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Country Fast Facts: Portugal


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Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a colony.

In 1910, a revolution deposed the Portuguese monarchy, but chaos continued and considerable economic problems were aggravated by the military intervention in the First World War, which led to a military coup d'état in 1926.

This in turn led to the establishment of a right-wing dictatorship by António de Oliveira Salazar.

In December 1961, the Portuguese army was involved in armed action in its colony of Portuguese India against an Indian invasion.

The operations resulted in the defeat of the isolated and relatively small Portuguese defense force which was not able to resist a much larger enemy.

The outcome was the loss of the Portuguese territories in the Indian subcontinent.

In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms.

The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.

Source: CIA World Fact Book

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