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Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, overlooking the Tagus river
Flag of Portugal
Location of Portugal in Europe

Portugal (Portuguese: [pu?tu'?al]), officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa ['pu?lik? pu?tu'?ez?]), is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments. The official and national language is Portuguese.

Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. It was inhabited by pre-Celtic and Celtic peoples, visited by Phoenicians-Carthaginians, Ancient Greeks and ruled by the Romans, who were followed by the invasions of the Suebi and Visigothic Germanic peoples. After the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, most of its territory was part of Al-Andalus. Portugal as a country was established during the early Christian Reconquista. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede (1128). The Kingdom of Portugal was later proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique (1139), and independence from León was recognized by the Treaty of Zamora (1143).

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global maritime and commercial empire, becoming one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration with the discovery of what would become Brazil (1500). During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castile, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of Brazil (1822) erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence. (Full article...)

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Lisbon (Lisboa) historic elevator Santa Justa Luca Galuzzi 2006.jpg

The Santa Justa Lift (Portuguese: Elevador de Santa Justa, pronounced [el?v?'do? d? 'st? '?u?t?]), also called Carmo Lift (Portuguese: Elevador do Carmo, [el?v?'do? du 'ka?mu]), is an elevator, or lift, in the civil parish of Santa Justa, in the historic center of Lisbon, Portugal. Situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa, it connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square).

Since its construction the Lift has become a tourist attraction for Lisbon as, among the urban lifts in the city, Santa Justa is the only remaining vertical (conventional) one. Others, including Elevador da Glória and Elevador da Bica, are actually funicular railways, and the other lift constructed around the same time, the Elevator of São Julião, has since been demolished. (Full article...)

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The Rhodesian mission in Lisbon (Portuguese: Missão da Rodésia em Lisboa), the capital of Portugal, operated from September 1965 to May 1975. It was a diplomatic mission representing Rhodesia (or Southern Rhodesia), initially as a self-governing colony of Britain and, after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in November 1965, as an unrecognised state. Rhodesia informed Britain of its intent to open a Lisbon mission headed by an accredited representative, independent from the British Embassy in the city, in June 1965. Whitehall refused to endorse the idea but Rhodesia continued nonetheless, and later that month appointed Harry Reedman to head the mission. The British government attempted unsuccessfully to block this unilateral act--Rhodesia's first--for some months afterwards.

The affair came amid the larger dispute between Whitehall and Salisbury regarding the terms under which Rhodesia could be granted sovereign independence. Rhodesia's mostly white government insisted that statehood should come under the constitution introduced with Britain's approval in 1961, while Whitehall insisted that a set timetable for the introduction of black majority rule would have to be in place before the country could be fully independent. The Rhodesian government's stance on this matter caused it to become isolated within the Commonwealth, which from 1964 excluded it from most of its internal bodies, while the Rhodesian military became unofficially embargoed by its established British and American suppliers. (Full article...)

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"Hats there are plenty, you fool!"

Chapéus há muitos, seu palerma!

Vasco Santana in A Canção de Lisboa

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The Final Charge of the British Cavalry at the Battle of Orthez, by Denis Dighton

The Battle of Orthez (27 February 1814) saw the Anglo-Spanish-Portuguese Army under Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington attack an Imperial French army led by Marshal Nicolas Soult in southern France. The outnumbered French repelled several Allied assaults on their right flank, but their center and left flank were overcome and Soult was compelled to retreat. At first the withdrawal was conducted in good order, but it eventually ended in a scramble for safety and many French soldiers became prisoners. The engagement occurred near the end of the Peninsular War.

In mid-February, Wellington's army broke out of its small area of conquered territory near Bayonne. Moving east, the Allies drove the French back from several river lines. After a pause in the campaign, the westernmost Allied corps surrounded and isolated Bayonne. Resuming their eastward drive, the remaining two Allied corps pushed Soult's army back to Orthez where the French marshal offered battle. In subsequent operations, Soult decided to abandon the large western port of Bordeaux and fall back east toward Toulouse. The next action was the Battle of Toulouse. (Full article...)

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Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira (, ; European Portuguese: ['va?ku ð? 'm?]; c. 1460s - 24 December 1524), was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea.

His initial voyage to India (1497-1499) was the first to link Europe and Asia by an ocean route, connecting the Atlantic and the Indian oceans and therefore, the West and the Orient. This is widely considered a milestone in world history, as it marked the beginning of a sea-based phase of global multiculturalism. Da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India opened the way for an age of global imperialism and enabled the Portuguese to establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia. Traveling the ocean route allowed the Portuguese to avoid sailing across the highly disputed Mediterranean and traversing the dangerous Arabian Peninsula. The sum of the distances covered in the outward and return voyages made this expedition the longest ocean voyage ever made until then, far longer than a full voyage around the world by way of the Equator. (Full article...)

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