Portugal is a country located in southwestern Europe, situated on the western portion of the Iberian Peninsula. It is bounded on the north and east by Spain, and in the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean. The total area of metropolitan Portugal is 35,655 sq mi. The capital and largest city is Lisbon.
The climate in Portugal is varied with considerable rainfall and marked seasonal temperatures in north; dryer conditions in the south with mild temperatures along the coast but sometimes in the low 40°Cs in the interior.
The population of Portugal was estimated at 10.5 million in 1992 with a growth rate of 0.4 percent in 1992. In Portugal primary education (age six to twelve) and junior high school (age thirteen to fifteen) is free and compulsory, but because many children began working at early age, primary education was all education many children received. Senior high school (age sixteen to seventeen) had academic and vocational components. Twelfth grade (age eighteen) prepared youths for university and technical college. Estimated literacy rate for those over age fifteen in 1990 was 85 percent.
In Portugal there is an uneven provision of health care. Health care available ranges from high quality to that prevalent in the Third World. Many Portuguese, especially those living in rural areas, are not able to enjoy liberal health benefits provided for in legislation. Infant mortality rate as greatly improved in the last few decades to an estimated rate of 6.05 per 1,000 in 1992. Life expectancy is seventy-one years for males and seventy-eight for females in 1992.
The ethnic groups in Portugal are mainly a Mediterranean stock on mainland, Azores, and Madeira Islands. There are less than 100,000 citizens of black African descent, who immigrated in the 1970s to Portugal from its former colonies in Africa. There are a small number of Gypsies. And also a small Jewish community. The religion in Portugal is 94 percent nominally Roman Catholic. The Protestant denominations are 3 percent. The other religion such has Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam represents about 3 percent of the population.
The Portuguese government is a parliamentary democracy. Portugal is divided into 20 Administrative Divisions. There are 18 districts and 2 autonomous regions. The 18 districts are: Aveiro, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, and Viseu. And the autonomous regions are Azores and Madeira. These 20 Administrative Divisions are divided into 305 municipalities, are further divided into about 4,000 parishes.
In Portugal there are also extensive Transportation and Telecommunications systems. The railroad network amounted to about 3,600 kilometers in 1990, of which about 450 kilometers were electrified. Except for several small railroads owned by mining industry and Lisbon's subway system, all of Portugal's railroad...