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República Portuguesa
Portuguese Republic
Flag of Portugal
Coat of arms of Portugal
flag coat of arms
Official language Portuguese
Capital Lisbon
State and form of government semi-presidential republic
Head of state President
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Head of government Prime Minister
Antonio Costa
area 92,212 km²
population 10,295,909 (as of January 2020)
Population density 115 ( 70th ) inhabitants per km²
Population development   −0.51% per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 240.90 billion ( 48th )
  • $ 333.15 billion ( 54th )
  • $ 23,437 ( 41. )
  • $ 32,412 ( 46. )
Human Development Index   0.864 ( 38th ) (2019)
currency Euro (EUR)
independence 1143
National anthem A Portuguesa
Time zone UTC ± 0
UTC + 1 (March to October)

Azores :
UTC − 1
UTC ± 0 (March to October)
License Plate P
ISO 3166 PT , PRT, 620
Internet TLD .pt
Telephone code +351
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Portugal ( Portuguese Portugal [ puɾtuˈɣal ], officially Portuguese Republic , Portuguese República Portuguesa ) is a European state in the west of the Iberian Peninsula . As the westernmost point of continental Europe , the country is bordered by Spain to the east and north and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south . The islands of the Azores and Madeira (with Porto Santo ) belong to the Portuguese national territory .

The Kingdom of Portugal , founded in the 12th century, rose to become a great power in the 15th century and played an essential role in the Age of Discovery . The kingdom created one of the largest colonial empires with possessions in Africa, Asia and South America, the decline of which, however, heralded in the course of the 17th century. In 1910, a military uprising brought about the overthrow of the Portuguese monarchy, which forced King Manuel II into exile . The First Portuguese Republic came into force on October 5, 1910 and lasted until General Gomes da Costa's military coup in 1926. After that, the country was under the authoritarian dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar for more than 40 years . The Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974 led to the overthrow of the regime and opened the way to the democratic Third Republic .

Portugal is a founding member of NATO (1949) and the OECD (1948) and a member of the United Nations (since 1955), the Council of Europe (since 1976) and the Schengen Agreement (since 1995). On January 1, 1986, Portugal joined the European Communities (EC) together with Spain , which later became the EU. At that time Portugal was considered the poorest country in the EC. Portugal is also one of the founding states of the euro zone . After the introduction of the euro (1999), real interest rates fell. Large capital inflows contributed to years of economic growth; nevertheless productivity fell . The banking and financial crisis since 2008 also had an impact on the real economy in Portugal ( recession ). In the context of the euro crisis , Portugal was counted among the PIIGS states particularly affected . In May 2011, the EFSF pledged grants totaling 78 billion euros to Portugal . Since then, the economic situation has recovered, but the unemployment rate remained relatively high (9.8 percent in April 2017). The gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant was 16,900 euros in 2016, and the national debt at the end of 2016 was 1.30 times as high as the 2016 GDP.

For a long time Portugal was a country of emigration ; Today there are important centers of Portuguese culture in the diaspora in France and the USA (where about 1 to 2 million Portuguese live each) as well as in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The most important bilateral partner countries are Brazil and Spain .

The tourism is an important source of income. With 17 million tourists per year (2015) Portugal is one of the most visited countries in the world, the most frequent travel destinations are the Algarve and the region around the capital Lisbon . The country is known for wine-growing , especially for port wine , and the world's most important producer of raw cork .

Country name

The name Portugal comes from the port of Porto created by the Roman Empire , Latin Portus Cale (Latin portus means "port"). It is controversial what is meant by Cale . Some scholars believe that Cale refers to the Gallaekers ( ancient Greek Καλλαικοί Kallaikoi , Latin Callaici or Callaeci ) - "port of the Galläker". Others think it is a holdover from Latin calidus , which means "warm" - "warm harbor". Other historians have suspected that the Greeks were the first to settle there and that the ancient Greek word καλός kalós for "beautiful" gave it its name - "beautiful harbor". Note: In the Middle Ages, Portus Cale became Portucale , later Portuguese , although in the 7th and 8th centuries the name only referred to the northern parts of the country, i.e. the region between the Douro and Minho rivers .

NoteThe Greek word for “port” is λιµήν limḗn .


Satellite image
Climate diagram Lisbon
Typical landscape of the Alentejo near Elvas

In the west and south, Portugal is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, in the east and north by the 1224 km long border with Spain .

The north of Portugal has a relatively cool and humid climate and consists of two traditional provinces or landscapes: the Minho in the northwest is one of the most densely populated areas in the country. The biggest cities of the Minho are Braga and Viana do Castelo . The Minho is known as the green garden of Portugal because of its climate and the comparatively lush vegetation . On the slopes of the numerous river valleys, mainly wine is cultivated, which is further processed into Vinho Verde . Many types of vegetables also thrive. The natural vegetation is a mixture of the flora of the temperate climatic zone and the subtropical flora; Depending on the altitude, there are oaks and chestnuts or pines and olive trees .

In the northeast is Trás-os-Montes ( Behind the Mountains ). This side of northern Portugal facing away from the sea is very mountainous and has very cold winters and very hot summers. The vegetation is significantly less lush than in the Minho and becomes sparse towards the border with Spain. Both provinces have in common that their mountain ranges, such as B. Marão or Peneda-Gerês , are cut by numerous rivers such as the Rio Minho (border river to Spain) or the Rio Douro . The Peneda-Gerês National Park is located in northern Portugal . There are still remnants of natural forests there , in which the evergreen holm oak can be found in particular . Major cities in the north are Porto , Vila Nova de Gaia , Matosinhos , Braga , Vila Real and Bragança .

Central Portugal is largely hilly to mountainous and with the Serra da Estrela has a considerable range of mountains with winter sports opportunities. At 1993  m, the Torre is the highest point in continental Portugal. The most important landscapes are the Beira , the Ribatejo (the Tagus plain, nicknamed the Garden of Lisbon ), the Estremadura and the mouth of the Tagus into the Atlantic. The entire region is very fertile and has a favorable climate for growing wine. The tradition of viticulture goes back to Roman times. In addition, cereals, rice, sunflowers and vegetables are grown. The region is divided by the Tagus . Since the construction of numerous dams, floods, which used to hit the Ribatejo regularly, hardly occur any more. The most important cities in central Portugal are Lisbon , Aveiro , Sintra , Coimbra , Viseu , Leiria , Castelo Branco and Santarém .

The south of Portugal is made up of the three landscapes Terras do Sado , Alentejo and Algarve . The surface of the entire region is flat to hilly and has a dry and hot climate. The Alentejo, the former granary of Portugal, is now only sparsely populated and characterized by emigration; extensive grain fields with olive groves and cork oaks dominate the landscape. The main products of viticulture are cereals and sunflowers. The meadows are used for sheep breeding and are covered with flowers in spring. The lengthening dry spells , which are to be alleviated by the construction of dams, are not least contributing to the economic decline . The planting of fast-growing eucalyptus trees is controversial . These represent an increased risk of forest fires, but the areas under cultivation are still increasing. The southern coastal regions are often overgrown by pine forests. There are also numerous palm species , of which only the dwarf palm is indigenous.

The Algarve marks the entire south coast of the country and, with its pretty towns, cliffs and sandy beaches, has become a popular holiday destination, which has brought about common side effects such as mass tourism . The largest cities in southern Portugal are Portalegre , Évora , Beja as well as Faro and Lagos . The determining river is the Rio Guadiana , which twice forms the border with Spain. Numerous succulent plants are adapted to the great summer heat .

Portugal also includes the island groups Madeira ( wooden island ) and Azores ( goshawk islands ) in the Atlantic . With the exception of the Azores island of Santa Maria , they are of volcanic origin . The Madeira archipelago off the African coast has partly tropical and partly subtropical vegetation. The highest mountain in Portugal is on the Azores ( Ponta do Pico , 2351  m ).

The most important rivers in Portugal are the Tejo , which rises in Spain under the name Tajo , the Douro (Spanish Duero ) and the Mondego , the latter only flowing through Portugal.

See also : List of cities in Portugal ; List of Portuguese islands .


The fauna of Portugal differs only slightly from that of Spain. There are still some wolves living here . The Iberian lynx, which is only found on the Iberian Peninsula, is almost extinct in Portugal; Individual animals are rarely found that have probably immigrated across the border to Spain. Otherwise there are European wild cats , foxes , wild boars , deer , wild goats and wild rabbits . Since Portugal is on the migratory route to Africa, numerous birds can be observed, including the flamingos in the south ; Golden eagles live and hunt in the coastal areas. Various snakes and scorpions can be found inland .


Population pyramid Portugal 2016: Portugal now has one of the oldest populations in the world


In relation to the long-established population, Portugal is a very homogeneous country in terms of language, ethnicity and religion.

The Portuguese language is spoken throughout the country and only in the villages of Miranda do Douro is a dialect assigned to Asturian ( Mirandés ), which is recognized as a minority language. The largest indigenous ethnic minority are 40,000 to 50,000 Roma who are socially and economically marginalized.

The densest settlement is found on a coastal strip from the Spanish border in the north to the area around Lisbon. 70% of the population live in this strip; the hinterland and the south of Portugal, on the other hand, are only sparsely populated. More than 10% of the population is in two cities ( Lisbon and Porto ), while more than half live in places with less than 2000 inhabitants. The trend in Portugal is towards urbanization .

Population development

Population development in Portugal (in millions, 1960–2017)

The population of Portugal resident at the end of December 2008 was estimated at 10,627,250. This means that the population has doubled since 1900. The population growth was by no means constant. A population decline in 1920 due to the effects of the First World War, the Spanish flu and a wave of emigration was followed by a growth phase that lasted into the 1940s and benefited from increasing life expectancy of people. There was heavy emigration from around 1965 to 1973. In 1974, because of the independence of the colonies, many people migrated to Portugal. Emigration in the 1980s came to a halt in the 1990s.

