which continued to be represented in Portugal's National Assembly until the military coup of 1974.
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, first 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.
Carnation Revolution and European integration
The Portuguese government and army resisted the decolonization of its overseas territories until April 1974, when a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, led the way for the independence of the overseas territories in Africa and Asia, as well as for the restoration of democracy after two years of a transitional period known as PREC (Processo Revolucionário Em Curso). This period was characterized by social turmoil and power disputes between left- and right-wing political forces. By the summer of 1975, the tension between these was so high, that the country was on the verge of civil war. The forces connected to the extreme left-wing launched a further coup d'état on 25 November but the Group of Nine, a moderate military faction, immediately initiated a counter-coup. The main episode of this confrontation was the successful assault on the barracks of the left-wing dominated Military Police Regiment by the moderate forces of the Commando Regiment, resulting in three soldiers killed in action. The Group of Nine emerged victorious, thus preventing the establishment of a communist state in Portugal and ending the period of political instability in the country. The retreat from the overseas territories and the acceptance of its independence terms by Portuguese head representatives for overseas negotiations, which would create independent states in 1975, prompted a mass exodus of Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories (mostly from Portuguese Angola and Mozambique).
Over one million Portuguese refugees fled the former Portuguese provinces as white settlers were usually not considered part of the new identities of the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia. Mário Soares and António de Almeida Santos were charged with organizing 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.
Portugal continued to be governed by a Junta de Salvação Nacional until the Portuguese legislative election of 1976. It was won by the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) and Mário Soares, its leader, became Prime Minister of the 1st Constitutional Government on 23 July. Mário Soares would be Prime Minister from 1976 to 1978 and again from 1983 to 1985. In this capacity Soares tried to resume the economic growth and development record that had been achieved before the Carnation Revolution, during the last decade of the previous regime. He initiated the process of accession to the European Economic Community (EEC) by starting accession negotiations as early as 1977.
After the transition to democracy, Portugal bounced between socialism and adherence to the neoliberal model. Land reform and nationalizations were enforced; the Portuguese Constitution (approved in 1976) was rewritten in order to accommodate socialist and communist principles. Until the constitutional revisions of 1982 and 1989, the constitution was a document with numerous references to socialism, the rights of workers, and the desirability of a socialist economy. Portugal's economic situation after the revolution obliged the government to pursue International Monetary Fund (IMF)-monitored stabilization programs in 1977–78 and 1983–85.
In 1986, Portugal, along with Spain, joined the European Economic Community (EEC) that later became the European Union (EU). In the following years Portugal's economy progressed considerably as a result of EEC/EU structural and cohesion funds and Portuguese companies' easier access to foreign markets.
Portugal's last overseas and Asian colonial territory, Macau, was peacefully handed over to the People's Republic of China (PRC) on December 20, 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, but interrupted by an Indonesian armed invasion and occupation.
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. In 1996, Jorge Sampaio became president. He won re-election in January 2001. Expo '98 took place in Portugal and in 1999 it was one of the founding countries of the euro and the eurozone. On July 5, 2004, José Manuel Barroso, then Prime Minister of Portugal, was nominated President of the European Commission, the most powerful office in the European Union. On 1 December 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force, after it had been signed by the European Union member states on 13 December 2007 in the Jerónimos Monastery, in Lisbon, enhancing the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union and improving the coherence of its action. The Republic of Ireland was the only EU state to hold a democratic referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. It was initially rejected by voters in 2008.
Economic disruption and an unsustainable growth in government debt during the financial crisis of 2007–2008 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 stabilize its finances.
The territory of Portugal includes an area on 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 30° and 42° N, and longitudes 32° and 6° W.
Mainland Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus, that flows from Spain and disgorges in the Tagus Estuary, in Lisbon, before escaping into the Atlantic. The northern landscape is mountainous towards the interior with several plateaus indented by river valleys, whereas the south, including 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 an iconic symbol of the Azores, while the Serra da Estrela on the mainland (the summit being 1,991 m (6,532 ft) above sea level) is an important seasonal attraction for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.
The archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores are scattered within the Atlantic Ocean: the Azores straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on a tectonic triple junction, and Madeira along a range formed by in-plate hotspot geology. Geologically, these islands were formed by volcanic and seismic events. The last terrestrial volcanic eruption occurred in 1957–58 (Capelinhos) and minor earthquakes occur sporadically, usually of low intensity.
