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Portuguese speaking

Language Portuguese
Capital Lisbon
Other main city Oporto
Area (km2) 91,982
Population 9,803,000
Currency Euro
History of Portugal
Portugal occupies the western part of the Iberian Peninsula-The Azores and the Madeira Islands are also part of the Republic. Once an extensive colonial power, Portugal returned its last overseas territory, Macao, to China in 1999.

The Portuguese people are of predominantly Mediterranean stock , but reflect the variety of cultures and ethnicity that have influenced the territory; Spanish, Iberian, Roman, Visigoth and Moor.

The Romans conquered the original Celtic inhabitants of Portugal, the Lusitanians, around 140 BC and ruled until the Visigoths invaded during the general collapse of the Roman Empire. King John I united the nation, freeing them from Castilian and Moorish occupation. John's son, Henry the Navigator, orchestrated the Portuguese territorial expansion.

By the time Portugal was invaded by Spain in 1581, the country held colonies in Asia, Africa and South America. By the time the Portuguese monarchy was restored 60 years later other colonial powers had seized many of these overseas possessions.

In 1910 King Manoel II was deposed in favour of a republican government. Portugal fought with the Allies in World War One but was neutral in the Second World War under Antonio Salazar, whose dictatorial control of the nation began in 1926. Salazar and his successor Caetano both opposed the independence movements of various colonies that began in the 1950s.

The armed forces staged a successful coup in 1974 and the process of giving up overseas territories began. The military leaders faced considerable economic hardship at home and nationalised key industries. In 1986 a civilian president was elected in Portugal and the nation has seen steady economic improvement in the intervening years.

Did you know?
There are no "primitive" languages. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.
Portuguese History
Portuguese Speaking
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