Natural population growth was slightly negative in 2007, but stagnated in 2008. The slight overall growth, which was 0.09% in 2008 and 0.17% in 2007, is only due to net migration. In 2003 the population had grown by 0.64%. The birth rate, which before 1920 was 30 per 1000 inhabitants, had fallen to 9.8 per 1000 inhabitants by 2008. The fertility rate reached the lowest level in the country's history in 2007, at just 1.33 children per woman. In the 1960s, a woman had an average of three children. There are considerable regional differences in population development: while the population of the Algarve , Lisbon and the Azores is growing, that of the Alentejo and the Centro region is decreasing . There are strong migratory movements within Portugal, with migratory movements from the regions of the hinterland towards the centers of industry (Lisbon, Porto ) and tourism (Algarve, Madeira and Azores).

The population of Portugal is aging: in 2008, 15.3% of the population were 15 years or younger, while 17.6% were 65 years or older. This trend is particularly pronounced in the hinterland, the reason being the migration of younger residents to the metropolitan areas. Since many Portuguese who have worked abroad move back to their homeland for their old age, the aging of the country's population is particularly pronounced. Life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 83.5 years for women and 77.4 years for men. In 1970 it was still 70.3 and 64.0 years. At the same time, child mortality fell: in 2008 it was 3.3 per 1000 live births, while 100 years earlier it was around 150 per 1000 live births.

The average age at marriage has risen in recent years, with women getting married for the first time in 2008 at 26.8 and men at 29.7. The proportion of church marriages fell rapidly, from 59.6% in 2003 to 44.4% in 2008.

Within ten years, Portugal's population has shrunk by 45,000 people (from 10.473 million to 10.427 million).

Portuguese abroad

For a long time Portugal was a country of emigration; Important centers of Portuguese culture in the diaspora are mainly in France , where 1,132,048 Portuguese live alone, but also in many other countries, especially Brazil, South Africa, Venezuela, Switzerland, on the east coast of the USA, and most recently in Angola . In 2012 there were 81,274 Portuguese in Luxembourg, making up 16 percent of Luxembourg's population. On the other hand, Portugal was already a destination for immigrants from the colonized regions during the independence wars of its colonies.

foreign population

The largest groups of migrants without Portuguese citizenship
rank Country Population
(Census 2016)
1. BrazilBrazil Brazil 79,569
2. Cape VerdeCape Verde Cape Verde 36,193
3. UkraineUkraine Ukraine 34,428
4th RomaniaRomania Romania 30,429
5. China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 21,953
6th AngolaAngola Angola 16,876
7th Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau 15.306
8th. United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 19,384
9. FranceFrance France 11,293
10. SpainSpain Spain 11,133

Since Portugal joined the European Community in 1986 and the associated political and economic change, Portugal has increasingly become a country of immigration, with the countries of origin of immigrants mainly in Africa ( Angola , Cape Verde , Guinea-Bissau ), South America ( Brazil ) and in Eastern Europe ( Ukraine , Russia and Moldova ) lie.

At the end of 2008, 443,102 foreign nationals were living in Portugal. More than half of these come from other Portuguese-speaking countries , are mostly of the Catholic faith and therefore have a similar cultural background. Around a quarter of the foreigners living in Portugal are Europeans, some of whom are returnees, i.e. Portuguese who have previously emigrated from Portugal and who have returned with foreign citizenship. Another part are long-term holidaymakers who are retiring in Portugal. In 2017, 8.5% of the population was born abroad.

More than half of the foreign population lives in Lisbon , apart from that it is concentrated in the urban areas on the coast. In the hinterland, the proportion is less than 0.5%.


The vast majority of Portuguese profess the Roman Catholic faith , with the proportion of the total population being given as between 85% and 95%.

In Portugal there is freedom of belief and, since the introduction of the “Law on Freedom of Belief” ( Lei da Liberdade Religiosa ), there is also official equality between religions. In reality, however, equality has not yet been achieved: the Catholic Church operates important cultural institutions, a prestigious university , private schools and also a radio station in Portugal . Furthermore, the law on freedom of belief is only partially applicable to the Catholic Church. Whether public schools should be obliged to offer religious education has been controversial in Portugal for 25 years.

In the first constitution of Portugal (1822), Catholicism was declared the state religion . The constitution of 1826 abolished religious persecution. The official separation of church and state took place with the republican revolution of 1910 , whereby concordats with the Vatican continued to grant the Catholic Church far-reaching privileges. The Portuguese expression of Catholicism is described as "human, lyrical and with an understanding of the carnal things in life". The strong devotion to the Virgin Mary is typical . The most important pilgrimage destination is the pilgrimage site of Fátima . The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared here to three shepherd children in 1917.

In the Middle Ages, two other religions played an important role in Portugal. Muslim Moors and Arabs temporarily ruled the south of the country. After the Reconquista they had to leave the country or submit to the Christians. They brought numerous technical advances with them, such as improvements in well construction, irrigation, olive cultivation, cultivation of citrus fruits, cotton and sugar cane , sericulture , the production of tiles , blinds, hygiene and ornamentation. Society in what was then Portugal also offered subjugated or enslaved Moors the opportunity to rise socially; the Muslim population merged with the Christian one. The Jews enjoyed the protection of the Portuguese kings in the Middle Ages. The fortunes acquired and saved through trade and administrative posts in the state and church served as the basis for building up the Portuguese fleet . In 1504 and 1506 there were anti-Jewish pogroms in Lisbon .

According to a representative survey by the Eurobarometer , 81% of people in Portugal believed in God in 2005 and 12% believed in another spiritual force . 6% of the respondents believed neither in a god nor in any other spiritual force, 1% of the respondents were undecided.


Early history to antiquity

The Roman province of Lusitania in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula

It is estimated that Portugal was settled 500,000 years ago by Homo heidelbergensis and later by the Neanderthals that emerged from Homo heidelbergensis . From a cave ( Lapa do Picareiro ) not far from the Atlantic coast in central Portugal comes the earliest evidence of a colonization of westernmost Europe by anatomically modern humans ( Homo sapiens ). Stone tools were discovered that were dated to an age of 41,100 to 38,100 years ( cal BP ). Paleolithic rock carvings , the most important of their kind in the world, have been dated to between 22,000 and 8,000 years ago. The transition to the Neolithic came late, but copper processing caught on particularly quickly in southern Portugal. First trade relations with other regions of Europe are documented for this time. From 800 BC Phoenicians founded trading bases in the Algarve . From around 600 BC The Greeks founded several small settlements in the east and north-east. At the earliest from the 6th to 3rd century BC. C. Celts immigrated in several waves and mixed with the Iberians . In addition to the Celts, the tribe of the Lusitans is mentioned, who were considered to be particularly defensive to the Romans and which should give the country its name in Latin . Mixing the Celts with the local culture created the Celtiberians .

The Roman
Temple of
Diana in Évora , one of the best preserved in the country

From 450 BC The southern Iberian peninsula was colonized by Carthage . Until 206 BC The Romans succeeded in driving out the Carthaginians. In the course of the Second Punic War , in which numerous Lusitan mercenaries were used by Carthage, there was a counter-invasion of Rome on the Iberian Peninsula and thus a Romanization. The territory of Portugal was initially administered by the Romans as the province of Hispania ulterior , from the reign of Augustus under the name of Lusitania , which, in addition to most of today's Portugal, included other areas in the west of today's Spain . The Roman conquerors met strong resistance in north and north-east Portugal; only from 19 BC The region was considered subjugated. Then there was a strong Romanization , cities based on the Roman model, Roman roads , villas and mines emerged, with the settlers the Vulgar Latin , from which the Portuguese language later emerged, and Christianity came into the country . The Roman rule ended in the migration period ; Suebi (from 409), Alans , Vandals and especially Visigoths (from 416) invaded and founded short-lived empires in what is now Portugal. Only the Suebi were able to hold out longer, but their empire around Braga was destroyed in 456 by Theodoric II and a second time in 585 by Leovigild .

Moorish rule to colonial power Portugal

Iberian Peninsula (around 1036); Portugal didn't exist yet.

In 711 a Berber army led by Tāriq ibn Ziyād defeated the army of Visigoth King Roderich . Until 716, the entire territory of the Visigoth Empire was under the control of the Umayyads , Lusitania probably as early as 713. Al-Andalus and above all the emirate , later the Caliphate of Córdoba , was partly ruled by very capable and successful rulers such as Abd ar-Rahman I , Abd ar-Rahman III. or al-Hakam II and was one of the most progressive empires of his time. After its disintegration into several taifas , most of Lusitania belonged to the Taifa of Badajoz , the extreme south to Seville and other minor kingdoms. There was an immigration of Berber settlers, mainly due to the climate, to the south of the peninsula. The Moorish influence on the culture and language of Portugal was strong and lasting.

The Kingdom of Asturias was of no interest to the Moors. It was from here that the Christian Reconquista of the territories of what would later become Portugal began in the 9th century . In 868, during a period of weakness in the emirate of Cordoba, Portucale was conquered ( Presúria ), and in 879 Coimbra . With the Presúria of Portucale by Vímara Peres , a “first” county of Portucale ( Condado Portucalense ) developed in the area around Porto as part of the Kingdom of Asturias-León . Descendants from the Vímara Peres family ruled this region until 1071; it came to the reconstruction of Braga and to build the fortress of Guimarães . In 1071 a revolt of the last Count of Portucale, Nuno Mendes, against Garcia, who was appointed King of Galicia and Portugal in 1065, was put down. The King of León enfeoffed Henry of Burgundy with Portucale and Coimbra around 1095 . The result was a “second” county of Portucale, also known as Condado Portucalense, which led directly to the establishment of the independent kingdom of Portugal.

The fortress of Guimarães , the main symbol of Portugal's independence

Even the son of Henry of Burgundy, Alfonso I , rebelled in 1127 with the support of the local aristocracy ( infanções ) after Henry's death against his own mother, who had married a Galician prince. After winning the Battle of Ourique , he had gained so much prestige that in 1143 he assumed the title of king with the consent of Alfonso VII of León . In 1166 León gave up the claim to dominance over Portucale, thus gaining formal independence. The rulers of the House of Burgundy tried to expand their territory southwards, with the aim of gaining power over all of Lusitania. But Castile prevented this. By 1250, the Reconquista was completed with the conquest of the Algarve , with the strong participation of foreign knights and orders of knights .

