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Portugal Historical and Political Profile

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Portugal Index

  • Portugal-Territorial Enlargement
  • Portugal-History
  • Portugal-Macroeconomic Disequilibria and Public Debt
  • Portugal-Local Government
  • Portugal-Popular Monarchist Party
  • Portugal-Composition and Direction of Trade
  • Portugal-Political Events Since 1987
  • Portugal-Terrorist Groups
  • Portugal-Other Police Forces
  • Portugal-THE HOUSE OF AVIS
  • Portugal-Intradynastic Struggle
  • Portugal-Agricultural Policy and the European Community
  • Portugal-Preface
  • Portugal-Far Right
  • Portugal-Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia
  • Portugal-The Presidency
  • Portugal-Political Parties
  • Portugal-Students and Intellectuals
  • Portugal-Foreign Direct Investment
  • Portugal-The Balance of International Payments
  • Portugal-Tourism and Unilateral Transfers
  • Portugal-The Council of State
  • Portugal-The Judiciary
  • Portugal-Civil Service
  • Portugal-Penal System
  • Portugal-Autonomous Regions and Macau
  • Portugal-Emigration
  • Portugal-Transportation and Communications
  • Portugal-Socialist Party
  • Portugal-The Extended Family and Kinship Relations
  • Portugal-Military Dictatorship
  • Portugal-Intelligence Services
  • Portugal-Anglo-Portuguese Alliance
  • Portugal-Christian Reconquest
  • Portugal-Foreward
  • Portugal-Wages and the Distribution of Income
  • Portugal-The Salazar-Caetano Era
  • Portugal-External Public Debt
  • Portugal-A New Portugal?
  • Portugal-Forestry and Fishing
  • Portugal-DEMOGRAPHY
  • Portugal-Women
  • Portugal-The Lower Class
  • Portugal-Angola
  • Portugal-The Elite
  • Portugal-Organized Labor
  • Portugal-Western Europe
  • Portugal-Public Security Police
  • Portugal-Portuguese Africa
  • Portugal-Economic Elites
  • Portugal-Chapter 4 - Government and Politics
  • Portugal-Incidence of Crime
  • Portugal-EDUCATION
  • Portugal-Wars with Castile
  • Portugal -Country Profile
  • Portugal-Chapter 2 - The Society and Its Environment
  • Portugal-Other Countries and Areas
  • Portugal-Economic Growth, 1960-73 and 1981-90
  • Portugal-Empire in Asia
  • Portugal-Iberian Union
  • Portugal-Armed Forces
  • Portugal-The Economy of the Salazar Regime
  • Portugal-Social Welfare Programs
  • Portugal-The New State
  • Portugal-Early Voyages
  • Portugal-Changing Structure of the Economy
  • Portugal-The Middle Class
  • Portugal-Sea Route to India
  • Portugal-The Transition to Civilian Rule
  • Portugal-The Nonfinancial Public Enterprises
  • Portugal-Chapter 3 - The Economy
  • Portugal-Party of the Social Democratic Center
  • Portugal-National Security
  • Portugal-Agricultural Zones
  • Portugal-The Military in the Salazar Era
  • Portugal-Social Revolution
  • Portugal-The Military Takeover of 1974
  • Portugal-Dynastic Crisis
  • Portugal-Chapter 5 - National Security
  • Portugal-Air Force
  • Portugal-Conditions of Service
  • Portugal-Industrial Regions
