|Anthem: A Portuguesa|
|Location of Portugal|
|Official language||Portuguese |
|Prime Minister:||José Sócrates|
- % water
92,391 km² (109th)
- Total (2005)
- Total (PPP)
- Total (Nominal)
- Per capita (PPP)
- Per capita (Nominal)
$203,947 million (41st)
$185,091 million (33rd)
|HDI (2003)||0.904 (27th) – high|
| Time zone
- in summer
| WET2, UTC|
The Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa; pron. IPA /Template:IPA/ in European Portuguese and Template:IPA/ in Brazilian Portuguese) is located on the west and southwest parts of the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, and is the westernmost country in continental Europe. Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. In addition, Portugal includes two archipelagos in the Atlantic, Azores (Açores) and Madeira Islands.
Portugal has witnessed a constant flow of different civilizations during the past 3100 years. Iberian, Tartessian, Celtic, Phoenician and Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, Germanic (Suevi and Visigoth) and Moorish cultures have all made an imprint on the country. The naming of Portugal itself reveals most of the country's early history, stemming from the Roman name Portus Cale, a possibly mixed Greek and Latin name meaning "Beautiful Port", or even mixed Celtic and Latin or mixed Phoenician and Latin. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal was a major economic, political, and cultural power, its empire stretching from Brazil to the Indies.
- Main article: History of Portugal
In the early first millennium BC, several waves of Celts invaded Portugal from Central Europe and intermarried with local peoples, the Iberians, forming the Celt-Iberians. Early Greek explorers named the region "Ophiussa" (Greek for "land of serpents") because the natives worshipped serpents. In 238 BC, the Carthaginians occupied the Iberian coasts. In this period several small tribes occupied the territory, the main tribes were the Lusitanians, who lived between the Douro and Tagus rivers, and the Callaeci who lived north of the Douro river among some other tribes. Template:Inote The Conii, influenced by Tartessos, were established in southern Portugal for a long time. The Celtici, a later wave of Celts, settled in Alentejo.
In 219 BC, the first Roman troops invaded the Iberian Peninsula, driving the Carthaginians out in the Punic Wars. The Roman conquest of Portugal started from the south, where they found friendly natives, the Conii. Over decades, the Romans increased their sphere of control. But in 194 BC a rebellion began in the north, the Lusitanians successfully held off the Romans, took back land and ransacked Conistorgis, the Conii capital, because of their alliance with Rome. Viriathus, the Lusitanian leader, drove the Roman forces out. Rome sent numerous legions, but success was only achieved by bribing Lusitanian officials to kill their own leader. During this period, a process of Romanization was carried out, leading Lusitania to gain Latin Right in 73 AD.Template:Inote
An Islamic invasion took place in 711. Many of the ousted nobles took refuge in the unconquered north Asturian highlands. From there they aimed to reconquer their lands from the Moors. In 868, Count Vímara Peres reconquered and governed the region between the Minho and Douro rivers. The county became known as Portucale (i.e. Portugal), due to its most important city, Portucale (today's Porto) and founded a villa with his name - Vimaranes (today's Guimarães) where he chose to live.
While a dependency of the Kingdom of León, Portugal occasionally gained de facto independence during weak Leonese reigns, but it lost its autonomy in 1071 due to one of these attempts, ending the rule of the counts of the House of Vímara Peres. Then 20 years later, Count Henry from Burgundy was appointed Count of Portugal as a payment for military services to León, and with the purpose of expanding the territory southwards. The Portuguese territory included only what is now northern Portugal, with its capital in Guimarães.
Henry died and his son, Afonso Henriques took control of the county. The city of Braga, the Catholic centre of the Iberian Peninsula, faced new competition from other regions. The lords of the cities of Coimbra and Porto, together with the clergy of Braga, demanded the independence of the county.
Portugal traces its emergence as a nation to 24 June 1128, with the Battle of São Mamede by Afonso I. On 5 October 1143 Portugal was formally recognized. Afonso, aided by the Templar Knights, continued to conquer southern lands from the Moors. In 1250 the Portuguese Reconquista ended when it reached the southern coast of Algarve.
In an era of several wars when Portugal and Castile tried to control one another, King Ferdinand was dying with no male heirs. His only child, a single daughter, married King John I of Castile who would therefore be the King of Portugal after Fernando's death. However, the impending loss of independence to Castile was not accepted by the majority of the Portuguese people, which led to the 1383-1385 Crisis. A loyalist faction led by John of Aviz (later John I), with the help of Nuno Álvares Pereira, finally defeated the Castilians in Portugal's most historic battle of Portugal, the Battle of Aljubarrota. The victorious John was then acclaimed as king by the people.
In the meantime, the Black Death reached Portugal.
The Portuguese discoveries
In the following decades, Portugal created the conditions that would make it the pioneer in the exploration of the world, since most of the nobles had supported the King of Castile and with the victory of John I, the nobles either fled or were executed. Hence the Portuguese middle class who had supported and helped the victorious King suddenly rose up in the social ranks of Portugal, creating a new dynamic generation which allowed the discoveries to proceed. On 25 July 1415, the Portuguese Empire began when a Portuguese fleet, with King John I and his sons Duarte, Pedro, Henry the Navigator, and Afonso, along with the Portuguese supreme constable Nuno Álvares Pereira departed to besiege and conquer Ceuta in North Africa, a rich Islamic trade centre. On 21 August the city fell.
In 1418 two captains of Prince Henry the Navigator, were driven by a storm to an island which they called Porto Santo, or Holy Port, in gratitude for their rescue from the shipwreck. Also in early 15th century, Madeira Island and the Azorean islands were discovered. Henry the Navigator's interest in exploration, together with some technological developments in navigation, made Portugal's expansion possible and led to great advances in geographic knowledge. The discoveries were financed by the wealth of the Order of Christ, an order founded by King Denis for the Templar knights, who found refuge in Portugal after being pursued all over Europe. The Templars had their own objective, searching for the legendary Christian Kingdom of Prester John.
