Portugal

Portugal i/ˈpɔrtʃʉɡəl/ (Portuguese: Portugal, ; officially the Portuguese Republic, Portuguese: República Portuguesa) is a country located in Southwestern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are Portuguese territory as well. The country is named after its second largest city, Porto, whose Latin name was Portus Cale.

The land within the borders of the current Portuguese Republic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times. In the 8th century most of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Moorish invaders professing Islam, who were later expelled by the Knights Templar. During the Christian Reconquista, Portugal established itself as an independent kingdom from León in 1139, claiming to be the oldest European nation-state. In the 15th and 16th centuries, as the result of pioneering the Age of Discovery, Portugal expanded western influence and established the first global empire, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. In addition, the Portuguese Empire was the longest-lived of the modern European colonial empires, spanning almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415 to the handover of Macau in 1999 and grant of sovereignty to East Timor in 2002. The empire spread throughout a vast number of territories that are now part of 53 different sovereign states. However, the country's international status was greatly reduced during the 19th century, especially following the Independence of Brazil, its largest colony. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, itself being superseded by the "Estado Novo" authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974.

As of 2011, the population of Portugal was 10,562,178, of which 547,733 live in Lisbon, the country's capital and largest city, located in the South, and 237,591 in Porto, also known as Oporto, the second-largest city, located in the North. The country is a democratic republic with a president (currently Aníbal Cavaco Silva) and prime minister (currently Pedro Passos Coelho). Since the 1990s, Portugal's economic development model has been slowly changing from one based on public consumption to one focused on exports, private investment, and development of the high-tech sector. The Portuguese currency is the euro (€) and the country's economy is in the eurozone.

Portugal is a developed country with a very high Human Development Index, the world's 19th-highest quality-of-life as of 2005, and a strong healthcare system. It is one of the world's most globalized and peaceful nations: a member of the European Union and the United Nations, and a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, OECD, NATO, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the eurozone and the Schengen Agreement.

Read more about Portugal:  Geography, Government, Economy, Demographics, Culture

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