Portugal Geography

The area was first called Lusitania, until it began to be called Portugal between the years 930 and 950. At the end of the 10th century the name was already being used more frequently. Fernando I de León officially named the territory of Portugal, in 1067, the date he gave it to his son García de Galicia. Cale, the current city of Vila Nova de Gaia, was already known as Portucale since the times of vases. [1]

The name of Portugal, therefore, is derived from the Roman name of this city Portus Cale ; Cale, in turn, was the name of a primitive settlement located at the mouth of the Duero, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the north of the country. During the Second Punic War (at the end of the 3rd century BC), the Romans intervened on the peninsula in a battle against the Carthaginians, conquering the city of Cale, a port of Greek origin near present-day Porto, and baptized it as Portus Cale. During the Middle Ages, the region around Cale was known to the Visigoths as Portucale, which would evolve to Portugale during the 7th and 8th centuries.

Some historians believe that the word Cale is derived from the Greek Kallis (“nice”), while others suggest that it is derived from the Galician peoples who inhabited the area.


As a country that belongs to European Union according to travelationary.com, Portugal is made up of a large continental territory (91 951 km²) located in southwestern Europe and occupying most of the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula and two archipelagos located in the Atlantic Ocean: Madeira and Azores with a total of 440 km² maritime zone. Its continental zone has borders with a single nation, Spain, to the east and north, along 1214 km and is bordered to the south and west by the North Atlantic Ocean for 1793 km of coastline.

Its climate is maritime, influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, being cold and rainy in the north, and hot and dry in the south.

In mainland Portugal, temperatures average 13 ° C in the North and 18 ° C in the South. Madeira and Azores, due to their location in the Atlantic, are rainy and humid, and have a lower thermal amplitude.

Portugal is one of the warmest European countries. The spring and summer are sunny and higher temperatures for July and August is between 28 ° C to 35 ° C, sometimes reaching 40 ° C within the south. The autumn and winter are typically rainy and windy, but sunny days are not uncommon. Temperatures below 2 ° C are not common in the coastal zone, they generally average 8/11 ° C.

There is snowfall in the mountainous areas of the north, being that, in the Sierra de la Estrella, they can be intense. Snow is rare in coastal areas.


In 2007 Portugal had a population of 11,317,192 residents. Life expectancy is 77.8 years. The average number of children per woman is only 1.48. 93.3% of the population is literate.


In the last decade, governments have privatized many state-owned companies and liberalized dominant areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating its new currency, the euro, on January 1, 2002, along with 11 other EU member economies. [3]

Portugal’s main industries are oil refineries, the automobile industry, cement production, the paper industry, the textile and footwear industry, furniture manufacturing, and cork.


The best known and most practiced sport in Portugal is soccer. As proof of this are the three “greats” of Lusitanian football: Benfica, Sporting (both from Lisbon) and FC Porto (which has recently accumulated a good number of national and international titles). The Portuguese football players Eusébio, Rui Costa, Deco, Luís Figo, and Cristiano Ronaldo are well known.

In fact, the latter two were awarded the highest distinctions, such as the Golden Ball and the FIFA Player of the Year award. The Portugal national football team is, according to the FIFA ranking, among the four best in the world, and among the three best in Europe. It was also already considered the best in Europe.

  • In 2004 the Eurocup was organized by Portugal, and the host team reached the final where they lost 0-1 against Greece. This was his best participation in the Eurocup.
  • In the 2006 soccer World Cup, the team reached the semifinals where they were defeated by France 0-1, managing to match their best participation in that World Cup.
  • In the 1966 World Cup, she also reached the semifinals where she was defeated by England, who would be the champion of that year. But Portugal came to be third in that same World Cup.


The Educational System of Portugal is regulated by the State through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education. The public education system is the most widely used, although there are private schools at all educational levels. In Portugal, compulsory education begins at six years of age (or five years if the student is six years old in the year of entry). Compulsory education is 12 years. Education is divided into three cycles:

  • First cycle: from the first to the fourth year;
  • Second cycle: from the fifth to the sixth year;
  • Third cycle: from the seventh to the ninth year.

The next cycle, which has been compulsory since 2009, is the secondary one (from the tenth to the twelfth year). It has its own organizational system, different from the other cycles.

Portugal Geography