Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are part of Portugal.
The land within the borders of today's PortugueseRepublic has been continuously settled since prehistoric times. In 29 B.C. the territory was occupied by the Gallaeci and the Lusitanians when it was integrated in the Roman Empire as the provinces of Lusitania and part of Gallaecia. Roman settlers strongly influenced Portuguese culture, particularly the Portuguese language, mostly derived from Latin. In the 5th century, after the fall of the Romanempire, it was occupied by several Germanic peoples, mainly the Suevi and the Visigoths. In the early 8th century Muslim Moors conquered those Christian kingdoms, occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula.
During the Christian Reconquering, the County of Portugal was settled, as part of the Kingdom of Galicia. With the establishment of the Kingdom in 1139, recognized in 1143, and thestabilization of its borders by 1249, Portugal claims to be the oldest European nation-state.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, as the result of maritime exploration, Portugal established a global empire that included possessions in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America, becoming the world's major economic, political and military power. Portugal´s Empire was the first, and most long-lived Global Empirein the world. In 1580, after a succession crisis it was united with Spain for a period called the Iberian Union; however in 1640 it re-established full independence during the Portuguese Restoration War that resulted in the establishment of a new dynasty and a return to the previous separation between the two empires.
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Spanish and French invasions, and Brazilianindependence, resulted in both the disruption of political stability and economic growth and the reduction of Portugal's international status as a global power during the 19th century. After the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910, a democratic but unstable republic was established that was then replaced by the "Estado Novo" dictatorship. After the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution in1974, democracy was restored and the country handed over its last overseas provinces (most prominently Angola and Mozambique in Africa); the last overseas territory, Macau, was handed over to China in 1999.
Portugal is a developed country and it has the world's 19th-highest quality-of-life, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit. It is the 13th-most peaceful and the 8th-most globalized countryin the world. It is a member of the European Union (joined the then EEC in 1986, leaving the EFTA where it was a founding member in 1960) and the United Nations; as well as a founding member of the Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, OECD, NATO, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the European Union's Eurozone, and also a Schengen state.
Law and criminal justiceThe Portuguese legal system is part of the civil law legal system, also called the continental family legal system. Until the end of the 19th century, French law was the main influence. Since then, the major influence has been German law. The main laws include the Constitution (1976, as amended), the Civil Code (1966, as amended) and the Penal Code (1982, as amended). Other relevant laws are theCommercial Code (1888, as amended) and the Civil Procedure Code (1961, as amended).
Portuguese law applied in the former colonies and territories and continues to be the major influence for those countries. Portugal's main police organizations are the National Republican Guard, a gendarmerie; Public Security Police, a civilian police force who work in urban areas; and the Judicial Police, a highly...