  • Portugal-National Republican Guard
  • Portugal-Development of Brazil
  • Portugal-Romanization
  • Portugal-Rotativismo
  • Portugal-The Electoral System
  • Portugal-Population Size and Structure
  • Portugal-Colonization of Brazil
  • Portugal-War of the Two Brothers
  • Portugal-Early Inhabitants
  • Portugal-Army
  • Portugal-Employment and Sectoral Composition of the Labor Force
  • Portugal-Development of the Realm
  • Portugal-Defense Expenditures
  • Portugal-Africa
  • Portugal-Muslim Domination
  • Portugal-Portuguese Communist Party
  • Portugal-Germanic Invasions
  • Portugal-Other Parties
  • Portugal-Political and Social Organization
  • Portugal-Control of the Royal Patrimony
  • Portugal-Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians
  • Portugal-Non-Catholic Religious Groups
  • Portugal-Government and Politics
  • Portugal
  • Portugal-Religious Practices
  • Portugal-Introduction
  • Portugal-The Prime Minister
  • Portugal-The Brain Drain
  • Portugal-Society
  • Portugal-Far Left
  • Portugal
  • Portugal
  • Portugal-Roman Catholic Church
  • Portugal-Interest Groups
  • Portugal-Energy and Mineral Resources
  • Portugal-Changes After the Revolution of 1974
  • Portugal
  • Portugal
  • Portugal
  • Portugal-Nationalization
  • Portugal-Revolution of 1820
  • Portugal-Peasants
  • Portugal-Afonso Henriques Becomes King
  • Portugal-Restoration
  • Portugal-The Council of Ministers
  • Portugal-Mozambique
  • Portugal-Absolutism
  • Portugal-SERVICES
  • Portugal-Commerce and Tourism
  • Portugal-The Salazar Regime
  • Portugal-Economy
  • Portugal-Industrial Organization
  • Portugal-Social Democrat Party
  • Portugal-Criminal Law Procedure
  • Portugal-The Role of the Armed Forces in Africa
  • Portugal-Family
  • Portugal-Spínola and Revolution
  • Portugal-The Police System
  • Portugal
  • Portugal-Assertion of Royal Supremacy
  • Portugal-Acknowledgments
  • Portugal-Housing
  • Portugal-The Armed Forces in Political Life after 1975
  • Portugal-Health Care
  • Portugal-Counter-Reformation and Overseas Evangelization
  • Portugal-The General Government
  • Portugal
  • Portugal
  • Portugal-Chapter 1 - Historical Setting
  • Portugal-THE MEDIA
  • Portugal-Peninsular Wars
  • Portugal
  • Portugal-The Social State
  • Portugal
  • Portugal-Consolidation of Democracy
  • Portugal-PORTUGAL
  • Portugal-Settlement and Cultivation
  • Portugal-Moderate vs - Radical Liberals
  • Portugal-Transportation and Communications
  • Portugal-Crops and Livestock
  • Portugal
  • BackgroundFollowing its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of its wealthiest colony of Brazil in 1822. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.
    LocationSouthwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
    Area(sq km)total: 92,090 sq km
    land: 91,470 sq km
    water: 620 sq km
    note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands
    Geographic coordinates39 30 N, 8 00 W
    Land boundaries(km)total: 1,214 km
    border countries: Spain 1,214 km

