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Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river

Flag of Portugal
Location of Portugal in Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula, in Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes the Macaronesian archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira. It features the westernmost point in continental Europe, its mainland west and south border with the North Atlantic Ocean and in the north and east, the Portugal-Spain border constitutes the longest uninterrupted border-line in the European Union. Its archipelagos form two autonomous regions with their own regional governments. In the mainland, Alentejo region occupies the biggest area but is one of the regions in Europe with a lower population density. Lisbon is the capital and largest city by population, being also the main spot for tourists alongside Porto and Algarve.

One of the oldest countries in Europe, its territory has been continuously settled and fought over since prehistoric times. The territory was inhabited by the Celtic and Iberian peoples, such as the Lusitanians, the Gallaecians, the Celtici, Turduli, and the Conii. These peoples had some commercial and cultural contact with Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Carthaginians. It was later ruled by the Romans, followed by the invasions of Germanic peoples together with the Alans, and later the Moors, who were eventually expelled during the Reconquista. Founded first as a county within the Kingdom of León in 868, the country officially gained independence as the Kingdom of Portugal with the Treaty of Zamora in 1143.

During the 15th and 16th centuries Portugal led the Age of Discovery and established one of the longest-lived maritime and commercial empires, becoming one of the main economic and political powers of the time. By the early 19th century, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the resulting independence of Brazil in 1822 led to a marked decay of Portugal's prior opulence. This was followed by the civil war between liberal constitutionalists and conservative absolutists over royal succession from 1828 to 1834. The 1910 revolution deposed Portugal's monarchy, and established the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic, later superseded by the authoritarian regimes of Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship) and Estado Novo (New State). Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution (1974), ending the Portuguese Colonial War and eventually losing its remaining colonial possessions. (Full article...)

The main walls of the Fort of Santa Cruz, as seen from Rua Vasco da Gama(Regional E.R.1-1ª)
Fort of Santa Cruz (Portuguese: Forte de Santa Cruz da Horta or Castelo da Santa Cruz), is a 16th-century fortification located in the civil parish of Angústias, municipality of Horta, on the island of Faial in the Portuguese Azores. Occasionally referred to as the Castelo de Santa Cruz by locals, it is situated in the historic centre of the city, on the edge of Horta Bay. It was constructed to work in conjunction with the Fort of Bom Jesus (Portuguese: Forte do Bom Jesus) at the mouth of the Ribeira da Conceição and Fort of Greta (Portuguese: Forte da Greta) along the coast of the extinct spatter cone Monte da Guia, to defend the entrance to the harbour and southern access to the Bay. (Full article...)

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The storm at peak intensity near the Azores on 4 October

The 2005 Azores subtropical storm was the 19th nameable storm and only subtropical storm of the extremely active 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was not named by the National Hurricane Center as it was operationally classified as an extratropical low. It developed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, an unusual region for late-season tropical cyclogenesis. Nonetheless, the system was able to generate a well-defined centre convecting around a warm core on 4 October. The system was short-lived, crossing over the Azores later on 4 October before becoming extratropical again on 5 October. No damages or fatalities were reported during that time. Its remnants were soon absorbed into a cold front. That system went on to become Hurricane Vince, which affected the Iberian Peninsula.

The subtropical nature of this unnamed system was determined several months after the fact, while the National Hurricane Center was performing its annual review of the season. Upon reclassification, the storm was entered into HURDAT, the official hurricane database. (Full article...)

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The following are images from various Portugal-related articles on Wikipedia.

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"The flies change but the shit is all the same"
Brito Camacho, politician of the Portuguese First Republic

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Póvoa de Varzim (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpɔvu.ɐ ðɨ vɐɾˈzĩ] ) is a Portuguese city in Northern Portugal and sub-region of Greater Porto, 30 km (18.6 mi) from its city centre. It sits in a sandy coastal plain, a cuspate foreland, halfway between the Minho and Douro rivers. In 2001, there were 63,470 inhabitants, with 42,396 living in the city proper. The city expanded southwards, to Vila do Conde, and there are about 100,000 inhabitants in the urban area alone. It is the seventh-largest urban agglomeration in Portugal and the third largest in Northern Portugal.

Permanent settlement in Póvoa de Varzim dates back to around four to six thousand years ago. Around 900 BC, unrest in the region led to the establishment of Cividade de Terroso, a fortified city, which developed maritime trade routes with the civilizations of classical antiquity. Modern Póvoa de Varzim emerged after the conquest by the Roman Republic of the city by 138 BC; fishing and fish processing units soon developed, which became the foundations of the local economy. By the 11th century, the fishing industry and fertile farmlands were the economic base of a feudal lordship and Varzim was fiercely disputed between the local overlords and the early Portuguese kings, which resulted in the establishment of the present day's municipality in 1308 and being subjugated to monastic power some years later. Póvoa de Varzim's importance reemerged with the Age of Discovery due to its shipbuilders and merchants proficiency and wealth, who traded around the globe in complex trade routes. By the 17th century, the fish processing industry rebounded and, sometime later, Póvoa became the dominant fishing port in northern Portugal. (Full article...)

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Portrait of Manuel I at the Navy Museum

Manuel I (European Portuguese: [mɐnuˈɛl]; 31 May 1469 – 13 December 1521), known as the Fortunate (Portuguese: O Venturoso), was King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521. A member of the House of Aviz, Manuel was Duke of Beja and Viseu prior to succeeding his cousin, John II of Portugal, as monarch. Manuel ruled over a period of intensive expansion of the Portuguese Empire owing to the numerous Portuguese discoveries made during his reign. His sponsorship of Vasco da Gama led to the Portuguese discovery of the sea route to India in 1498, resulting in the creation of the Portuguese India Armadas, which guaranteed Portugal's monopoly on the spice trade. Manuel began the Portuguese colonization of the Americas and Portuguese India, and oversaw the establishment of a vast trade empire across Africa and Asia.

Manuel established the Casa da Índia, a royal institution that managed Portugal's monopolies and its imperial expansion. He financed numerous famed Portuguese navigators, including Pedro Álvares Cabral (who discovered Brazil), Afonso de Albuquerque (who established Portuguese hegemony in the Indian Ocean), among numerous others. The income from Portuguese trade monopolies and colonized lands made Manuel the wealthiest monarch in Europe, allowing him to be one of the great patrons of the Portuguese Renaissance, which produced many significant artistic and literary achievements. Manuel patronized numerous Portuguese intellectuals, including playwright Gil Vicente (called the father of Portuguese and Spanish theatre). The Manueline style, considered Portugal's national architecture, is named for the king. (Full article...)

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A Portuguese F-84 being loaded with amunition in the 60's, at the Luanda Air Base, during the Portuguese Colonial War

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