Monument to the Discoveries ( Padrão dos Descobrimentos ) in Lisbon

In 1383 the house of Burgundy died out in Portugal. An illegitimate descendant, John of Avis proclaimed himself king, was able to fend off Castilian claims to the Portuguese throne in the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385) and founded the second Portuguese dynasty, the House of Avis . Under the Avis kings (especially Emanuel I - he ruled from 1495 to 1521) Portugal rose to become a leading European trading and maritime power. Heinrich der Seefahrer (1394-1460) initiated voyages of discovery on the West African coast, which at the beginning of the establishment of the Portuguese colonial empire first in Africa , later in South America ( Brazil ) as well as Asia ( Portuguese India , Ceylon , Malacca , Macau and others) and the European Expansion . The country became a great power and one of the richest nations in Europe due to the income mainly from the Indian trade . There was also a cultural heyday ( Luís de Camões ).

In 1580 the house of Avis died out, Portugal fell to the Spanish Habsburgs ( Iberian Union ) for dynastic reasons . The Spaniards ruled until 1640; Portugal lost its independence, became a Spanish province and lost parts of its colonial empire. In 1640 the Duke of Braganza led a noble revolt against Spanish rule and proclaimed himself King as John IV . He founded the penultimate Portuguese dynasty, the House of Braganza . In terms of foreign and economic policy, the country became increasingly dependent on England ( Methuen Treaty , 1703). In 1755 an earthquake destroyed large parts of the capital Lisbon. Under the first minister and reformer Marquês de Pombal , the city was rebuilt and the country was transformed into an enlightened absolutist state using sometimes drastic methods . 1761 there was an attack by Spain and France on the country, Pombal wore Wilhelm Graf zu Schaumburg-Lippe the supreme command of the combined Portuguese and British troops. Wilhelm repelled the attacks and thus secured Portugal's independence. In the following years he reformed the Portuguese army profoundly and built the fortress Elvas on the Spanish border. In 1807 Napoleonic troops occupied the country; the royal family fled to Brazil . After the French had been driven out with British help, the liberal revolution broke out and the country received a constitution for the first time in its history (1821). The subsequent struggle between supporters of absolutism and supporters of a constitutional monarchy was only decided by the victory of the latter in the Miguelistenkrieg . On September 7, 1822, Brazil gained its independence under Emperor Pedro I.

Final phase of the monarchy to Estado Novo

Flag of the Kingdom of Portugal from 1830 to 1910
Maria II. She was the last ruler of the country from the House of Braganza .

The time after the end of the Miguelistenkrieg was marked by the conflict between right and left liberals ( Cartists and Setembrists ). In 1853 the House of Braganza died out in direct line with Queen Maria II, and the Portuguese branch of this German noble house took over the throne through the queen's marriage to Ferdinand II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (until 1910). The final phase of the monarchy was marked by great poverty, poor education (80 percent of the Portuguese were illiterate ), general economic problems ( national bankruptcy in 1891) and republican uprisings that expanded into national crises. Under João Franco the remuneration of the king was further increased and the reputation of the monarchy suffered due to the visible contradiction between the broken state finances on the one hand and the luxurious, extravagant lifestyle of the ruling family on the other. In 1908 King Karl I and his son, heir to the throne Ludwig Philipp , were shot while riding a carriage. Only the son Manuel survived the attack.

On October 3, 1910, the Republican MP Miguel Bombarda was assassinated under unexplained circumstances. During the night, riots broke out in Lisbon. A rapidly formed Provisional Government proclaimed the Republic on October 5, 1910 ; King Manuel II fled into exile in England.

The young Republic of Portugal promised Great Britain material support and the dispatch of its own troops in 1914. Although officially neutral, the Portuguese government justified its participation in the First World War with an old alliance agreement between the two countries, which was renewed in 1912.

“By participating in the First World War on the side of the British, Portugal tried to protect its African colonies (Angola and Mozambique), which had been part of a secret agreement between the British and the Germans in 1898. In addition, Portugal wanted to underline its entry into the ranks of European nations. Participation at the international level was perceived as a means of strengthening national unity. Finally, the legitimacy of the republican regime, which at the time was threatened by monarchist movements and great economic difficulties, was to be strengthened.

The British General Staff initially contented themselves with material aid from Portugal. The leadership remained skeptical as to whether the efforts of the young Portuguese republic in the fighting would really benefit the allied forces. However, the growing logistical problems of the Allies led Great Britain to request the confiscation of all German ships anchored in Portuguese ports in December 1915. The government complied with this request on February 24, 1916, whereupon Germany declared war on Portugal on March 9. "

Soldiers of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps on the Western Front in June 1917

In March 1916, the country joined the First World War on the side of the Entente . Portugal temporarily mobilized 56,500 soldiers . In the Fourth Battle of Flanders almost 7,500 men were killed in a German offensive in a single day.

In the so-called First Republic (until 1926) there was general political instability and chaotic conditions. It was characterized by monarchist and communist uprisings, coup attempts (including the Sidónio Pais , 1917) and weak, often changing governments without a parliamentary majority.

In 1926 the military staged a coup and ended the first republic. A civilian, António de Oliveira Salazar , who was finance minister from 1928 and prime minister from 1932, rose to power among the military . From 1933 he founded the “ Estado Novo ”, the new state, an authoritarian entity with fascist tendencies, with a unity party ( National Union ), state youth and secret police ( PIDE ). The dictator's catholic-authoritarian and anti-democratic ideology pursued the project of a “ corporate state ”.

According to decree number 19694 of May 5, 1931, women were given the right to vote and stand for election on condition that they had completed at least secondary school; Men, on the other hand, only had to be able to read and write. According to Adams, this clause resulted in very limited women's suffrage for women with high education. With the electoral law DL 24631 of November 6, 1934, everyone who could read and write received the national right to vote. However, in elections to certain local bodies, some restrictions on women remained in place until 1968.

In terms of foreign policy, Salazar built on his ties to Great Britain, sympathized with the Spanish national forces during the Spanish civil war, and tactfully tacted between the blocs. During the Second World War the country remained neutral, supplied both sides with the important raw material tungsten and became a playground for secret agents of many warring parties. Salazar, who counted on an Allied victory from the beginning and had decisively influenced Franco in terms of Spanish neutrality, finally allowed the Allies to set up military bases in the Azores in autumn 1943 .

Portugal is a founding member of NATO, created in 1949 . From 1960 - the African year in which 18 countries became independent - the colonial war began , which was waged with great severity in Africa ( Angola , Mozambique , Guinea-Bissau ). The attempt of the officer Henrique Galvão to bring down the Salazar system by hijacking the passenger ship Santa Maria in the Caribbean in January 1961 failed, although the Santa Maria affair attracted international attention.

In 1968 Salazar had to resign due to health problems. His successor, Marcelo Caetano , could not make up his mind on fundamental reforms. As a result of the colonial war, Portugal was increasingly isolated in terms of foreign policy, the costs of the war led to rising national debt and inflation .

Situation in Portugal's African colonies at the end of 1970

Leading military officials realized that the colonial war could not be won militarily for Portugal. Because of the government's inability to find a political solution to the problem , they staged a coup in 1974. A general dissatisfaction among the population with the dictatorship, exacerbated by the onset of the economic crisis (triggered by the first oil crisis in 1973), resulted in large parts of the The population expressed solidarity with the coup officers. There was a general uprising, the Carnation Revolution , which ended the Estado Novo. After the military coup of 1974, a new electoral law was passed on May 14, 1974 (Law 3/74, Article 4, Number 1). According to the Decree Law No. 621-A / 74, Article 1.1 of November 15, 1974, Portuguese citizens who were 18 years of age or older on February 28, 1975 were eligible to vote for the Constituent Assembly. For the first time in Portuguese history, universal suffrage was recognized and exercised the following year: In April 1975, the members of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1976 constitution were elected. This was proclaimed on June 2, 1976 and thus constitutionally guaranteed equality of the right to vote for women and men for all elections.

The new rulers released the Portuguese colonies, with the exception of Macau , to independence (1974/1975). Macau followed in 1999.

Carnation Revolution until joining the EC

Mário Soares was the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Portugal

The first time after the revolution was marked by the conflict between a more conservative current ( General Spínola ) and a socialist wing ( Captain Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho ) within the MFA (Movimento das Forças Armadas - Movement of the Armed Forces), the union of the coup officers . At first it looked as if the socialist current would win, nationalizations and land reforms ensued . The 1976 constitution defined the transition to socialism as a national goal.

When the more moderate General Eanes was surprisingly able to prevail against Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho in the first presidential elections after the new constitution in 1976 , the course was set for a return of the country to a parliamentary democracy of Western European style. Eanes and the leader of the Socialist Party, Mário Soares (head of government from 1976 to 1978 and 1983 to 1985, president from 1986 to 1996) finally led the country into the European Community in 1986 .

From joining the EU until today

In 1979, for the first time since the Carnation Revolution , a right-of-center political grouping won the parliamentary elections, the governments of Francisco Sá Carneiro and Francisco Pinto Balsemão . The government was able to agree with the socialist opposition on a constitutional amendment that removed the socialist remnants that had been written into the constitution after the Carnation Revolution. The constitutional amendment that came into force in 1982 replaced the previously important Revolutionary Council with a constitutional court modeled on other democratic states. In 1985 Aníbal Cavaco Silva became Prime Minister. His conservative Partido Social Democrata (PSD) won a landslide in the 1987 elections; For the first time, a party won an absolute majority. Cavaco Silva remained Prime Minister until 1995. He pursued a neoliberal economic policy and withdrew the nationalizations from the time of the Carnation Revolution. From 1995 to 2002, the socialists again provided the government with António Guterres .

José Manuel Barroso was Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004

The parliamentary elections on March 17, 2002 saw another slide to the right. With a turnout of 62.3 percent, the conservative PSD under José Manuel Durão Barroso achieved a relative majority of 40.1 percent, followed by the socialist Partido Socialista and the right-wing conservative people's party CDS-PP with 37.9 and 8.8 percent respectively. With the latter, Barroso formed a coalition government, with the populist chairman of the CDS-PP, Paulo Portas , taking over the office of defense minister and the areas of justice and labor and social affairs going to the CDS-PP. However, the socialists continuously provided the country's president, since Soares was succeeded in 1996 by the socialist Jorge Sampaio .

