Portugal, or officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa), is the westernmost country of the European Continent, located on the Iberian Peninsula in the southwest of Europe. Portugal is surrounded by Spain to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and west. The Azores and Madeira archipelagos, located in the northern hemisphere of the Atlantic Ocean, are part of Portugal with their autonomous administrations.
Over the past 3,100 years, the lands of Portugal have witnessed the transition of various civilizations, including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Germans, and Andalusian Umayyads, which have influenced the country’s culture, history, language and ethnicity. In the 5th century, the Portuguese country was called Terra Portucalis in Latin, after the cities of Portu (present-day Porto) and Cale (present-day Vila Nova de Gaia) at the mouth of the Douro River.
King of Castile and Leon VI in 1093. Alfonso established the County of Portus Cale, giving the lands in the southwest of his kingdom to Henrique de Borgonha. This county, called Comes Portucalensis, witnessed the birth of an independent kingdom in the following years. Extending from Brazil to the Philippines in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese Empire was one of the world’s leading economic, political and cultural powers. With the end of the empire in the 20th century, Portugal returned to Europe and today it forms part of the European Union with its balanced democratic structure.
Portugal was crowned King of Castile and León VII on 5 October 1143. It was established as an independent country after Alfonso recognized the independence of the Portuguese County and accepted Afonso I as the King of Portugal. After reaching the southern shores of the Algarve in 1249, the Portuguese Reconquista (Conquest) came to an end.
The popular uprising that arose when the King of Castile, married to the daughter of the King of Portugal, who died in 1383 without leaving a male heir, claimed the throne of Portugal, led to the Crisis of 1383-1385. Troops of some nobles and commoners defeated Castilian troops at the Battle of Aljubarrota. This battle is still seen as a symbol of the struggle for independence with neighboring Spain and is considered the most famous battle in Portuguese history.
The alliance with England in 1373 continues today and is probably the longest alliance in history. In the years following this alliance, Portugal pioneered the discovery of the world and started the Age of Discovery. Prince Infante Henrique o Navegador (Marine Henrique), son of King João I, played a major role in the beginning of this era and was the main promoter of expeditions.
The Portuguese Empire started when a Portuguese fleet captured Ceuta, the rich trade center in North Africa in 1415. This was followed by the first discoveries in the Atlantic Ocean, and the first colonial movements began with the discovery of the Azores and Madeira.
During the 15th century, Portuguese explorers traveled south along the African coast in search of the way to India, the land of valuable spices that were highly sought after in Europe, and they established trading posts along the way. Finally, in 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India by sea, and a tenth of what is today A period of prosperity has begun for Portugal with a million population.
Portuguese Empire 1410-1999
Pedro Álvares Cabral, who set foot in Brazil in 1500, annexed it to Portugal. Ten years later, Afonso de Albuquerque invaded Goa in India, Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, and Malacca in present-day Malaysia. He dominated the trade routes in the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean.
From 1580 to 1640, the independence of Portugal was interrupted for a while. He was the male heir of the Portuguese King Sebastião I, who died during the Battle of Vadisseyl with the Ottoman Moroccan forces in Morocco. When he did not leave, King of Spain II. Felipe claimed the throne and succeeded to the throne as King Philip I of Portugal. This war not only removed Portugal from the class of great powers, but also eliminated the threat to North Africa and Morocco, and made the Ottoman state the undisputed ruler of North Africa. However, with the support of the Portuguese nobles who were not satisfied with this, IV. João was proclaimed king in 1640, initiating the Bragança dynasty. At the same time, Great Britain and the Netherlands were attacking to seize the overseas territories of the Portuguese Empire, and Portugal entered a period of decline that would last well into the 20th century, especially with the independence of Brazil in 1822.
