Portugal Country Guide
The Republic of Portugal, which gets it's name from Porto, one of Portugal's largest cities, is located on the western most edge of continental Europe. Its exact location is the south-western portion of the Iberian Peninsula and it has a total area of 35,645 sq mi. Portugal shares borders to the North and East with Spain and has the Atlantic Ocean as its Southern and Western borders. Portugal's capital is Lisbon, the largest city in the country. Portugal has a total population of 10,578,776 and is know as one of the most peaceful nations in the world. Portugal is a diverse country with a favourable climate, many industries and an interesting population.
The Portuguese climate is considered to be Mediterranean, or a Steppe climate, and it is one of the warmest European countries. In the summer, when tourists flock to the country, the weather is generally sunny and dry with clear skies. Travellers to the country can expect the ideal summer like travel conditions from July to September. Summer temperatures range from 18 to 28 degrees C depending on the location within Portugal. Late autumn and winter are generally cool and rainy weather is the norm. Portugal is also very breezy during autumn and winter. Winter temperatures in the country range from 5 to 10 degrees C. Most of Portugal's rainfall happens during the winter months as well. The areas of Madeira and Azores tend to be the rainiest locations in the country. Snow occurs in the mountains of the north, particularly in Serra da Estrela, making it a prime location for winter tourists interested in skiing.
Portugal has many industries that help to support its economy. Some of the natural industries that Portugal is known for are textiles, wood pulp, paper and fish canning. Other more commercial industries in the country are oil refining, rubber and plastic production and electronics equipment. One industry in Portugal that is currently booming is tourism. People from all over the world travel to the country to take advantage of the low prices, the beautiful white sand beaches and the excellent ski conditions that are available.
The Portuguese people are considered to be an Iberian ethnic group. This ancestry is shared by many other Mediterranean people as well. The ancestry of the Portuguese people is in fact very similar to that of their neighbours,the Spanish. The predominate religion in Portugal is Catholicism, with 90 percent of the population falling in to this group. The main language of Portugal is Portuguese. The language that is now called Portuguese is thought to have originated in Spain and what is now the northern part of Portugal. Portuguese's root language is believed to be Latin, which was spoken by the people who originally inhabited the Iberian Peninsula. Mirandese is also recognized as an official language in parts of Portugal, but the majority of people in Portugal speak only Portuguese.
Portugal is a vibrant country with many booming industries and an exciting and diverse history.