Portugal's exclusive economic zone, a sea zone over which the Portuguese have special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, has 1,727,408 km2. This is the 3rd largest exclusive economic zone of the European Union and the 20th largest in the world.
Portugal is mainly characterized by a Mediterranean climate (Csa in the South, central interior, and the Douro river valley; Csb in the North, Central west and Vicentine Coast), but has other climatic characteristics such as a temperate maritime climate (Cfb) in the mountains located in Northwestern sector (mainland) and also in some high altitude zones of the Azorean islands, a semi-arid climate in certain parts of the Beja District far south (BSk) and in Porto Santo Island (BSh), a warm desert climate (BWh) in the Selvagens Islands and a humid subtropical climate in the western Azores (Cfa), according to the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification. It is one of the warmest countries in Europe: the annual average temperature in mainland Portugal varies from 10–12 °C (50.0–53.6 °F) in the mountainous interior north to 16–18 °C (60.8–64.4 °F) in the south and on the Guadiana river basin. There are however, variations from the highlands to the lowlands: Spanish biologist Salvador Rivas Martinez presents several different bioclimatic zones for Portugal. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo region by mountains reaching up to 900 metres (3,000 ft) in Alto da Fóia, has a climate similar to that of the southern coastal areas of Spain or Southwest Australia.
Annual average rainfall in the mainland varies from just over 3,200 mm (126.0 in) on the Peneda-Gerês National Park to less than 500 mm (19.7 in) in southern parts of Alentejo. Mount Pico is recognized as receiving the largest annual rainfall (over 6,250 mm (246.1 in) per year) in Portugal, according to Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera.
In some areas, such as the Guadiana basin, annual diurnal average temperatures can be as high as 26 °C (79 °F), and summer's highest temperatures are routinely over 40 °C (104 °F). The record high of 47.4 °C (117.3 °F) was recorded in Amareleja, although this might not be the hottest spot in summer, according to satellite readings.
Snowfalls occur regularly in the winter in the interior North and Centre of the country in districts such as Guarda, Bragança, Viseu and Vila Real, particularly on the mountains. In winter, temperatures may drop below −10.0 °C (14.0 °F), particularly in Serra da Estrela, Serra do Gerês, Serra do Marão and Serra de Montesinho. In these places snow can fall any time from October to May. In the South of the country snowfalls are rare but still occur in the highest elevations. While the official absolute minimum by IPMA is −16.0 °C (3.2 °F) in Penhas da Saúde and Miranda do Douro, lower temperatures have been recorded, such as −17.5 °C (0.5 °F) by Bragança Polytechnic Institute in the outskirts of the city in 1983, and below −20.0 °C (−4.0 °F) in Serra da Estrela.
Continental Portugal has around 2300 to 3200 hours of sunshine a year, an average of 4–6 h in winter and 10–12 h in the summer, with higher values in the south-east, south-west and the Algarve coast and lower in the north-west. Insolation values are lower in the archipelagos, with around 1600 h in the humid Flores Island and around 2300 h in the island of Madeira and Porto Santo. Insolation in the Salvages is thought to be higher due to weaker orographic lift and their relative proximity to the Sahara Desert.
Portugal's central west and southwest coasts have an extreme ocean seasonal lag, sea temperatures are warmer in October than in July and are their coldest in March. The average sea surface temperature on the west coast of mainland Portugal varies from 14–16 °C (57.2–60.8 °F) in January−March to 19–21 °C (66.2–69.8 °F) in August−October while on the south coast it ranges from 16 °C (60.8 °F) in January−March and rises in the summer to about 22–23 °C (71.6–73.4 °F), occasionally reaching 26 °C (78.8 °F). In the Azores, around 16 °C (60.8 °F) in February−April to 22–24 °C (71.6–75.2 °F) in July−September, and in Madeira, around 18 °C (64.4 °F) in February−April to 23–24 °C (73.4–75.2 °F) in August−October.
Both the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira have a subtropical climate, although variations between islands exist, making weather predictions very difficult (owing to rough topography). The Madeira and Azorean archipelagos have a narrower temperature range, with annual average temperatures exceeding 20 °C (68 °F) in some parts of the coast (according to the Portuguese Meteorological Institute). Some islands in Azores do have drier months in the summer. Consequently, the islands 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 Humid subtropical (Cfa), transitioning into an Oceanic climate (Cfb) at higher altitudes, according to Köppen-Geiger classification.
