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Portugal

The name derives from the Roman designation "Portus Cale" meaning "Port of Cale"; Cale was an ancient Celtic town and port in present-day northern Portugal.

Year:  2017

Area: 92,090 sq. km.

Population: 10,833,816 -- 83rd in World

Flag: Two vertical bands of green and red with the national coat of arms (armillary sphere and Portuguese shield) centered on the dividing line. Explanations for the color meanings are ambiguous, but a popular interpretation has green symbolizing hope and red the blood of those defending the nation.

Portugal is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe. To the west and south it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and to the east and north by Spain. The Portugal-Spain border is 754 miles long and considered the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. The republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

The territory of modern Portugal has been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. The pre-Celts, Celts, Carthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigothic and the Suebi Germanic peoples. Portugal itself was born in the historical context and aftermath of the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Precipitated by the seminal event for its foundation, the Battle of São Mamede where Portuguese forces led by Afonso Henriques defeated forces led by his mother Teresa of Portugal and her lover Fernão Peres de Trava, which established the nation's sovereignty against rival neighbor kingdoms. Following São Mamede, the future king styled himself Prince of Portugal. He would be proclaimed King of Portugal in the Battle of Ourique in 1139 and was recognized as such by neighboring kingdoms in 1143.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. During this time, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration in the Age of Discovery, primarily under the royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King João II, with such notable discoveries as Bartolomeu Dias's reach of the Cape of Good Hope (1488), Vasco da Gama's sea route to India (1497–98) and the discovery of Brazil (1500). Portugal monopolized the spice trade during this time, and the Portuguese Empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. But the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil (1822), and the Liberal Wars (1828–34) all left Portugal crippled from war and diminished in its world power.

After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, later being superseded by the Estado Novo right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories. The handover of Macau to China in 1999 marked the end of the longest-lived colonial empire. Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe and a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today.

Portugal is a developed country with an advanced economy and a high living standard. It is the fifth most peaceful country in the world, maintaining a unitary semi-presidential republican form of government. It has the eighteenth highest Social Progress ranking in the world, putting it ahead of other Western European countries like France, Spain and Italy. A founding member of NATO and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is also a member of numerous other international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, and the OECD.

Portugal is a pioneer when it comes to drug decriminalization, as the nation decriminalized the possession of all drugs for personal use in 2001.

LGBT rights in Portugal have improved substantially in the past two decades and are now among the best in the world. Moreover, after years of investment and cooperation, Portugal marked a climax on renewable energy worldwide in 2016, when it was powered for 107 consecutive hours exclusively by wind, sun, and water, which advocates say further shows fossil fuels are indeed replaceable.

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