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