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
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
(7th), press freedom
(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
Chalcolithic Dolmen Anta da Arca
The word Portugal derives from the Roman
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
are the origin of today's Gaia
Another theory proposes that Cale
is a derivation of the Celtic word for port, like the Irishcaladh
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
. 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
. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Portugale
was already referred to as Portugal
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
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
, Turduli Veteres
, Turdulorum Oppida
, and Zoelae
. A few small, semi-permanent, commercial coastal settlements (such as Tavira
) were also founded in the Algarve
region by Phoenicians
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
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
. 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. 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
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.
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
(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
, in the area known as Terras de Bouro
(Lands of the Buri).
Islamic period and the Reconquista
The Caliphate of Cordoba in the early 10th century
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
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
, Alcácer do Sal
. The Muslim population of the region consisted mainly of native Iberian converts to Islam
(the so-called Muwallad
) and berbers. The Arabs were principally noblemen from Syria
; 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
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
, 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.
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
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.
The reigns of Dinis I
(Denis I), Afonso IV
(Alphons IV), and Pedro I
(Peter I) for the most part saw peace with the Christian kingdoms of Iberia.
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 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
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 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral
and claimed it for Portugal.
Ten years later, Afonso de Albuquerque
in India, Muscat
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
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
Areas across the world that were, at one point in their history, part of the Portuguese Empire
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
King John V
patronized numerous artistic works, earning him the epithet of the Portuguese Sun King
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.
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
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
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.
The frontispiece of the 1826 Portuguese Constitution featuring King-Emperor Pedro IV
and his daughter Queen Maria II
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
, 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
, Vila Junqueiro
, Vila Pery
and Vila Cabral
were founded or redeveloped inland during this period and beyond. New coastal towns like Beira
, João Belo
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
(most of present-day Zimbabwe
), which had been claimed by Portugal and included in its "Pink Map
", which clashed with British aspirations to create a Cape to Cairo Railway
On 1 February 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 14 June 1892, and then again on 10 May 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
First Republic and Estado Novo
Portugal remained neutral in World War II
. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Portugal was a founding member of NATO
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
, 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
. 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
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.
became Portugal's first democratically elected Prime-Minister in 1976.
After the transition to democracy, Portugal bounced between socialism
and adherence to the neoliberal
model. Land reform
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 20 December 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 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 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.
Topography and administration.
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
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.
Köppen climate classification map of continental Portugal
Portugal is mainly characterized by a Mediterranean climate
in the South, central interior, and the Douro
river valley; Csb
in the North, Central west and Vicentine Coast)
,temperate maritime climate
(Cfb) in the mainland north-western highlands and mountains, and 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.
, 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.
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
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 Selvagens
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
types), while some islands (such as Flores
) are classified as Humid subtropical
), transitioning into an Oceanic climate
) 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).
Peneda-Gerês National Park
is the only nationally designated park in Portugal, owing to the rarity and significance of its environment.
, cork oak
and maritime pine
together make up 71% of the total forested area of continental Portugal, followed by the holm oak
, the stone pine
, the other oak trees (Q. robur
, Q. faginea
and Q. pyrenaica
) and the sweet chestnut
On Madeira, laurisilva
(recognized as a World Heritage Site
) dominates the landscape, especially on the northern slope. The predominant species in this forest include Laurus novocanariensis
, Apollonias barbujana
, Ocotea foetens
and Persea indica
. Before human occupation the Azores were also rich in dense laurisilva forests, today these native forests are undermined by the introduced Pittosporum undulatum
and Cryptomeria japonica
There have been several projects aimed to recover the Laurisilva present in the Azores.
Remnants of these laurisilva forests are also present in continental Portugal with its few living testimonies Laurus nobilis
, Prunus lusitanica
, Arbutus unedo
, Myrica faya
and Rhododendron ponticum
These geographical and climatic conditions facilitate the introduction of exotic species that later turn to be invasive and destructive to the native habitats. More than 20% of the total number of extant species in continental Portugal are exotic
On Madeira, around 36%
and on the Azores, around 70% are exotic.
Due to this, Portugal was placed 168th globally out of 172 countries on the Forest Landscape Integrity Index
Portugal is the second country in Europe with the highest number of threatened species (488 as of 2020).
The large mammalian species of Portugal (the fallow deer
, red deer
, roe deer
, Iberian ibex
, wild boar
, red fox
, Iberian wolf
and Iberian lynx
) were once widespread throughout the country, but intense hunting, habitat degradation and growing pressure from agriculture and livestock reduced population numbers on a large scale in the 19th and early 20th century, others, such as the Portuguese ibex
were even led to extinction. Today, these animals are re-expanding their native range.
Smaller mammals include the red squirrel
, European badger
, Eurasian otter
, Egyptian mongoose
, Granada hare
, European rabbit
, common genet
, European wildcat
, among others.
Due to their isolated location, the volcanic islands of the Azores
, part of Macaronesia
, have many endemic species that have evolved independently from their European and African relatives.
73% of the freshwater fish
occurring in the Iberian Peninsula
are endemic, the largest out of any region in Europe.
Many of these endemic species are concentrated in bodies of water of the central western region (one exclusively endemic
), these and other bodies of water throughout the Peninsula are mostly temporary and prone to drought every year, placing most of these species under Threatened
species of cetacean
roam through the Azores, making it one of four places in the world where most species of this infraorder occur.
Starting in the mid-19th century and ceasing in 1984, whaling
(especially of sperm whale
) heavily exploited this diversity. Beginning in the early 90s, whale watching
quickly grew to popularity and is now one of the main economic activities in the Portuguese archipelago.
