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Presentation of Portugal

Portugal (Figure No. 3), officially the Portuguese Republic, is located on the south west of Europe. The territory is located in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula and islands in the North Atlantic. The total country area is 92,090 km2; bordered on the north and east by Spain and on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean. It comprises a mainland and two autonomous regions: the Azores and Madeira. Geographically it is the westernmost country of Europe. The name derives from its second largest city, Porto, which in Celtic Latin was Portus Cale.

The territory within the current boundaries of the Portuguese Republic has been inhabited since prehistoric times, occupied by Celts, Phoenicians, Barbarian peoples and more especially, by the Romans, who had great influence in history, including the first records of wine production in the Portuguese territory dating back to 137 BC.

The history of Portugal, from its origin, is linked to battles between Muslims and Christians for the conquest of the Portuguese geographical territory.

With the Treaty of Alcañices in 1297, the first borders of the state or nation of Portugal were set, thus considering it the oldest state or nation in Europe. However, the most glorious time of Portugal dates from the fifteenth to the seventeenth with the period of the Discoveries. Through heavenly guidance several territories not yet under European influences were discovered. Portugal was therefore creating a strong presence in five world continents, becoming one of the two major world powers of these centuries. The empire established by the Portuguese was at this time the world's largest empire in history and also the longest European colonial empire, which began with the conquest of Ceuta in 1415, and recently completed with the passage of the sovereign territory of Macau to China in 1999.

During its political history, Portugal has gone through periods of Monarchy, Dictatorship and Republic, and lived several periods of economic, political and social instability that dictated the loss of its major world economic power status.

Today Portugal is a country with a high Human Development Index (HDI); it is considered the 43rd country with the best quality of life (Source: Human Development Index developed by the UN); it presents a health system ranked as one of the world's best and it is known to be a friendly and peaceful nation (Source: Vision of Humanity: Global Peace Index — 2013 (2013), visited on July 25, 2013). It is a member of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (where it shares the Euro currency and the Schengen area), a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), member founder of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) and member of the International Vine and Wine (OIV).

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