Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PORTUGAL - Country profile

Following its heyday as a global maritime power
during the 15th and 16th centuries,
Portugal lost much of its wealth and status
with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake,
occupation during the Napoleonic Wars,
and the independence of its wealthiest colony of Brazil in 1822.
A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy ;
for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country.
In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms.
The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies.
Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.

Flag of PORTUGAL :

The flag of Portugal (Portuguese : Bandeira de Portugal) is a rectangle-shaped bicolour with a field vertically divided into green on the hoist, and red on the fly. The lesser version of the national coat of arms (i.e. armillary sphere and Portuguese shield) is centered over the colour boundary at equal distance from the upper and lower edges. Portugal officially adopted this design for its national flag on June 30, 1911—replacing the one used under the constitutional monarchy—after being selected, among numerous proposals, by a special commission whose members included Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, João Chagas and Abel Botelho.

The new field colours, especially green, were not traditional in the flag's composition and represented a radical republican-inspired change that broke the bond with the former religious monarchical flag. Since a failed republican insurrection on January 31, 1891, red and green had been established as the colours of the Portuguese Republican Party and its associated movements, whose political prominence kept growing until it reached a culmination period following the Republican revolution of October 5, 1910. In the ensuing decades, these colours were popularly propagandized as representing the hope of the nation (green) and the blood (red) of those who died defending it, as a means to endow them with a more patriotic and dignified, therefore less political, sentiment.

The current flag design represents a dramatic change in the evolution of the Portuguese standard, which had always been closely associated with the royal arms. Since the country's foundation, the national flag developed from the blue cross-on-white armorial square banner of King Afonso I to the liberal monarchy's royal arms over a blue-and-white rectangle. In between, major changes associated with important political events contributed to its evolution into the current design.

National anthem of PORTUGAL :

A Portuguesa (English : The Portuguese Hymn), is the national anthem of Portugal. It was composed by Alfredo Keil and written by Henrique Lopes de Mendonça during the resurgent nationalist movement ignited by the 1890 British ultimatum to Portugal concerning its African colonies. Used as the marching song of the failed republican rebellion of January 1891, in Porto, it was adopted as the national anthem of the newborn Portuguese Republic in 1911, replacing O Hino da Carta (English : The Charter Anthem), the anthem of the deposed constitutional monarchy.

Lyrics :

Portuguese lyrics Approximate translation
First stanza

Heróis do mar, nobre povo,
Nação valente, imortal,
Levantai hoje de novo
O esplendor de Portugal!
Entre as brumas da memória,
Ó Pátria, sente-se a voz
Dos teus egrégios avós,
Que há-de guiar-te à vitória!

Heroes of the sea, noble people,
Brave, immortal nation,
Raise today once again
The splendour of Portugal!
Amid the mists of memory,
Oh Fatherland, feel the voice
Of your distinguished forefathers,
That shall lead you to victory!


Às armas, às armas!
Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,
Às armas, às armas!
Pela Pátria lutar!
Contra os canhões, marchar, marchar!

To arms, to arms!
On land, on sea,
To arms, to arms!
To fight for our Fatherland!
Against the cannons, march, march!

Second stanza

Desfralda a invicta Bandeira,
À luz viva do teu céu!
Brade a Europa à terra inteira:
Portugal não pereceu
Beija o solo teu jucundo
O Oceano, a rugir d'amor,
E teu braço vencedor
Deu mundos novos ao Mundo!

Hoist the undefeated Flag,
In the lively light of your sky!
May Europe cry out to the whole Earth:
Portugal has not perished
Kiss your merry ground
The Ocean, roaring with love,
And your victorious arm
Gave new worlds to the World!

Third stanza

Saudai o Sol que desponta
Sobre um ridente porvir;
Seja o eco de uma afronta
O sinal do ressurgir.
Raios dessa aurora forte
São como beijos de mãe,
Que nos guardam, nos sustêm,
Contra as injúrias da sorte.

Salute the Sun that rises
Over a gleeful future;
Let the echo of an offense
Be the sign for a comeback.
Rays of this strong dawn
Are like a mother's kisses,
That keep us, sustain us,
Against the injuries of fate.


The anthem's official version consists of the first stanza and the chorus from Mendonça's poem only.

Location :

Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain.

Maps :

Area :

Total : 92 090 sq km
Land : 91 470 sq km
Water : 620 sq km

Note : includes Azores and Madeira Islands.

Coastline :

1 793 km

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : Atlantic ocean 0 m
Highest point : Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2 351 m

Terrain :

Mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south.

Natural resources :

Fish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower.

Climate :

Current weather : maritime temperate ; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south.

Population :

10 735 765

Nationality :

Demonym : Portuguese

Ethnic groups :
Homogeneous Mediterranean stock ; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100 000 ; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal.

Religions :

Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census).

Languages :

Portuguese (official) Mirandese (official - but locally used).

Country name :

Conventional long form : Portuguese Republic
Conventional short form : Portugal
Local long form : Republica Portuguesa
Local short form : Portugal

ISO country code :


Government type :

Republic ; parliamentary democracy.

Capital :

Lisbon (population of city : 564 477 - Greater Lisbon : 2 003 580)

Other major cities :

Faro, Porto.

Administrative divisions :

18 districts :

1 - Lisbon
2 - Leiria
3 - Santarem
4 - Setubal
5 - Beja
6 - Faro
7 - Evora
8 - Portalegre
9 - Castelo Branco
10 - Guarda
11 - Coimbra
12 - Aveiro
13 - Viseu
14 - Bragança
15 - Vila Real
16 - Porto
17 - Braga
18 - Vaina do Castelo

2 autonomus regions :

Acores (Azores) and Madeira

Independance :
Founding of the Portuguese State : 1143 (Kingdom of Portugal recognized) Founding of the Republic: 5 October 1910 (republic proclaimed)

National holiday :

Portugal Day (Dia de Portugal), 10 June (1580). Note : also called Camoes Day, the day that revered national poet Luis de Camoes (1524-80) died.

Constitution :

Adopted 2 April 1976 ; subsequently revised.

Note : the revisions placed the military under strict civilian control, trimmed the powers of the president, and laid the groundwork for a stable, pluralistic liberal democracy ; they allowed for the privatization of nationalized firms and government-owned communications media.

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Anibal CAVACO SILVA (since 9 March 2006).

Head of government : Prime Minister Jose SOCRATES Carvalho Pinto de Sousa (since 12 March 2005).

Cabinet : Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

Note : there is also a Council of State that acts as a consultative body to the president

Elections : president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term) ; election last held on 22 January 2006 (next to be held in January 2011) ; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the president.

Election results : Anibal CAVACO SILVA elected president; percent of vote - Anibal CAVACO SILVA 50.6%, Manuel ALEGRE 20.7%, Mario Alberto Nobre Lopes SOARES 14.3%, Jeronimo DE SOUSA 8.5%, Franciso LOUCA 5.3%.

Legislative branch :

Unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (230 seats ; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms).

Judicial branch :

Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal de Justica) ; judges appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura.

Currency :

Euro (EUR)

Agriculture products :

Grain, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, grapes, sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, dairy products, fish.

Industries :

Textiles, clothing, footwear, wood and cork, paper, chemicals, auto-parts manufacturing, base metals, diary products, wine and other foods, porcelain and ceramics, glassware, technology, telecommunications, ship construction and refurbishment, tourism.

Exports partners :
Spain 26.25%, Germany 12.99%, France 12.04%, Angola 7.21%, UK 5.54% (2009).

Imports partners :

Spain 31.58%, Germany 12.41%, France 8.58%, Italy 5.55%, Netherlands 5.31% (2009).

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