Portugal is located on the western shores of the Iberian Peninsula. Together with the autonomous island regions of the Azores and
Madeira it forms the Portuguese Republic with Lisbon as capital.
The country gets its name from Portus Cale, an ancient seaport, presently known as Porto.
The oldest human fossils found in Aroeira date back 400 ka and belonged to Homo Heidelbergensis,
a sturdy pre-Neanderthal hominid that roamed large parts of Europe.
Modern humans arrived some 35 ka ago at the height of the lastIce age.
When the first Phoenician traders showed up around 1100 BC, they found the area settled by Celts, with many of them only recently having moved in from Central Europe.
Over the next centuries, Carthaginians, Romans, Suebi, Visigoths and Moors occupied most or all of present day Portugal, but in 1139 the Kingdom of Portugal was established under Afonso I, also known as the Founder.
explorers like Vasco da Gama led the way in the Age of Discovery and an initial monopoly on the very profitable spice trade made Portugal
a world power.
But these good times did not last and from 1750 onwards the country's importance and wealth faded away.
The Carnation Revolution of 1974 was a watershed moment. The bloody colonial wars were ended and overseas territories were granted independence.
In 1986 Portugal joined the European Union and the country was one of the first to adopt the Euro.