A Report On Portugal

Physical Geography

Portugal is divided by the Tagus river, which separates the rugged north from the rolling plains in the south. In the north, the landscape is an extension of the mountains of the Iberian Peninsula – forested and intersected by deep valleys.

Between the Douro and the Tagus rivers is the highest peak on the mainland, Serra da Estrela (6,539 feet/1,993 metres). Portugal’s highest point is Pico Alto (7,713 feet/2,351 metres) on Pico Island in the Azores.

South of the Tagus river, the landscape is characterized by wide plains, planted with mostly Mediterranean species including cork oaks, figs, olive trees and vineyards.

Many of Portugal’s rivers originate in Spain and flow into the Atlantic Ocean, including the Minho, Douro, Tagus and Guadiana rivers, creating a rich hydrographic network.

The islands of Madeira and the Azores are also part of Portuguese territory. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, both archipelagos have volcanic origins and are abundant with natural beauty and indigenous species.

Important People

Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) is Portugal's most renown navigator, explorer and adventurer.

Born in Sines in 1460 (although 1469 is an alternative date) little is known of Vasco da Gama's early life. He may have studied in Evora before he was sent by the monarchy to Setubal and the Algarve to intercept French shipping raiding the Portuguese coast.

The end of the 15th century was the beginning of the "Age of Discoveries" with a number of European powers searching for a nautical route to India and its riches via the Atlantic. Vasco da Gama, as a successful sea captain after his victories against French privateers, was commissioned by King Manuel I to set sail from Lisbon with a tiny flotilla of four ships to explore the route to India via the Cape of Good Hope, which had first been sailed by Bartolomeu Dias.

After a series of adventures after venturing into waters off the east coast of Africa never previously visited by Europeans, Vasco da Gama employed the services of a local pilot and reached the western coast of southern India in 1498, where he attempted to reach an agreement to trade with the local Indian rulers.

Leaving for home in 1498, da Gama endured a hazardous return voyage back to Lisbon losing half his crew and three of his ships en route.

In 1502 Vasco da Gama returned to the waters off the Indian coast with a larger fleet of 20 vessels, plundering Arab shipping in the area and murdering their crews and passengers en route. He returned to Portugal a hero and was endowed with new titles and land after he successfully negotiated a trade treaty with the rulers of the Malabar Coast.

By the time of Vasco da Gama's third and last voyage to India in 1524, the Portuguese had set up small trading stations and proto-colonies in Goa and on the Cochin coast of western India. This was to be da Gama's last voyage, as the great adventurer contracted malaria and died of the disease in Kochi in India in 1524.

The Monastery of the Hieronymites in Belém, just west of Lisbon was built in honor of da Gama and his men. The voyages of Vasco da Gama lead the way for the Portuguese colonization of eastern Africa and his legacy can be viewed as mixed; a hero in Portugal and a ruthless privateer to the people of southern Africa and Mozambique.

- See more at: http://www.portugalvisitor.com/portugal-culture/famous-portuguese/vasco-da-gama#sthash.VBkZis1l.dpuf

Eusebio

Eusebio became Portugal's first world-famous footballer in the 1960s and early 1970s. Playing for Benfica of Lisbon and the Portuguese national team, Eusebio rose to the status of a Portuguese national icon and did much to inspire the later sporting careers of Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Eusebio da Silva Ferreira was born in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) Mozambique (then a Portuguese colony) in 1942. Nicknamed the "Black Pearl" or the "Black Panther", Eusebio spent the majority of his playing career with Benfica and is still the club's all-time leading scorer with a remarkable 317 goals in 301 appearances from 1960-1975.

Eusebio was named European Footballer of the Year in 1965 and was top scorer at the 1966 World Cup in England with nine goals.

Eusebio signed for Benfica as an 18-year-old striker and burst into the limelight with two goals in the European Cup final of 1962 against Real Madrid.

After a glittering 15-year career with Benfica, Eusebio played out his career with the lower division SC Beira-Mar and União de Tomar and with various teams in the North American Soccer League (NASL) and a short stint in Mexico with CF Monterrey.

Eusebio played for the Boston Minutemen (1975), Toronto Metros-Croatia (1976) and Las Vegas Quicksilver (1977) during his time in NASL, before injuries forced him to quit.

During his long career, Eusebio scored over 1,000 goals including 41 goals in 64 matches for the Portuguese national team. Eusebio remains a hugely respected figure in Portuguese football and is remembered not just as a great footballer but also as a great sportsman.

Eusebio died in January, 2014, aged 71.