In July 2004, Barroso was nominated by the European Council to succeed Romano Prodi as President of the Commission of the European Union . His successor as Prime Minister was Pedro Santana Lopes , who was only able to rule for a short time, as President Sampaio prematurely dissolved parliament in November and called new elections for February 2005 , in which the Partido Socialista with 121 of 230 seats for the first time in history won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats. Your top candidate, José Sócrates , became the country's new Prime Minister on March 12, 2005.

The Lisbon Treaty was signed in 2007 when Portugal the presidency in the European Council held

On January 22, 2006, approximately 8.9 million Portuguese elected a new president. The previous president, the socialist Jorge Sampaio , was no longer allowed to stand for election after two terms in office. The center-right candidate and former head of government Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD) prevailed against five candidates from the left with an absolute majority of 50.6 percent and a turnout of 62.6 percent. He was supported by an alliance of PSD and CDS-PP. The 66-year-old professor of economics, who was the architect of the Portuguese economic boom from 1985 to 1995, became the first bourgeois president in Portugal since the Carnation Revolution of 1974. He was inaugurated on March 9, 2006 for five years. On January 23, 2011 Cavaco Silva was confirmed in office .

The drastic effects of the global economic and financial crisis dominated the election campaign in the 2009 parliamentary elections . Although the ruling socialists clearly lost their votes and lost their absolute majority, they managed to assert themselves as the party with the largest number of voters. So the Sócrates government remained in office.

After the government's austerity plan failed to find a majority in parliament, Sócrates submitted his resignation on March 23, 2011. In the new elections that followed, the socialists were clearly defeated. Consequently, on June 15, 2011, Pedro Passos Coelho , chairman of the liberal-conservative Social Democratic Party (PSD), which won with almost 40% of the votes , was appointed the new Prime Minister of Portugal. He led a coalition government made up of the PSD and CDS-PP , which had a solid majority with 132 of 230 parliamentary seats.

After the parliamentary election on October 4, 2015 , the previously ruling party alliance PàF remained the strongest force, but lost an absolute majority. The previous left opposition parties PS , BE and CDU hold a majority capable of governing together with 124 of the 230 seats in parliament. On October 20, 2015, António Costa (PS) told President Anibal Cavaco Silva that he wanted to form a left-wing government. Cavaco Silva initially blocked the attempts of the socialists and communists to form a government alliance and reappointed the incumbent bourgeois-conservative Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho as head of government. In a televised speech to the nation on the evening of October 22, 2015, Cavaco Silva justified this with consideration for the European Union and the euro, “financial institutions, investors and the markets”. Only two weeks after the parliamentary majority had rejected Passo's government program, on November 23, the president charged Costa, who promised an end to anti-social politics and wants to raise the minimum wage and pensions and stimulate the economy, to form a government on the condition that the rules follow the euro zone and comply with Portugal's international obligations. António Costa has been Prime Minister since November 26, 2015. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (PSD) was elected President on January 24, 2016 .


Political system

Acting Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa ( Partido Socialista )

Since the Carnation Revolution of 1974, Portugal has developed into a stable, representative democracy with a semi-presidential system of government. The four most important political organs in Portugal are the President , the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers, the Parliament and the judiciary (see also the Portuguese Constitution ). In the 2019 Democracy Index, Portugal ranks 22nd out of 167 countries.

The president, who is directly elected every five years in general and direct elections, is the commander in chief of the armed forces . He appoints a Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, based on the results of the parliamentary elections. The Council of State is a body that advises the President and consists of the President and his predecessors, the Prime Minister, the President of the Constitutional Court ( Tribunal Constitucional ), the Ombudsman, the regional presidents ( Madeira and Azores ), five from the President and five from the Parliament selected people.

The 1976 constitution was seen as a compromise between two forms of legitimacy that emerged during the transformation : the military, the elected parliament and the elected president. The government system in Portugal was finally institutionalized until 1982, when the constitution was revised. Until 1982, the military's revolutionary legitimation was felt to be necessary. Since the revision in 1982, the powers of the President have been curtailed in favor of Parliament. In this context, one speaks of the development of a parliamentary system of government. Since then, the government has been solely responsible to parliament. The powers of the military were curtailed by the dissolution of the Revolutionary Council and placed under civilian control. Since the constitutional revision in 1982, the directly elected president in Portugal no longer has any executive powers.

The government is led by the Prime Minister, who sets up a Council of Ministers. Every new government has to submit its program to parliament for debate. If it is not rejected, the government is accepted by parliament.

The parliament is known as the Assembleia da República ( Assembly of the Republic ) and consists of a chamber with up to 230 members ( unicameral system ). The representatives are elected for four years according to proportional representation. The president has the right to dissolve parliament and call new elections.

The Supreme Court is the highest authority in the Portuguese judiciary. In addition, special supreme courts are responsible for military, administrative and tax law issues. The Constitutional Court of Portugal has nine members and oversees the constitutional interpretation of the law.

For a long time the largest parties have been the Social Democratic Party ( PS ) and the bourgeois-conservative oriented Social Democratic Party ( PSD ). There is also the right-wing populist People's Party ( CDS / PP ), the traditional Communist Party ( PCP ) and the Left Bloc ( BE ), which was founded a few years ago as a reservoir for the intellectual left . The five parties have been represented in parliament since the general election on June 5, 2011 . The Greens ( PEV ) have always stood in Portugal in a list union with the communists since 1987 and have always had two parliamentary mandates since this alliance ( CDU ) was founded.

International Relations

Portugal is a member of the European Union and held the Presidency of the Council in the second half of 2007 . The country already held the presidency in the first half of 2000. During this time, Portugal's main aim was to promote dialogue with Africa and to provide impetus to strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy.

Portugal was a founding member of NATO and is participating with troops in peacekeeping in the Balkans . Together with Spain, Portugal participates in the Ibero-American Summits , which are primarily intended to promote dialogue with the countries of Latin America . The country played a leading role in establishing the Community of Portuguese- Speaking Countries (CPLP), the aim of which is to deepen cooperation between these countries. The country is also a member of the Latin Union , which promotes the preservation and diversity of the Romance languages.

Portugal supported one of its former colonial areas, East Timor , in the fight for independence from Indonesia, and is cooperating financially and militarily with Asian countries, the United States and the UN for the benefit of the young state .

There is a dispute between Portugal and Spain over the territory of Olivenza (or Olivença ), which is currently part of the Spanish state but is claimed by Portugal. Oliveça came under Spanish administration in 1801, but Spain agreed to return the area to Portugal at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Portugal has been demanding the return since then.

Education System

The University of Coimbra is one of Europe's most important research universities

Education was neglected until the Carnation Revolution of 1974, and after the revolution the development of the education system was slow. This is still noticeable today: in 2000, for example, only about one tenth of 30-year-olds had a university degree. This meant that Portugal was a long way behind among the EU members before the eastward expansion. The illiteracy rate is 4.6% (3.1% for men, 5.9% for women). In the 2015 PISA ranking , Portuguese students ranked 29th out of 72 countries in mathematics, 22nd in science and 21st in reading comprehension. Portugal is thus above the average of the OECD countries.

The school system consists of a four-year elementary school and a five-year high school. For children from the age of six there is a statutory nine-year schooling requirement. Compulsory education is free in state schools. Families in need can receive support for teaching at one of the comparatively large number of private schools.

Those who complete the three-year Escola Secundária after high school receive the university entrance qualification and can choose between several options for higher education: In Portugal, higher education is offered by state and private universities ( universidades ) as well as state and private universities of applied sciences ( escolas politécnicas ). To promote remote areas, universities have been set up in many medium-sized cities. In any case, an entrance examination has to be taken and tuition fees have to be paid, which are higher for private schools than for state schools. They differ depending on the subject, for state institutions up to € 850 per year. Even so, around a third of students are enrolled in a private institution. In addition to the enrollment fees , propinas , fees for the award of certificates and diplomas, must be paid. About 20% of students receive income-related government support.

Health system

With the tax-financed Serviço Nacional de Saúde , all locals and visitors have had access to a largely free health system , apart from mostly small additional payments, since 1979 , as laid down in the Portuguese constitution of 1976. There are also professional and private health systems. With 3.34 doctors per 1000 inhabitants, the level of medical care in Portugal is in 29th place worldwide (comparison: Germany 4.33; Switzerland 4.24; Austria 5.14). At 79 years (2009), life expectancy in Portugal is now above the European average of 77 years. (2012)

The public emergency service INEM covers continental Portugal with a single emergency service.

Development of life expectancy

Period Life expectancy in
Period Life expectancy in
1950-1955 60.3 1985-1990 74.0
1955-1960 62.4 1990-1995 74.9
1960-1965 64.5 1995-2000 76.0
1965-1970 66.4 2000-2005 77.6
1970-1975 68.3 2005-2010 79.3
1975-1980 70.4 2010-2015 80.5
1980-1985 72.5

Source: UN

Administrative structure

Administrative districts

Portugal is divided into five regions, 18 districts and the two autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira . In addition, 28 so-called statistical sub-regions have been set up for statistical purposes. One level below is the local self-government in Portugal with 308 districts ( concelhos ) and 3091 municipalities ( freguesias ). Until the administrative reorganization in 2013 there were 4,259 municipalities.


The Portuguese Armed Forces ( Portuguese : Forças Armadas Portuguesas ) are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and consist of the armed forces

The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces. The general conscription that prevailed until 2003 is suspended. In 2017, Portugal spent just under 1.7 percent of its economic output or $ 3.8 billion on its armed forces.

Law and justice

The Portuguese law has evolved from the Roman law developed. According to French law , it was mainly influenced by German law in the 20th century .