The republican revolution of 5 October 1910 abolished the Portuguese monarchy. However, the ongoing chaos and the important economic problems increased by the military participation in the First World War caused the military coup on 28 May 1926. As a result of this coup, António de Oliveira Salazar was brought to power by the right-wing military dictatorship that would last until 1933 by ensuring the economic balance and social order. Estado Novo (New State), which is a traditional authoritarian regime and known for its closeness to fascism, was founded by Salazar with the adoption of a new constitution. . The independence movements that started in Angola in 1961, Portuguese Guinea in 1963 and Mozambique in 1964 weakened the ruling regime by leading to the Portuguese Colonial Wars. In 1968, Salazar left the administration and was replaced by Marcelo Caetano. The bloodless leftist military coup on April 25, 1974 not only gave African colonies their independence, but also paved the way for the establishment of today’s democratic regime. Portugal, which was admitted to full membership in the European Union in 1986, started to use the Euro currency in 1999.
Geography and climate
Portugal’s mainland territory is divided by its largest river, the Tejo River. The northern part is a mountainous region with plains inside and interrupted in four places, creating areas suitable for agriculture. The southern part, between the Tejo River and the Algarve, consists of plains with a warmer and drier climate than the north, with a generally cool and rainy climate. The Algarve region, separated from the Alentejo by mountains, has a Mediterranean climate similar to Morocco and Southern Spain.
The Azores Islands and Madeira are located in the Central Atlantic Ocean. Some of these islands were volcanically active until as recently as 1957. Portugal’s highest point is 2,351 meters, located on Pico Island. Mount Pico, an ancient volcano in height.
Portugal has a Mediterranean climate. On the mainland of Portugal, one of the hottest countries in Europe, the average annual temperature is 15 °C in the north and 18 °C in the south. Madeira and the Azores have a narrower temperature range. It is sunny in spring and summer, rainy and windy in autumn and winter.
In total, the country’s area covers 92,090 km².
Portugal is a very homogeneous country in terms of language and religion. The Portuguese people are a mixture of different ethnic groups: pre-Roman Iberian and Celtic tribes, and Ancient Romans and Germanic peoples.
As a result of the 2001 census, the population of Portugal, 51.7% of which was women, was determined as 10,356.117. At the end of 2003, 4.2% of the population consisted of legal immigrants. Although the largest immigrant communities are from countries such as Ukraine, Brazil, Cape Verde and Angola, there are also immigrants from other countries of South America and Eastern Europe. The majority of the Portuguese population is Catholic. The largest metropolitan areas are Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Coimbra and Aveiro.
Same-sex marriage was allowed in Portugal in 2010, making Portugal the eighth country in the world where same-sex marriage is legal.
Portugal has developed a unique culture with the influence of various civilizations passing through the Mediterranean and the civilizations it interacted with in different parts of the world during the Age of Discovery.
Portuguese literature was developed with written works and songs and constitutes one of the earliest literatures of Western civilization. Until 1350, Portuguese and Galician wandering bards spread their literary influence to the entire Iberian Peninsula. Gil Vicente (1465 (?) – 1536 (?)) is one of the founders of both the Portuguese and Spanish drama traditions. Adventurer and poet Luís de Camões (c. 1524 – 1580) wrote his epic poem Os Lusíadas, based on Virgil’s Aeneid. The basis of modern Portuguese poetry is in the neoclassical and contemporary styles, as seen in the works of Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935). Among the leading literary figures in the international recognition of contemporary Portuguese literature, we can list the following names: Almeida Garrett, Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queirós, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, António Lobo Antunes, and 1998 Nobel Prize winner José Saramago.
Portuguese music encompasses a variety of styles. The most well-known is Fado, the melancholic urban music often associated with the Portuguese guitar and associated with saudade, a feeling of longing and longing. Among the internationally renowned commentators of Fado we can mention Amália Rodrigues, Mariza, Mísia, and Madredeus.
Besides fado and folk music, Portuguese youth are also interested in contemporary music such as rock, pop and hip-hop brigade performed by the major African ensembles in Portugal. Various music festivals are held in Portugal every year: Zambujeira do Mar, Paredes de Coura, Rock in Rio Lisboa, MTV Europe Music Awards in 2005.
Portuguese traditional architecture is different as it emerged with various influences. Today, it has world-renowned architects such as Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza Vieira. Vieira da Silva and Paula Rego, well-known painters in the visual arts, can be counted.
Since the 1990s, it has increased its public cultural institutions by adding the Belém Cultural Center in Lisbon and the Serralves Foundation and House of Music in Porto to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, established in 1956.