In 1434, Gil Eanes rounded Cape Bojador, south of Morocco. The trip marked the beginning of the Portuguese exploration of Africa. Before this voyage very little information was known in Europe about what lay beyond it. At the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries, those who tried to venture there became lost, giving birth to legends of sea monsters. Fourteen years later, on a small island known as Arguim off the coast of Mauritania a castle was built, working as a feitoria (a trading post) for commerce with inland Africa thus, circumventing the Arab caravans that crossed the Sahara. Some time later, the caravels explored the Gulf of Guinea, leading to the discovery of several uninhabited islands and reaching the Congo River.
A remarkable achievement was the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope by Bartholomew Dias in 1487. By then the spices of India were nearby, hence the name of the cape. In the last decade of the 15th century, Pêro de Barcelos and João Fernandes Lavrador explored North America Template:Inote, Pêro da Covilhã reached Ethiopia, searching for the mythical kingdom of Prester John, and Vasco da Gama sailed to India. In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral landed on the Brazilian coast. Ten years later, Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa, in India.
In 1578, the young King Sebastian decided to enlarge Portuguese possessions in northern Africa and, despite having no son and heir to the throne, decided to go into battle personally, where he was slain. Because Philip II of Spain was the son of a Portuguese princess, the Spanish ruler became Philip I of Portugal in 1581. Some men claimed to be King Sebastian between 1584 and 1598, originating the Sebastian myth. Portugal formally maintained its independent law, currency, colonies, and government, under a personal union between Portugal and Spain. New empires had emerged and started to assault the Portuguese Empire. The third Spanish king, Philip III tried to further enforce integration, openly attacking the Portuguese nobility that was not in his favour. In 1 December 1640, the Duke of Bragança, of the Portuguese Royal Family, John IV, was acclaimed after a revolutionary turmoil, and a Restoration War was fought for a few more years.
- Main articles: From the Restoration to the Earthquake, From the Napoleonic Invasion to Civil War and Portugal in the 19th Century
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami, which killed more than a third of the capital's (Lisbon was at that time one of the largest and most important cities of Europe) population and devastated the Algarve as well, had a profound effect on domestic politics and on European philosophical thought. From 1801, the country was occupied during the Napoleonic Wars. The Portuguese Court fled to Brazil. Shortly after, Brazil proclaimed its independence, under the rule of the Portuguese King Pedro IV (Emperor Pedro I of Brazil), who abdicated from the Portuguese Crown and left his daughter D. Maria II as Queen in a liberal regime.
Portuguese 19th Century is marked by the Liberalism. The divisions between king Pedro IV - liberal - and his brother, King Miguel, a conservative who overthrew Queen Maria II, led to the civil war between 1832 and 1834 and the signing of the new constitution in 1836. The political and social evolution in the late 19th century was marked by instability.
In 1910 a republican revolution deposed the Portuguese monarchy starting the First Republic. Political chaos, strikes, harsh relations with the Catholic Church, and considerable economic problems aggravated by a disastrous military intervention in the First World War led to a military coup d'état (28th May 1926 coup d'état), that installed the Second Republic that would become the New State in 1933, led by António de Oliveira Salazar, an authoritarian right-wing dictatorship, which later evolved into a type of single party corporate regime. Later, Portugal became a founding member of NATO and EFTA, as well as OECD. India invaded Portuguese India in 1961. Independence movements also became active in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea, and a series of colonial wars started.
The burden of the many colonial overseas wars and the lack of political and civil freedoms led to the end of the regime Template:Inote after the Carnation Revolution in April 25 of 1974, an effectively bloodless left-wing military coup, that promised to install a new democratic regime. In 1975, Portugal had its first free multi-party elections since 1926 and granted independence to its colonies in Africa.
In 1976 Indonesia invaded and annexed the Portuguese province of Timor in Asia before legal recognition of its independence by Portugal. In 1999, the Asian dependency of Macau, was returned to Chinese sovereignty, a process considered a success by China and Portugal. After a UN sponsored referendum endorsed by Indonesia and Portugal, in 1999, East Timor voted for independence, which materialised in 2002.
Government and politics
- Main article: Politics of Portugal
The four main organs of Portuguese politics are the President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Republic, the Government, and the Courts. The Constitution grants the complete separation between these powers.
The President of the Republic, elected to a 5-year term by universal suffrage is also commander in chief of the armed forces. Presidential powers include appointing the Prime Minister, as advised by the Parliament which elects the Prime Minister, and the Council of Ministers, named by the Prime Minister. Some other major powers include dismissing the Government, dissolving the Parliament, and declaring war or peace. These have several constitutional restrictions, namely the need to consult the presidential advisory body. This is the Council of State, composed of six senior civilian officers, all former presidents elected since 1976, and ten citizens, five chosen by the President and the other five by the Parliament. The most commonly used power is that of approving or vetoing any legislation.
The Parliament, or Assembly of the Republic (Assembleia da República in Portuguese) is a unicameral body composed of 230 deputies. It is elected by universal suffrage, and the seats are allocated using the d'Hondt method in 22 constituencies that elect a number of deputies proportional to the respective population, 18 for each District, 1 for Madeira, 1 for Azores and 2 for the diaspora, on Europe and outside Europe. Deputies serve terms of office of 4 years.
The Assembly of the Republic, along with the government, holds the legislative power and the government support lies upon it. The General Budget and the Program of the Government must be approved by a majority of the deputies, otherwise the government falls. The Assembly may also let the government fall by approving a motion of no confidence. The President of Parliament substitutes for the President of the Republic in the event of his absence.
The Government is headed by the Prime Minister, who names the Council of Ministers.
The Courts have several categories, including judicial, administrative and fiscal. The national Supreme Court is the court of last appeal. A nine-member Constitutional Court reviews the constitutionality of legislation.
The national and regional governments are dominated by two political parties, the PS, a Social Democratic party, that resembles the British Labour or the German SPD, and the PSD, a conservative party, member of the European People's Party, both with similar base politics: pro-European, and focusing on market economy. Other parties with seats in the parliament are the Portuguese Communist Party, the People's Party, the Leftwing Bloc and the Green Party. The Communists and the Greens are coalited as the Unitarian Democratic Coalition. As of 2005, José Sócrates is the prime minister for the Socialists, and the party also has an absolute majority in the parliament with 121 MPs, the Social Democratic Party holds 75 MPs, the Communist Party 12 MPs, the People's Party 12 MPs, the Leftwing Bloc 8 MPs and the Green party 2 MPs.