The following courts exist in Portugal:

  • the Constitutional Court ( Tribunal Constitucional )
  • the Supreme Court ( Supremo Tribunal de Justiça )
    • 5 courts of appeal ( tribunais da relação )
      • 23 district courts ( tribunais de comarca ), 4 penal enforcement courts ( tribunais de execução das penas ), 4 specialized courts ( Tribunal marítimo ; Tribunal da propriedade intelectual ; Tribunal da concorrência, regulação e supervisão ; Tribunal central de instrução criminal )
        • 25 courts of peace ( julgados de paz )
  • the Supreme Administrative Court ( Supremo Tribunal Administrativo )
    • 2 central administrative courts ( tribunais centrais administrativos )
      • 15 administrative and financial courts ( tribunais administrativos e fiscais ), a district administrative court ( tribunal administrativo de círculo ), a tax court ( tribunal tributário )
  • the Court of Auditors ( Tribunal de Contas ).



Portugal is part of the European single market . Together with 18 other EU member states (blue) it forms a monetary union, the euro zone .

Since Portugal joined the EC in 1986, Portugal has developed into an increasingly diversified economy, mainly focused on services. Services are now responsible for around two thirds of GDP . As in other European countries, extensive privatizations were carried out and government spending was reduced. In 1998 Portugal qualified for accession to the European Monetary Union and, like eleven other countries, introduced the euro as a means of payment on January 1, 2002 , thereby replacing the Portuguese escudo .

At around 3.3% annually, economic growth has mostly exceeded the EU average in the years up to the global economic crisis from 2007 onwards . Nevertheless, Portugal is still the poorest old member of the EU : GDP per capita (in purchasing power parities ) is around 78% of the average of the EU countries before enlargement to the east , whereas in 1985 it was around 50%. Compared with the GDP of the EU expressed in purchasing power standards Portugal achieved an index of 77 (EU-28: 100) (2015). However, the development in the country is very different. If you only take the greater Lisbon area, the index here is now over 100, slightly above the European average (2014).

In 2011 the economy contracted by 1.7% and in 2012 by 3.2%. Portugal was only able to overcome the recession in the second half of 2013 . In 2014, growth of around 1% was achieved. For 2015, economic growth of almost 2% is expected. The average gross monthly income of an employee is currently around 1,100 euros gross, the statutory minimum wage is 515 euros gross.

The gross domestic product of Portugal was 193 billion euros in 2017. The gross domestic product per capita was around 18,700 euros in the same year.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Portugal ranks 42nd out of 137 countries (2017-2018). In 2017, the country ranks 77th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

GDP by region
rank province GDP PPP in € million GDP / capita, PPS ,
(EU28 = 100) (2015)
GDP / capita in €
(PPS) (2015)
1 Lisbon region 83,568 103 29,700
- EuropeEurope EU-28 14,714,029 100 28,900
2 Algarve 10,047 79 22,700
- PortugalPortugal Portugal 229.614 77 22,200
3 Madeira Autonomous Region 5,319 72 20,700
4th Alentejo 14,663 70 20,100
5 Autonomous Region of the Azores 4,841 68 19,700
6th Central region 37,653 67 19,200
7th Northern region 67,688 65 18,700

Demographics and unemployment

Structural problems have traditionally been cited as an obstacle to higher productivity and employment growth. First of all, there were deficits in the education system, the relatively high rate of illiteracy , the sometimes poor infrastructure and the inefficient administration. Since the late 1990s in particular, these deficits have largely been considered corrected. The illiteracy rate in Portugal is now 5%, and the trend is falling (for comparison: Germany 1%). In 2013, 24.6% of men and 36.1% of women between 30 and 34 years of age had a university degree (for comparison: NRW 28.3% / 29.9%). In addition, the infrastructure in the country has seen enormous investments, also with the help of the EU. As a result, an above-average expansion of fiber optic connections for fast Internet can apply (2012: 10.3%, for comparison: Germany 1.1%), the motorway network in Portugal is also one of the densest in Europe today, and a company can be set up online within one Day possible. Award-winning developments such as the widespread Multibanco ATMs or the Via Verde toll system can be seen as examples of the country's innovative capabilities. After a boom until the early 2000s, Portugal increasingly came into competition with the low-wage countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and North Africa, which made Portugal less attractive for foreign direct investments. However, these have increased significantly since 2009 and amounted to over 57 billion euros in 2012. Average wages in Portugal are still low by Western European standards and the working hours are sometimes much longer.

In April 2017, unemployment in Portugal was 9.8 percent - 7.9 percentage points less than in 2013. Before the crisis, in 2008, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. By June 2018 it had fallen to 6.7 percent, falling below the pre-crisis level. In 2017, youth unemployment was 23 percent.

In 2014, 8.6% of the workforce worked in agriculture, 23.9% in industry and 67.5% in the service sector. The total number of employees is estimated at 5.23 million for 2017; 48.8% of them are women.

Foreign trade

ExIm Portugal.svg

Around 80% of foreign trade is carried out with EU partners. The main exports are clothing and shoes, machines, chemical products, cork as well as pulp and paper. Machines, vehicles, oil and oil products as well as agricultural products are imported. Portugal has a large trade deficit . The balance of payments deficit is not as high as the trade deficit due to income from tourism and remittances from the Portuguese abroad.

Foreign investments come primarily from Great Britain and Spain , and recently increasing investments from the oil-rich former Portuguese colony of Angola caused a sensation, for example through the purchase of the Banco BIC Português by an Angolan bank.

The Autoeuropa automobile assembly plant is one of the most important foreign investments in Portugal . The most important international Portuguese companies include Energias de Portugal , Portugal Telecom , the Jerónimo Martins group, which is particularly successful in the retail sector , and the Sonae group, which runs the Alexa shopping center on Alexanderplatz in Berlin , for example .

Energy industry

Wind farm in Portugal

According to the Portuguese transmission network operator REN , the installed capacity of the power plants in Portugal was 11,195 MW in 2010 , of which caloric power plants accounted for 6,561 MW (59%) and hydropower plants 4,584 MW (41%). A total of 48.5 billion kWh was generated in 2010 , of which 37.4 billion (77%) were generated by thermal power plants and 11.1 billion (23%) by hydropower plants.

In recent years, wind power has become an important factor in electricity supply . In 2017, wind turbines with a nominal output of 5,316 MW were installed in Portugal . In 2014, at 27%, these covered more than a quarter of Portugal's electricity demand. That was the second highest value worldwide and was only exceeded by Denmark with 39.1%. On the other hand, electricity generation from photovoltaics is comparatively insignificant with an installed capacity of around 419 MW. In 2015, renewable energies covered around 48% of Portuguese electricity needs, around half of which came from wind turbines. In May 2016, the country was supplied exclusively from renewable energies for 107 hours or 4 days without interruption. At the end of 2008, the Alto Minho wind farm, the largest onshore wind farm in Europe at the time, went into operation.

In relation to the total final energy demand (electricity, heat, transport), renewable energies provided 25.7% of the energy in 2013. Portugal intends to increase this proportion to 31% by 2020.

Natural resources

Portugal is one of the world's leading nations in tungsten production . Minable mineral resources also include coal , copper , tin , gold , iron ores such as pyrite and chalcopyrite , clay minerals such as kaolinite, as well as wolframite , uraninite and lithium . In the second half of the 20th century, Portugal was an important supplier of uranium . However, uranium mining was stopped at the beginning of the 21st century due to inefficiency. During the Second World War , Germany supplied itself with Portuguese tungsten for weapons production. The Hiroshima atomic bomb contained Portuguese uranium.


Cork oak in Portugal

Agriculture in Portugal is one of the most inefficient in Europe; agriculture accounts for around 5% of GDP, but more than 15% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. As a result, many businesses gave up and almost half of the food is imported. The cultivation of almonds , like the cork oak plantations ( montados ) in the Alentejo and the Douro Valley, is in a deep crisis. It is true that Portugal is the most important producer of raw cork with around 125,000 tons, half of the world's harvested amount . Nevertheless, the industry has been under great pressure since the turn of the millennium due to the increasing popularity and international production of synthetically produced alternative closures for wine bottles. The hope of numerous cork farmers ( tiradores ) that the Portuguese cork oak use is irreplaceable, at least for wines in the high price segment, has not been fulfilled either. The trend away from natural products towards cheaper alternatives made of plastic can also be observed in expensive wines. This development finds expression in numerous company insolvencies and emigration from the cork growing regions. Portugal's government and the cork industry are now reacting to the development with global “green marketing” advertising campaigns in which winemakers are again to be convinced of the ecological sustainability of the natural product cork.

For the pulp industry , an important economic factor in Portugal, large areas are afforested with fast-growing eucalyptus as a raw material. This is questionable for ecological reasons, because eucalyptus leaches out the soil, displaces the original forest and thus the animal world, and promotes the catastrophic forest fires in summer.

Similar to agriculture, fisheries struggle with productivity problems. The Portuguese fishing fleet is poorly developed compared to the Spanish one. Most of the fish is imported.


Tourism plays an important role in Portugal's economy;
Portimão beach

Tourism accounts for around eight percent of GDP, and the trend is rising, with most visitors from Spain and the UK. With over 11.4 million tourists, Portugal was the 30th most visited country in the world in 2016. The Algarve is the undisputed center.

15 sites in Portugal are UNESCO World Heritage Sites , including two in the Azores and one in Madeira .

The three Germans Kopke , Burmester and Andresen made a decisive contribution to the development of port wine for the international marketing of port wine from the oldest wine-growing region Alto Douro from the 17th century .

The palaces with parks near Sintra and Portugal's largest castle and monastery in Mafra were planned by German builders from Eschwege and Ludwig .

In front of the Algarve, Sétubal and the Madeira and Azores archipelagos, there are opportunities to experience both dolphins and whales in the wild.

On the Atlantic island of Madeira, tourism began in the middle of the 19th century; the island was a favorite destination for wealthy British travelers. They stayed mainly in the Hotel Reid's Palace , which the Scot William Reid had built in 1891.

international economic Relations

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures of 92.2 billion dollars, compared to income of 87.2 billion dollars. This results in a budget deficit of EUR 5.0 billion or 2.4% of GDP .