    Coastline(km)1,793 km

    Climatemaritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m
    Natural resourcesfish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower
    Land use(%)arable land: 17.29%
    permanent crops: 7.84%
    other: 74.87% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)6,500 sq km (2003)
    Total renewable water resources(cu km)73.6 cu km (2005)
    Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 11.09 cu km/yr (10%/12%/78%)
    per capita: 1,056 cu m/yr (1998)
    Natural hazardsAzores subject to severe earthquakes
    Environment - current issuessoil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas
    Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Environmental Modification
    Geography - noteAzores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
    Population10,707,924 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 16.3% (male 912,147/female 834,941)
    15-64 years: 66.1% (male 3,525,717/female 3,554,513)
    65 years and over: 17.6% (male 772,413/female 1,108,193) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 39.4 years
    male: 37.3 years
    female: 41.6 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)0.275% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)10.29 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)10.68 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)3.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 59% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 4.78 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 5.24 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 4.29 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 78.21 years
    male: 74.95 years
    female: 81.69 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.49 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Portuguese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Portuguese
    Ethnic groups(%)homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal

    Religions(%)Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census)
    Languages(%)Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)

    Country nameconventional long form: Portuguese Republic
    conventional short form: Portugal
    local long form: Republica Portuguesa
    local short form: Portugal
    Government typerepublic; parliamentary democracy
    Capitalname: Lisbon
    geographic coordinates: 38 43 N, 9 08 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    Administrative divisions18 districts (distritos, singular - distrito) and 2 autonomous regions* (regioes autonomas, singular - regiao autonoma); Aveiro, Acores (Azores)*, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa (Lisbon), Madeira*, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu
    Constitutionadopted 2 April 1976; subsequently revised
    note: the revisions placed the military under strict civilian control, trimmed the powers of the president, and laid the groundwork for a stable, pluralistic liberal democracy; and they allowed for the privatization of nationalized firms and the government-owned communications media

    Legal systembased on civil law system; the Constitutional Tribunal reviews the constitutionality of legislation; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

    Suffrage18 years of age; universal
    Executive branchchief of state: President Anibal CAVACO SILVA (since 9 March 2006)
    head of government: Prime Minister Jose SOCRATES Carvalho Pinto de Sousa (since 12 March 2005)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
    note: there is also a Council of State that acts as a consultative body to the president
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 22 January 2006 (next to be held in January 2011); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president
    election results: Anibal CAVACO SILVA elected president; percent of vote - Anibal CAVACO SILVA 50.6%, Manuel ALEGRE 20.7%, Mario Alberto Nobre Lopes SOARES 14.3%, Jeronimo DE SOUSA 8.5%, Franciso LOUCA 5.3%
    Legislative branchunicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (230 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held 27 September 2009 (next to be held in fall 2013)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PS 42%, PSD 35%, CDS/PP 9%, BE 7%, CDU 7%; seats by party - PS 97, PSD 81, CDS/PP 21, BE 16, CDU 15

    Judicial branchSupreme Court (Supremo Tribunal de Justica); judges appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura

    Political pressure groups and leadersthe media; labor unions
    International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, CPLP, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club (associate), PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIT, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    Flag descriptiontwo vertical bands of green (hoist side, two-fifths) and red (three-fifths) with the Portuguese coat of arms centered on the dividing line

    Economy - overviewPortugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past two decades, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth had been above the EU average for much of the 1990s, but fell back in 2001-08. GDP per capita stands at roughly two-thirds of the EU-27 average. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The budget deficit surged to an all-time high of 6% of GDP in 2005, but the government reduced the deficit to 2.6% in 2007 - a year ahead of Portugal's targeted schedule. Nonetheless, the government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost the economy, which declined 0.1% in 2008, while keeping the budget deficit within the euro-zone 3%-of-GDP ceiling.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$237.3 billion (2008 est.)
    $237.3 billion (2007 est.)
    $232.9 billion (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$244.6 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)0% (2008 est.)
    1.9% (2007 est.)
    1.4% (2006 est.)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$22,200 (2008 est.)
    $22,300 (2007 est.)
    $22,000 (2006 est.)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 2.8%
    industry: 25%
    services: 72.2% (2008 est.)
    Labor force5.625 million (2008 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 10%
    industry: 30%
    services: 60% (2007 est.)
    Unemployment rate(%)7.6% (2008 est.)
    8% (2007 est.)
    Population below poverty line(%)18% (2006)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 3.1%
    highest 10%: 28.4% (1995 est.)
    Distribution of family income - Gini index38.5 (2007)
    35.6 (1995)
    Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)21.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
    Budgetrevenues: $105.5 billion
    expenditures: $111.9 billion (2008 est.)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)2.6% (2008 est.)
    2.4% (2007 est.)