Portuguese public opinion and media tend to be Europhile. In the EuroBarometer's 2004 Spring survey, 60% of the Portuguese said they trusted the European Union.
Abortion law is restrictive, allowing for legal abortion under some circumstances, such as rape or a life-threatening situation for the mother or the fetus. In a referendum held in 1998 proposing almost free abortion until 12 weeks of gestation, the results were 51% against, 49% in favour. However, the turnout of this election was a scant 31% of the population. A new referendum is promised to be held soon. Possessing small doses of drugs for personal use is not a crime in Portugal, but it can be seen as a cause for civil disorder. Handing out or producing drugs is considered a crime. Gay rights are also upcoming as the sexual orientation is now protected by the Portuguese Constitution following EU's directives, and gay couples can form civil unions.
Foreign relations and military
Foreign relations are essential to Portugal. The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, an alliance dating from 1294, has been retained throughout its history, making it the oldest alliance still in force in the world. This English–Portuguese alliance was renewed in 1386 with the Treaty of Windsor. The treaty established a pact of mutual support between the countries. This alliance was used in the successive expulsion of the Spanish kings and broke England's isolation from continental Europe during Napoleon's era. The alliance is kept through NATO, a military organization in which both countries are founders along with 10 other countries including the United States of America. Beyond the EU, the country has established a community with its former colonies, the CPLP, and today has very close and prosperous relations with all of them, including close relations with Cape Verde and East Timor. It has a friendship alliance and a dual citizenship treaty with Brazil. The new government has also prioritized relations with neighbouring Spain. It also has very good relations with China, due to Macau, a meeting-point of both nations, and century-old diplomatic ties with Morocco.
Portugal considers Olivença (Olivenza in Spanish, administrated by Spain) Portuguese territory de jure, based on agreements of both nations in the Vienna Treaty of 1815 Template:Inote, but there are not strong diplomatic actions to take it back. Yet, this issue has been discussed at the Portuguese Parliament as recently as 2004.
The Portuguese Armed Forces are divided into three branches: Army, Navy, and Air Force. In the 20th century, Portugal engaged in two major military interventions, namely the 1st World War and the colonial wars between 1961 and 1974. Portugal has participated in several peacekeeping missions abroad, namely in East Timor, Bosnia, and Kosovo. During the Durão Barroso government the Armed Forces where fully professionalised and obligatory military service was abolished in 2003.
Portugal has an administrative structure based on 308 municipalities (concelho - singular, concelhos - plural), which are subdivided into more than 4,000 parishes (freguesias, singular - freguesia). Municipalities are grouped for administrative purposes into superior units, the most significant being the classification since 1976, into either mainland (Portugal continental) or insular (Portugal insular) territory. The later enjoy a specific administrative and fiscal framework as Autonomous Regions (regiões autónomas, singular - região autónoma), the Azores and Madeira Islands.
There are five regions (regiões, singular - região) in mainland Portugal, and 28 subregions (subregiões, singular - subregião). This are the modern official territorial units in accordance with the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS), in use today by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística and Eurostat, and officially recognised by the European Union. The regions are:
The districts (distritos, singular - distrito), are obsolescent administrative subdivisions that however remain in use for very many purposes, from electoral circles to public education and health care, welfare and even league sports.
A referendum held in 1997 to institute higher-level regional administrative units but failed to achieve the needed majority. Notwithstanding, larger territorial units have been created by the initiative of groups of municipalities to answer the need for supra-municipal coordination especially in heavily urbanised areas.
There are three types of Urban areas:
- Grandes Áreas Metropolitanas - Greater Metropolitan Areas (more than 350,000 inhabitants)
- Comunidades Urbanas - Urban Communities (more than 150,000 inhabitants)
- Comunidades Intermunicipais - Intermunicipal Communities (less than 150,000 inhabitants)
Ad hoc geographic amalgamations also exist to answer the needs of specific economic sectors (e.g. tourist regions) or branches of the state (e.g. judicial areas), while historical or cultural subdivisions continue to be informally referenced such as the provinces (províncias, singular - província): Alentejo, Algarve, Beira, Douro Litoral, Estremadura, Minho, Ribatejo, and Trás-os-Montes.
Geography and climate
- Main article: Geography of Portugal
Continental Portugal is split in two by its main river, the Tagus (Tejo). To the north the landscape is mountainous in the interior areas with plateaus, cut by four breaking lines that allow the development of relevant agricultural areas. The south between the Tejo and the Algarve (the Alentejo) features mostly rolling plains with a climate somewhat warmer and drier than the cooler and rainier north. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo by mountains, enjoys a Mediterranean climate comparable with Morrocco or Southern Spain, and is the southwesternmost tip of Europe (Sagres). Other major rivers include the Douro, the Minho and the Guadiana, similar to the Tagus in that all originate in Spain. Another important river, the Mondego, originates in the Serra da Estrela (the highest mountains in mainland Portugal - 1,991 m / 6,532 ft).
The islands of the Azores and Madeira are located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, some of the islands have had recent volcanic activity. Originally two islands, São Miguel Island was joined by a volcanic eruption in 1563. The last volcano to erupt was the Vulcão dos Capelinhos (Capelinhos Volcano) in 1957, in the western part of Faial Island, increasing the size of that island. Dom João de Castro Bank is a large submarine volcano that lies midway between the islands of Terceira and São Miguel and rises to 14 metres (46 ft) bellow the sea surface. It last erupted in 1720 and formed an island, and it remained above the water for several years. A new island may be formed in a not so distant future. Portugal's highest point is Mount Pico in Pico Island, an ancient volcano, at 2,351 metres (7,713 ft).
The Portuguese coast is extensive, it has 943 kilometres (586 mi) for continental Portugal, 667 kilometres (414 mi) for the Azores, 250 kilometres (155 mi) for Madeira and the Savage Islands Template:Inote. The coast has fine beaches, the Algarve ones are world famous. In Porto Santo Island, a dune formation appeals to many tourists. An important feature on its coast is the Ria de Aveiro (near Aveiro), a delta 45 kilometres (28 mi) in length and a maximum of 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) in width, rich in fish and sea birds. There are four main channels, between them several islands and islets, and it is where four rivers meet the ocean. A sort of narrow headlands formed a lagoon, seen as one of the most remarkable hydrographic features of the Portuguese coast. Portugal possesses one of the largest exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in Europe, covering 1,727,408 km² (666,956 mi²).
