The population of Portugal is 10.4 million (1990 estimates). Including the Azores and the Madeira Islands. Lisbon, the capital, has 830,000 in its metropolitan area. In addition, there are 2 million Portuguese residing abroad, as emigrants or as temporary workers. Portugal strives to retain ties with Portuguese communities abroad and to protect its workers.
Most Portuguese are Roman Catholic (97%). Freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution.
Throughout history, Portugals coastline was populated by various cultures. Ancient Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks preceded the Romans, who conquered the area in 27 B.C. Subsequently, the Visigoths and the Moors governed until the twelfth century. In 1140, Portugal became an independent nation under King Alfonso Henriques. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Portuguese explorers immensely expanded its empire. Both Spain and France ruled Portugal temporarily before the republic of Portugal was established in 1910.
From 1974-1976 Portugal underwent a nearly bloodless transition from authoritarian government to constitutional democracy. Today, Portugal is a multi-party parliamentary democracy.
The parliament is known as the Assembly of the Republic. It is unicameral and its members are elected by direct universal suffrage. Deputies serve for four years.
The 1976 Constitution was revised in 1982 and
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