    Stock of money$NAnote: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 16 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders
    Stock of quasi money$NA
    Stock of domestic credit$491 billion (31 December 2008)
    $412.7 billion (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$NA (31 December 2008)
    $132.3 billion (31 December 2007)
    $104.2 billion (31 December 2006)
    Public debt(% of GDP)66.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
    61.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
    Agriculture - productsgrain, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, grapes; sheep, cattle, goats, swine, poultry, dairy products; fish
    Industriestextiles, clothing, footwear, wood and cork, paper, chemicals, auto-parts manufacturing, base metals, diary products, wine and other foods, porcelain and ceramics, glassware, technology, telecommunications; ship construction and refurbishment; tourism

    Industrial production growth rate(%)-2.2% (2008 est.)

    Current account balance-$29.6 billion (2008 est.)
    -$21.18 billion (2007 est.)
    Exports$56.42 billion (2008 est.)
    $51.81 billion (2007 est.)

    Exports - commodities(%)agricultural products, food products, oil products, chemical products, plastics and rubber, skins and leather, wood and cork, wood pulp and paper, textile materials, clothing, footwear, minerals and mineral products, base metals, machinery and tools, vehicles and other transport material, and optical and precision instruments
    Exports - partners(%)Spain 25.7%, Germany 12.7%, France 11.1%, Angola 5.9%, UK 5.3% (2008)
    Imports$87.83 billion (2008 est.)
    $75.98 billion (2007 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)agricultural products, food products, oil products, chemical products, plastics and rubber, skins and leather, wood and cork, wood pulp and paper, textile materials, clothing, footwear, minerals and mineral products, base metals, machinery and tools, vehicles and other transport material, and optical and precision instruments, computer accessories and parts, semi-conductors and related devices, household goods, passenger cars new and used, and wine products
    Imports - partners(%)Spain 28.9%, Germany 11.6%, France 8%, Italy 4.9%, Netherlands 4.4% (2008)

    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$11.95 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $11.55 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Debt - external$484.7 billion (31 December 2008)
    $483.9 billion (31 December 2007)

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$117.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $114.2 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$69.24 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $69.24 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
    Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)

    Currency (code)euro (EUR)

    Telephones - main lines in use4.121 million (2008)
    Telephones - mobile cellular14.91 million (2008)
    Telephone systemgeneral assessment: Portugal's telephone system has a state-of-the-art network with broadband, high-speed capabilities
    domestic: integrated network of coaxial cables, open-wire, microwave radio relay, and domestic satellite earth stations
    international: country code - 351; a combination of submarine cables provide connectivity to Europe, North and East Africa, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the US; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to Azores (2008)
    Internet country code.pt
    Internet users4.476 million (2008)
    Airports65 (2009)
    Pipelines(km)gas 1,098 km; oil 11 km; refined products 188 km (2008)
    Roadways(km)total: 82,900 km
    paved: 71,294 km (includes 2,300 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 11,606 km (2005)

    Ports and terminalsLeixoes, Lisbon, Setubal, Sines
    Military branchesPortuguese Army (Exercito Portugues), Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa; includes Marine Corps), Portuguese Air Force (Forca Aerea Portuguesa, FAP) (2009)
    Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary military service; compulsory military service ended in 2004; women serve in the armed forces, on naval ships since 1993, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties; reserve obligation to age 35 (2007)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,573,913
    females age 16-49: 2,498,262 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,103,558
    females age 16-49: 2,049,032 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 64,047
    female: 57,630 (2009 est.)
    Military expenditures(% of GDP)2.3% of GDP (2005 est.)
    Disputes - internationalPortugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz

    Electricity - production(kWh)44.47 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 64.5%
    hydro: 31.3%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 4.1% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)48.78 billion kWh (2007 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)1.313 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)10.74 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)7,861 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)291,700 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)53,260 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)351,100 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Economic aid - donorODA, $396 million (2006)

    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)4.754 billion cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.5% (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS34,000 (2007 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 500 (2007 est.)
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 93.3%
    male: 95.5%
    female: 91.3% (2003 est.)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 15 years
    male: 15 years
    female: 16 years (2006)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.5% of GDP (2005)

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