Portugal is one of the warmest European countries. In mainland Portugal, yearly temperature averages are about 13ºC (55°F) in the north and 18ºC (64°F) in the south. Madeira and Azores have a narrower temperature range as expected given their insularity, with the former being wet and rainy, and the later having low precipitation in most of the archipelago. Spring and Summer months are usually sunny and temperature maxima are very high during July and August, with maxima averaging between 30°C and 35°C (86°F - 95°F) in the interior of the country, and occasionally reaching 45°C (113°F) in the south. Autumn and Winter are typically rainy and windy, yet sunny days are not rare either. Temperatures rarely fall below 5°C (41°F) nearer to the sea, averaging 10°C (50°F), but can reach several degrees below 0°C (32°F) further inland. Snow is common in the mountainous areas of the north, especially in Serra da Estrela. Portugal's climate can be classified, depending on the location as Mediterranean (particulary the the Algarve and Alentejo, though technicaly on Atlantic shore), Oceanic (most of the north-west coast) or simply Temperate.
Flora and fauna
- Main article: Conservation areas of Portugal
Human activity, diversity of climate, and geographical diversity have shaped the Portuguese Flora. There are almost 2,800 autochthonous species. Template:Inote For economic reasons, pine trees (especially the Pinus pinaster and Pinus pinea species), the chestnut tree and the eucalyptus are very widespread.
The Peneda-Gerês National Park (mostly known as Gerês) is located in the extreme north-west of Portugal. The park has a wide variety of oaken and mixed forests, groves, peat bogs, and diverse bushes, including autochthonous and rare species. It is one of the last Iberian harbours of wolves, garranos, golden eagles and honey buzzards amongst many others. The Natural parks of Serra da Estrela, with its broad valleys and turf soils and the Arrábida with its Mediterranean character and the sand varieties of its beaches unveil the ecological variety of Portugal.
The Tapada Nacional de Mafra is conspicuous, due to its rich flora and fauna. The Tapada was created in the reign of King John V for royal delight, in an area of 8 square kilometres with deer, wild boars, foxes, birds of prey and several other species. Today, the Tapada is classified as an area of national hunting (Zona de Caça Nacional).
A large part of Portugal is covered by forest. Every year, during the hot and dry Summer months, large areas of forest are destroyed by fires, many of which (an estimated 40% in 2004) caused by arson. In 2005 this problem was aggravated by a severe drought affecting Mainland Portugal. In the year to September 2005, three quarters of Mainland Portugal saw less than half the normal rainfall, and the remaining quarter less than 60%.
- Main article: Economy of Portugal
Portugal is a market economy, its per capita output stands at 76% of EU-15 average.
Portuguese GDP grew by 1% in real terms in 2004. It was expected to grow 1.8% by the (IMF) in 2005. Overall, the country's recovery is gradual, although the financial sector has remained strong.
In the second quarter of 2005, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.2%, still lower than the EU average but converging(this was the first decrease since 2001). A new Labour Law published in December 2003 increased the flexibility of working arrangements, although it has yet to prove its role in decreasing unemployment, especially among the youngest and the oldest of working-age population. The current administration is committed to expand market liberalization, privatization, and deregulation of the economy and simplifying the admistrative burden on companies. It is also committed to promote investment in research and information technologies to improve productivity and competitiveness.
Industrialization boomed in the 1950s with Salazar's regime, leading to an average of 6% annual growth of the GDP between 1959 and 1963, 7% between 1965 and 1967, after dropping to 5.2% in 1964. Due to international crisis, the growth largely stopped. Since 1985, the country started its modernization in a very stable environment (1985 - to the present day) and it joined the European Economic Community in 1986. Template:Inote Successive governments have implemented various reforms and privatised many state-controlled firms and liberalised key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. Portugal developed an increasingly service-based economy and it was one of the eleven founding countries of the Euro in 1999, with very restrictive criteria, and began circulating the new currency on January 1, 2002 along with twelve other EU members.
A considerable part of continental Portugal is dedicated to agriculture, although it does not represent most of the economy. Template:Inote The south has developed an extensive monoculture of cereals and olive trees and the Douro Valley in vineyards. Olive trees (4,000 km²), vineyards (3,750 km²), wheat (3,000 km²) and maize (2,680 km²) are produced in vast areas. Portuguese wine and olive oil are especially praised by nationals for their quality, thus external competition (even at much lower prices) has had little effect on consumer demand, a situation that does not occur with other products. Portugal is a traditional wine grower, and has exported its wines since the dawn of western civilization; Port Wine and Vinho Verde (Green Wine) are the leading exporters. Portugal is also a quality producer of fruits, namely the Algarve oranges and Oeste region's Pera Rocha (a type of pear). Other exports are horticulture, floriculture, beet sugar, sunflower oil, and tobacco.
Natural resources such as copses cover about 34% of the country, namely pine trees (13,500 km²), cork oak (6,800 km²), holm oak (5,340 km²), and eucalyptus (2,430 km²). The large-scale growing of eucalyptus for the paper and woodchip industries has been controversial, as eucalyptus trees have very deep roots, and lead to a lowering of the water table. This has been a contributory factor in the high rate of arson, as failing farmers vent their frustrations. Cork is a major export, Portugal produces half of the world's cork.Template:Inote Significant mining resources are tungsten, tin, and uranium. Template:Inote
The major industries are the textile, footwear, leather, furniture, ceramics (highlighting the international popularity of Vista Alegre), and cork. Modern industries have developed significantly, including: oil refineries, petrochemistry, cement production, automotive and ship industries, electrical and electronics industries, machinery and paper industries. Template:Inote Portugal has an ambitious and well-planned complex of petrochemical industries in Sines where the biggest oil refinery of the Iberian peninsula will be built. Automotive and other mechanical industries are located in Setúbal, Porto, Aveiro, Braga, Santarém, and Azambuja.
Portugal's balance of trade is negative. It buys mostly in the European Union from: Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. It also sells most of its products within the union to: Germany, Spain, and France mostly.
