Portugal's History

The Romans arrived in Iberia in the 2nd Century BC and what is now Portugal formed part of their Hispania province. Rome's Fall brought the warlike Germanic tribe, the Vandals, which plunged Portugal into the Dark Ages. The light returned with the Moors whose Islamic rule of Portugal lasted from the 8th Century until 1249 when the current borders of Portugal were largely settled. In the 15th Century Portugal began its Golden Age with its adventure loving seafarers setting off to discover the world, bringing back fabulous riches in the form of spices and exotic luxury goods. Starting in 1415 Portugal became enthusiastic colonizers, establishing themselves at strategic trading spots across Africa, Asia and South America. Portugal and Spain were united from 1580-1640. In 1807 Napoleon attempted an invasion of Portugal which was ultimately repulsed. Portugal ditched the monarchy in 1910 and following a Socialist revolution in 1974 lost most of its colonies.

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One million Portuguese from their colonies returned in the late 1970’s and the sleepy nation at the edge of Europe joined the mainstream with their admission to the European Union in 1986. They adopted the Euro in 2002 and the mainly agricultural economy benefited greatly from EU grants. Tourism is one of Portugal's main industry’s with its Algarve coastline a particular favourite for sun-deprived north Europeans in search of a cheap holiday. The cuisine, wine, sandy beaches and friendly good natured Portuguese attract visitors who also enjoy the rich and proud history of this sundrenched country. Portuguese speaking Brazil provides a rich cultural addition, especially to Portugal’s TV programming.

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