Government and politics
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.
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
, in Lisbon, is the national parliament
of Portugal. It is the main legislative body, although the Government also has limited legislative powers.
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
) control parliament with the most seats. The PSD
parties form the opposition to the government alongside PAN
, Chega, Iniciativa Liberal and Partido Livre.
, who has served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and UN High Commissioner for Refugees
from 2005 to 2015, assumed the post of UN Secretary-General
on 1 January 2017; making him the first Secretary-General from Western Europe since Kurt Waldheim
of Austria (1972–1981), the first former head of government to become Secretary-General and the first Secretary-General born after the establishment of the United Nations on 26 June 1945.
There are two international territorial disputes, both with Spain:
- Olivenza. Under Portuguese sovereignty since 1297, the municipality of Olivenza was ceded to Spain under the Treaty of Badajoz in 1801, after the War of the Oranges. Portugal claimed it back in 1815 under the Treaty of Vienna. However, since the 19th century, it has been continuously ruled by Spain which considers the territory theirs not only de facto but also de jure.
- The Ilhas Selvagens (Savage Islands). The archipelago is under Portuguese domination but is geographically closer to the Canary Islands (165 km) than to Madeira (280 km). Found in 1364 by Italian navigators, the islands belonged to private owners until 1971, when the Portuguese government bought them and established a natural reserve area covering the whole archipelago. The islands have been claimed by Spain since 1911 and the dispute has caused some periods of political tension between the two countries. The main problem is not so much their intrinsic value but the fact that they expand the Exclusive Economic Zone of Portugal considerably to the south.
The armed forces have three branches: Navy
and Air Force
. They serve primarily as a self-defense force whose mission is to protect the territorial integrity of the country and provide humanitarian assistance and security at home and abroad. As of 2008, the three branches numbered 39,200 active personnel including 7,500 women. Portuguese military expenditure
in 2009 was 5 billion US$,
representing 2.1 per cent of GDP. Military conscription was abolished in 2004. The minimum age for voluntary recruitment is 18 years.
The Army (21,000 personnel) comprises three brigades and other small units. An infantry brigade
(mainly equipped with Pandur II APC
), a mechanized brigade
(mainly equipped with Leopard 2 A6
tanks and M113
APC) and a Rapid Reaction Brigade
(consisting of paratroopers
and rangers). The Navy (10,700 personnel, of which 1,580 are marines
), the world's oldest surviving naval force, has five frigates, seven corvettes, two submarines, and 28 patrol and auxiliary vessels. The Air Force (7,500 personnel) has the Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon
as the main combat aircraft.
In addition to the three branches of the armed forces, there is the National Republican Guard
, a security force subject to military law and organization (gendarmerie
) comprising 25,000 personnel. This force is under the authority of both the Defense and the Interior Ministry. It has provided detachments for participation in international operations in Iraq and East Timor.
Branches of the Portuguese Armed Forces
In the 20th century, Portugal engaged in two major conflicts: World War I
and the Portuguese Colonial War
(1961–1974). After the end of the Portuguese Empire
in 1975, the Portuguese Armed Forces have participated in peacekeeping missions in East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq (Nasiriyah
), Lebanon, Mali
and Central African Republic
Portugal also conducted several independent unilateral military operations abroad, as were the cases of the interventions of the Portuguese Armed Forces in Angola in 1992 and in Guinea-Bissau in 1998 with the main objectives of protecting and withdrawing of Portuguese and foreign citizens threatened by local civil conflicts.
Lisbon's Campus of Justice
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).
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
, 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.
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.
Portugal has 49 correctional facilities in total run by the Ministry of Justice. They include 17 central prisons, 4 special prisons, 27 regional prisons, and 1 'Cadeia de Apoio'(Support Detention Centre).
As of 1 January 2021, their current prison population is about 11,234 inmates, which comes to about 0.11% of their entire population.
Their incarceration rate has been on the rise since 2010, with a 15% increase over the past eight years.
Administratively, Portugal is divided into 308 municipalities
: municípios or concelhos
), which after a reform in 2013
are subdivided into 3,092 civil parishes (Portuguese
). Operationally, the municipality and civil parish, along with the national government, are the only legally local administrative units
identified by the government of Portugal (for example, cities, towns or villages have no standing in law, although may be used as catchment for the defining services). For statistical purposes the Portuguese government also identifies Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics
(NUTS), inter-municipal communities and informally, the district system, used until European integration (and being phased-out by the national government).[original research?]
Continental Portugal is agglomerated into 18 districts, while the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are governed as autonomous regions
; the largest units, established since 1976, are either mainland Portugal
: Portugal Continental
) and the autonomous regions of Portugal
The 18 districts of mainland Portugal are: Aveiro
, Castelo Branco
, Viana do Castelo
, Vila Real
– each district takes the name of the district capital.
Within the European Union NUTS system, Portugal is divided into seven regions: the Azores
, and with the exception of the Azores and Madeira, NUTS areas are subdivided into 28 subregions.
The Portuguese government is heavily indebted, and received a 78-billion-euro bailout from the European Union
and the International Monetary Fund
in May 2011.
The ratio of Portugal's debt to its overall economy, was 107 per cent when it received the bailout.
As part of the deal, the country agreed to cut its budget deficit from 9.8 per cent of GDP in 2010 to 5.9 per cent in 2011, 4.5 per cent in 2012 and 3 per cent in 2013.