Portugal is trying to develop a cultural and rustic tourism, rather than only beach tourism, in order to attract more affluent tourists often concerned in getting to know the real Portugal. The interior of the nation has a decreasing population, but exceptional touristic potential. The Algarve, with its different beaches has been the primary attraction for decades, but it has suffered from mass tourism, and the authorities have been working to recover the 1960's Algarve, namely recovering the coast and demolishing illegal urbanizations. Mass tourism has caused some ecological damage in the Algarve, for example water shortages. The Lisbon area has recently become a very popular destination, mostly due to the city of Lisbon urban historical attractions, but also due to Sintra's fabled palaces and castles located in very romantic and exotic scenery. The island territories of Madeira and the Azores have also a growing potential.
Transportation and communications
Transportation was seen as a priority in the 1990s, pushed by the growing use of automobiles and industrialization. The country has a 68,732 km network of highways. Almost 2,000 km is the total length of 44 freeways that connect most of the country. Template:Inote
Seaports are important due to Portugal's large coastline, and its strategic position in Europe and in the Atlantic ocean. The main seaports are Lisbon in the centre, Leixões (Porto) in the North, Setúbal and Sines in the south, Funchal and Ponta Delgada in the Atlantic. The most important airports are those of Lisbon, Faro and Porto, these last two had extensive development recently. There are also important airports in the islands, such has the intercontinental airport of Madeira (Funchal, Madeira Island), Porto Santo (Porto Santo Island), and Ponta Delgada (Azores).Template:Inote
The two principal metropolitan areas have subway systems: Lisbon Metro and Porto Metro, both with more than 35 km of commercial lines. Both systems are linked by sharing stations with High-speed Pendolino trains, known as Alfa Pendular, that link both cities. The South Tagus Metro system is in construction and will connect the urban areas south of Lisbon. Another metro system for Coimbra is intended.
The Pendolino lines (Alfa pendular) of Comboios de Portugal (CP) links Braga, Porto, Coimbra, Lisbon and Faro, linking the country in a vertical way. Intercity and regional trains link these cities with many other cities throughout the country. Construction of a high-speed TGV line connecting Porto and Lisbon, and Lisbon with Madrid will begin in 2008. The line between Porto and Lisbon will have five station (Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Leiria, Ota New Airport and Lisbon), but the trains in rarely stop in the intermediary stations. The New Airport for Lisbon will be built at the same time in Ota.
In the technology area, Portugal has one of the highest mobile phone possession rates in the world. There have been more mobile phone subscribers than main line subscribers for several years now. Nowadays, there are more than 11 million mobile subscribers. Third generation mobile phones, UMTS, have been largely commercialized by operators since early 2004. The main telecom company is Portugal Telecom (PT), a telecommunications multinational, it dominates some markets, among them the national one. In the mobile section, the market is split between three operators: TMN (PT group), Vodafone, and Optimus (SONAE group), but competition is growing with the appearance of two promising national upstarts: Rede 4 and Uzo.
Strangely, while having such a high mobile phone rate, Portugal has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the EU. More than 8% (4th quarter, 2004) of the population use high-speed internet services, almost twice as much as the previous year. 41% of households in Portugal had a computer in the first quarter of 2004, only 26% of the population had Internet; an additional 4% also used it. 78% of companies with more than 10 employees had Internet access. Competition between the major broadband Internet providers of the PT and Clix groups has recently caused large increases in the available bandwidth provided to home users (from 512 kbit/s and 1 Mbit/s to 2 and 4 Mbit/s), speeds go up to 16 Mbit/s in Clix (SONAE group) lines and 8 Mbit/s in other companies, most notably PT Group cable and ADSL companies, where a 20Mbit/s service is expected to be launched in late 2005, to compete with the much lower-priced services of Clix, although PT group is the leader of the market. Main television broadcasters are the state-run RTP1 and A2: and the privately owned SIC and TVI. Most Portuguese see television through cable (by June 2004: 73.6% of households), where the major broadcasters have thematic channels. The main cable company TV Cabo (PT group) is trying to shift all of its customer's services to digital after an unsuccessful experience with Interactive TV.
- Main article: Demographics of Portugal
|Population of Portugal (INE, Lisbon)|
Portugal is a fairly homogeneous country linguistically and religiously. Ethnically, the Portuguese people are a combination of several ethnicities: pre-Roman Iberian and Celtic tribes with Romans and Germanic tribes. Moors became a reduced influence, as essentialy they were expelled during the Reconquista. Jews comprised 10% of the population in the 16th Century until they were forced to move abroad or convert to Catholicism.
Portugal's biggest metropolitan cities are Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Aveiro, and Coimbra.
The first census in Portugal dates from 1864. But, in the 16th century, John III called for a population count in continental Portugal and between 1527 and 1532 there was a population of 1 to 1.4 million. In 1801, there were 2,913,000 inhabitants.
Between 1960 and 1970, more than one million Portuguese emigrated, mostly to other European countries, resulting in a negative population growth. Previously, Brazil has been the destination of many, especially since the 18th century. Since mid 1970s major changes started to influence the country's demographics as life expectancy went up; the infant mortality rate and the fertility rate broadly declined; and, with the decolonisation, many Portuguese returned from Africa.
In the 2001 Census, Portugal had 10,356,117 inhabitants (51,7% female). Currently, there are almost 10.6 million inhabitants. By the end of 2003, legal immigrants represented 4.2% of the population, and the largest communities were: Ukrainians (15%), Brazilians (14.8%), Cape Verdeans (14.4%), and Angolans (7.9%). There are also a significant number of illegal immigrants. Portugal still has 5 million emigrants abroad (mainly France and South Africa with one million each, and the rest spread among Venezuela, the Unites States, Canada, Germany, Luxembourg and other countries).
The great majority of the Portuguese population is a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Religious minorities include a little over 300,000 Protestants. There are also about 50,000 Muslims and 10,000 Hindus (most of whom came from Goa, a former Portuguese colony on the west coast of India). There are also about 1,000 Jews. Atheists and agnostics are increasing in number. Esoterism is also practised by small minorities as well the oriental philosophies as a modern trend.
