Economic History of Portugal

The economic history of Portugal covers the development of the economy throughout the course of Portuguese history. It has its roots prior to nationality, when Roman occupation developed a thriving economy in Hispania, in the provinces of Lusitania and Gallaecia, as producers and exporters to the Roman Empire. This continued under the Visigoths and then Al-Andalus Moorish rule, until the Kingdom of Portugal was established in 1139.

With the end of Portuguese reconquista and integration in the European Middle Age economy, the Portuguese were at the forefront of maritime exploration of the age of discovery, expanding to become the first global empire. Portugal then became the world's main economic power during the Renaissance, introducing most of Africa and the East to European society, and establishing a multi-continental trading system extending from Japan to Brazil.

In 1822, Portugal lost its main colony, Brazil. Portuguese territorial claims in Africa were challenged during the Scramble for Africa. Political chaos and economic problems endured from the last years of the monarchy to the first Republic of 1910–1926, which led to the installing of a national dictatorship in 1926. While Finance Minister António de Oliveira Salazar managed to discipline the Portuguese public finances, it evolved into a single party corporative regime in 1933—the Estado Novo. The country underwent a regime change in 1974, the Carnation Revolution, a leftist military coup, culminating with the end of one of its most notable periods of economic growth, which had started in the 1960s. From 1974 to the end of the 1970s, over a million Portuguese citizens arrived from the former African overseas colonies, most as destitute refugees—the retornados. In 1986, Portugal entered the European Economic Community and left the EFTA. The European Union's structural and cohesion funds and the growth of many of Portugal's main exporting companies were leading forces in the development of the Portuguese economy, and the resultant increase in the standard of living and quality of life. Similarly, for several years Portuguese subsidiaries of large multinational companies ranked among the most productive in the world. Tourism accounts for about 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while fisheries and agriculture each account for about 4%.

The country adopted the euro in 1999. Despite being both a developed country and a high income country, Portugal's GDP per capita was of about 80% of the EU27 average. The Global Competitiveness Report of 2008–2009 ranked Portugal 43rd out of 134 countries and territories. Research by the Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Quality of Life survey in 2005 ranked Portugal 19th in the world.

As far as to companies is concerned, the country is home to a number of world players with international reputation, like Grupo Portucel Soporcel, a major world player in the international paper market, Sonae Indústria, the largest producer of wood-based panels in the world, Corticeira Amorim, the world leader in cork production, and Conservas Ramirez, the oldest canned fish producer in continuous operation.

Read more about Economic History Of Portugal:  Pre-nationality, Kingdom of Portugal, The Portuguese Republic

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