After the bailout was announced, the Portuguese government headed by Pedro Passos Coelho
managed to implement measures with the intention of improving the state's financial situation, including tax hikes, a freeze of civil service-related lower-wages and cuts of higher-wages by 14.3%, on top of the government's spending cuts. The Portuguese government also agreed to eliminate its golden share
in Portugal Telecom
which gave it veto power over vital decisions.
In 2012, all public servants had already seen an average wage cut of 20% relative to their 2010 baseline, with cuts reaching 25% for those earning more than 1,500 euro per month.
The IMF, the European Commission
(EC) and the European Central Bank
(ECB) said in September 2012 that Portugal's debt would peak at 124 per cent of gross domestic product in 2014.
The IMF previously said in July 2012 that Portugal's debt would peak at about 118.5 per cent of GDP in 2013.
In September 2013, the Portuguese Government reviewed again the public debt of Portugal for 2013 to 127.8 per cent, after a peak of 130.9 per cent in that month.
Two Portuguese banks, Banco Português de Negócios
(BPN) and Banco Privado Português
(BPP), had been accumulating losses for years due to bad investments, embezzlement and accounting fraud. The case of BPN was particularly serious because of its size, market share, and the political implications – Portugal's then President, Cavaco Silva and some of his political allies, maintained personal and business relationships with the bank and its CEO, who was eventually charged and arrested for fraud and other crimes.
On grounds of avoiding a potentially serious financial crisis in the Portuguese economy, the Portuguese government decided to give them a bailout, eventually at a future loss to taxpayers and to the Portuguese people in general.
A proportional representation of Portugal's exports, as of 2012
Portugal is a developed
and a high-income country
, with a GDP per capita of 77% of the EU28 average in 2017 (increasing from 75% in 2012)
and a HDI
of 0.850 (the 40th highest) in 2018.
By the end of 2018, Portugal's GDP (PPP) was $32,554 per capita, according to OECD's report.
The national currency of Portugal is the euro
(€), which replaced the Portuguese Escudo
, and the country was one of the original member states of the eurozone
. Portugal's central bank is the Banco de Portugal
, an integral part of the European System of Central Banks
. Most industries, businesses and financial institutions are concentrated in the Lisbon
metropolitan areas – the Setúbal
districts are the biggest economic centres outside these two main areas. According to World Travel Awards, Portugal was Europe's Leading Golf Destination in 2012 and 2013.
Since the Carnation Revolution
of 1974, which culminated in the end of one of Portugal's most notable phases of economic expansion
(that started in the 1960s),
a significant change has occurred in the nation's annual economic growth.
After the turmoil of the 1974 revolution and the PREC
period, Portugal tried to adapt to a changing modern global economy
, a process that continues in 2013. Since the 1990s, Portugal's public consumption
-based economic development
model has been slowly changing to a system that is focused on exports, private investment
and the development of the high-tech
sector. Consequently, business services have overtaken more traditional industries such as textiles, clothing, footwear and cork
(Portugal is the world's leading cork producer),
wood products and beverages.
In the second decade of the 21st century, the Portuguese economy suffered its most severe recession since the 1970s, resulting in the country having to be bailed out by the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The bailout, agreed to in 2011, required Portugal
to enter into a range of austerity measures in exchange for funding support of €78,000,000,000. In May 2014, the country exited the bailout but reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining its reformist momentum. At the time of exiting the bailout, the economy had contracted by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2014; however, unemployment, while still high, had fallen to 15.3%.
The average salary in Portugal is €910 per month, excluding self-employed individuals
and the minimum wage
, which is regulated by law, is €635 per month (paid 14 times per annum) as of 2020.
The Economist Intelligence Unit
's quality of life index placed Portugal as the country with the 19th-best quality of life in the world for 2005, ahead of other economically and technologically advanced countries like France, Germany, the United Kingdom and South Korea, but 9 places behind its sole neighbour, Spain.
This is despite the fact that Portugal remains as one of the countries with the lowest per capita GDP in Western Europe.
Portugal has the thirteenth-largest gold reserve
in the world.
Companies listed on Euronext Lisbon stock exchange
, Jerónimo Martins
, Portucel Soporcel
, Portugal Telecom
, are amongst the largest corporations of Portugal by number of employees, net income
or international market share
. The Euronext Lisbon is the major stock exchange of Portugal and is part of the NYSE Euronext
, the first global stock exchange. The PSI-20
is Portugal's most selective and widely known stock index
The International Monetary Fund
issued an update report on the economy of Portugal in late-June 2017 with a strong near-term outlook and an increase in investments and exports over previous years. Because of a surplus in 2016, the country was no longer bound by the Excessive Deficit Procedure which had been implemented during an earlier financial crisis. The banking system was more stable, although there were still non-performing loans and corporate debt. The IMF recommended working on solving these problems for Portugal to be able to attract more private investment. "Sustained strong growth, together with continued public debt reduction, would reduce vulnerabilities arising from high indebtedness, particularly when monetary accommodation is reduced." The OECD
economic reports since 2018 show recovery, albeit slow; and Portugal's growth prospects continue positive for 2020.
is known as the "bread basket of Portugal", being the country's leading region in wheat and cork production.
Agriculture in Portugal
is based on small to medium-sized family-owned dispersed units. However, the sector also includes larger scale intensive farming
backed by companies (like Grupo RAR
, Vale da Rosa
, Companhia das Lezírias
). The country produces a wide variety of crops and livestock products, including: tomatoes
, green vegetables
, table grapes
, edible mushrooms
, dairy products
. According to FAO
, Portugal is the top producer of cork
in the world, accounting to about 50% and 30% of world production respectively.
