OFFICIAL NAME: Portuguese Republic
CAPITAL: Lisbon
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 92,082 Sq Km (35,553 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 9,807,700


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Portugal is located in South West Europe occupying the western littoral of the Iberian Peninsula. The territory also includes the Azores, Madeira and Porto Santo Islands. It is bound by Spain to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west. The terrain of Portugal is linked to Spain. In the northeast the Beira Alta and Tras-os-Montes is a continuation of the Castilian Plateau while further south, the Beira Baixa and Alentejo regions are geographical areas of the Entremadura region of Spain. The country's central mountain range, the Sierra da Estrela, is a westward continuation of the Sierras de Gata, Gredos and Guadarrama divides of Spain. Similarly the two principal rivers are also Spain's, the Tagus and the Douro Rivers. Major Cities (pop. est.); Lisbon 681,100, Porto 309,500, Vila Nova de Gaia 247,500, Amadora 176,100 (1991). Land Use; forested 36%, pastures 9%, agricultural-cultivated 34%, other 21% (1993).


CLIMATE: Portugal has two climatic zones. (1.) The northern zone characterized by an average annual precipitation of 991 mm (39 inches) with temperatures influenced by Atlantic air currents and the Spanish Meseta. (2.) The southern zone which has a Mediterranean climate with low annual precipitation and sunny days with weather conditions influenced by the Azorean high pressure systems. Average temperature ranges in Lisbon are from 8 to 14 degrees Celsius (46 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 17 to 28 degrees Celsius (60 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit) in August.


PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Portuguese who account for 99% of the population and are descendants of mixed racial stocks that include Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs and Berbers. The principal ethnic minorities include Black African refugees from former overseas colonies and Gypsies.


DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 113 persons per sq km (292 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 33.6% urban, 66.4% rural (1990). Sex Distribution; 48.3% male, 51.7% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth; 71.1 years male, 78.1 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 23% under 15, 25% 15 to 29, 19% 30 to 44, 16% 45 to 59, 12% 60 to 74, 5% 75 and over (1987). Birth Rate; 12.0 per 1,000 (1992). Death Rate; 13.5 per 1,000 (1992). Increase Rate; -1.5 per 1,000 (1992). Infant Mortality Rate; 10.8 per 1,000 live births (1991).


RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with around 95% of the population Roman Catholic while 1% are Protestant. The principal religious minority are the Muslims.


LANGUAGES: The official language is Portuguese which is spoken by the entire population.


EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 4.4%, primary 76.2%, secondary 19.0%, higher 0.4% (1981). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 7,567,000 or 84.0% (1985).


MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1949 Portugal was a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During the 1960's rebellions against Portuguese rule broke out in the country's African colonies. In 1968 Antonio de Oliveira Salazar who held office since 1932, resigned as Prime Minister after suffering a stroke and was replaced by Marcello Caetano. On Apr. 25, 1974 army officers led by Gen. Antonio de Spinola ousted Prime Minister Caetano and established a military dominated government which was committed to socialist policies. In 1975 almost all the remaining Portuguese colonies gained independence and in Apr. 1976 Portugal held its first free general elections in more than 50 years which resulted in Gen. Antonio Ramalho Eanes being elected as President, who in turn appointed Mario Soares as Prime Minister. In 1978 the Soares minority coalition government collapsed and by 1980 five replacement Prime Ministers had been appointed. In Dec. 1980 Pres. Eanes was re-elected and appointed Francisco Pinto Balsemao as Prime Minister. Balsemao established constitutional amendments which returned a full civilian government in 1982. In 1985 Anibal Cavaco Silva of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) was elected Prime Minister. In 1986 Portugal joined the European Community (EC) and in the same year Soares was elected President. In 1987 Portugal signed an agreement with China that enabled the return of Macau to China in 1999 and in June 1989 the Parliament ratified an agreement to remove all references to socialist state goals from the constitution. In 1991 the government continued its privatization program announcing plans to sell three state insurance companies, two cement companies and to float two divisions of the state-owned oil company, Petrogal. In Jan. 1991 Pres. Soares was re-elected for his second term. In June 1991 work commenced on the reconstruction of 18 buildings in the historic Chiado district of Lisbon, following a disastrous fire in 1988. In Oct. 1991 Silva was re-elected as Prime Minister with the PSD winning 132 of the 230 seats. Also in 1991 Portugal acceded to the presidency of the EC. In 1992 public sector workers held strikes in protest to the government's attempts to keep wage increases in line with inflation targets, although the government responded by introducing legislation that made the organization of strikes more difficult. In March 1992 Prime Minister Silva reshuffled his Cabinet replacing the minister of education. In June 1992 following an EC meeting of member nations the Lisbon Declaration was announced which covered reforms on the common agricultural policy (CAP) and efforts to complete the single market union. In Oct. 1992 Portugal's first private television station headed by former Prime Minister Balsemao commenced broadcasts. On Dec. 10, 1992 the government ratified the Maastricht Treaty with a 207-22 vote. Also in 1992 the government continued its program of reducing expenditure through streamlining the civil and heath services. In 1993 tensions between Pres. Soares and Prime Minister Silva escalated following the President's veto of a PSD-sponsored bill on the restriction of political asylum. In June 1993 the government announced plans to inject Esc 100 billion in drought relief and preferential loans for farmers to offset the negative effects of the EC's CAP. In Aug. 1993 the former Governor of Macau was acquitted of corruption charges following allegations of his acceptance of bribes over bids for the construction of a new airport in the colony. On Aug. 4, 1993 the government lowered the minimum legal age for workers to 14, following which the labor union protested claiming it violated recommendations of the Internation Labor Organization (ILO). Also in 1993 the government announced plans to spend Esc 300 billion on the health services over the next seven years.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the Euro divided into 100 cents.


ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $77,700,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $39,922,000,000 (1992). Imports; Esc 3,883,000,000 (1993). Exports; Esc 2,474,000,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $4,176,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; Esc -1,099,900,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 4,930,760 or 49.9% of total population (1993). Unemployed; 5.2% (1993).


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the EU, the USA and Japan.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Cereals, Citrus Fruits and Vegetables, Cork, Copper, Fish, Grapes, Iron Ore, Olives, Rice, Salt, Timber, Tin, Tungsten.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Automobile Assembly, Chemicals, Fishing, Food Processing, Electronic, Footwear, Machinery, Metal Working, Mining, Textiles, Tourism, Wine, Wood Products.

MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Cork, Leather Goods, Machinery, Petroleum Products, Sardines, Textiles, Wine.


TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 3,588 km (2,229 mi) (1990), passenger-km 5,908,000,000 (3,671,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 1,719,000,000 (1,177,000,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 51,953 km (32,282 mi) (1981). Vehicles; cars 2,837,732 (1989), trucks and buses 189,822 (1987). Merchant Marine; vessels 329 (1990), deadweight tonnage 1,322,203 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 6,231,000,000 (3,872,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 159,933,000 (109,538,000 short ton-mi) (1989).


COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 25 with a total circulation of 465,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 2,475,000 (1993). Television; receivers 2,970,892 (1993). Telephones; units 3,260,300 (1993).


MILITARY: 54,200 (1995) total active duty personnel with 54.8% army, 23.1% navy and 13.5% air force while military expenditure accounts for 3.0% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).


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