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Portugal

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Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa), is a country in southwestern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. Being the westernmost country of mainland Europe, Portugal is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.

The land within the borders of today's Portuguese Republic has been constantly settled since prehistoric times. Some of the earliest civilizations include Celtic societies, followed by incorporation into the Roman Republic dominions in the 2nd century BC, and subsequently into Germanic Kingdoms, such as the Suebi and the Visigoths, from the 5th to the 8th century. The Moors occupied most of the Iberian Peninsula from the early 8th century when they first arrived and conquered the Christian Kingdoms of Germanic background. After the starting of the Reconquista, in the early 1100s Portugal appeared as a kingdom independent of its Christian neighbours, Castile and Leon. In little over a century Portugal had nearly established its modern-day borders by conquering territory from the Muslim Moors.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, with its global empire which included possessions in Africa, Asia and South America, Portugal was one of the world's major economic, political, and cultural powers. In the 19th century, armed conflict with French and Spanish invading forces on the mainland, and the loss of its largest territorial possession abroad, Brazil, which declared independence unilaterally, disrupted political stability and potential economic growth. After the Carnation Revolution's coup d'état in 1974, its regimen was deposed in Lisbon and the country lost its last overseas provinces in Africa.

Portugal is a developed country, and although having one of the lowest GDP per capita of Western European countries, it has a high Human Development Index and one of the highest quality of life ratings in the world. It is a member of the European Union (since 1986) and the United Nations (since 1955); as well as a founding member of OECD, NATO, CPLP (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa — Community of Portuguese Language Countries), and the European Union's Eurozone.

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Adapted from the Wikipedia article, "Portugal" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal, used under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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