Though Portugal may be small, its history is far from dull
With just over 10 million inhabitants, Portugal occupies just a rectangle by the sea, a mere 92,090 square kilometers at the westernmost point of Europe. But its size in no way corresponds to the size of its value. Be it the historical, cultural, gastronomic or at a landscape level, Portugal's historical worth cannot be said small.
Portugal is one of the most ancient nations in Europe, being more than eight centuries old. Having been successively subject to invasions of different people, it accumulated influences over time, which have shaped the country we know today.
Human presence in the territory of Portugal dates back to the Palaeolithic era, but the history of Portugal as a nation didn't start until 1140 A.D., when Dom Afonso Henriques proclaimed himself as king of Portugal. However, only on May 23, 1179 did the Pope Alexander III issue Manifestis Probatum, which officially recognized his reign.
Portugal reached its prime in the 15th century, by setting sail en route to new and unexplored countries. This expansion began with the colonization of Ceuta in 1415, following then to the west coast of Africa, Madeira and the Azores, Canary Islands, Cabo Verde, Hong Kong, Beijing and Timor. Thus, at that time, Portugal was acclaimed as one of the major potencies of Europe, due to its vast colonial and maritime empire.
After the unprecedented glory and expansion period, Portugal suffered a setback. In 1580 it was annexed to the Spanish crown. It only came to recover its independence on December 1st, 1640, when supporters of John IV made the coup d'etat at the royal palace in Lisbon and began the 4th Portuguese Dynasty, the Bragança.
During the Napoleonic Invasions, in 1807, the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil and settled in Rio de Janeiro, which later became the capital of the Portuguese Empire. John VI only returned to Lisbon in 1821 to accept the Liberal Constitution adopted by the court. Only then did the Portuguese monarchy become constitutional.
On 5th October 1910 the monarchy fell in Portugal, with the exile of the royal family, and the Portuguese Republic was proclaimed , also known as Parliamentary Republic. This new political system lasted until the 28th May 1926, when a coup d'etat led to a military dictatorship, which later culminated in the New State.
In the 1960s, under the dictatorship of Salazar, some families suffered a major economic probation, which sparked the migratory movements to France and Germany that took place at the time. This dictatorial regime finally sank on 25 April 1974 when the Carnation Revolution led the country to a democracy.
In 1986, Portugal joined the European Union (formerly the European Economic Community - EEC) , and in 2002 it adopted the (€) Euro as its official currency.
Currently, Portugal is experiencing a stable economic and social situation. Being the 5th safest country in the world and with enviable geographic and atmospheric conditions, it is a paradise on earth for those who want a friendly and fruitful atmosphere to visit or even to stay in.