The national debt in 2009 amounted to 127.9 billion euros or 76.1% of GDP (according to the following table 83.6%), now it is over 100% of GDP. On April 6, 2011, the Prime Minister of Portugal announced that the country would accept financial aid from the European Union in the wake of the debt crises from Eurozone countries .

In 2011, new debt was 4.2% of GDP. Portugal thus clearly met the EU's mandatory savings targets of 5.9% of GDP. This was only possible through additional payments from pension funds, otherwise the deficit would have been 7.7%.

year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
National debt 051.0% 050.3% 052.9% 055.6% 056.9% 058.3% 063.6% 063.9% 062.7% 065.3% 083.6% 0096.2%
Budget balance - 2.8% - 2.9% - 4.3% - 2.8% - 2.9% - 3.4% - 6.2% - 4.1% - 2.8% - 2.9% - 9.3% - 11.2%
year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
National debt 128.0% 130.6% 128.8% 129.9% 125.7% 111.1% 124.8%
Budget balance - 4.8% - 7.2% - 4.4% - 2.0% - 3.0% - 7.4% - 5.5%
Source: Eurostat


Development of long-term interest rates for Portuguese government bonds compared to other countries (2010-2011)

Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real Eurostat

year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Change in% yoy 1.6 2.5 0.2 −3.0 1.9 −1.8 −4.0 −1.1 0.9 1.8 1.6 2.7

Development of GDP (nominal), Eurostat

absolute (in billion euros) per inhabitant (in thousands of euros)
year 2015 2016 2017 year 2015 2016 2017
GDP in billions of euros 179.8 185.5 193.0 GDP per inhabitant (in € thousand) 17.4 18.0 18.7

Foreign Trade Development (GTAI)

in billion euros and its change compared to the previous year in percent
2014 2015 2016
Billion euros % yoy Billion euros % yoy Billion euros % year-on-year
import 59.0 +3.5 60.3 +2.2 61.1 +1.3
export 48.1 +1.6 49.8 +3.5 50.3 +1.0
balance −11.1 −10.5 −10.8

Main trading partner of Portugal (2016), source: GTAI

Export (in percent) to Import (in percent) of
SpainSpain Spain 26.6 SpainSpain Spain 32.9
FranceFrance France 12.8 GermanyGermany Germany 13.6
GermanyGermany Germany 11.8 FranceFrance France 7.8
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 7.1 ItalyItaly Italy 5.5
United StatesUnited States United States 5.0 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 5.1
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 3.8 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 3.1
ItalyItaly Italy 3.5 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 3.0
United NationsU.N. other states 29.4 United NationsU.N. other states 29.0


In the Logistics Performance Index , which is compiled by the World Bank and measures the quality of the infrastructure, Portugal ranked 23rd out of 160 countries in 2018.

Road traffic

New bridge over the Mondego

The road network has grown rapidly and well developed since the 1980s , not least thanks to EU funds from subsidy funds. In 2008, the entire road network covered around 82,900 km, of which 71,294 km were asphalted. The important routes are covered by toll autoestradas . These have a total length of 1100 km and are mostly operated by the listed company Brisa . Are free of charge, however Itinerarios Principais (IP) or Itinerarios Complementares (IC) . The investments in road traffic are evident not least in the accident statistics. In 2008, 83 people per 1 million inhabitants died in Portugal's road traffic after 323 in 1991 (compared to 54 per 1 million in Germany in 2008).

Long-distance bus transport is more important in Portugal than in Central Europe. The largest public bus company is Rede Expressos .

Rail transport

An Alfa Pendular in Lisbon Oriente station

Portugal's rail network is relatively wide-meshed. The state-owned Infraestruturas de Portugal manages a rail network with a total length of 2789 km. 188 km of these are narrow gauge , 607 km are multi-lane. Trains are offered by the state-owned Comboios de Portugal and, more recently, by the private Fertagus . On the main traffic routes, however, the connections are efficient, the Alfa Pendular high-speed train offers the fastest connections between the metropolitan areas, the maximum speed in regular operation is between 250 km / h and 300 km / h, depending on the route and the series.

International trains connect Portugal with cities in Spain . There is also a connection to Irun on the Spanish-French border with a direct TGV connection to Paris.

There is a subway in Lisbon . Porto has a light rail system and an independent tram company . Other trams exist in Lisbon and south of the Tagus .

air traffic

Airbus A310 of TAP Portugal

The five main airports in Portugal are Lisbon , Porto , Faro , Ponta Delgada and Funchal . They are served by several airlines, with the Portuguese lines TAP Portugal , SATA Air Açores and Portugália Airlines providing the most connections. In 2006, the Portuguese airports handled a total of 22 million passengers and 135,000 tons of cargo. Traffic was expected to rise to 46.8 million passengers and 259,000 tons of cargo by 2025.

In view of the increasing number of passengers, it was decided to create a new commercial airport ( Novo Aeroporto Lisboa ) in addition to the existing Lisbon airport . It is to be built on the little-used military airport in Montijo . This is on the southern bank of the Tagus . Operations are scheduled to begin in 2022. The start of construction and the opening originally planned for 2017 were postponed indefinitely in 2010 due to the financial crisis.

Water transport

The main ports of Portugal are in Aveiro , Porto, Lisbon, Sines and Setúbal . In 2007, almost 70% of all imports came into the country by sea, while 41% of exports were handled through the ports. Of the 58 million tons, 39% passed through the port of Sines. The ports are being modernized and their transport links improved so that they can handle a larger part of Spanish foreign trade. The Douro and the Tagus are navigable from the rivers.



Portugal is sometimes referred to as the land of poets . In Portuguese literature, poetry has always had a stronger influence than prose . In the Middle Ages , when the Portuguese nation emerged, poetry was widespread in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Excellent epic and lyrical works were created. While the best-known classical poets are Luís de Camões and Fernando Pessoa , there are a number of lesser-known artists who have made significant impacts on modern Portuguese literature.

Prose developed later than poetry and did not make its mark until the 14th century in the form of chronicles or the description of the lives of saints. Here's Fernão Lopes , the most famous representative; he wrote a chronicle of the reigns of three kings of his time. For him, accuracy of representation and vivid portrayal were most important. Portuguese modern literature is best known internationally, especially with the works of José Maria Eça de Queiroz and the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature , José Saramago .

Women are also to be found among the country's most important contemporary writers, especially Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Lídia Jorge and Agustina Bessa-Luís . Valter Hugo Mãe recently made a name for himself among the young authors .


The art of film has a long tradition in Portugal. Internationally, the country's high- quality auteur film enjoys a good reputation among film buffs , but award-winning directors such as João Botelho or João Canijo are rather little known to the general public, even in Portugal. If the film industry is also determined here by major international productions and multiplex cinemas , there is still a lively film club movement and a number of different film festivals in the country with committed new directors such as the very different Miguel Gomes and Jorge Pelicano or Fernando Fragata , as well as young actors with names such as Ana Moreira , Diogo Infante or Lúcia Moniz .

The best-known Portuguese director is Manoel de Oliveira († April 2, 2015), who at over 100 years of age (born in 1908) was the oldest working director in the world and the last living director who was filming during the silent era . The most famous actors are Maria de Medeiros , who was the film partner of Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction , and Joaquim de Almeida with his numerous Hollywood roles.



“Queen of Fado” Amália Rodrigues as graffiti in Lisbon

The most important form of music in Portugal is Fado , which can be very melancholy and has contributed to the cliché of the melancholy Portuguese (compared to the spirited Spaniards). This music is closely related to Saudade (for example: longing ) and was probably created by mixing the songs of Portuguese sailors with the rhythms of African slaves. A distinction is made between two styles, namely the more varied, popular Fado from Lisbon and the academic Fado from Coimbra, sung only by men . The internationally best-known fado song was April in Portugal , which was published worldwide in several hundred versions and comes from Raul Ferrão , and also combines the Fado Coimbras with that of Lisbon. Amália Rodrigues was the most important fado artist, after her death several musicians stepped out of her shadow and brought forth new forms of fado, some of which only have the saudade in common with the original fado, but some of which consciously adhere to traditional patterns of fado . In recent years the number of Fado publications and its public presence has increased again thanks to the success of young singers such as Mariza , Camané or Ana Moura . Fado has also spread in the former colonies of Portugal, developing into the Cape Verdean morna of a Cesária Évora and the Brazilian choro . Madredeus with the singer Teresa Salgueiro is one of the groups that are known today in German-speaking countries and influenced by Fado .

Classical, new music, jazz

Since the Middle Ages, church music was very important in Portugal under the strong Portuguese Catholicism and reached its peak in the Renaissance. In the field of sacred vocal polyphony, Portugal had a remarkable generation of Portuguese composers who shaped the musical history of Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries: Estêvão de Brito (c. 1575–1641), Filipe de Magalhães (c.1571–1652) , Duarte Lobo (1565-1646) and Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650). This so-called generation of Évora poliphonists represents the heyday of church music in Portugal.

In the field of classical music, Portugal has no internationally significant composers. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was individual composers such as Carlos Seixas , João Domingos Bomtempo , José Vianna da Motta or Luís de Freitas Branco who wrote works that were important for Portugal, but who did not attract any noteworthy international attention. On the other hand, Luísa Todi ( La Todi , 1753–1833) was one of the most famous singers of her time in Europe.

In the 20th century, the tradition of Portuguese classical music was continued by composers such as Emmanuel Nunes , António Victorino de Almeida and Eurico Carrapatoso . The tenor Lomelino Silva achieved international fame in the 1920s and 1930s, but has since been forgotten. At the end of the 20th century Portugal had internationally important composers: Emmanuel Nunes , who held a teaching position in Paris, Jorge Peixinho , who can be described as the most important figure in contemporary Portuguese music of his generation and [Joao Pedro Oliveira] with teaching positions in Portugal and Brazil.

Maria Joao Pires , Mário Laginha , Pedro Burmester , António Pinho Vargas and Bernardo Sassetti became important modern composers and interpreters across national borders in both classical and jazz.