It is also the third largest exporter of chestnut
and the third largest European producer of pulp
Portugal is among the top ten largest olive oil
producers in the world and is the fourth biggest exporter.
The country is also one of the world's largest exporters of wine
, being reputed for its fine wines
, Roman tombstones into the shape of wooden wine barrels, were used to mark the grave of wine makers in the 3rd century in Alentejo
, a region to this day renowned for its wines.
Traditionally a sea power, Portugal has had a strong tradition in the Portuguese fishing sector
and is one of the countries with the highest fish consumption per capita.
The main landing sites in Portugal (including Azores and Madeira), according to total landings in weight by year, are the harbours of Matosinhos
, Figueira da Foz
and Madeira. Portuguese-processed fish products are exported through several companies, under a number of different brands and registered trademarks, such as Ramirez
, the world's oldest active canned fish producer.
Portugal is a significant European minerals
producer and is ranked among Europe's leading copper
producers. The nation is also a notable producer of tin
. However, the country lacks the potential to conduct hydrocarbon exploration
, a limitation that has hindered the development of Portugal's mining
sectors. Although the country has vast iron and coal reserves – mainly in the north – after the 1974 revolution and the consequent economic globalization
, low competitiveness forced a decrease in the extraction activity for these minerals. The Panasqueira
and Neves-Corvo mines
are among the most recognized Portuguese mines that are still in operation.
Portugal is rich in its lithium
subsoil, which is especially concentrated in the districts of Guarda
, Vila Real
and Viana do Castelo
, while most of the country's lithium comes from the Gonçalo aplite-pegmatite field. The largest lithium
mine in Europe is operated by Grupo Mota, Felmica, in the Guarda region, which is estimated to have reserves for 30 years of production. It has 5 more deposits in its possession.
Savannah Resources in May 2018 announced a 52% increase in the estimated lithium resources at the Mina do Barroso Lithium Project in northern Portugal, saying the country could become the first European supplier of spodumene
, a lithium-bearing mineral.
The company said the estimated mineral resources at the mine now stood at 14 million tonnes. Lithium prices have risen in expectation of growing demand for the mineral, which is used in batteries for electric vehicles and for storing electricity from the power grid. Europe consumes more than 20 per cent of the global supply of battery-grade lithium but currently has to import all its supplies of the mineral.
W Resources stated in 2018 that it had started a new drilling campaign at its São Martinho gold
project in Portugal. The so-called reverse circulation drilling program included 15 holes with around 2,000 metres of total drilling. The objective is to extend resources by integrating the data from 2016 drilling results with the expansion expected with the ongoing campaign.
Industry is diversified, ranging from automotive
and Peugeot Citroën
) and bicycles
, to food
and wood pulp
. Volkswagen Group's AutoEuropa
motor vehicle assembly plant in Palmela
is among the largest foreign direct investment
projects in Portugal. Modern non-traditional technology-based industries, such as aerospace
and information technology
, have been developed in several locations across the country. Alverca
and Ponte de Sor
are the main centres of the Portuguese aerospace industry, which is led by Brazil-based company Embraer and the Portuguese company OGMA. Following the turn of the 21st century, many major biotechnology and information technology industries have been founded, and are concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon
The banking and insurance sectors performed well until the financial crisis of 2007–2008
, and this partly reflected a rapid deepening of the market in Portugal. While sensitive to various types of market and underwriting risks
, it has been estimated that overall both the life and non-life sectors will be able to withstand a number of severe shocks, even though the impact on individual insurers varies widely.
Travel and tourism
continue to be extremely important for Portugal. It has been necessary for the country to focus upon its niche attractions, such as health, nature and rural tourism, to stay ahead of its competitors.
Portugal is among the top 20 most-visited countries in the world, receiving an average of 20,000,000 foreign tourists each year.
In 2014, Portugal was elected The Best European Country
by USA Today
In 2017, Portugal was elected both Europe's Leading Destination
and in 2018 and 2019, World's Leading Destination
Also, between 5–6 million religious pilgrims visit Fatima
each year, where apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children reportedly took place in 1917. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima
is one of the largest Roman Catholic shrines in the world. The Portuguese government continues to promote and develop new tourist destinations, such as the Douro Valley
, the island of Porto Santo
, and Alentejo
Barcelos rooster, an iconic Portuguese souvenir
The legend of the Rooster of Barcelos
tells the story of a dead rooster's miraculous intervention in proving the innocence of a man who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death. The story is associated with the 17th-century calvary
that is part of the collection of the Archaeological Museum located in Paço dos Condes, a gothic-style palace in Barcelos
, a city in northwest Portugal. The Rooster of Barcelos
is bought by thousands of tourists as a national souvenir
Among the largest non-state-run research institutions in Portugal are the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência
and the Champalimaud Foundation
, a neuroscience and oncology research centre which awards every year one of the highest monetary prizes of any science prize in the world. A number of both national and multinational high-tech and industrial companies, are also responsible for research and development projects. One of the oldest learned societies of Portugal is the Sciences Academy of Lisbon
, founded in 1779.
