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Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river
Flag of Portugal
Location of Portugal in Europe

Portugal (Portuguese: [puɾtuˈɣal]), officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa [ʁɛˈpuβlikɐ puɾtuˈɣezɐ]), is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain, its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe and the world, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times; the pre-Celtic people, Iberians, Celts, Carthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples. After the Muslim conquests of the Iberian Peninsula, most of the territory was part of Al-Andalus for several centuries. Portugal as a country was established during the early Christian Reconquista. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128; the Kingdom of Portugal was later proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique in 1139, and independence from León was recognised by the Treaty of Zamora 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 period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration, notably under royal patronage of Prince Henry the Navigator and King John II, with such notable voyages as Bartolomeu Dias' sailing beyond the Cape of Good Hope (1488), Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India (1497–98) and the European discovery of Brazil (1500). During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castille, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil (1822), and a late industrialization compared to other European powers, erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence.

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Livros e postais gruta do Escoural (2 de 4).jpg

The Prehistoric Rock-Art Site of Escoural Cave (Portuguese: Estação Arqueológica da Herdade da Sala/Gruta do Escoural) is a structure known for its Paleolithic-era rock-art and funerary burial site, located in the Portuguese municipality of Montemor-o-Novo, in the civil parish of Santiago do Escoural. Read more...

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The trocaz pigeon, Madeira laurel pigeon or long-toed pigeon (Columba trocaz) is a pigeon which is endemic to the island of Madeira. It is a mainly grey bird with a pinkish breast; its silvery neck patch and lack of white wing markings distinguish it from its close relative and probable ancestor, the common wood pigeon, its call is a characteristic six-note cooing, weaker and lower-pitched than that of the wood pigeon. Despite its bulky, long-tailed appearance, this pigeon has a fast, direct flight.

A scarce resident breeder in laurisilva forests, the trocaz pigeon lays one white egg in a flimsy twig nest, its numbers fell sharply after human colonisation of the Madeira archipelago, and it vanished altogether from Porto Santo Island. The major cause of its population decline was habitat loss from forest clearance, but hunting and nest predation by introduced rats were also contributory factors. Protection of the laurel forests and a ban on hunting have enabled numbers to increase, so that the species is no longer endangered. Read more...

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"One who has no dog, hunts with a cat."

Quem não tem cão caça com gato

Portuguese proverb

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The following are images from various Portugal-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Denis Dighton Battle of Orthez.jpg

The Battle of Orthez (27 February 1814) saw the Anglo-Portuguese Army under Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington attack an Imperial French army led by Marshal Nicolas Soult in southern France. The outnumbered French repelled several Allied assaults on their right flank, but their center and left flank were overcome and Soult was compelled to retreat. At first the withdrawal was conducted in good order, but it eventually ended in a scramble for safety and many French soldiers became prisoners; the engagement occurred near the end of the Peninsular War.

In mid-February, Wellington's army broke out of its small area of conquered territory near Bayonne. Moving east, the Allies drove the French back from several river lines. After a pause in the campaign, the western-most Allied corps surrounded and isolated Bayonne. Resuming their eastward drive, the remaining two Allied corps pushed Soult's army back to Orthez where the French marshal offered battle. In subsequent operations, Soult decided to abandon the large western port of Bordeaux and fall back east toward Toulouse; the next action was the Battle of Toulouse. Read more...

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Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira (UK: /ˌvæsk də ˈɡɑːmə/, US: /ˌvɑːsk də ˈɡæmə/, European Portuguese: [ˈvaʃku ðɐ ˈɣɐ̃mɐ]; c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India (1497–1499) was the first to link Europe and Asia by an ocean route, connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and therefore, the West and the Orient.

Da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India was significant and opened the way for an age of global imperialism and for the Portuguese to establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia. Traveling the ocean route allowed the Portuguese to avoid sailing across the highly disputed Mediterranean and traversing the dangerous Arabian Peninsula; the sum of the distances covered in the outward and return voyages made this expedition the longest ocean voyage ever made until then, far longer than a full voyage around the world by way of the Equator. Read more...

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Convento-de-Cristo manuelina.jpg
Window of the Convent of the Order of Christ, in Tomar, a Templar stronghold built by Dom Gualdim Pais, provincial Master of the Order of the Temple in 1160.

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