The jazz club Hot Clube de Portugal in Lisbon is considered the oldest still existing jazz club in Europe. With a number of jazz festivals and numerous musicians, the jazz scene is still alive in the country, with names such as the trumpeter Sei Miguel , the bassist Carlos Bica , the guitarist Manuel Mota , or the well-known singer Maria João . In free jazz and new improvisational music, Portugal has a number of active musicians, such as Carlos Zingaro , Ernesto Rodrigues , Carlos Maria Trindade and Vítor Rua .

The former Madredeus musician Rodrigo Leão was able to make a name for himself both in his home country and internationally with his modern-classical compositions in contemporary yet traditional garb. The accordion quartet Danças Ocultas also received some international attention. Portugal also won the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev in 2017 with singer Salvador Sobral .

Songwriter and folk

A critical songwriting tradition comes from the time of the fascist Estado Novo under Salazar. The best-known representatives of this protest movement were José Afonso (often called Zeca ) and Adriano Correia de Oliveira , while representatives of the movement such as José Mário Branco and in particular Sérgio Godinho are still active in the music scene today. The song Grândola, Vila Morena , was written by José Afonso and was used as a political symbol throughout the country on the night of the Carnation Revolution and beyond.

The musical traditions of the different regions are also constantly being revitalized and interpreted in a contemporary way, often also by combining different musical styles. Artists such as Trovante , Júlio Pereira or Rão Kyao , a composer, musician and singer of Portuguese music and Fado, have developed through recording musical influences from Indian music ( Goa , former Portuguese colony), from Macau (former Portuguese colony), from the Arab world and made a name for North Africa.

Pop and rock variants, folklore

The pop music genre, which was introduced in Portugal in the 1960s primarily with beat bands such as Quinteto Académico , Conjunto Académico João Paulo and especially the Sheiks , has been able to rise to the defining music of youth alongside rock music since the 1980s, by name like Heróis do Mar , the Dolphins , or the eccentric singer António Variações, who died early . In recent years, the band The Gift has caused a similar sensation among music lovers in the country with their multi-layered pop and their Amália Rodrigues tribute project Hoje , as has Silence 4 and their now solo singer David Fonseca . The first Eurodance group in Portugal, " Santamaria ", also brought techno beats to the discos.

The rock and blues singer, guitarist and composer Rui Veloso has made a name for himself beyond national borders . In addition to well-known groups such as GNR or UHF , the undisputed most popular rock band in the country are the Xutos & Pontapés , founded as a punk band in 1978 , while Moonspell is the internationally best-known metal band from Portugal. From bands like the group Tédio Boys, which started as a psychobilly band, or the punk band Censurados , some of the most formative formations of the diverse underground and independent scenes in the country have emerged. Mata-Ratos are the oldest still existing band on the Portuguese punk scene .

Each region of Portugal has its own folklore style ( Ranchos Folclóricos ). Projects like the pop bands Sétima Legião or Sitiados combine these with contemporary pop styles. The Portuguese music and dance tradition in Brazil has mixed with the traditions of the slaves from today's Angola to create samba and this mixture is also popular in Portugal. The kuduro is particularly popular among Angolan immigrants . This is a genre of music that includes influences from Sungura and Afro Zouk . The rhythm is fast and hard. The common kizomba is a hybrid of the Angolan semba and zouk . They are mostly romantic songs with correspondingly slow rhythms. These two styles of music (but the kizomba in particular) are popular with the young generation of African immigrants. In recent years this style of music has been spread among young people of culturally Portuguese origin.

In addition, the Hip Hop Tuga developed in Portugal, a version of hip hop adapted to Portugal , which is popular among young people. Best known representatives were Da Weasel and Sam the Kid . Reggae has also become more popular in Portugal after the success of the Kussondulola group , with today's performers such as Richie Campbell , Mercado Negro and Freddy Locks .


In the field of art dance, Portugal has been quite successful since the early 1990s and, along with Russia, is one of the most important countries in Europe in this field. Numerous dancers and choreographers have achieved European or worldwide fame: Rui Horta , João Fiadeiro , Clara Andermatt . Modern and innovative shapes are often used and new styles are developed. Portugal is regularly involved in training young dancers. The dance culture in Portugal is known as Nova Dança Portuguesa .

Visual arts

Portuguese artists never achieved great notoriety in painting and sculpture. This was due to various reasons: On the one hand, there were no new, innovative techniques and forms from the country. Often many paintings and sculptures for the glory of God were created only for certain monasteries or churches, without the names of the artists being known (who often deliberately did not give their names). In addition, the often difficult pronunciation of Portuguese names and the destruction of art by the earthquake of 1755 and by Napoleonic troops at the beginning of the 19th century played a decisive role. Nevertheless, Portugal also produced many painters. Today's painting is aligned with the tendencies of modern painting.

In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, it was often foreign painters who worked in Portugal, for example from Flanders, who were not famous painters, but there, because they had been ousted by the great masters of their country and were then able to work in Portugal. Important names from this period were Nuno Gonçalves , Gregorio Lopes and Grão Vasco .

Baroque, Rococo and the beginning of the 19th century were covered by painters such as Domingos de Sequeira , Vieira Portuense or Francisco Augusto Metrass .

In the 20th century, many painters came: Paula Rego , Almada Negreiros , Mário Eloy , Santa Rita Pintor , Maria Helena Vieira da Silva , Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso and many others.


Architectural styles cover almost all epochs of European art history. Monasteries, churches, castles, palaces and state institutions were often designed according to the styles prevailing in Europe, such as B. Gothic or Neoclassicism . The architect Álvaro Siza Vieira received the Pritzker Prize , as did his compatriot Eduardo Souto de Moura . Other well-known architects were or are Raoul Mesnier de Posnard (an Eiffel student), Miguel Ventura Terra , and Tomas Taveira .

In terms of decoration (building decoration), Portugal was able to achieve its own national note, primarily through Manuelism and the Azulejo art.


Bacalhau - the Portuguese national
dish before processing

The Portuguese cuisine is varied, it follows the Iberian tradition in some respects, but also took many elements from the colonized areas. After the Moorish rule over Portugal, many North African influences remained, including the heavy use of sugar, cinnamon, spices and egg yolks.

Bacalhau is the national dish of Portugal . This type of dried and salt fish has played an important role in the diet of the Portuguese since the 13th century. Today it is said that in Portuguese cuisine there is a Bacalhau recipe for every day of the year. Sardines , the cheapest food in the country in the 16th century, are still a traditional food today. Grilled sardines ( Sardinhas Assadas ) are very popular, especially in summer. Numerous other dishes such as Caldeirada , Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato , Rissóis de Camarão or Arroz de marisco underline the importance of fish and other seafood in Portuguese cuisine.

Soups such as caldo verde , a kale and potato soup made from the Portuguese cabbage couve-galega , which is typically served with broa ( corn bread ) and chouriço , or sopa alentejana with bread, egg, coriander , garlic and olive oil , are also typical . Meat was rarely eaten in the Middle Ages in Portugal, but sausages ( enchidos ) are common and there are some famous meat dishes such as cozido à portuguesa or the popular quick dish Francesinha . Frango Assado (grilled chicken), especially seasoned with spicy piri-piri, is now a widespread dish that came to Portugal from the African colonies. There is also a long tradition of cheese making, notable are Queijo do Pico , Queijo Serra da Estrela or Queijo de Azeitão .

Sweets occupy a very important place in Portugal. The famous Pastéis de Nata (Pastéis de Belém) are a specialty from Belém and have spread over Macau to large parts of Southeast Asia in recent years . Some of the numerous other desserts are the Pastéis de Tentúgal , the Ovos moles de Aveiro , or the Bolo Rei , which is especially popular at Christmas . Traditionally roasted chestnuts are sold at small street stalls, especially in autumn .

Portugal is known for its wine. Portugal has been associated with the god of wine and festivals, Bacchus / Dionysus , since Roman times . Some Portuguese wines are among the best in the world. A known wine specialty is the sparkling, effervescent Vinho Verde . Port wine is world-famous , while another well-known liqueur wine from Portugal, Madeira, comes from the island of Madeira . There are also some local breweries.

Folk festivals

In June, festivals in honor of the three popular saints ( Santos Populares ) take place across Portugal . These three saints are Antony , John and Peter . It is celebrated with wine, água-pé ( must ), traditional bread with sardines, street parades and dances, weddings, fire and fireworks as well as a lot of good humor.

Santo António is celebrated on the night of June 12th and 13th, especially in Lisbon (where this saint was born and lived), where a kind of street carnival ( Marchas Populares ) takes place. These days there are weddings, the Casamentos de Santo António . The most popular saint is São João (St. John), for whom St. John's Day is mainly celebrated in Porto and Braga , with sardines and caldo verde (a traditional soup). In honor of São Pedro is celebrated on June 28th and 29th, especially in Póvoa de Varzim and Barcelos , these festivals are dedicated to the sea. There is fire ( fogeiras ) and a street carnival.



Portugal's footballer Cristiano Ronaldo in the national

Football is the most popular sport in Portugal. The Portuguese football has world-class players such as Eusébio , Nené , Paulo Sousa , Rui Costa , Nani , Cristiano Ronaldo , Vítor Baía , Deco , Fernando Meira or Luís Figo produced. In 2004, the European Football Championship was held in Portugal, in which the Portuguese national team was runner-up after Greece . Reaching third place at the 1966 World Cup was the greatest success in Portuguese football history for a long time, until winning the Euro 2016 in France. The top division, the Primeira Divisão , is dominated by the three most important clubs FC Porto , Sporting Lisbon , and the record champions Benfica Lisbon . The first winner of the National Cup Taça de Portugal was Académica Coimbra in 1939 , which won it again in 2012 and, thanks to its role as an oppositional student association in the 1960s, has a special history to show. Other traditional clubs are Belenenses Lisbon , Boavista Porto and Vitória Setúbal . In addition to soccer, futsal and beach soccer are common, and Portugal has achieved success there.


Portugal can also boast successes in canoeing , for example its silver medal at the 2012 Olympics . The Portuguese canoe manufacturer Nelo is the world market leader and also equipped the majority of the successful Olympic competitors in 2012. In the small town of Montemor-o-Velho , the Portuguese Canoe Association has its focus with its performance center. International events have been held here several times, most recently the European Canoe Racing Championships in 2013 .

