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Flag of Portugal
Map of Portugal
Introduction Portugal
Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a colony. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal entered the EC (now the EU) in 1985.
Geography Portugal
Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Geographic coordinates:
39 30 N, 8 00 W
Map references:
total: 92,391 sq km
land: 91,951 sq km
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands
water: 440 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Indiana
Land boundaries:
total: 1,214 km
border countries: Spain 1,214 km
1,793 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south
mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m
Natural resources:
fish, forests (cork), tungsten, iron ore, uranium ore, marble, arable land, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 20.57%
permanent crops: 7.74%
other: 71.69% (1999 est.)
Irrigated land:
6,320 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Azores subject to severe earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Environmental Modification, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note:
Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
People Portugal
10,084,245 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.9% (male 875,485; female 827,670)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 3,324,215; female 3,463,301)
65 years and over: 15.8% (male 644,761; female 948,813) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.18% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
11.5 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
10.21 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
5.84 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.14 years
female: 79.87 years (2002 est.)
male: 72.65 years
Total fertility rate:
1.48 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.74% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
36,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
280 (1999 est.)
noun: Portuguese (singular and plural)
adjective: Portuguese
Ethnic groups:
homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal
Roman Catholic 94%, Protestant (1995)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.4%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Portugal
Country name:
conventional long form: Portuguese Republic
conventional short form: Portugal
local long form: Republica Portuguesa
local short form: Portugal
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
18 districts (distritos, singular - distrito) and 2 autonomous regions* (regioes autonomas, singular - regiao autonoma); Aveiro, Acores (Azores)*, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Madeira*, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu
1143 (independent republic proclaimed 5 October 1910)
National holiday:
Portugal Day, 10 June (1580)
25 April 1976, revised 30 October 1982, 1 June 1989, 5 November 1992, and 3 September 1997
Legal system:
civil law system; the Constitutional Tribunal reviews the constitutionality of legislation; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jorge SAMPAIO (since 9 March 1996)
note: there is also a Council of State that acts as a consultative body to the president
head of government: Prime Minister Jose Manuel DURAO Barroso (since 6 April 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 14 January 2001 (next to be held NA January 2006); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president
election results: Jorge SAMPAIO reelected president; percent of vote - Jorge SAMPAIO (Socialist) 55.8%, Joaquim FERREIRA Do Amaral (Social Democrat) 34.5%, Antonio ABREU (Communist) 5.1%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (230 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 March 2002 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - PSD 40.1%, PS 37.8%, PP 8.7%, PCP/PEV 6.9%, The Left Bloc 2.7%; seats by party - PSD 105, PS 96, PP 14, PCP/PEV 12, The Left Bloc 3
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal de Justica (judges appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura)
Political parties and leaders:
The Greens or PEV [no leader]; Popular Party or PP [Paulo PORTAS]; Portuguese Communist Party/The Greens or PCP/PEV [Carlos CARVALHAS]; Portuguese Socialist Party or PS [Eduardo Ferro RODRIGUES]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Jose Manuel DURAO Barroso]; United Democratic Coalition or CDU [leader NA]; The Left Bloc [no leader]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pedro Manuel Dos Reis Alves CATARINO
consulate(s): Los Angeles, New Bedford (Massachusetts), Providence (Rhode Island)
consulate(s) general: Boston, New York, Newark (New Jersey), and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 462-3726
telephone: [1] (202) 328-8610
chancery: 2125 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John N. PALMER
embassy: Avenida das Forcas Armadas, 1600-081 Lisbon, Apartado 4258, 1507 Lisboa CODEX
mailing address: PSC 83, APO AE 09726
telephone: [351] (21) 727-3300
FAX: [351] (21) 727-9109
consulate(s): Ponta Delgada (Azores)
Flag description:
two vertical bands of green (hoist side, two-fifths) and red (three-fifths) with the Portuguese coat of arms centered on the dividing line
Economy Portugal
Economy - overview:
Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past decade, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating its new currency, the euro, on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth has been above the EU average for much of the past decade, but fell back in 2001-02. GDP per capita stands at 75% of that of the leading EU economies. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The new coalition government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost Portugal's economic competitiveness and to keep the budget deficit within the 3% EU ceiling.
