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Portugal:
Geography

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Portugal Page


Background
Definition
Following its heyday as a world power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence in 1822 of Brazil as a colony. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.
Location
Definition
Southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Geographic coordinates
Definition
39 30 N, 8 00 W
Map references
Definition
Europe
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 92,391 sq km
land: 91,951 sq km
water: 440 sq km
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Indiana
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1,214 km
border countries: Spain 1,214 km
Coastline
Definition
1,793 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
Definition
maritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south
Terrain
Definition
mountainous north of the Tagus River, rolling plains in south
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m
Natural resources
Definition
fish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 17.29%
permanent crops: 7.84%
other: 74.87% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
6,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
73.6 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 11.09 cu km/yr (10%/12%/78%)
per capita: 1,056 cu m/yr (1998)
Natural hazards
Definition
Azores subject to severe earthquakes
Environment - current issues
Definition
soil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Environmental Modification
Geography - note
Definition
Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar


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