Portugal has the largest aquarium
in Europe, the Lisbon Oceanarium
, and the Portuguese have several other notable organizations focused on science-related exhibits and divulgation, like the state agency Ciência Viva
, a programme of the Portuguese Ministry of Science and Technology to the promotion of a scientific and technological culture among the Portuguese population,
the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra
, the National Museum of Natural History
at the University of Lisbon, and the Visionarium
. With the emergence and growth of several science parks
throughout the world that helped create many thousands of scientific, technological and knowledge-based businesses, Portugal started to develop several
science parks across the country. These include the Taguspark
), the Coimbra iParque
), the biocant
), the Madeira Tecnopolo
), Sines Tecnopolo
) and Parkurbis
). Companies locate in the Portuguese science parks to take advantage of a variety of services ranging from financial and legal advice through to marketing and technological support.
The Lisbon Metro
is Portugal's oldest and largest subway system.
By the early-1970s, Portugal's fast economic growth
with increasing consumption
and purchase of new automobiles set the priority for improvements in transportation. Again in the 1990s, after joining the European Economic Community
, the country built many new motorways. Today, the country has a 68,732 km (42,708 mi) road network, of which almost 3,000 km (1,864 mi) are part of system of 44 motorways. Opened in 1944, the first motorway (which linked Lisbon to the National Stadium) was an innovative project that made Portugal one of the first countries in the world to establish a motorway (this roadway eventually became the Lisbon-Cascais highway, or A5).
Although a few other tracts were created (around 1960 and 1970), it was only after the beginning of the 1980s that large-scale motorway construction was implemented. In 1972, Brisa
, the highway concessionaire, was founded to handle the management of many of the region's motorways. On many highways, a toll needs to be paid (see Via Verde
). Vasco da Gama bridge
is the longest bridge in Europe at 12.345 km.
's 89,015 km2
(34,369 sq mi) territory is serviced by four international airports located near the principal cities of Lisbon
. Lisbon's geographical position makes it a stopover for many foreign airlines at several airports within the country. The primary flag-carrier
is TAP Air Portugal
, although many other domestic airlines provide services within and without the country. The government decided to build a new airport outside Lisbon, in Alcochete
, to replace Lisbon Portela Airport
, though this plan has been suspended due to austerity measures. Currently, the most important airports are in Lisbon
(Madeira), and Ponta Delgada
(Azores), managed by the national airport authority group ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal
. One other important airport is the Aeroporto Internacional das Lajes on the island of Terceira in the Azores. This airport serves as one of two international airports serving countries outside the European Union for all nine islands of the Azores. It also serves as a military air base for the United States Air Force. The base remains in use to the present day.
A national railway system that extends throughout the country and into Spain, is supported and administered by Comboios de Portugal
(CP). Rail transport
of passengers and goods is derived using the 2,791 km (1,734 mi) of railway lines currently in service, of which 1,430 km (889 mi) are electrified and about 900 km (559 mi) allow train speeds greater than 120 km/h (75 mph). The railway network is managed by Infraestruturas de Portugal
while the transport of passengers and goods are the responsibility of CP, both public companies. In 2006, the CP carried 133,000,000 passengers and 9,750,000 tonnes
(9,600,000 long tons
; 10,700,000 short tons
) of goods.
Portugal electricity production 1980-2019
Portugal has considerable resources of wind and river power, the two most cost-effective renewable energy sources. Since the turn of the 21st century, there has been a trend towards the development of a renewable resource industry and reduction of both consumption and use of fossil fuels. In 2006, the world's largest solar power
plant at that date, the Moura Photovoltaic Power Station
, began operating near Moura
, in the south, while the world's first commercial wave power
farm, the Aguçadoura Wave Farm
, opened in the Norte region
(2008). By the end of 2006, 66% of the country's electrical production was from coal and fuel power plants, while 29% were derived from hydroelectric
dams, and 6% by wind energy
In 2008, renewable energy resources were producing 43% of the nation's consumption of electricity, even as hydroelectric production decreased with severe droughts.
As of June 2010, electricity exports had outnumbered imports. In the period between January and May 2010, 70% of the national production of energy came from renewable sources.
Portugal's national energy transmission company, Redes Energéticas Nacionais
(REN), uses sophisticated modelling to predict weather, especially wind patterns, and computer programs to calculate energy from the various renewable-energy plants. Before the solar/wind revolution, Portugal had generated electricity from hydropower plants on its rivers for decades. New programmes combine wind and water: wind-driven turbines pump water uphill at night, the most blustery period; then the water flows downhill by day, generating electricity, when consumer demand is highest. Portugal's distribution system is also now a two-way street. Instead of just delivering electricity, it draws electricity from even the smallest generators, like rooftop solar panels. The government aggressively encouraged such contributions by setting a premium price for those who buy rooftop-generated solar electricity.
The Statistics Portugal (Portuguese
: INE – Instituto Nacional de Estatística
) estimates that, according to the 2011 census, the population was 10,562,178 (of which 52% was female, 48% was male). In 2019 and according to more up-to-date figures, the population decreased to 10,295,909, although it was an increase compared with 2018.
This population has been relatively homogeneous for most of its history: a single religion (Roman Catholicism) and a single language have contributed to this ethnic and national unity.
The most important demographic influence in the modern Portuguese seems to be the oldest one; current interpretation of Y-chromosome
data suggests that the Portuguese have their origin in Paleolithic
peoples that began arriving to the European continent around 45,000 years ago. All subsequent migrations did leave an impact, genetically and culturally, but the main population source of the Portuguese is still Paleolithic. Genetic studies show Portuguese populations not to be significantly different from other European populations.
Portuguese people have a preponderancy of genetics (Iron Age Period)
which belong to R1b haplogroup family along with Brythonic
genetical markers. Also expectable but not so common are South European (Sardinian, Italian and Balkans), broadly North-western (West Germanic) and to a lesser extent British/Irish (Brythonic/Gaelic) and French (Alpine). With a low confidence range there are Scandinavian and East European genetical markers.