To run

Portuguese long-distance runners in particular were often successful internationally. The best-known female runner is likely to be the Olympic gold medalist Rosa Mota , while Carlos Lopes won the first ever Olympic gold medal for Portugal in a marathon in 1984 .

The Orienteering European Championships 2014 hosted Portugal. Since 1991, one of the world's most important half marathons has been held in the capital every year in March, the Lisbon Half Marathon .


Near the seaside resort of Estoril , near the Atlantic coast, there is the Circuito do Estoril, a well-known circuit for car and motorcycle races, on which the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Portugal was held for years . The course in Estoril is also used as a test track for racing cars.

In the port city of Portimão is the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve , where the Superbike World Championship and the FIA GT Championship are held. In 2020, the first Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix since 1996 was held on this track .

In the city of Santarém there is a well-known speedway stadium, in which international championships have already been held, such as the European Speedway Club Championship in 2000.


With the Volta a Portugal, a nationwide race of popular cycling has been held since 1927 . Popular cyclists were Portugal's first professional athlete in 1896, José Bento Pessoa , the two-time Tour de France third Joaquim Agostinho , and Alves Barbosa , who, at the height of his popularity in 1958, became the title hero of the first Portuguese film in Cinemascope.

Surfing and sailing

The coasts in the south and west offer ideal conditions for surfing all year round . Some of the best surfing spots in Europe attract surfers from all over the world, such as Ericeira , the world's third and Europe's first surf reserve. Among the many other surf spots are the traditional seaside resort of Figueira da Foz , the Praia do Guincho beach near Lisbon , or the former fishing village of Nazaré , which is known for its particularly large waves . Portugal has been one of the official stops on the WSL Championship Tour since 2010 . Every year the country organizes the "MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal" on Supertubos Beach in Peniche . The best Portuguese surfer is Frederico Morais. In 2017, he finished 14th in his rookie year in the WSL Championship Tour. Vasco Ribeiro won the Men's World Junior Championship in 2014 and Teresa Bonvalot won the Women's European Junior Championship in 2016 and 2017.

Sailing has a long tradition in Portugal. The Azores in particular are known for this , for example with the Les Sables – Les Açores – Les Sables regatta or the internationally known meeting point, the city of Horta . Sailing events also take place in the Algarve and in the greater Lisbon area. The 2007 ISAF World Sailing Championships took place in Cascais , which is also known for its marina.

Tennis and badminton

João Sousa (2014)

With the ATP Oeiras and WTA Oeiras , famous international tennis tournaments are held in Oeiras in Portugal. Other tournaments are ATP Porto and WTA Porto , and since 2013 ATP Challenger Guimarães . Most recently, João Sousa from Guimarães was the most promising Portuguese tennis player. On July 14, 2014, he reached 35th place, his best position in the world tennis rankings .

For Portuguese badminton , on the other hand, Caldas da Rainha is the most important location, for example as a frequent venue for Portugal International tournaments and as the seat of the Portuguese Badminton Association . Isabel Rocha , who won a total of 32 national titles in the 1960s and 1970s, can be considered the most successful player . José Bento should be mentioned as a particularly successful male player . He came from Lourenço Marques, the capital of what was then the Portuguese colony of Mozambique , known today as Maputo , and particularly dominated badminton in Portugal during the 1970s.

Winter sports

The snowboard championships in the Serra da Estrela ski areas and the Portuguese ice hockey association Federação Portuguesa de Desportos no Gelo are rather unknown outside of Portugal .

Other sports and international events

Joaquim Durão is the record champion in chess with 13 national championships . The most successful female player is Catarina Leite , while chess grandmaster Luís Galego is currently the most important chess player in Portugal.

José Oliveira de Sousa is the most successful Portuguese dart player . In 2020 he won the Grand Slam of Darts , which means the first victory of a Portuguese in a major darts tournament.

Portuguese athletes are internationally successful in beach volleyball and particularly in roller hockey , where they alternate with Spain as record roller hockey world champions . Traditional Portuguese sports such as Jogo do Pau , on the other hand, are largely unknown internationally.

Portugal sent a large number of international sporting events, in addition to the 2004 European Football Championship are so many tournaments such as the 1994 European Men's Handball Championship , the World Handball Championship 2003 or the games of the Portuguese Speaking Countries , the Jogos da Lusofonia 2009 to name. Inline speed skating European championships took place several times in Portugal, for example in 1989 , 1995 , 2001 and 2007 .


Building of the old Joanina library of the University of Coimbra

Portugal has a long library tradition based on medieval and monastic collections. A variety of library types have developed to this day, such as academic libraries, university libraries, public libraries, central administration libraries and special libraries. The exact number of libraries and the total stock of media are not known (the LIB2 study from 1986 found 556 Portuguese libraries). Systematic and methodical work to promote public librarianship and library science began at the end of the 19th century.

During the time of the Estado Novo (1928–1974), the importance of libraries and library work itself were severely limited by censorship and restrictions. As a result, there are deficits in the development of the education and library system to this day. The decades of dictatorship favored a lack of popular education and illiteracy. After the Carnation Revolution in 1974, there was democratization in education and culture.

Systematic adult education and reading promotion were carried out to combat the lack of popular education and illiteracy. The worrying situation of public libraries resulted in numerous initiatives and new regulations within the library system, e. B. 1983 the "Manifesto of Public Reading". In 1986 this was underpinned by legislation creating and coordinating a public reading network. At the same time, the automation of library work, which started relatively late in Portugal, and the use of modern information technology, initially in university libraries and the national library “ Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa ”.

The latter was the first public library to be established as the Royal Public Court Library in 1796. She operates z. B. the national bibliographic database PORBASE. This contains over 1 million title entries, 800,000 author entries from around 134 libraries and documentation centers and the Portuguese national bibliography. The National Library and probably almost all other libraries work with the CDS / ISIS library system and the UNIMARC data exchange format .

An archivist and librarian training is possible by studying at the state universities of Coimbra, Lisbon and Porto. Some partly state institutions take on coordination tasks and support the promotion of Portuguese books and the cooperation and support of libraries.

Through extensive innovative work in recent years, the Portuguese library system has caught up with European and international standards. Any deficits that still exist should be further reduced by promoting reading and libraries and through international cooperation.

Media / new media

A complete Expresso edition from 2006

In the 2019 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Portugal was ranked 12th out of 180 countries. The country had one of the freest presses in the world.

Four main television channels can be received by antenna across the country: RTP1 and RTP2 , which are operated by the Portuguese state broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) and the private channels SIC (Grupo Sonae) and TVI (Media Capital, 32% of which are RTL- Group). Apart from the culturally oriented RTP2 , the programs on these channels are largely determined by Brazilian and Portuguese telenovelas , especially in the evening ; the news broadcasts are usually one to two hours long and are largely geared towards current events in Portugal. In view of the small domestic market, foreign language films are rarely dubbed but shown with subtitles . The international broadcaster RTP Internacional can u. a. can also be received in Central Europe and shows a selection of the four programs, while RTP África reports from the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa . There are also a variety of cable channels, especially sports TV and Brazilian channels. There are local broadcasters in Porto and Lisbon, and RTP also has its own broadcasters in Madeira and the Azores.

There are about 150 radio stations in Portugal. The stations of the RTP , the Catholic Rádio Renascença and the TSF can be received nationwide. The RTP can also be heard over shortwave in Central Europe, but only in Portuguese.

There is a process of consolidation and concentration taking place among the numerous newspapers that are printed in Portugal, with many of the small papers having to give up. Important daily newspapers are the conservative-liberal Diário de Notícias , the left-liberal Público (both from Lisbon) and the Jornal de Notícias from Porto, as well as the tabloid Correio da Manhã . Important weekly newspapers are Expresso and Sol , as well as the weekly political magazine Visão and the music newspaper Blitz . Jornal de Letras is one of the most important cultural newspapers in the country, while Jornal de Negócios and the Diário Económico are the major business newspapers. Destak and Metro are the main free newspapers in Portugal.

Sports newspapers that appear daily and deal almost exclusively with football have very large circulations - the most important are O Jogo , A Bola and Record . A Bola , which is related to Benfica Lisbon, is the highest-circulation newspaper in Portugal.

The operator of the site Football Leaks are whistleblowers from Portugal.

The numerous local newspapers are also important . OMIRANTE and the Diário As Beiras are among the regional newspapers .

In the gossip press , the weekly magazines Maria and Nova Gente have the highest circulation. The most important party newspaper is the Avante! from the Portuguese Communist Party .

public holidays

date designation Portuguese name annotation
January 1st New Years Day Ano Novo
- carnival Carnaval (not an official, but a de facto holiday), Tuesday 40 days before Easter
- Good Friday Sexta Feira Santa Friday before Easter
- Easter Páscoa Easter Sunday
April 25 Day of freedom Dia da Liberdade Carnation Revolution 1974
1st of May Labor Day Dia do trabalhador
June 10th Portugal day Dia de Portugal Death of Luís de Camões in 1580
- Corpus Christi Corpo de Deus Thursday, 60 days after Easter
15th of August Assumption Day Assunção
5th October Establishment of the republic Implantação da República in 1910
1st of November All Saints Day Todos os santos
December 1 Restoration of independence Restauração da Independência in 1640
December 8th Immaculate Conception Imaculada Conceição Patron saint of Portugal
25 December Christmas natal

Note: Each district has its own communal holiday, often for St. Anthony on June 13, St. John on June 24, or St. Peter on June 29. If the county does not have such a holiday, Mardi Gras is a public holiday. Carnival is treated like a normal holiday, and civil servants in particular are usually free on this day. The unsuccessful attempt in 1995 to abolish this regulation cost the then Prime Minister Cavaco Silva much popularity. In addition, June 24th is discussed as a public holiday (independence of Portugal in 1128).

See also

Portal: Portugal  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Portugal


In addition to the numerous travel guides, the following is available:

Web links

Wiktionary: Portugal  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Portugal  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Portugal  - geographical and historical maps
Wikibooks: Portugal  - learning and teaching materials
Wikivoyage: Portugal  - Travel Guide

Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 39 °  N , 8 °  W