Porto Santo Island in Madeira has a warm semi-arid climate (BSh). The Savage Islands, which are part of the regional territory of Madeira and a nature reserve are unique in being classified as a desert climate (BWh) with an annual average rainfall of approximately 150 mm (5.9 in). The sea surface temperature in these islands varies from 18.5 °C (65.3 °F) in winter to 23–24 °C (73.4–75.2 °F) in the summer occasionally reaching 25 °C (77.0 °F).
Portugal is home to six terrestrial ecoregions: Azores temperate mixed forests, Cantabrian mixed forests, Madeira evergreen forests, Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests, Northwest Iberian montane forests, and Southwest Iberian Mediterranean sclerophyllous and mixed forests. It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 0.82/10, ranking it 168th globally out of 172 countries.
In Gerês both mature deciduous and coniferous forests can be found, an extremely rare worldwide mature Mediterranean forest remain in some parts of the Arrábida mountain and a subtropical laurissilva forest, dating back to the Tertiary period, covers its largest continuous area in the world in the Madeira main island. Due to the human population decrease and rural exodus, Pyrenean oak and other local native trees are colonizing many abandoned areas.
Boar, Iberian red deer, roe deer, and the Iberian wild goat, are reported to have expanded greatly during recent decades. Boars were found recently roaming at night inside large urban areas, like in Setubal. Protected areas of Portugal include one national park, 12 natural parks, nine natural reserves, five natural monuments, and seven protected landscapes, which include the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, the Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela and the Paul d'Arzila.
These natural environments are shaped by diverse flora, and include widespread species of pine (especially the Pinus pinaster and Pinus pinea species), the English oak (Quercus robur), the Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica) the chestnut (Castanea sativa), the cork-oak (Quercus suber), the holm oak (Quercus ilex) or the Portuguese oak (Quercus faginea). Due to their economic value, some species of the genus Eucalyptus were introduced and are now common, despite their environmental impact.
Laurisilva is a unique type of subtropical rainforest, which nowadays, in Europe, is only restricted to the Iberian Peninsula: in the Azores, and in particular on the island of Madeira, there are large forests of endemic Laurisilva (the latter protected as a natural heritage preserve). There are several species of diverse mammalian fauna, including the red fox, European badger, iberian lynx, iberian wolf, wild goat (Capra pyrenaica), wild cat (Felis silvestris), Granada hare, weasel, polecat, chameleon, Egyptian mongoose, common genet, the occasional brown bear and many others. Portugal is an important stopover for migratory birds, in places such as Cape St. Vincent or the Monchique mountains, where thousands of birds cross from Europe to Africa during the autumn or in the spring (return migration).
Most of the avian species congregate along the Iberian Peninsula since it is the closest stopover between Northern Europe and Africa. Six hundred bird species occur in Portugal (either for nesting or during the course of migration), and annually there are new registries of nesting species. The archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are transient stopover for American, European, and African birds, while continental Portugal mostly encounters European and African bird species.
There are more than 100 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 portion of country, for example). Some of these rare and specific species are highly endangered because of habitat loss, pollution and drought. Up-welling along the west coast of Portugal makes the sea extremely rich in nutrients and diverse species of marine fish; the Portuguese marine waters are one of the richest in the world. Marine fish species are more common, and include thousands of species, such as the sardine (Sardina pilchardus), tuna and Atlantic mackerel. Bioluminescent species are also well represented (including species in different colour spectrum and forms), like the glowing plankton that are possible to observe on some beaches.
There are many endemic insect species, most only found in certain parts of Portugal, while other species are more widespread like the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) and the cicada. The Macaronesian islands (Azores and Madeira) have many endemic species (like birds, reptiles, bats, insects, snails and slugs) that evolved independently from other regions of Portugal. In Madeira, for example, it is possible to observe more than 250 species of land gastropods.
Government and politics
Portugal has been a semi-presidential representative 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 four bodies referred as "organs of Sovereignty": the President of the Republic, the Government, the Assembly of the Republic and the Courts.
The President, who is elected to a five-year term, has an executive role: the current President is Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The Assembly of the Republic is a single chamber parliament composed of a maximum of 230 deputies elected for a four-year term. The Government is headed by the Prime Minister (currently António Costa) and includes Ministers and Secretaries of State. The Courts are organized into several levels, among the judicial, administrative and fiscal branches. The Supreme Courts are institutions of last resort/appeal. A thirteen-member Constitutional Court oversees the constitutionality of the laws.
