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Portugal (UK /ˈpɔːtʃʊɡl/; US i/ˈpɔrtʃʉɡəl/; Portuguese: Portugal [puɾtuˈɣaɫ]; Mirandese: Pertual), officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa; Mirandese: República Pertuesa), is a country in southwest Europe. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula, and it is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. Aside from continental Portugal, the Portuguese Republic holds sovereignty over the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira, which are autonomous regions of Portugal. The country is named after its second largest city, Porto, whose name derives from Latin “Portus” and the Celtic place-name “Cale”.The land within the borders of the current Portuguese Republic has been continually fought over and settled since prehistoric times. The Celts and the Romans were followed by the Visigothic and the Suebi Germanic peoples, who were themselves later invaded by the Moors. These Muslim peoples were eventually expelled during the Christian Reconquista of the peninsula. By 1139, Portugal established itself as a kingdom independent from León. In the 15th and 16th centuries, as the result of pioneering the Age of Discovery, Portugal expanded western influence and established the first global empire, becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers, and ultimately dividing the world with Spain.
The Portuguese Empire was the longest-lived of the modern European colonial empires, spanning almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in 1415 to the handover of Macau to the People’s Republic of China in 1999 (de facto) or the granting of sovereignty to East Timor in 2002 (de jure) after occupation by Indonesia since 1975. The empire spread throughout a vast number of territories that are now part of 53 different sovereign states, leaving a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today (making it the sixth most spoken first language) and a number of Portuguese-based creoles. Portugal’s international status was greatly reduced during the 19th century, especially following the Independence of Brazil. After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, itself being superseded by the “Estado Novo” right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Shortly after, independence was granted to Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.
Portugal is a developed country with an advanced economy, high living standards and high-quality infrastructures, ranking 2nd in the quality of the road network and 11th overall, according to the Global Competitiveness Report. It is one of the world’s most globalized, peaceful and responsive nations. It is a member of the United Nations, European Union, Eurozone, OECD, NATO, WTO, Schengen Area, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. Portugal was among the first countries to abolish capital punishment in 1867. On 31 May 2010, Portugal became the sixth country in Europe and the eighth country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriage on the national level. Portugal also received international attention for being the first country in the world to fully decriminalize the usage of all drugs in 2001.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal