Portugal, republic in southwestern Europe, situated in the western
portion of the Iberian Peninsula, bounded on the north and east
by Spain and on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Azores
(Aηores) and the Madeira Islands in the Atlantic are autonomous
regions of Portugal, considered integral parts of the republic.
Portugal administers one overseas territory, Macau (Macao), in eastern
Asia near Hong Kong. Macau is scheduled to return to Chinese administration
in 1999. The total area of metropolitan Portugal, including the
Azores (2247 sq km/868 sq mi) and the Madeira Islands (794 sq km/307
sq mi), is 92,345 sq km (35,655 sq mi). The capital and largest
city is Lisbon.
The frontiers of Portugal are defined by mountains and rivers,
and the interior is largely mountainous. In the west and south the
mountains descend to a large coastal plain that is intensively cultivated.
The highest range is the Serra da Estrela in central Portugal, rising
to 1991 m (6532 ft).
Portugal is traversed by three great rivers, which rise in Spain
and empty into the Atlantic Ocean. The Tajo (Tejo), with Lisbon
situated at its mouth, is the largest river; followed by the Douro
(Duero), with Porto (Oporto) at its mouth; and the Guadiana, which
forms part of the eastern frontier. A fourth river, the Minho, forms
part of the northern frontier.
The climate varies according to altitude, and high temperatures
occur only in the comparatively low regions of the south.
The mean annual temperature north of the Douro River is about 10°
C (about 50° F); between the Tajo and Douro, about 16° C (about
60° F); and in the valley of the Guadiana, about 18° C (about 65°
F). Rainfall is heavy, particularly in the north.