Other sources would point out a small presence of Berber
and Jewish that would be also part of a low confidence region.
Native Portuguese are an Iberian
ethnic group and they form 95% of the whole population, whose ancestry is very similar to Spaniards
and have strong ties with fellow Atlantic Arc countries
like Ireland, British Isles, France and Belgium due to maritime trade dated as far back as the Bronze Age. These maritime contacts and the prevalence of R1b haplogroup as the main genetical marker of these countries suggest a common ancestry and cultural proximity. Other maritime contacts with the Mediterranean especially with Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and Moors added some particular phenotypes in southern Portugal and particularly southern Spain (the Tartessos
culture), making Portugal and north-western Spain a bridge between north-western Europe and the Mediterranean but maintaining the Atlantic
Despite the good economic development in the past three decades the Portuguese were the shortest in Europe since 1890. This emerging height gap took place in the 1840s and has increased since. One of the driving factors was the modest real wage development, given the late industrialization and economic growth in Portugal compared to the European core. Another determinant was the delayed human capital
Population pyramid (2016)
The total fertility rate (TFR) as of 2015 was estimated at 1.52 children born/woman, one of the lowest in the world, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1,
it remains considerably below the high of 5.02 children born per woman in 1911.
In 2016, 52.8% of births were to unmarried women.
Like most Western countries, Portugal has to deal with low fertility levels: the country has experienced a sub-replacement fertility rate
since the 1980s.
Portugal subsequently has the 17th oldest population in the world, with the average age of 43.7 years.
The structure of Portuguese society is characterized by a significant inequality which in 2016 placed the country in the lowest seventh of the Social Justice Index
for the European Union.
Portugal's parliament in 2018 approved a budget plan for 2019 that includes tax breaks for returning emigrants in a bid to lure back those who left during the financial crisis of 2007–2008
. The expansionary 2019 budget, backed by a left-wing
majority in parliament, also aims to boost the purchasing power of households while cutting the already low deficit even further. Returning emigrants
will be allowed to declare only half their taxable income for five years if they return, provided they lived abroad for at least three years. The "Return Programme" is to run for two years. Around 500,000 residents left Portugal between 2010 and 2015 after the Great Recession
. Although some 350,000 have since returned, Lisbon wants to tempt the rest to come home – in a similar scheme to the Irish one.
Portugal has approved a credit line for Portuguese emigrants aiming to invest in the country on their return. Furthermore, Emigrants returning in 2019 and 2020 will see their taxes halved as part of the stimulus to bring native Portuguese back and revitalize the population and promote continued economic growth
– as Portugal struggles with a low birth rate and an ageing population
. According to projections by the national statistics office, Portugal's population will fall to 7.7 million by 2080 from 10.3 million now and the population will continue to age.
A map of Portugal showing the population density (number of inhabitants / km2) by municipality
Regions by HDI
Map of Portuguese regions by Human Development Index in 2017
0.840 – 0.880
0.820 – 0.840
0.800 – 0.820
In 2007, Portugal had 10,617,575 inhabitants of whom about 332,137 were legal immigrants
In 2015, Portugal had 10,341,330 inhabitants of whom about 383,759 were legal migrants, making up 3.7% of the population.
In 2017, Portugal had 416,682 legal residents of foreign origin, of which 203,753 identified as male, and 212,929 as female.
In 2019, 21,099 residents of foreign origin acquired the Portuguese nationality, of which 11,179 were female and 9,920 were male.PORDATA - Foreign population that acquired portuguese nationality: total and by sex
Top origins for foreign-born naturalized citizens of Portugal
Portugal's colonial history
has long since been a cornerstone of its national identity, as has its geographic position at the south-western corner of Europe, looking out into the Atlantic Ocean. It was one of the last western colonial European powers to give up its overseas territories (among them Angola
in 1975), turning over the administration of Macau
to the People's Republic of China at the end of 1999. Consequently, it has both influenced and been influenced by cultures from former colonies or dependencies, resulting in immigration from these former territories for both economic and personal reasons. Portugal, long a country of emigration (the vast majority of Brazilians
have Portuguese ancestry),
has now become a country of net immigration,
and not just from the last Indian
(Portuguese until 1961), African
(Portuguese until 1975), and Far East Asian
(Portuguese until 1999) overseas territories. An estimated 800,000 Portuguese returned to Portugal as the country's African possessions gained independence in 1975.
Numbers of Venezuelan
migrants are also significant. It is estimated that over 30,000 seasonal, often illegal immigrants
work in agriculture
, mainly in the south where they are often exploited by organised seasonal-worker's networks. The workers sometimes get paid less than half the minimum pay established by law. These migrants who often arrive without due documentation or work-contracts, make up over 90% of agricultural workers in the south of Portugal. Most are Indo-Asians, from India, Bangladesh
, Pakistan and Thailand
. In the interior of the Alentejo
there are many African workers. Significant numbers also come from Eastern Europe, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania and Brazil.
In addition, a number of EU citizens
, mostly from the United Kingdom or other northern European countries, have become permanent residents in the country (with the British community being mostly composed of retired pensioners who live in the Algarve and Madeira).
According to the 2011 Census, 81.0% of the Portuguese population was Roman Catholic Christian
The country has small Protestant, Latter-day Saint
, Eastern Orthodox Church
, Jehovah's Witnesses
communities. Influences from African Traditional Religion
and Chinese Traditional Religion are also felt among many people, particularly in fields related with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional African Herbal Medicine. Some 6.8% of the population declared themselves to be non-religious, and 8.3% did not give any answer about their religion.
