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Penzo Ceramics (Zimbabwe)


Portugal is situated on what is known as the Iberian peninsula in Europe, it is home to 10,459,000 people who live in an area covering 92,090 km2 which also includes the  islands of Madeira and Azores. It was first settled in 300 BC by Indo-European  Lusitanians  and Celts (the Celtici). The Algarve region  had trade relations with the Phoenicians-Cathaginians (Tunesia).   Then the Romans invaded and named the area Gallaecia and Northern Lusitania, and founded the town of Portus Cale (now Porto) .  In 410, The Suebi (Lower Austria/Slovakia) established a kingdom, then in 585  the Visigoths integrated it to the Hispania peninsula, the diverse population integrated as they all followed the Christian religion. Most of the Visigothic Kingdom (except for Asturias in Northern Spain) was conquered by the Moors (North Africa) in 711 AD and became part of the Umayyad Caliphate (Syria). In 1031, the caliphate split into   23 small kingdoms,  called Taifa  . In Portugal, the Muslim population were relatively small in numbers, they were mostly noblemen from Oman who settled in the Algarve.  Vimama Perez declared Portugal as a principality in 865, and named it after Portus Cale. Independence came in 1139 when Afonso Henriques (House of Burgundy) was proclaimed King of Portugal. The Pope recognized it in 1179. Portuguese universities opened in 1290. By the 1300s,  the whole area that is now known as modern Portugal was recovered from the Moors. From 1385, under the House of Ayiz, Portugal expanded its influence beyond the Iberian peninsula first to the Acores and Madeira, and became the first global empire.  In 1441, Henri the navigator's ships brought back slaves from Mauritania (Africa) and in  1444, he established the  first slave market for the sale of imported African slaves in his home-town of Lagos. Vasco da Gama sailed along the  coast of Africa as his ships looked for a new trade route to India and brought economic prosperity to Portugal.  A ship from his expedition was recovered off the coast of Oman.   Portugal often clashed with Spain so in 1494, the treaty of Tordesillas was signed between the Spanish and the Portuguese empire, effectively dividing the New Worlds into two: Portugal ruled the Eastern half (now Brazil in Latin America, and the African colonies which became Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique,  Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome  and Principe. The Portuguese also gave the zebra its current name when is derived from 'encebro' (donkey) when explorers encountered some. As the wife of British King Charles II, Portuguese princess Catherine de Braganza was Queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland - she introduced the habit of drinking tea. Portugal eventually declined as it was challenged in the colonies by the Dutch and the British, and  It was invaded by Napoleonic troops from France. Brazil gained its independence in 1822. In 1910, a revolution deposed the monarchy, the unstable first republic gave way to the Estado Novo dictatorship. The 1974 Carnation revolution restored a democratic republic. The remaining colonial territories were granted their independence, and Macau was handed back to China in 1999. 81% of the population are Roman-Catholics.  Portugal was one of the first countries in the world to abolish the death penalty.Portugal joined the EU in 1986.


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