Portugal country profile28 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 10 July 2012
Portugal, a country with a rich history of seafaring and discovery, looks out from the Iberian Peninsula onto the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal became a member of the European Community, now the EU, in 1986.
Portugal, a country with a rich history of seafaring and discovery, looks out from the Iberian Peninsula onto the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal's history has had a lasting impact on the culture of the country: Moorish and Oriental influences in architecture and the arts are prominent.
During the past 3 000 years, Portugal has witnessed a constant ebb and flow of civilisations. Phoenician, Greek, Celt, Carthaginian, Roman and Arabic cultures have all left their imprint. In the 15th century, Portugal’s intrepid maritime explorers led by Vasco da Gama discovered new territories, leading to the accumulation of an overseas empire.
The President, elected for a five-year term by universal suffrage, has limited powers. The parliament has 230 members, whose mandate is for four years.
The university of Coimbra, established in 1290, is one of the oldest in Europe. Among the best-known Portuguese poets are Luís de Camões and Fernando Pessoa.
During the summer, in the month of June, festivities dedicated to three saints known as Santos Populares (Popular saints) take place all over Portugal. Folk dance and music, particularly the melancholy fado, remain vibrant.
Each region of Portugal has its traditional dishes with various kinds of meat and seafood, including the hundred ways of cooking cod, the national dish.
Official name: Portuguese Republic
Area (km2): 92 072
Population: 10.78 million (July 2011 est.)
National holiday: 10 June
Currency: Euro (€)
Date of joining: 01 January 1986
Head of state: Aníbal Cavaco Silva, since March 2006
Head of government: Prime Minister Pedro Manuel Mamede Passos Coelho (since 21 June 2011)
GDP (millions €): 166 226.6 (2008)
GDP per capita in PPS: € 18 900 (2008)
Real growth rate of GDP: -2.2% (2011 est.); 1.3% (2010 est.)
Unemployment rate: 12.7% (2011 est.); 10.8% (2010 est.)
National debt as % of GDP: 103.3% (2011 est.); 93.5% (2010 est.)
Inflation: 3.2% (2011 est.); 1.4% (2010 est.)
Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -4.5% (2011 est.)
Source: Eurostat, CIA - The World Factbook
Head of State:
Map of Portugal
Source: European Commission, Spanish EU Presidency