- See more at: http://www.portugalvisitor.com/portugal-culture/famous-portuguese/eusebio#sthash.QAFaJ2OI.dpuf

3 Major Cities In Portugal

Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. The city was built during the 18th century and since then it has been the major city of the country. The most populated and happening Portugal city is located on the south-western part of the country. Lisbon has always been the centre for culture, tourism and business.

Porto is another major city of Portugal. The city has been recognized as the one of the cultural capitals of Europe. Porto, the second largest city of Portugal is also the capital of Douro region.

Braga is one of the major tourist destinations of Portugal. The city features fascinating sites and some of the best museums of the country.

Tourist Destination In Portugal

Sintra and its mystical hills dotted with fairytale palaces and extravagant villas have bewitched visitors for centuries.
The Romans made it a place of cult moon worshiping and named it "Cynthia" after the goddess of the moon. They were followed by the Moors who also fell in love with the lush vegetation and built a hilltop castle, a palace, and several fountains around the town. Later it became the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and attracted a number of wealthy aristocrats who built huge mansions and villas.


Famous British poet and traveler Lord Byron stopped by in the 18th century, writing that the town is "perhaps in every respect the most delightful in Europe," and calling it a "glorious Eden" in his epic poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. His fellow countryman Robert Southey followed him and saw it as "the most blessed spot on the whole inhabitable globe." Others made it their own private retreat, such as William Beckford (one of 18th century England's wealthiest men), who lived in the splendid Monserrate Palace, later bought by Francis Cook.

It is indeed an extraordinary place with a surreal mixture of history and fantasy, protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Its fairytale palaces, incredible vistas, and notable museum collections make it a destination you should make the effort to see, especially if you visit Lisbon.

Plant And Animal Life Of Portugal

Flora and Fauna

The vegetation of Portugal is a mixture of Atlantic, European, Mediterranean and some African species. North of the Mondego valley, 57 percent of the plants are European species (more than 86 percent in the northern interior) and only 26 percent Mediterranean; in the south the proportions are reversed; 29 and 46 percent, respectively.

The fauna in Portugal is again a mixture of European and North African species. Wild goat, pig and deer can be found in the Portuguese countryside. There are still wolves in the remote parts of Serra da Estrela, and lynx can be found in the Alentejo. The fox, rabbit and Iberian hare are ubiquitous. Bird life is rich because the peninsula lies on the winter migration route of western and central European species, especially in the wetlands of the Algarve. Fish are plentiful in the Atlantic waters of mainland Portugal, especially the European sardine, sea bass and gilded sea bream. Crustaceans are common on the northern rocky coasts.

The Major Regions Of Portugal

Natural Resources Of Portugal

Portugal is rich in mineral resources, a variety of which are extracted, processed, and exported. Much of this mineral wealth was not commercially exploited until after World War II (1939-1945). Among the most important mineral resources are copper, gold, iron ore, kaolin, marble, halite (rock salt), tin, uranium, and wolframite, which is a source of tungsten. Portugal also has abundant waterpower in its rivers and dammed lakes (called barragems).

Forests cover 40 percent of Portugal’s land area, and many areas, especially in the mountains, are well suited to forestry. However, Portugal is not well endowed with agricultural resources. Portuguese soils tend to be sandy and acidic and are generally volcanic in origin. An exception is the loamy and fertile alluvial soil of the lower Tajo valley.

One of the premier products of Portugal which contributes greatly to its economic growth is the cork which is obtained from the bark of the cork oak tree and is harvested for a period of about 10 to 12 years. Portugal accounts for about 50% of the total cork production in the world and the Mediterranean type climate of Portugal is immensely conducive to its growth. Cork is a vegetable tissue and because of its versatility it has had a variety of uses from being used in fishing boats and roads, as floor tiles etc. though it’s most prevalent use has been as cork stoppers in wine bottles. This makes it evident how significantly the cork production supplements wine production in Portugal as well.

Portugal: Facts And Figures

Flag of Portugal

Population (2011 census): 10.8 million

Area: 35,672 sq miles

Capital: Lisbon

Currency: Euro

Languages:Portuguese

Traditional Dress Of Portugal

Bibliography

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Portugal Facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about Portugal. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Portugal.aspx

Portuguese cork in Portugal. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://www.cork.pt/

SINTRA, Portugal - Guide to Palaces, Museums, Tours and Hotels. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://www.golisbon.com/portugal/cities/sintra.html

The Main Regions of Portugal. (n.d.). Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://www.portugal- live.net/UK/regions.html