map (opens in new window)


Following its heyday as a world 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 in 1822 of Brazil as a colony. 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.


Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain

Geographic coordinates:

39 30 N, 8 00 W


total: 92,391 sq km
land: 91,951 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands

Land boundaries:

total: 1,214 km
border countries: Spain 1,214 km


1,793 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


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


mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south

Elevation extremes:

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 resources:

fish, 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:

6,500 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

Azores subject to severe earthquakes

Environment - current issues:

soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas

Geography - note:

Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar


10,605,870 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 16.5% (male 915,604/female 839,004)
15-64 years: 66.3% (male 3,484,545/female 3,544,674)
65 years and over: 17.2% (male 751,899/female 1,070,144) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 38.5 years
male: 36.4 years
female: 40.6 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.36% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

10.72 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

10.5 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

3.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.45 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 77.7 years
male: 74.43 years
female: 81.2 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.47 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.4% (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

22,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 1,000 (2003 est.)


noun: 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


Roman Catholic 94%, Protestant (1995)


Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.3%
male: 95.5%
female: 91.3% (2003 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Portuguese Republic
conventional short form: Portugal
local long form: Republica Portuguesa
local short form: Portugal

Government type:

parliamentary democracy



Administrative divisions:

18 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, Madeira*, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu


1143 (Kingdom of Portugal recognized); 5 October 1910 (independent republic proclaimed)

National holiday:

Portugal Day (Day of Portugal), 10 June (1580); note - also called Camoes Day, the day that revered national poet Luis de Camoes (1524-80) died


25 April 1976; revised many times

Legal system:

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


18 years of age; universal

Legislative branch:

unicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (230 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 20 February 2005 (next to be held February 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 45.1%, PSD 28.7%, CDU 7.6%, PP 7.3%, BE 6.4%; seats by party - PS 121, PSD 75, CDU 14, PP 12, BE 8

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal de Justica (judges appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura)

Economy - overview:

Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past decade, 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 past decade, but fell back in 2001-05. GDP per capita stands at two-thirds that of the Big Four EU economies. 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 government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost Portugal's economic competitiveness while keeping the budget deficit within the eurozone's 3%-of-GDP ceiling.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$196.3 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$169 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

0.8% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$18,600 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 5.2%
industry: 28.9%
services: 65.9% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

5.52 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 10%
industry: 30%
services: 60% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate:

7.3% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 28.4% (1995 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

38.5 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.4% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

21.7% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $78.84 billion
expenditures: $90.27 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

69.4% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

grain, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, grapes; sheep, cattle, goats, swine, poultry, dairy products; fish


textiles and footwear; wood pulp, paper, and cork; metals and metalworking; oil refining; chemicals; fish canning; rubber and plastic products; ceramics; electronics and communications equipment; rail transportation equipment; aerospace equipment; ship construction and refurbishment; wine; tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

-0.1% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

44.32 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

44.01 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

3.1 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

5.9 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

3,745 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - consumption:

326,500 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - exports:

28,830 bbl/day (2001)

Oil - imports:

357,300 bbl/day (2001)

Natural gas - consumption:

2.983 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

2.553 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Current account balance:

-$15 billion (2005 est.)


$38.8 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

clothing and footwear, machinery, chemicals, cork and paper products, hides

Exports - partners:

Spain 24.9%, France 14%, Germany 13.4%, UK 9.6%, US 6.1%, Italy 4.3% (2004)


$60.35 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum, textiles, agricultural products

Imports - partners:

Spain 29.3%, Germany 14.3%, France 9.3%, Italy 6.1%, UK 4.6%, Netherlands 4.6% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$11 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$298.7 billion (30 June 2005 est.)

Economic aid - donor:

ODA, $271 million (1995)

Currency (code):

euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

4,238,300 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

10,362,100 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: Portugal's telephone system has achieved a state-of-the-art network with broadband, high-speed capabilities and a main line telephone density of 53%
domestic: integrated network of coaxial cables, open-wire, microwave radio relay, and domestic satellite earth stations
international: country code - 351; 6 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to Azores; note - an earth station for Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region) is planned

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 47, FM 172 (many are repeaters), shortwave 2 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

62 (plus 166 repeaters)
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands (1995)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

845,980 (2005)

Internet users:

6.09 million (2005)


66 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 42
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 10 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 23 (2005)


gas 1,099 km; oil 8 km; refined products 174 km (2004)


total: 2,850 km
broad gauge: 2,576 km 1.668-m gauge (623 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 274 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)


total: 72,600 km
paved: 62,436 km (including 1,700 km of expressways)
unpaved: 10,164 km (2002)


210 km (on Douro River from Porto) (2003)

Merchant marine:

total: 113 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,121,828 GRT/1,475,213 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 14, cargo 28, chemical tanker 15, container 7, liquefied gas 11, passenger 9, passenger/cargo 8, petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 4, vehicle carrier 9
foreign-owned: 87 (Australia 1, Belgium 7, Denmark 7, Germany 17, Greece 4, Italy 10, Japan 9, Lebanon 1, Malta 1, Mexico 1, Netherlands 1, Norway 8, Spain 17, Switzerland 3)
registered in other countries: 19 (Cyprus 1, Malta 4, Marshall Islands 2, Panama 12) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Leixoes, Lisbon, Setubal, Sines

Military branches:

Army, Navy (Marinha Portuguesa; includes Marine Corps), Air Force (Forca Aerea Portuguesa, FAP), National Republican Guard (Guarda Nacional Republicana) (2005)

Disputes - international:

Portugal 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

Illicit drugs:

gateway country for Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market (especially from Brazil); transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Europe; consumer of Southwest Asian heroin