Portugal on the world map. Map of Portugal
Map of Portugal with cities. Where Portugal is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Portugal - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Portugal Fact File
Official name Portuguese Republic
Form of government Republic with single legislative body (Assembly of the Republic)
Area 92,080 sq km (35,552 sq miles)
Time zone GMT
Projected population 2015 10,323,000
Population density 109.5 per sq km (283.6 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 76.1
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 5.8
Official language Portuguese
Literacy rate 87.4%
Religions Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 1 1 other 2 %
Ethnic groups Portuguese 98%, African immigrants from former colonies 2 %
Economy Services 56%, industry 39%, agriculture 5 %
GNP per capita US$ 18,000
Climate Temperate; cool and rainy in north, warm and dry in south
Highest point Ponta de Pico in the Azores 2,351 m (7,71 3 ft); Serra de Estrela on the mainland, 1,993 m (6,539 ft)
Map reference Page 292
Situated at the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is shaped somewhat like a long, narrow rectangle. It has a long Atlantic coastline bordering its western edge, and a much shorter one at its southern extremity. Spain surrounds it on the other two sides.
From the second century вс until the fifth century ad, Portugal was part of the Roman Empire. As the empire collapsed the territory suffered a series of invasions—by Germanic tribes, Visigoths, and in the eighth century by Muslim Moors from northern Africa. The Moors were finally expelled by Christian invaders from Burgundy during the twelfth century and a Burgundian line of monarchs was established. An abortive Castilian attempt to seize the crown in the fourteenth century saw a new dynasty installed under John of Aviz, who reigned as John I. His son, Prince Henry the Navigator, encouraged widespread exploration and the establishment of a vast empire, with colonies in Africa, South America, India, and Southeast Asia. The invasion of Portugal by the Spanish in 1581, even though they were expelled 60 years later, heralded the decline in Portugal's influence. A French invasion in 1807 was reversed three years later when the British expelled the invaders in 1811.
During the nineteenth century widespread poverty and growing resentment at the power of the monarchy culminated in the 1910 revolution, in which the monarchy was overthrown. An army coup in 1926 installed Olivier Salazar as a right-wing dictator. He remained in power until 1968, but his successor, Marcello Caetano, was overthrown by a left-wing army coup in 1974, which eventually led to democratic elections in 1976. Portugal is now a democratic republic with a popularly elected president as head of state, and became a member of the European Union in 1985.
Portugal is divided fairly evenly into its wetter northern and more arid southern regions by the River Tagus. This river flows west into the country from Spain and then takes a southwesterly course toward the Atlantic, entering it at Lisbon (Lisboa). Highland forested areas dominate the north. The highest mountains are in the far north, especially in the east. Here the landscape is characterized by high plateaus punctuated by deep gorges and river valleys, which gradually descend to the western coastal plain. In these mountains are thick forests of both conifers and deciduous trees. South of the Douro River the landscape becomes less rugged and the slopes more gentle until they reach the plain around the Tagus. South of the Tagus, the country is mainly flat or undulating. In the Tagus Valley and further south are forests of cork oaks, the bark of which is used to produce cork for wine or for flooring. In the Algarve, in the far south, a range of hills runs across the country from the Spanish border to its southwestern tip.
Portugal has two self-governing regions in the Atlantic: the nine volcanic islands that constitute the Azores and the volcanic archipelago of two inhabited and two groups of ortuguese products
Portugal is famous for two products, cork and port. Before modern plastics were . invented cork had no equal as a strong, lightweight, buoyant, impermeable, and elastic material. It is the bark of the cork oak, found in Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean region. Cork was formerly used for lifebelts and floats on fishing nets, and is only slowly being replaced as a stopper for wine bottles by plastics. Its impermeability makes it also an increasingly sought-after raw material for the production of shoe soles. Portugal produces more cork than the rest of the world combined.
The bark is first harvested when a tree is about twenty years old, supplies being taken at subsequent ten-year intervals. The cork is removed by making cuts in the bark using a curved knife. The pieces are soaked in water, scraped, washed, and dried.
Port is a dark red, full-bodied fortified wine named after the town of Porto, from which it has been exported for many years. No one variety of grape is used. The wine's distinctiveness comes from the climate and soil of the mountainous Alto Douro region of north Portugal, and from the methods of cultivation and wine-making used in its production. Especially British capital contributed to the port industry, and the UK was for many years the main destination for the finished product.
uninhabited islets that make up Madeira. In 1987, Portugal signed a treaty to return its last territory, Macau, to China in 1999.
By Western European standards Portugal is still a highly rural society, with agriculture and fishing still employing a significant number of the country's workforce. Many farms, especially the smaller ones that predominate in the north, continue to use traditional methods. Cereals and vegetables are widely cultivated, and wine production, especially port wine from the Douro Valley, is the major agricultural activity. Manufacturing is growing in importance, much of it concerned with processing the country's agricultural products. Paper—based in recent years on fast-growing eucalyptis trees—and cork manufacture, and texiles and footwear, are among the significant industries. Tourism, especially in the warm, southern Algarve region, has greatly expanded, leading to rapid building development and considerable attendant environmental degradation.