The country is characterized by city, town or village cultural differentiation and there is small or no regional differentiation, unlike what happens in other European countries. Portuguese is spoken throughout the country, some of Terra de Miranda's Mirandese speaking villages and towns being the only linguistic minority. There are now increasing new immigrants from portuguese speaking countries which speak several different languages, especially from Cape Verde islands. Communities from Eastern europe are coming to Portugal, from Ukraine, Moldova and Romania.
- Main article: Education in Portugal
Portugal's education system is divided into Pré-Escolar (children less than 6 years old), Ensino Básico (three phases in a total of 9 years), Ensino Secundário (three years, several areas) and Ensino Superior (Universities and Colleges grouped into Polytechnic Institutes). Education is free and compulsory for 9 years of study. A newly undertaken scheme will make education compulsory until the student becomes an adult (18 years old). The country still has a 6.7% illiteracy rate, almost exclusively among the elderly.
The first Portuguese university – The Estudo Geral (General studies, Today's University of Coimbra) - was created on March 1st, 1290 in Lisbon with the document Scientiae thesaurus mirabilis by King Denis. The university was transferred to Coimbra in 1308, though the university moved several times between the two cities until 1537. In 1559, the University of Évora was founded in Portugal by Cardinal Henry, future king of Portugal and Pope Paul IV and it was delivered to the Society of Jesus. In the 18th century, Sebastião de Melo, Marquis of Pombal closed the University of Évora, because he wanted to exterminate the Jesuit power in Portugal and in its empire. He also reformed the University of Coimbra, as it was divorced from the true exact sciences. The 19th century - the industrialization era - created the need for new education institutions in the country, the "industrial studies". In 1837, the Escola Politécnica (Polytechnic School) in Lisbon and the Academia Politécnica opens. The rhetorical behaviour of these new institutions led the Prime-Minister of the Kingdom Fontes Pereira de Melo in 1852 to create the Instituto Industrial de Lisboa (Institute of Industry, today's IST and ISEL) in Lisbon and the Escola Industral (School of Industry, today's ISEP) in Porto. In 1825, the Lisbon Royal School of Surgery and Porto Royal School of Surgery had also opened.
With the advent of the republic, the polytechnic and surgery schools were incorporated as faculties into the newly created University of Lisbon and the University of Porto. The Lisbon Institute of Industry led to the creation of IST (the Institute of Technology) which was grouped with other colleges in the Technical University of Lisbon in the 1930s. In the 1960s the first non-governmental institution opened, the Portuguese Catholic University.
The 1970s marked a new era in Portugal's higher education with many universities and polytechnics opening in many cities, such as the University of Aveiro and the University of Minho in the universitary subsector, and the Lisbon Polytechnic and Porto Polytechnic in the polytechnic subsector. Subsequently, several private universities opened.
- Main article: Culture of Portugal
|Samples of Portuguese music:|
Portugal is an ancient nation and for more than 1000 years it has maintained its specific culture through a self-governing venture while being influenced by the various civilizations that crossed the Mediterranean world. Thus, it has always absorbed habits and traditions from such early civilizations and from the regions that it discovered and conquered throughout the world during the Portuguese empire, establishing a specific legacy.
An explicit instance of this absorption and adaptation of previous culture is seen in the countless festivals to pagan local and Roman deities which were transformed into festivals to Christian saints; only some pagan festivals have changed little over 2,000 years, due the religious passion of the Middle Ages and the inquisition.
Portuguese music is represented by a wide variety of forms. The most renowned Portuguese music is Fado, a form of melancholic music. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese guitar and the Portuguese word saudade. Although without an accurate equivalent in English, saudade is describable as a common human feeling; it occurs when one is in love with someone or something yet apart from him, her, or it. The style conveys a distinct mixture of sadness, pain, nostalgia, happiness and love. Fado origins are probably from a mixture of African slave rhythms with traditional music of Portuguese sailors, with Arabic influence. There are two varieties of Fado; that of Lisbon and that of Coimbra. Lisbon Fado was primarily of popular origins, often performed by women, while Coimbra's had a more literate vein and was often performed by men; both are nowadays seen as ethnic music appreciated abroad. Some of its most internationally notable performers are Amália Rodrigues, Mariza, Ana Moura, Mísia, Dulce Pontes, Madredeus, and Cristina Branco.
Currently, mainstream music in Portugal is in a rural and urban duality where the Portuguese pop-rock and hip hop tuga (a mixture of hip-hop, African music and Reggae, primarily performed by African-Portuguese) are popular with the younger and urban population, while pimba (a simple and cheery variety of folk music) and folklore are more popular in the rural areas.
Portuguese literature is one of the earliest western literatures, and it developed as the 13th century arrived, through texts and songs. And until 1350, the Portuguese-Galician troubadours spread their literary influence to most of the Iberian PeninsulaTemplate:Inote.
The adventurer and poet Luís de Camões (c.1524 - 1580) wrote the epic The Lusiads, a work that he developed in his journeys in Africa and Asia. However, he was shipwrecked in Vietnam, and he saved himself and his work by floating on a board. Modern Portuguese poetry, since the 19th century, is essentially rooted in a handful of relevant poets, ranging from neo-classicism to contemporary styles. One such famous poet is Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935), who wrote poetry in the voice, style and manner of many fictional poets under a large number of heteronyms. Modern literature also became internationally known, mostly through the works of Almeida Garrett, Alexandre Herculano, Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queirós, Ferreira de Castro, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, Herberto Helder, António Lobo Antunes and the 1998 Nobel Prize for literature winner, José Saramago.
Portuguese traditional architecture is distinct precisely due to the variety of influences it features, with several examples throughout the world, some of which are classified as world heritage sites. Modern Portugal has one of the best architecture schools in the world, known as "Escola do Porto" or School of Porto, renowned by the names of Souto Moura and Alvaro Siza.
Portuguese cuisine is particularly diverse; various recipes of rice, potatoes, bread, meat, sea-food, and fish are the staple foods in the country. The Portuguese have a reputation for loving cod dishes (bacalhau in Portuguese), for which it is said that there are 365 ways of cooking it: Pastéis de Bacalhau, Bacalhau à Brás and Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá are some of the most popular ones. The art of pastry, having its origins in old and rich conventual pastry recipes, is very popular across the entire country. Desserts and cakes, such as Lisbon's Pastéis de Nata (best eaten with a strong coffee), Aveiro's Ovos-Moles, and many other, are very appreciated. Portugal has its own adaptation of fast-food; one of the most popular is Porto's Francesinha. Other recipes include the Feijoada, made with pieces of meat, sausages and beans served with white and dry rice and the Cozido à Portuguesa, made with various kinds of meat, rice, potatoes and other vegetables, all boiled.
