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Portugal

Country Name

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic.

Location

Portugal is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern Europe.

It is 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.

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Capital 

Lisbon.

Reason For Naming the country

The word Portugal derives from the Roman-Celtic place name Portus Cale; a city where present-day Vila Nova de Gaia now stands, at the mouth of the River Douro in the north of what is now Portugal. The name of the city is from the Latin word for port or harbor, portus, but the second element of Portus Cale is less clear. The mainstream explanation for the name is that it is an ethnonym derived from the Castro people, also known as the Callaeci, Gallaeci, or Gallaecia, who occupied the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula.

 The names Cale and Callaici are the origin of today's Gaia and Galicia.

Flag

The flag of Portugal was adopted on 30 June 1911.

The flag consists of  two main colors green and red.

A vertical strip of green is located on the hoist, while a larger horizontal strip of red is located on the fly of the flag.

The flag also features the country’s national coat of arms, which includes the colors gold, white, red, black, and blue.

The green color represents hope,

the red color represents the blood that was shed while defending the nation,

the red and green stripes have had political ties in the past.

The Portuguese coat of arms features an armillary sphere that represents

the tool used by Portuguese sailors during the Age of Discoveries.

The Portuguese shield is also part of the coat of arms, and it has been

incorporated in every flag design of this nation throughout history.

The small blue shields represent the five wounds of Christ, while the seven castles represent Portugal’s victory over enemies under Afonso III in the 1200s.

The Portuguese flag has two nicknames. Bandeira Cerde-Rubra means “Green-Red Flag” in English, while Bandeira das Quinas translates to “Flag of the Five Escutcheons.”

Anyone that shows a lack of respect toward the national flag will receive a prison sentence of up to 12 months.

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Religion

Portugal has no state or official religion, but the most predominant religion in the country is Christianity, 81% of the population consider themselves as Roman Catholic Christians.

The country has small Protestant, Latter-day Saint, Muslim (the majority are Sunnis),  Hindu, Sikh, Eastern Orthodox Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baháʼí, Buddhist, Jewish  and Spiritist communities.

Influences from African Traditional Religion and Chinese Traditional Religion are also felt among many people, particularly in fields related with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional African Herbal Medicine.

Some 6.8% of the population declared themselves to be non-religious, and 8.3% did not give any answer about their religion.

Language 

Portuguese is the official language of Portugal. It is a Romance language that is derived from Galician-Portuguese. Portuguese is used in all spheres of life in the country, from writing to most of the communication in business and daily interactions. 

Portuguese is used in several other countries, which have had contact with Portugal over the years,  In Portugal, the language has ten unique dialects.

Other Popular Languages Spoken in Portugal, English, Spanish, French, Mirandese, and Portuguese Sign Language.

English is the second most widely spoken language in Portugal. While the language has almost no native speakers within the country, English has grown to become a major language in tourist areas such as Lisbon. The language is also taught in schools as a second language and is slowly gaining popularity among youth.

Spanish is spoken by about 10% of the population. Being a Romance language, Spanish has a close similarity to Portuguese, making it easy for a Portuguese speaker to understand a Spanish speaker. The use of French in Portugal has declined over the years, with most of the population preferring English over the French language, Currently, French is mostly spoken by elderly segments of the population.

Mirandese is spoken by a small population (about 15,000), both as a first and second language. 

Currency

Euro (€) (EUR)

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Time Zone

Portugal has 2 time zones 

+01:00 GMT.  (Summer Time)

+00:00 GMT. (Azores Summer Time)

+00:00 GMT.

-01:00 GMT. (Azores Time)

Government Regime

Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic.

Climate

The climate of Portugal is temperate and influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. In the north, the climate is cool and rainy, while moving south it becomes gradually warmer and sunnier.

In summer, it's usually sunny everywhere, however, a few weather fronts can still affect the northern part of the country, and it's mild or even cool on the northern coast, and warm in the center and south. In Porto, the daily average temperatures in July are 20 °C (68 °F), with highs around 24/25 °C (75/77 °F). In Lisbon, the average in summer is higher, and reaches 23.5 °C (74.5 °F) in August, with highs around 28 °C (82 °F).

In Winter, from December to February, is mild on the coast, even in the northern part, since the average temperature in January is around 9 °C (48 °F) in Porto, 11 °C (52 °F) in Lisbon, and 12 °C (53.5 °F) in Faro. In winter, there are periods of good weather and waves of bad weather, with rain and wind. Sometimes, gale force winds may blow from the ocean, especially in the north.


The position of the country, overlooking the ocean, provides good shelter from cold winds and night frosts, which, in fact, are very rare and not intense: the coldest records along the coast are around -1/-2 °C (28/30 °F), However, in the coastal areas most exposed to ocean winds, it is cool even in summer. The heat is more intense in the interior, especially in the south-central, in the plains and in valleys at low altitudes, where sometimes it can be scorching.

The best months to visit the cities of Portugal are May, June and September, since in July and August, it can sometimes be hot. However, given that in the north, hot days are rare even in mid-summer, you can visit this area from June to September.
 

International Phone Code

+351

Internet Code

.pt

Some Facts about Portugal

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