Portugal operates a multi-party system of competitive legislatures/local administrative governments at the national, regional and local levels. The Assembly of the Republic, Regional Assemblies and local municipalities and parishes, are dominated by two political parties, the Socialist Party and the Social Democratic Party, in addition to the Unitary Democratic Coalition (Portuguese Communist Party and Ecologist Party "The Greens"), the Left Bloc and the Democratic and Social Centre – People's Party, which garner between 5 and 15% of the vote regularly.
Presidency of the Republic
The Head of State of Portugal is the President of the Republic, elected to a five-year term by direct, universal suffrage. He or she has also supervision and reserve powers. Presidential powers include the appointment of the Prime Minister and the other members of the Government (where the President takes into account the results of legislative elections); dismissing the Prime Minister; dissolving the Assembly of the Republic (to call early elections); vetoing legislation (which may be overridden by the Assembly); and declaring a state of war or siege. The President is also the ex officio Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
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, also including one or more Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Secretaries of State and Under-Secretaries of State.
The Government is both the organ of sovereignty that conducts the general politics of the country and the superior body of the public administration.
It has essentially Executive powers, but has also limited legislative powers. The Government can legislate about its own organization, about areas covered by legislative authorizations conceded by the Assembly of the Republic and about the specific regulation of generalist laws issued by the Assembly.
The Council of Ministers – under the presidency of the Prime Minister (or the President of Portugal at the latter's request) and the Ministers (may also include one or more Deputy Prime Ministers) – acts as the cabinet. Each government is required to define the broad outline of its policies in a programme, and present it to the Assembly for a mandatory period of debate. The failure of the Assembly to reject the government programme by an absolute majority of deputies confirms the cabinet in office.
The Assembly of the Republic is a unicameral body composed of up to 230 deputies. Elected by universal suffrage according to a system of closed party-list proportional representation, deputies serve four-year terms of office, unless the President dissolves the Assembly and calls for new elections.
Currently the Government (PS) and the parties supporting it through a confidence-and-supply agreement (BE, PCP, PEV) control parliament with the most seats. The PSD and CDS-PP parties form the opposition to the government alongside PAN, Chega, Iniciativa Liberal and Partido Livre.
Law and drug policy
The Portuguese legal system is part of the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system. The main laws include the Constitution (1976, as amended), the Portuguese Civil Code (1966, as amended) and the Penal Code of Portugal (1982, as amended). Other relevant laws are the Commercial Code (1888, as amended) and the Civil Procedure Code (1961, as amended).
The supreme national courts are the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court. The Public Ministry, headed by the Attorney General of the Republic, constitutes the independent body of public prosecutors.
Portuguese laws were applied in the former colonies and territories and continue to be major influences for those countries.
Portugal is also known for having decriminalized the usage of all common drugs in 2001, the first country in the world to do so. Portugal decriminalized possession of effectively all drugs that are still illegal in other developed nations including cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and LSD. While possession is legal, trafficking and possession of more than "10 days worth of personal use" are still punishable by jail time and fines. People caught with small amounts of any drug are given the choice to go to a rehab facility, and may refuse treatment without consequences. Despite criticism from other European nations, who stated Portugal's drug consumption would tremendously increase, overall drug use has declined along with the number of HIV infection cases, which had dropped 50 percent by 2009. Drug use among 16- to 18-year-olds also declined, however the use of marijuana rose only slightly among that age group.
LGBTI rights have increased substantially in the past years. On 27 August 2003, Portugal added the anti-discrimination employment law on the basis of sexual orientation. At 24 July 2004, sexual orientation was added to the Constitution as part of the protected from discrimination characteristics. On 31 May 2010, Portugal became the sixth country in Europe and the eighth country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriage at the national level. The law came into force on 5 June 2010. Same-sex adoption has been allowed since 1 March 2016 as is female same-sex couple access to medically assisted reproduction since 13 May 2016. This bill was adopted by the Parliament and signed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. As of January 2017 the New Law of Gender Identity, simplified the legal process of gender and name change for transgender people, making it easier for minors to change their sex marker in legal documents. At August 2018, the right to gender identity and gender expression self-determination became protected, intersex minors became protected by law from unnecessary medical procedures "until the minor gender identity manifests" and the right of protection from discrimination on the basis of sex characteristics also became protected by the same law.