Many Portuguese holidays, festivals and traditions have a Christian origin or connotation. Although relations between the Portuguese state and the Roman Catholic Church were generally amiable and stable since the earliest years of the Portuguese nation, their relative power fluctuated. In the 13th and 14th centuries
, the church enjoyed both riches and power stemming from its role in the reconquest
, its close identification with early Portuguese nationalism and the foundation of the Portuguese educational system, including its first university
The Portuguese language is derived from the Latin
spoken by the romanized pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula
around 2000 years ago – particularly the Celts
In the 15th and 16th centuries, the language spread worldwide as Portugal established a colonial and commercial empire between 1415 and 1999.
Portuguese is spoken as a native language in five different continents, with Brazil accounting for the largest number of native Portuguese speakers of any country. In 2013 the Portuguese language is the official language spoken in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and East Timor
. These countries, plus Macau
Special Administrative Region (People's Republic of China) where Portuguese is co-official with Cantonese
, make up the Lusosphere
, a term derived from the ancient Roman province
", which currently matches the Portuguese territory south of the Douro
is also recognized as a co-official regional language in some municipalities of North-Eastern Portugal. It is part of the Astur-Leonese
group of languages.
An estimate of between 6,000 and 7,000 Mirandese speakers has been documented for Portugal.
The educational system is divided into preschool (for those under age 6), basic education (9 years, in three stages, compulsory), secondary education (3 years, compulsory since 2010), and higher education (subdivided in university and polytechnic
education). Universities are usually organized into faculties
. Institutes and schools are also common designations for autonomous subdivisions of Portuguese higher education institutions
The total adult literacy rate is 99.4 per cent. Portuguese primary school enrolments are 100 per cent.
According to the Programme for International Student Assessment
(PISA) 2015, the average Portuguese 15-year-old student, when rated in terms of reading literacy, mathematics and science knowledge, is placed significantly above the OECD
's average, at a similar level as those students from Norway, Denmark and Belgium, with 501 points (493 is the average). The PISA results of the Portuguese students have been continuously improving, overcoming a number of other highly developed Western countries like the US, Austria, France and Sweden.
About 46,9% of college-age citizens (20 years old) attend one of Portugal's higher education institutions
(compared with 50% in the United States and 35% in the OECD countries). In addition to being a destination for international students
, Portugal is also among the top places of origin for international students. All higher education students, both domestic and international, totalled 380,937 in 2005.
The Bologna process
has been adopted by Portuguese universities and poly-technical institutes in 2006. Higher education in state-run educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis, a system of numerus clausus
is enforced through a national database on student admissions. However, every higher education institution offers also a number of additional vacant places through other extraordinary admission processes for sportsmen, mature applicants (over 23 years old), international students
, foreign students from the Lusosphere
, degree owners from other institutions, students from other institutions (academic transfer
), former students (readmission), and course change, which are subject to specific standards and regulations set by each institution or course department.
Most student costs are supported with public money. However, with the increasing tuition fees a student has to pay to attend a Portuguese state-run higher education institution and the attraction of new types of students (many as part-time students or in evening classes) like employees, businessmen, parents, and pensioners, many departments make a substantial profit from every additional student enrolled in courses, with benefits for the college or university's gross tuition revenue and without loss of educational quality (teacher per student, computer per student, classroom size per student, etc.).
St António Hospital, in Porto
(above), and St Maria Hospital, in Lisbon (bottom)
According to the Human Development Report
, the average life expectancy
in Portugal had reached 82 years in 2017,
in 2020 it is estimated at 82.11 years.
As projected by the United Nations, the life expectancy of the Portuguese population will be over 90 years when we reach 2100.
The trajectory of the Portuguese life expectancy is visualized with historical data from 1950 and future projections up to 2100, as can be seen in the graph on the left.
The Portuguese health system is characterized by three coexisting systems: the National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS), special social health insurance schemes for certain professions (health subsystems) and voluntary private health insurance. The SNS provides universal coverage. In addition, about 25% of the population is covered by the health subsystems, 10% by private insurance schemes and another 7% by mutual funds.
The Ministry of Health is responsible for developing health policy as well as managing the SNS. Five regional health administrations are in charge of implementing the national health policy objectives, developing guidelines and protocols and supervising health care delivery. Decentralization efforts have aimed at shifting financial and management responsibility to the regional level. In practice, however, the autonomy of regional health administrations over budget setting and spending has been limited to primary care.
The SNS is predominantly funded through general taxation. Employer (including the state) and employee contributions represent the main funding sources of the health subsystems. In addition, direct payments by the patient and voluntary health insurance premiums account for a large proportion of funding.
Similar to the other Eur-A countries, most Portuguese die from noncommunicable diseases
. Mortality from cardiovascular diseases
(CVD) is higher than in the eurozone
, but its two main components, ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, display inverse trends compared with the Eur-A, with cerebrovascular disease
being the single biggest killer in Portugal (17%). Portuguese people die 12% less often from cancer than in the Eur-A, but mortality is not declining as rapidly as in the Eur-A. Cancer is more frequent among children as well as among women younger than 44 years. Although lung cancer (slowly increasing among women) and breast cancer (decreasing rapidly) are scarcer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer are more frequent. Portugal has the highest mortality rate for diabetes in the Eur-A, with a sharp increase since the 1980s.
