Go to the Digital Library top page!


Click here for main menu

Cultures > Portugal

:: 1143 AD - PRESENT

Cultural Background | Surviving | Living in Community | Finding Meaning in the Cosmos

Cultural Background

Portugal has always been a seafaring country. The Portuguese have historically been great navigators, using their location on the Atlantic to become the first European country with extensive overseas colonies. Fishing has at times been a large industry.

Since its independence, Portugal has been a Christian country. The church and the state were unified early in its history. Portuguese colonization in the 1500s often went together with Christian missionary activity abroad, while the Portuguese at home expelled Jews and Muslims and participated in the Inquisition.

Among notable Portuguese exports are canned fish, Port wine, and cork; the Portuguese cork forests produce most of the cork used in wine bottles. Other notable crops include grains and olives.

Time Period: 1143 AD - present. Portugal's independence was recognized in 1143 AD.

Location: Portugal is in southwestern Europe. It is bordered by Spain on the east and north and by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and south. The Azores and Madeira Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, are also part of the country.

Geography: Portugal has an average annual temperature of 16°C (61°F). To the north the country is cool and rainy and full of mountains. The southern area is warmer and drier and has rolling plains. There are many rivers throughout Portugal that help support agriculture in the area. The Portuguese grow olives, grains, and even citrus fruit along the coast.

1 of 4 next »

Learn more about Portugal at Portugal - A Country Study a Library of Congress Web site.

Need help searching?
Search help

Search eCUIP:

Examples: or
Contact eCUIP!

Need help?

Return to the eCUIP top page!