Portugal is officially called the Portuguese Republic. This European country lies along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula sharing its eastern and northern border with Spain.  Once continental Europe’s greatest power, Portugal shares commonalities – geographic and cultural – with the countries of both northern Europe and the Mediterranean. The rocky northern coast and mountainous interior are sparsely settled, scenic, and wild, while the country’s south, the Algarve, is warm and fertile. 

The country is crossed by several rivers, including the Duoro River which originates in Spain and crosses over to Porto – in the north. Other popular regions include the Azores, Madeira, and Sintra. Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and economic and cultural centre. The city clings to low but steep hills situated on the right bank of the Tagus and is a popular tourist destination.

In the 1st millennium BC the Celtic Lusitani entered the Iberian Peninsula and settled the land, and many traces of their influence remain.  Lusitani tribes battled the Romans for generations before acceding to the Roman empire. Later, the descendants of Romans and the Lusitani would live under Moorish rule for several centuries until an independent kingdom was established.

Portugal has modernized in the last decades of the 20th century, expanding its economy from one based primarily on textile manufacture and livestock raising to include a range of manufactures and services.

Of Note: Over 236 million people worldwide are native Portuguese speakers. Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Principe, Sao Tome, and Equatorial Guinea. Portuguese is also spoken in Goa (India), Macao, and East Timor.

Currency: Euro

Language: Portuguese

Culture Name: Portuguese

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