Portugal's infant mortality rate
is around 2 deaths per 1000 newborns, with 2.4 deaths per 1000 live births.
People are usually well informed about their health status, the positive and negative effects of their behaviour on their health, and their use of health care services. Yet their perceptions of their health, can differ from what administrative and examination-based data show about levels of illness within populations. Thus, survey results based on self-reporting at household level, complement other data on health status and the use of services.
Only one third of adults rated their health as good or very good in Portugal (Kasmel et al., 2004). This is the lowest of the Eur-A countries reporting and reflects the relatively adverse situation of the country in terms of mortality and selected morbidity.Hospital de Santa Maria
is the largest university hospital in Portugal.
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 (decade), Portugal modernized its public cultural facilities, in addition to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
established in 1956 in Lisbon.
has a long tradition, reaching back to the birth of the medium in the late 19th century. António Lopes Ribeiro
, António Reis
, Pedro Costa
, Manoel de Oliveira
, João César Monteiro
, Edgar Pêra
, António-Pedro Vasconcelos
, Fernando Lopes
, João Botelho
and Leonel Vieira
, are among those that gained notability. Noted Portuguese film actors include Joaquim de Almeida
, Nuno Lopes
, Daniela Ruah
, Maria de Medeiros
, Diogo Infante
, Soraia Chaves
, Lúcia Moniz
, and Diogo Morgado
Portuguese literature, one of the earliest Western literatures, developed through text as well as song. Until 1350, the Portuguese-Galiciantroubadours
spread their literary influence to most of the Iberian Peninsula. Gil Vicente
(c. 1465–c. 1536) was one of the founders of Portuguese dramatic traditions.
Portuguese cuisine is very diverse. The Portuguese consume a lot of dry cod
in Portuguese), for which there are hundreds of recipes
There are more than enough bacalhau
dishes; over one for each day of the year. Two other popular fish recipes are grilled sardines
, a tomato-based stew
that can be made from several types of fish with a mix of onion, garlic, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, parsley or coriander
. Typical Portuguese meat recipes made out of beef, pork, lamb, goat or chicken include cozido à portuguesa
, frango de churrasco
(roast suckling pig
and carne de porco à alentejana
. A very popular northern dish is dobrada
, a tripe with white beans and carrots stew, often served with steamed white rice. Peri-peri
chicken is a spicy charcoal chicken dish served with rice and vegetables, a favourite throughout Portugal, but most common in the Algarve
Pasteis de Nata in Lisbon
Typical fast food dishes include the Francesinha
(Frenchie) from Porto, "Tripas à moda do Porto" which is also a traditional plate 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 the many medieval
Catholic monasteries spread widely across the country. These monasteries, using very few ingredients (mostly almonds, vanilla
, 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 myriads of good restaurants and typical small tasquinhas
, depicted in this famous painting (c. 1910) by José Malhoa
, is Portugal's traditional music.
encompasses a wide variety of genres. The traditional one is the Portuguese folk music which has deep roots in local customs having as instruments bagpipes
), drums, flutes, tambourines, accordions and ukuleles (cavaquinho
). Within Portuguese folk music is the renowned genre of Fado
, a melancholic urban music originated in Lisbon
in the 19th century, probably inside bohemian environments, usually associated with the Portuguese guitar
, or longing. Coimbra fado
, a unique type of "troubadour
serenading" fado, is also noteworthy. Internationally notable performers include Amália Rodrigues
, Carlos Paredes
, José Afonso
, Carlos do Carmo
, António Chainho
, Dulce Pontes
In the classical music domain, Portugal is represented by names as the pianists Artur Pizarro
, Maria João Pires
, Sequeira Costa
, the violinists Carlos Damas, Gerardo Ribeiro
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
. Similarly, contemporary composers such as Nuno Malo and Miguel d'Oliveira have achieved some international success writing.
In addition to Folk
, Fado and Classical music, other genres are present at Portugal like pop and other types of modern music, particularly from North America and the United Kingdom, as well as a wide range of Portuguese, Caribbean, Lusophone African and Brazilian artists and bands. Artists with international recognition include Dulce Pontes
, Buraka Som Sistema
, Blasted Mechanism
, David Carreira
and The Gift
, with the three 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
, Boom Festival
in Idanha-a-Nova Municipality
, NOS Alive
, Sumol Summer Fest
, 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
. Furthermore, Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest 2017
with the song "Amar pelos dois
" presented by Salvador Sobral
, and subsequently hosted the 2018 contest
at the Altice Arena
is consistently ranked as one of the best football players in the world and considered to be one of the greatest players of all time.
, Sporting CP
and FC Porto
are the largest sports clubs
by popularity and by number of trophies won, often known as "os três grandes
" ("the big three"
). They have won eight titles in the European UEFA
club competitions, were present in 21 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 roller hockey
, and volleyball
. The Portuguese Football Federation
(FPF) – Federação Portuguesa de Futebol
– annually hosts the Algarve Cup
, a prestigious women's football
tournament that has been celebrated in the Algarvian part of Portugal.
The country has also achieved notable performances in sports like fencing
, sailing, surfing
, shooting, taekwondo
, owning several European and world titles. The paralympic
athletes have also conquered many medals in sports like swimming
, mixed martial arts
In equestrian sports, Portugal won the only Horseball-Pato World Championship in 2006 achieved the third position in the First Horseball
World Cup and has achieved several victories in the European Working Equitation
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
Portugal is one of the world's best golf
It has received several awards by the World Golf Awards.
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In recognized minority languages of Portugal:
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