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