Portuguese wines have been exported since Roman times. The Romans associated Portugal with Bacchus, their God of Winery and Feast. Today the country is known by wine lovers, and its wines had won several international prizes. Many famous Portuguese wines are known as some of the world's best: Vinho Verde, Vinho Alvarinho, Vinho do Douro, Vinho do Alentejo, Vinho do Dão, Vinho da Bairrada and the sweet: Port Wine, Madeira wine and the Moscatels of Setúbal and Favaios (Douro). Porto Wine is widely exported, followed by Vinho Verde. Exports of Vinho Verde are increasing rapidly, in response to the growing international demand.
Sports and games
Football is the most popular and practised sport in Portugal. As of November 2004, the country was ranked 8th of 205 countries by FIFA. The legendary Eusébio is still a symbol of Portuguese football. Luís Figo is one of the world's top players, Rui Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo are also noteworthy and Vitor Baia is the player in history with most titles won, including all european club cups. The main domestic football competition is the Superliga where the dominating teams are SL Benfica, FC Porto and Sporting CP. Many other professional and well organized sport competitions take place every season in Portugal, including roller hockey, basketball, futsal, handball, volleyball, and rugby championships. Cycling and athletics competitions are also popular. Portugal is also very well represented in other sports, such as rink hockey, being the country with most world titles. Golf is also worth mentioning, since its greatest players play in the sunny region of the Algarve during the "Algarve Open". The Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva in the Estoril, near Lisbon, is the main Portuguese race track where many motorsport competitions are held, including the World Motorcycling Championship and A1 Grand Prix. Rallying (with the Rally of Portugal and Rally Madeira) and off-road (with the Baja Portugal 1000) events also have international recognition.
The country has an ancient martial art known as "Jogo do Pau" (Portuguese Stick Fencing), used for self-protection and for duels between young men in disputes over young women. Having its origin in the Middle Ages, Jogo do Pau uses wooden staves as a combat weapon. Other sports are the "Jogos Populares", a wide variety of traditional sports played for fun.
Festivals and holidays
Festivals play a major role in Portugal's summers. Even though they have religious connotations, most of these celebrations are, in fact, anything but religious. Every city and town has its own festivals. The June Festivities are very popular, these festivities are dedicated to three saints known as Santos Populares (Popular saints) and take place all over Portugal. Why the populace associated the saints with these pagan festivities is not known. The practice is possibly related to Roman or local deities before Christianity spread in the region. The three saints are Saint Anthony, Saint John and Saint Peter. A common denominator in these festivities are the wine and água-pé (a watered kind of wine), traditional bread along with sardines, marriages, traditional street dances, fire, fireworks and joy.
Saint Anthony is celebrated on 13rd, mainly in Lisbon and Saint John on 24th, especially in Porto and Braga, where the sardines, Caldo Verde (traditional soup) and plastic hammers to hammer on other peoples' heads for luck are indispensable. The final Saint is Saint Peter, celebrated on the nights of 28th and 29th, especially in Póvoa de Varzim and Barcelos, festivities are similar to the others, but mostly dedicated to the sea and extensive use of fire (fogueiras). In Póvoa de Varzim, there is the Rusgas in the night, another sort of street carnival. Each festivity is a municipal holiday in the cities and towns where it occurs.
Carnival is also widely celebrated in Portugal, some traditional carnivals date back several centuries. Loulé, Alcobaça, Mealhada and above all Ovar hold several days of festivities, with parades where social and political criticism abound, music, dancing in an environment of euphorya. On January 6, Epiphany is celebrated by some families, especially in the North, where the family gathers to eat "Bolo-Rei" (King Cake); this is also the time for the traditional street songs - "As Janeiras" (The January ones). Saint Martin Day, is celebrated on November 11. This day is the peak of three days, often with very good weather, it is known as Verão de São Martinho ("Saint Martin summer"), the Portuguese celebrate it with jerupiga (a sweet liqueur wine) and roasted Portuguese chestnuts (castanhas assadas), and it is called Magusto.
- National Holidays
|January 1||Ano Novo||New Year's Day. Beginning of the year, marks the traditional end of "holiday season."|
|Tuesday, date varies||Carnaval||Carnival. (Also called Mardi Gras). Not an "official" holiday, but declared by the government as a non-working day. Very ancient festival celebrating the end of the winter. It gained Christian connotations, and now marks the first day of a period of 40 days before Easter Week (Semana Santa, Holy Week), thus also known as Entrudo.|
|Friday, date varies||Sexta-Feira Santa||Good Friday.|
|Sunday, date varies||Páscoa||Easter. Used for family gathering to eat Pão-de-Ló (an Easter cake) and Easter eggs. In the North, a sort of church members processions (compasso) visits and blesses every home with an open door, thus meaning they are catholics. Traditionally, this is the second visit of children and non-married youngsters to their godparents, receiving an Easter gift. The first visit is on Palm Sunday, 7 days before, where children give flowers and palms to their godparents.|
|April 25||Dia da Liberdade||Literally, "Freedom Day". Celebrates the Carnation Revolution, marking the end of the dictatorial regime. Event of 1974.|
|May 1||Dia do Trabalhador||Labour Day.|
|Thursday, date varies||Corpo de Deus||Corpus Christi. Christian feast celebrating the Eucharist.|
|June 10||Dia de Portugal||Portugal Day. Marks the date of Camões death. Camões wrote The Lusiad, Portugal's national epic. Event of 1580|
|August 15||Assunção||Assumption of Mary.|
|October 5||Implantação da República||Implantation of the Republic, or Republic Day. Event of 1910.|
|November 1||Todos os Santos||All Saints Day. Day used for visiting deceased relatives.|
|December 1||Restauração da Independência||Restoration of Independence. Event of 1640.|
|December 8||Imaculada Conceição||Immaculate Conception. Patron Saint of Portugal since 1646.|
|December 25||Natal||Christmas Day. Celebrated in the 24th to the 25th as a family gathering to eat codfish with potatoes; seasonal sweets and dry fruits; drink Port wine; and share gifts.|
- ^ Portuguese has been the official language of Portugal since 1296, replacing Classical Latin, the official language since independence. Portuguese descends from Vulgar Latin. In Portugal, the local Vulgar Latin was known as Vulgar Language before it was renamed Portuguese. Mirandese, a related Romance language, is officially recognized in the municipality of Miranda do Douro, and spoken in the villages of the municipality.
