Portugal Geography and Population

Portugal – geography

Portugal occupies the southwestern part of the Iberian Peninsula as well as the Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. The mainland is administratively divided into five regions and 18 districts.

The countryside

The landscape is predominantly lowland; with approximately 12% of the country is located at altitudes above 700 m. The river Tejo (sp. Tajo) divides the country into a northern, mountainous part and a southern with predominantly gently hilly terrain.

The mountains lie mainly along the border towards Spain; the height of the mountains is generally decreasing from north to south and from east to west. The highest mountain on the Portuguese mainland is Torre da Estrela (1993 m) in the Serra da Estrela mountain range.

The subsoil in Portugal consists predominantly of granite, sandstone, gneiss and slate. The bedrock from the Hercynian fold was in Tertiary exposed to fractures and displacements, which led to the formation of the mountain ranges and valley depressions that largely characterize the landscape today. The location of a tectonic active zone has exposed the country to earthquakes, worst in 1755, when Lisbon was destroyed, and approximately 40,000 people died.

In the mountainous regions, a multitude of rivers originate, almost all of which have their outlet in the Atlantic Ocean, Mondego, Vouga, Sado and Zêzere. However, Portugal’s largest rivers, the Tagus, the Douro, the Minho and the Guadiana, all originate in Spain. The river valleys run parallel to the mountain ranges and are cultivated in many places, for example around the Douro and Mondego, where wine is grown. Dams across the rivers ensure that hydropower is used for electricity production in several places.

The coast is characterized by flat sandy beaches, which in some places are interrupted by steep rock formations, eg at Cape da Roca and Cape Espichel respectively. west and south of Lisbon and Cape Saint Vincent on the Algarve coast. Only in a few places are there natural protected ports. The most important are Lisbon and Setúbal. Porto’s commercial port of Leixões is artificially constructed at the mouth of the river Leça. In the smaller coastal towns, boats have traditionally been pulled up on the beach.

The climate

The climate in Portugal varies greatly considering the size of the country. The variation is due in part to the height differences, in part to the location between the cool Atlantic Ocean and the continental climate of the Iberian Peninsula. In general, the northwestern part of the country has a temperate climate, the southern part a subtropical climate, while the inner eastern regions often have a continental climate with marked fluctuations between winter and summer temperatures.

In Lisbon, the average temperature in January is 11 °C and in July 22 °C; the annual precipitation here is approximately 700 mm, but is higher to the north (1150 mm in Porto) and lower to the south (415 mm in Sagres near Cape São Vicente).


The indigenous Iberian people have throughout the ages been mixed with Celts, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and 1500’s introduced African slaves. Migrations have characterized the development in the population: 1820-1920 emigrated over 1 million. Portuguese to Brazil. Mozambique and Angola were targets of Portuguese emigration; in the 1960’s, emigration to France, Germany and the United States in particular was such that the population of Portugal fell by 300,000 to 8.6 million.

  • Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Portugal? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.

The page is approximately 800,000 Portuguese returned from the former colonies, which again increased the population. The country’s average population density is 114 residents per capita. km2, but it varies greatly from the very sparsely populated Alentejo region with only 24.6 residents per km. km2 to the densely populated coastal areas, where the population density is between 150 and 300 residents per. km2.

approximately 75% of the population live within a third of the country’s territory in a wide belt along the coast from Setúbal in the south to the Spanish border in the north. In this area you will also find the country’s largest cities: the capital Lisbon as well as Porto, Guimarães, Coimbra and Braga. Portugal has long been one of Europe’s least urbanized countries with a large proportion of the population living in the countryside.


Following Portugal’s accession to the EU in 1986, the country’s infrastructure has been significantly modernized. This has been particularly evident in large-scale motorway facilities, which via Spain are to link the country more closely with the other EU countries. EU structural funds have also provided support for the construction of bridges and the modernization of port facilities and airports.


Industry. approximately 28% of the working population is employed in industry, which contributes 28% of GDP (2004). The vast majority of companies are located in the coastal area. approximately 1/3 of the industry’s workforce is employed in the textile industry, but of vital economic importance is also the chemical industry and shoemaking. Within the transport area, e.g. cars (VW, Ford), while Sorefame AAB manufactures train equipment.

