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lisbon portugalPortugal, officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: Republica Portuguesa; pron. IPA), located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, is the westernmost country of mainland Europe. Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and east and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.

The territory which forms the modern Portuguese Republic has witnessed a constant flow of civilizations during the past 3,100 years, since the earlier pre-Roman inhabitants, to the Roman, Germanic, and Moorish peoples who made an imprint on the country's culture, history, language, and ethnic composition. During the 15th and 16th centuries, with its vast transcontinental empire, Portugal was one of the world's major economic, political, and cultural powers. A developed country, Portugal is a member of the European Union (since 1986), the United Nations (since 1955), and a founding member of the Eurozone, OECD, and NATO.

Geography and Climate

portugal free online sms, map of portugalThe climate can be classified as Oceanic in the north and Mediterranean in the south. One of the warmest European countries, yearly temperature averages in mainland Portugal are 13C (55F) in the north and 18C (64F) in the south. The Madeira and Azores Atlantic archipelagos have a narrower temperature range. Spring and summer are sunny, whereas autumn and winter are rainy and windy.

Mainland Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus. The northern landscape is mountainous in interior areas, with plateaus indented by river valleys. The south, between the Tagus and the Algarve (the Alentejo), features mostly rolling plains and a climate somewhat warmer and drier than in the cooler and rainier north. The Algarve, separated from the Alentejo by mountains, enjoys a Mediterranean climate like southern Spain.

Snow is usual in the northern half of the country, around the 40 N parallel. It is a rare event in the south, but it does happen.

The islands of the Azores and Madeira are located in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Some islands have had volcanic activity as recently as 1957. Portugal's highest point is Mount Pico on Pico Island. It is an ancient volcano measuring 2,351 m (i.e., 7,713 ft.).

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