General Information

Geographic Location

Portugal, officially The Portuguese Republic, is a country in southern Europe, founded in 1143, occupying a total area of 92 212 square km. The mainland is located in the extreme southwest part of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering at North and East with Spain, and at West and South with the Atlantic Ocean. The Portuguese territory also includes two autonomous regions: the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores, in the Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago of Madeira is formed by the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas and Selvagens, and Azores consists of nine islands and several islets: Santa Maria, São Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Pico, Faial, Flores and Corvo.

Climate

The Portuguese climate is characterized by mild winters and pleasant summers, varying, however, from region to region. In the North precipitation is higher and temperatures are lower, but it is in the interior where the widest temperature range can be found.
To the south of the Tagus, the largest Portuguese river, one can feel the Mediterranean influence, with hot and long summers and short winters with little rainfall. Madeira has a Mediterranean climate with mild and pleasant temperatures all year round, while Azores has a temperate maritime climate with abundant rainfall.

Population

Portugal is a country with 10.6 million inhabitants (2011) and a population density of 115,4 inhabitants/km2, with evident higher population concentration along the coastal strip.

Main cities

Lisbon - is the capital city since the thirteenth century and the largest city with about 500.000 inhabitants / 3 million in the greater Lisbon area;
Porto - is the second largest city, whose Latin name was Portus Cale and gave rise to the name of the country. The city has about 240.000 inhabitants /1.5 million in the greater Porto area;
Guimarães - the birthplace of the Nation;
Aveiro - the Portuguese "Venice";
Coimbra - the city of the oldest university in the country that is also one of the oldest in Europe;
Faro - the capital of the most southern region of Portugal, the Algarve;
Funchal - the main city of Madeira;
Ponta Delgada - the administrative capital of the Azores

National Symbols

National Flag

Following the creation of the Republic, a decree of the National Constituent Assembly dated 19 June 1911 approved a new national flag, which replaced the previous one.

The national flag is vertically divided into two colours - dark green and red - with the green on the hoist or flagstaff side. In the centre, superimposed on the colour boundary, is the national coat of arms rimmed in white, over the armillary sphere in yellow and highlighted in black.

The length of the flag is one-and-a-half times the height of the hoist. Two fifths of the total length is green, and the remaining three fifths is red. The emblem occupies half the height and is placed equidistant from the upper and lower borders.

The Commission said that in its view, the white represents "a beautiful fraternal colour, into which all the others merge, a colour of simplicity and sincerity, harmony and peace", and on it, "dotted with thequinas(five symbolic shields) (...), are waged the first hard battles for Portuguese nationality (...). Then it is the same white colour which, highlighted with enthusiasm and faith by the red cross of Christ, marks the epic cycle of our maritime discoveries".

The red in the flag "must be there as one of the fundamental colours, because it is the combative, hot, virile colourpar excellence. It is the colour of conquest and laughter. A singing, ardent, joyful colour (...). It reminds us of blood and incites us to victory".

The explanation for the green - for which there was no historical tradition in Portugal - was that during the preparations for the revolt of 31 January 1891, the colour green appeared at the "decisive moment at which, under the inflamed reverberation of the revolutionary flag, the Portuguese people caused the redeeming flash of dawn to burst forth".

The armillary sphere, which had already been adopted as the personal emblem of King Manuel I and since then had always been present among the emblems of the nation, enshrines the "epic Portuguese maritime poetic adventure (...), that culminating, essential deed of our collective life".

Above the armillary sphere, the Commission felt that it was appropriate to place the white inescutcheon with the fivequinas, symbolising the "human miracle of positive bravery, tenacity, diplomacy and daring that managed to weave the first links in the social and political affirmation of Portuguese nationality".

Finally, the Commission was of the view that "the white shield with thequinasshould be surrounded by a wide crimson bordure bearing seven castles", inasmuch as the latter are one of the "most energetic" symbols of our "integrity and national independence".

National Anthem: A Portuguesa

Heróis do mar, nobre povo,

Nação valente, imortal,

Levantai hoje de novo

O esplendor de Portugal!

Entre as brumas da memória,

Ó Pátria, sente-se a voz

Dos teus egrégios avós,

Que há-de guiar-te à vitória!

Às armas, às armas!

Sobre a terra, sobre o mar,

Às armas, às armas!

Pela Pátria lutar

Contra os canhões marchar, marchar!

Fonte: Página de internet do Governo Português

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