Fishing. In 2004, the Portuguese fishing fleet consisted of 10,000 vessels with a total tonnage of 113,000 gross registered tonnes with an annual catch of 221,000 tonnes. Traditionally, fishing for sardines has been of great importance also for employment on land.

In the mid-1990’s represented by the following sardines more than 1/3 of the catch, of which about 50% is processed in canneries and marketed as exports to Italy, Spain and France in particular; however, the total volume has been declining. In addition, horse mackerel, squid, tuna and hake are caught.

Portuguese fisheries have been in decline since joining the EU. In 2004, Portugal imported 341,000 tonnes of seafood, including large quantities of dried, salted cod, which are served everywhere as the national dish bacalhau (clipfish).

Agriculture and forestry. Agriculture, together with forestry and fisheries, employs 12% of the active population, but with outdated production methods and extensive farming, yields are modest and contribute only 3.5% of GDP (2006); more than half of the main foods must be imported. The sizes of use vary from north to south. In the north there are mainly smaller family farms, while the southern part of the country has traditionally been run as large estates (latifundier). approximately 1/5 of the cultivated land is irrigated.

The main crops are wine and cork, other crops are wheat, in more humid own corn, in the coastal areas and along the rivers rice; in addition rye, oats, potatoes, vegetables, citrus fruits, almonds, chestnuts and olives. Wine is grown on a total area of ​​up to 400,000 ha, and wine districts are found in all regions. Most famous are the port wine from the Douro Valley, Vinho verde from Minho and Dão and Bairrada from Beira Alta and Beira Litoral respectively. Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer; largest single item is corks for wine bottles.

Since the mid-1970’s, the fast-growing eucalyptus tree has begun to play a major role in Portuguese forestry. It is used for both timber and paper and cellulose production, but has had unfortunate consequences for the environment in the form of pollution and because the groundwater level is lowered. In addition, there is an increased frequency of extensive forest fires.

Mining. Portugal has a significant export of marble. The stone is quarried in the province of Alentejo around the towns of Borba, Estremoz and Vila Viçosa. In the European context, Portugal is also a leader in copper mining. It also takes place in the Alentejo near the town of Neves Corvo. Mineral extraction by mining also includes deposits of tin, tungsten, uranium, gold, zinc and coal.

Service business and tourism. 57% of Portugal’s working population is employed in the service industries, contributing 71% of GDP (2006). Earnings from tourism contribute 11% of GDP and employ 10% of the population.

Tourism is of particular economic importance on the Algarve coast and in the Lisbon region, as well as in Madeira. In 2005, almost DKK 24 million visited tourists Portugal, of which more than 15 million. from neighboring Spain.

Portugal is among the countries that have received significant funding from the EU’s Structural and Cohesion Funds for the modernization of society. This also applies to agriculture, where there has been a structural rationalization with e.g. closure of small holdings; However, Portugal’s agriculture continues to have low productivity compared to other EU countries. The energy supply is mainly based on imports; 40% comes from the country’s many hydropower plants and 5% from wind turbines (2006).

Portugal – language

Portugal is linguistically a very homogeneous country, with virtually the entire population speaking Portuguese. The language border follows the state border in the north towards the closely related Galician and towards Spanish in the east except for small enclaves on both sides of the border. Mirandese, spoken in Mirando do Douro in NE Portugal, has the status of coofficial language for local use. The dialect differences are smaller than in Danish; most deviating from the standard language are the dialects of the Azores and Madeira. For culture and traditions of Portugal, please check aparentingblog.

Portugal – religion

The Catholic Church is dominant; state and church have been separated since 1911. The church has its largest active support in the northern part of the country, where over 90% of the population consider themselves Catholics, while in some parts of the Alentejo it is less than 40%. Following the anti-clerical policy of the First Republic, the miracle of the Fátima sm right-wing dictatorship of 1926 strengthened the position of the church, sealed through the Salazar regime’s concordat with the Vatican in 1940; however, the right to civil marriage and to divorce or to freedom of religion was not shaken. Other religious denominations have in the late 1900-t. gained increasing support.