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Portugal: old colonial empire facing the ocean

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Portugal (República Portuguesa) is located in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula. In addition mainland Portugal there are the two Portuguese archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.

The capital is Lisbon, while the other major cities are Porto, Setúbal, Braga and Coimbra. The administrative division of the country includes 7 regions: Norte, Centro, Lisboa e Vale do Tejo, Alentejo, Algarve, Madeira, Azores. The only border is with Spain, which borders to the east and north. Portugal is part of the European Union.


The country has pronounced environmental and climatic contrasts. In the north it has a rugged terrain with mountains. Here is the Serra da Estrela to be found, the highest mountain range in continental Portugal, reaching up to 1,991 m. South of the Tagus River, which divides the country, the land takes on a flatter character. Only a few mountain ranges reach the coast, which is mostly linear and covered with sandy beaches.

In Portugal some great rivers of the Iberian Peninsula have the final part of their course like the Douro, the Tagus and the Guadiana. Among the rivers, which have their entire catchment area in Portugal the most important are the Mondego and Sado. The morphology of the country causes irregular and rapid rivers, flowing into the sea in long estuaries and are generally navigable for some distance, for example the Tagus estuary, on which Lisbon was founded, and the Douro.


The Azores archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America, has an area of ​​2,355 square kilometers and consists of nine islands: São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico and Faial in the Central Group, Flores and Corvo in the Western Group. On the island of Pico the highest peak of Portugal the Ponta do Pico reaches 2,351 m.


The archipelago of Madeira, covering an area of 741 sq km, is located about 500 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from mainland Portugal and is formed by the mountainous island of Madeira with the Pico Ruivo de Santana (1.861 m) as its highest peak, breathtaking escarpments and a mild climate on the one hand and the island of Porto Santo on the other hand, supplemented by a series of uninhabited islets, like the Ilhas Desertas and the Ilhas Selvagens.

The climate of Portugal.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 92,152 sqkm
  • Population: 10,500,000
  • State Capital: Lisbon
  • Official Language: Portuguese Portuguese is the third most spoken European language in the world and the native tongue of more than 220 million people.
  • Religion: Catholicism.
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Time: UTC 0. (Summer Daylight saving time UTC+1). In the Azores the time is one hour earlier than in the rest of Portugal (UTC-1), Summer Daylight saving time UTC 0.



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