purchasing power parity - $182 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0.8% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $18,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 4%
industry: 29%
services: 68% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 28% (1995 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
36 (1994-95 )
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.7% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
5.1 million (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 60%, industry 30%, agriculture 10% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
4.7% (2002 est.)
revenues: $45 billion
expenditures: $48 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
textiles and footwear; wood pulp, paper, and cork; metalworking; oil refining; chemicals; fish canning; wine; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
1.5% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
43.242 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 70%
hydro: 26%
other: 4% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
41.146 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
3.767 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
4.698 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
grain, potatoes, olives, grapes; sheep, cattle, goats, poultry, beef, dairy products
$25.9 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:
clothing and footwear, machinery, chemicals, cork and paper products, hides
Exports - partners:
EU 79.7% (Germany 19.2%, Spain 18.6%, France 12.6%, UK 10.3%, Benelux 5.4%), US 5.8% (2001)
$39 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum, textiles, agricultural products
Imports - partners:
EU 74.2% (Spain 26.5%, Germany 13.9%, France 10.3%, Italy 6.7%, UK 5.0%), US 3.8%, Japan 1.9% (2001)
Debt - external:
$13.1 billion (1997 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $271 million (1995) (1995)
euro (EUR); Portuguese escudo (PTE)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); Portuguese escudos per US dollar - 180.10 (1998), 175.31 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Portugal
Telephones - main lines in use:
5.3 million (yearend 1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
3,074,194 (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: undergoing rapid development in recent years, Portugal's telephone system, by the end of 1998, achieved a state-of-the-art network with broadband, high-speed capabilities and a main line telephone density of 53%
domestic: integrated network of coaxial cables, open wire, microwave radio relay, and domestic satellite earth stations
international: 6 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to Azores; note - an earth station for Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region) is planned
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 47, FM 172 (many are repeaters), shortwave 2 (1998)
3.02 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
62 (plus 166 repeaters)
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands (1995)
3.31 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
16 (2000)
Internet users:
4.4 million (2002)
Transportation Portugal
total: 2,850 km
broad gauge: 2,576 km 1.668-m gauge (623 km electrified; 426 km double-tracked)
narrow gauge: 274 km 1.000-m gauge (2001)
total: 68,732 km
paved: 59,110 km (including 797 km of expressways)
unpaved: 9,622 km (1999)
820 km
note: relatively unimportant to national economy, used by shallow-draft craft limited to 300 metric-ton or less cargo capacity
crude oil 22 km; petroleum products 58 km; natural gas 700 km
note: the secondary lines for the natural gas pipeline that will be 300 km long have not yet been built
Ports and harbors:
Aveiro, Funchal (Madeira Islands), Horta (Azores), Leixoes, Lisbon, Porto, Ponta Delgada (Azores), Praia da Vitoria (Azores), Setubal, Viana do Castelo
Merchant marine:
total: 140 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,001,440 GRT/1,519,701 DWT
ships by type: bulk 10, cargo 71, chemical tanker 17, container 10, liquefied gas 8, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 6, short-sea passenger 4, vehicle carrier 2
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Belgium 1, British Virgin Islands 1, Cyprus 1, Denmark 6, Germany 20, Greece 1, Iceland 1, Italy 16, Lebanon 1, Liberia 1, Monaco 2, Norway 5, Panama 5, Spain 22, Switzerland 8, United Kingdom 1, Virgin Islands (UK) 1 (2002 est.)
67 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 40
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 7 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 25 (2002)
Military Portugal
Military branches:
Army, Navy (PON) (includes Marines), Air Force, Republican Guard (includes Fiscal Guard)
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,525,848 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,024,526 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 71,404 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.286 billion (FY99/00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.2% (FY99/00)
Transnational Issues Portugal
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
gateway country for Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market; transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Europe; consumer of Southwest Asian heroin

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003