Geography of Portugal

Geography of Portugal

General information about Portugal

The official name is the Portuguese Republic (Republica Portuguesa, Republic of Portugal). It is located in the southwest of Europe, in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as on the islands of Madeira and Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. Area 92.1 thousand km2, incl. 3.1 thousand km2 falls on the islands. Population 10.2 million people. (2002). The official language is Portuguese. The capital is Lisbon (2.5 million people with suburbs, 2001). National holiday – Day of Portugal on June 10. The monetary unit is the euro (since 2002, before that, the escudo).

Member of the UN (since 1955), EU (since 1986), NATO (since 1949), IMF (since 1988), OECD (since 1960), UNCTAD, etc.

Geography of Portugal

According to ALLCITYCODES, Portugal is located between 42°9′ and 36°58′ north latitude and 6°11′ and 9°30′ west longitude. It borders with Spain in the north and east, in the west and south it is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The shores are low, sandy, slightly indented, there are bays and estuaries near the mouths of the Tagus (Tajo) and Sadou rivers. The length of the coastline is 1793 km. The Azores, belonging to Portugal, are located in the central part of the Atlantic Ocean. These include 9 islands and several coral reefs with a total area of 2.3 thousand km2. Madeira Island is located 700 km off the northwest coast of Africa and is adjacent to a number of small islands of volcanic origin. The area of the archipelago is 0.8 thousand km2.

The landscape of Portugal is characterized by the predominance of plateau-like uplands and low mountain ranges. The southwestern spurs of the Cantabrian mountains enter the north of the country. The highest point of the continental part of the country is Mount Estrel (Azor) – 1991 m. The height of Mount Pigu in the Azores is 2284 m. Smoothed plains are characteristic of the south of the country. Lowlands occupy only a narrow edge of the coast. Most of the rivers belong to Portugal only in their lower reaches, so they have double names (Portuguese and Spanish). In the north of the country – the main river Douro (Duero), at the mouth of which is the second most important city of Porto. The river crosses the country in the center. Tagus (Tajo), in the lower reaches of which Lisbon is located. In the southeast, along the border with Spain, the 3rd major river Guadiana flows. These rivers are navigable only in their lower reaches.

In the north of Portugal, podzolic soils predominate, in the southern part – red soils. On the territory of the country, mainly evergreen Mediterranean vegetation is distributed, in the north it is combined with vegetation of the Central European type. In the mountains there are chestnuts, oaks, bushes of macavis and garaga, heather and gorse. Forests have been destroyed for a long time, after planting they account for more than 1/3 of the country’s territory. Almost half of the forests consist of maritime pine plantations, there are eucalyptus trees. Evergreen holm and cork oaks grow in the center and south (1st place in the world in terms of area of cork oak plantations). Of the cultivated vegetation, an important place is given to vineyards, olive and citrus plantations. The fauna of the Mediterranean type with a wide distribution of species characteristic of Central Europe (wolf, fox, marten), combined with representatives of the North African fauna (genet, Algerian hedgehog, Spanish hare). Lots of birds, lizards and snakes, rodents and bats. Coastal waters are rich in fish (sardine, anchovy, etc.).

The bowels of Portugal are rich in minerals, among them deposits of tungsten, cuprous pyrites, uranium, tin, and iron ore stand out. In terms of uranium reserves (16 thousand tons), the country ranks third in Western Europe.

Most parts of Portugal have a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The average January temperature in most of the country does not fall below +10°C. The average summer temperature is +20-24°C. Only in the mountainous regions of the north, east and center there are sometimes frosts and snow falls. Precipitation in the south – from 400 to 800 mm, in the mountains – from 1200 to 2500 mm. The Azores and Madeira have a mild subtropical climate with uniform rainfall throughout the year.

Population of Portugal

The average population density is 116 people. per 1 km2. Outside the country lives approx. 2.2 million Portuguese (mainly in France, USA, Brazil, Canada). Average annual population growth in the 1990s was 0.3%, in 2002 – 0.18%. Birth rate – 11.5‰, mortality – 10.21‰, infant mortality – 5.84 people. per 1000 newborns (2002). The average life expectancy is 76.14 years, incl. women – 79.87 years, men – 72.65 (2002). There are 93 men per 100 women, at birth the sex ratio is 1.07, for 65 years and older – 0.68. Age structure: 0-14 years old 16.9% of the population, 15-64 years old 67.3%, 65 years and older 15.8% (2002). Average retirement age: 60 for women, 65 for men. The literacy rate is 87.4% of the adult population (1999). The economically active population is 5.252 million people, of which 3.6 million are employed.

99.7% of the population are Portuguese, in addition to them, 15 thousand Spaniards, 10 thousand Brazilians, and others live in the country.

The church is separated from the state. The dominant religion is Catholicism (94% of believers), the rest are Protestants, Evangelicals, Muslims, etc.

Geography of Portugal