Portugal (Republica Portuguesa)

Portugal is a country located in Southwest Europe in the Iberian Peninsula and in the westernmost mainland of Europe and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean via the west and south of Spain including North Eastern part. It holds sovereignty over the Atlantic archipelagos of Azores and Madeira that is autonomous. Portugal is named after its second largest city, Porto, a combination of Latin “Portus” and “Cale” a celtic name. Fighting for settlement was done prehistorically by the Celts and the Romans, visigothic and Suebi Germanic peoples, Moors invasion as well. Muslim peoples were eventually driven away by Reconquista Christian. Hence by 1139 Portugal established itself as a Kingdom independent from Leon. Portugal went on to expand its influence and empire and it became the world’s major economic, military and political powers. Its empire was the longest of the European colonial empires then which lasted for a period of 600 years. Its natural environments are shaped by diverse flora, and include widespread species of pine.


The international status of Portugal was largely reduced during the 19th century, following the independence of Brazil. The monarchy of Portugal was over throne and the emergence of unstable democratic Portuguese first Republic was established. The nascent democracy was gradually being established after the colonial war and carnation revolution of 1974. Portugal was the colonial master Angola, East Timor, Mozambique, , Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Guinea-Bissau.


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Portugal has a unitary semi-presidential republic . It is one of the world's most peaceful, globalized nation. Portugal is also a member of the United Nations, European Union, Eurozone, NATO,OECD, WTO,OSCE, Schengen Area, Council of Europe, Organization of Ibero-American States, Community of Portuguese Language Countries and numerous other international institutions. It is also among the first country to end capital punishment. It recognizes same sex marriage in May, 2010, and it has fully decriminalize the usage of all drugs.


Portugal led European exploration of the world and this also led to the age of discovery, Prince Henry the navigator became the first sponsor of the efforts. Portugal explored the Atlantic ocean, African coast, colonised selected regions of Africa discovered the route to India, found Brazil, explored Indian ocean, routes to Asia was discovered sent maritime trade and ambassadors to Japan and China.


By 1415 Portugal got colonies which was the first by overcoming Ceuta (an Islamic trade zone in North Africa). The founding of Madeira, Azores led to colonization movements. During the course of exploration of Africa and establishment of trade posts from gold to slaves and Indian spices were being moved to Europe.


The Treaty of Tordesillas, after the treaty saw the returning of Christopher Columbus, which led to discovery of new lands between Spain and Portugal. By 1498 further exploration saw the finding of Canada by Portugal before French and the English. The Dutch claimed to have first discovered Australia but it was evidenced that Portugal were actually the first to discover it in 1521.


Portugal had leadership problems when King Sabastian and his uncle died in the Alcacer Quibir war in Morocco without hair which led to the Portuguese succession crisis in 1580. This led to the control of sovereignty of Portugal by the Phillip the II of Spain. This crisis further aggravated to war between Spain, Portugal and the Dutch and also severed relationship between Portugal and England its biggest allied force and made Portugal to loose the trade zone in Oman and Iran.


The scramble for Africa led by Portugal was discussed at the Conference of Berlin in 1884, Portugal sought to protect its colonial territories after already loosing its territory in South America and Asia. Portugal sought to expand its outpost in Africa and thereby competing with other European powers


Revolution and imperial end

During the period of colonial war Portugal continued to have the problems of increasing arms embargo and dissent other sanctions was imposed on it.


The 1974 Coup in Lisbon saw African territories occupied by Portugal began a revolution that saw white Portuguese settlers returning back to Portugal and by 1975, all the Portuguese African territories became independent and Portugal held its first democratic elections in 50 years which was won by Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) and Mário Soares as the newly elected leader.


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European integration

Portugal became member of the European Economic Community in 1986 and the overseas territory Macau, was handed over to China in 1999. Decolonization process that was started in 1975 because of the Carnation Revolution saw the decolonization of other colonial territories.


Sport

Football is the famous sports in Portugal among its greatest is Late Eusebio who is still a major force, Luís Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo (current FIFA Ballon d'Or winner) and worlds most populous coach José Mourinho are renowned for their sportsmanship and coaching prowess respectively. The country has contributed to the development of football after winning titles in FIFA youth championship, The European Champions League, Europe league by FC Porto, Benfica etc. among its elite football club is FC Porto, Benfica FC and Sporting Lispon etc.