- Ribeiro, Ângelo & Saraiva, José Hermano História de Portugal I - A Formação do Território QuidNovi, 2004 (ISBN 9895541066)
- Ribeiro, Ângelo & Saraiva, José Hermano História de Portugal II - A Afirmação do País QuidNovi, 2004 (ISBN 9895541074)
- de Macedo, Newton & Saraiva, José Hermano História de Portugal III - A Epopeia dos Descobrimentos QuidNovi, 2004 (ISBN 9895541082)
- de Macedo, Newton & Saraiva, José Hermano História de Portugal IV - Glória e Declínio do Império QuidNovi, 2004 (ISBN 9895541090)
- Ribeiro, Ângelo & Saraiva, José Hermano História de Portugal V - A Restauração da Indepêndencia QuidNovi, 2004 (ISBN 9895541104)
- Saraiva, José Hermano História de Portugal X - A Terceira República QuidNovi, 2004 (ISBN 9895541155)
- Loução, Paulo Alexandre: Portugal, Terra de Mistérios Ésquilo, 2000 (third edition; ISBN 9728605048)
- Muñoz, Mauricio Pasto: Viriato, A Luta pela Liberdade Ésquilo, 2003 (third edition; ISBN 9728605234)
- Grande Enciclopédia Universal Durclub, 2004
- Constituição da República Portuguesa, VI Revisão Constitucional, 2004
- Programa do Movimento das Forças Armadas, 1974
- A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine: Globalization Index 2005, ranked 22 out of 62 countries
- IMD International: World Competitiveness Yearbook 2005, ranked 45 out of 60 economies (countries and regions)
- Reporters without borders: Third annual worldwide press freedom index (2004), ranked 25 out of 167 countries
- The Wall Street Journal: 2005 Index of Economic Freedom, ranked 37 out of 155 countries
- The Economist: The World in 2005 - Worldwide quality-of-life index, 2005, ranked 19 out of 111 countries
- Transparency International: Corruption Perceptions Index 2004, ranked 27 out of 146 countries
- United Nations Development Programme: Human Development Index 2004, ranked 26 out of 177 countries
- World Economic Forum: Global Competitiveness Report 2004-2005 - Growth Competitiveness Index Ranking, ranked 24 out of 104 countries
- World Heritage Sites
- Cultural landscape of Sintra - an influential 19th century European royal resort, with its exotic palaces and vegetation.
- Douro Wine Region - a 2,000 year old wine producing region and the oldest demarked wine region in the world, producer of Port wine and Douro wine.
- Historic Centre of Angra do Heroísmo Associated with the 15th century discoveries and trade.
- Historic Centre of Évora (in Portuguese) - founded as a municipality in 59 B.C. by Caesar Augustus it preserves many urban characteristics from all its history and it influenced the Portuguese architecture in Brazil.
- Historic Centre of Porto A preserved 1,000 year old urban area with several monuments.
- Historic Centre of Guimarães (in Portuguese) - The Cradle of Portugal in the 12th century with its historic monuments symbols of Portuguese nationality.
- Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture - an unique and beautiful vineyard landscape practised in a vulcanic island with its huge extinct vulcano.
- Laurisilva Forest of Madeira (in Portuguese) - the largest surviving relict of a previously widespread laurel forest type.
- Monastery of Alcobaça - Founded in the 12th century by the first king of Portugal. It is a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art.
- Monastery of Batalha - an highly original Monastery built to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese over the Castilians at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385.
- Monastery of Heronymites (Jerónimos) and Tower of Belém - Reminders of the Portuguese discoveries, these building are the Portuguese art at its best.
- Pre-Historic Rock Art Sites at the Côa Valley - The most outstanding example of early human art in this form in the world. From 22,000 to 10,000 B.C.
- Portuguese State
- Assembleia da República - Official parliamentary site
- Portal do Governo - Main governmental portal
- Presidência da República - Official presidential site
- 25th of April 1974 - Revolution Historic Documents
- Contemporary Portuguese Political History Research Centre - History and politics
- Colonial Voyage Dutch Portuguese Colonial History in Asia
- Portuguese Newspapers
- Sex Trade & AIDS in Portugal - Report
- Portugal Portal - Information about Portugal and moving there (UK)
- Folclore de Portugal - Portuguese folklore
- Gulbenkian Foundation - Lisbon
- Portuguese Wines
- Serralves Foundation - Porto
- Portuguese Stick Combat - Martial Art
- The Art of Azulejo in Portugal
- Science and Technology
- ABIC - young researchers national association, graduate level up to pos-doc
- AJC - The Portuguese Youth Science Association, mainly undergraduate level
- Centro de Astrofísica - Centre for Astrophysics, University of Oporto.
- FCT - Portuguese Science Funding Agency
- GRICES - The Portuguese Office for International Relations in Science and Higher Education
- IGC - Science and technology funding agency, government-independent and non-profit
- Institutions - A Web page of science and technology institutions, schools, universities, state laboratories, and polytechnic institutes
- Large Dams in Portugal
- Ministry for Science and Higher Education of Portugal
- Science Academy - Academy of Sciences of Lisbon
- Welcome to Portugal - All about Portugal
- Portugal Online - Travel help for North Americans
- ICN - Conservation areas of Portugal
- Images of Portugal
- IPPAR - Monuments of Portugal
- Pictures and travelogue from a backpacker's trip to Portugal
- Portugalia - Photos from Portugal
- Monumentos - Portuguese monuments
- Interactive Map of Portugal - from itmaps.com
- Tapada de Mafra - Tapada (Nature and Hunting)
- Travel guide and directory Everything about travelling to Portugal
- Visit Portugal - Portugal's official travel and tourism website
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