Portugal is located in the western part of the Iberian Peninsula. It faces the Atlantic ocean on one side and has a border with Spain on the other.
Portugal’s monarchy began in 1143. Its first king was D. Afonso Henriques who conquered the land from the Moors.
For a short period Philip II of Spain ruled the country, from 1580 until 1640, when it reverted to the Portuguese monarchy again. The last King Manuel II left and went into exile and in 1910 Portugal became a Republic.
From 1932 to 1968 the economist Dr António de Salazar ruled as Prime Minister. He was succeeded by Dr Marcelo Caetano who was overthrown in the 25th April 1974 revolution. Since then it has been succeeded by various elected Presidents.
Portugal joined the European Union in 1986 and subsequently adopted the Euro as its currency.
The majority in the country are Catholics.
The capital is Lisboa and the other major towns are Porto in the north, Coimbra in the middle and the Algarve with its wide stretches of beaches in the south.
The Estoril Coast is a half hour’s drive from Lisboa and during the monarchy this area was the summer residence for the royals who spent their vacation in palaces built in neighbouring Sintra.