Portugal is a nation in Western Europe. It is located on the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula. Its only land border is with Spain, while it borders the Atlantic Ocean along its coast. Its capital and largest city is the city of Lisbon. The Portuguese language is the main language, and Roman Catholicism is the main religion.


The history of Portugal mirrors the history of Spain. It was settled by Celtic tribes and conquered by the Romans in the first century BC and the first century AD. After the fall of Rome, it was incorporated into the Umayyad Caliphate, and was split into taifa after its fall.

The Christian Kingdom of Portugal was established in the north in the eleventh century. It reconquered the rest of the country by the fourteenth century. Portugal sponsored some early exploration, with Vasco da Gama reaching India in the fifteenth century.

Portugal established a colony at Brazil in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In order to supply the sugar plantations and gold mines with free labor, Portugal imported slaves from Angola and Mozambique, where it built trading posts.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Portugal was taken over by France and the government was moved to Brazil. In 1821, the government was moved back, but the empire never really recovered. Brazil was granted independence about a decade later under amiable terms.

The Portuguese monarchy was overthrown in 1910 and a dictatorship was established. Portugal remained neutral in both world wars. Portugal held on to its colonies unusually long; Angola and Mozambique were only granted independence after the Carnation Revolution overthrew the dictatorship in 1975.

Portugal has struggled in the post-colonial period and remains the poorest country in Western Europe, although it is by no means impoverished. The 1992 Treaty of Lisbon established the modern European Union.


Portugal is composed of the mainland on the Iberian Peninsula, and the islands of the Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal is nearly bisected by the Tagus River. Portugal is a generally flat country.

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