Portugal - Introduction
1. Geographic and Climate
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, which is the continental Europe's westernmost capital city. The republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira.
The northern landscape of Portugal is mountainous region, mixed oceanic climate along the northern half of the coastline. There are many fishing villages and tourist resorts in the central coastal area. The hills are on the southern part with Mediterranean climate. Annual average rainfall of Portugal in the mainland varies from 800 - 1000 mm. Portugal has around 2500 to 3200 hours of sunshine a year, an average of 4–6 h in winter and 10–12 h in the summer, with higher values in the south-east and lower in the north-west. The sea surface temperature on the west coast of mainland Portugal varies from 13–15 °C (55.4–59.0 °F) in winter to 18–22 °C (64.4–71.6 °F) in the summer while on the south coast it ranges from 15 °C (59.0 °F) in winter and rises in the summer to about 23°C occasionally reaching 26 °C.
2. Political and Legal Systems
Portugal is a representative democratic republic which has a multi-party system. The mainland Portugal is divided into 18 districts and two Portuguese autonomous regions. The Constitution grants the division or separation of powers among four bodies referred as "organs of Sovereignty": the President of the Republic, the Government, the Assembly of the Republic and the Courts. The Head of State of Portugal is the President of the Republic, elected to a five-year term by direct, universal suffrage. The Portuguese legal system is part of the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system.
3. Economy and Diplomacy
Portugal is a modern industrialized and agricultural developed country, which ranked 46th in the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report for 2016–2017. Agriculture in Portugal is based on small to medium-sized family-owned dispersed units and the most renowned is citrus planting in agriculture aspect. Portugal has had a strong tradition in the Portuguese fishing sector and is one of the countries with the highest fish consumption per capita. Meanwhile, Portugal is a significant European minerals producer on metal refining, chemical and petroleum in industrial aspect, which ranked among Europe's leading copper producers. Portugal also has considerable resources of wind and river power, the two most cost-effective renewable sources.
A member state of the United Nations since 1955, Portugal is also a founding member of NATO, OECD and EFTA; it left the last in 1986 to join the European Economic Community, which became the European Union in 1993. In 1996 it co-founded the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), which seeks to foster closer economic and cultural ties between the world's Lusophone nations.
4. Culture and Transportation
Portugal, as a country with a long history, is home to several ancient architectural structures, as well as typical art, furniture and literary collections mirroring and chronicling the events that shaped the country and its peoples. It has a large number of cultural landmarks ranging from museums to ancient church buildings to medieval castles, which testify its rich national cultural heritage. Portugal is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 8th in Europe and 17th in the world.
The Portuguese currency is the euro (€), and the country was one of the original member states of the Eurozone. Portuguese is the official language of Portugal and has a high proficiency level in English. According to the 2011 Census, 81.0% of the Portuguese population is Roman Catholic.
The public educational system is divided into preschool (for those under age 6), basic education (9 years, compulsory in three stages, ages between 6 -15), secondary education (3 years, ages between 16 -18), and higher education. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, the average Portuguese 15-year-old student, when rated in terms of reading literacy, mathematics and science knowledge, is placed significantly above the OECD's average. The oldest Portuguese university was first established existed since 1290 in Lisbon before moving to Coimbra, as well as the one of the oldest University in Europe.
Health in Portugal is characterized by the existence of a high quality healthcare system (ranked as the 9th best in Europe and 12th in the World), which ahead of high developed countries like the United Kingdom, Germany or Sweden, allowing the country to achieve good rankings in several health indices.