Portugal is a parliamentary republic in southwestern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. Being the westernmost country of mainland Europe, Portugal is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and by Spain to the north and east. The Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira are also part of Portugal.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, with a global empire that included possessions in Africa, Asia, and South America, Portugal was one of the world's major economic, political and military powers. In 1580 it was united with Spain by a period called the Iberian Union; however, in 1640 it went on to re-establish total sovereignty and independence during the Portuguese Restoration War that resulted in the establishment of a new dynasty and a return to the previous separation between the two crowns and empires.
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, Spanish and French invasions, which preceded the loss of its largest territorial possession abroad, Brazil, resulted in both the disruption of political stability and potential economic growth as well as the reduction of Portugal's international status as a global power during the 19th century. After the overthrow of the monarchy in 1910, a republic was established that was then followed by a dictatorship until 1974. With the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution coup d'état in 1974, the ruling dictatorship was deposed in Lisbon and the country handed over its last overseas provinces (most prominently Angola and Mozambique in Africa); the last overseas territory, Macau, was handed over to China in 1999.
Portugal threw off Muslim rule in the 13th century. This independence did not last, as the Great Black Deaths killed 80% of the European population in the 14th century, leading to Portugal's reconquest in the 15th.
Portugal was integrated into the Spanish Crown of King Philip II after a succession war in the 1580s. The Portuguese capital of Lisbon served as a port to launch the Spanish Armada against England in 1588, which included several Portuguese-built ships like the San Juan and the San Mateo de Portugal. Some of these ships continued to supply the Spanish occupation force in England a decade after its conquest.
When Baltasar Guzmán stated that conversion of the whole world to Catholicism would bring world peace, his subordinate Lope de Vega reminded him that sharing the Catholic faith had not prevented the Spaniards and Portuguese from waging war against each other.
José Sanjurjo fled to Portugal in 1934 after he launched a failed coup in Spain. In 1936, with the launch of the Spanish Civil War, Sanjurjo returned home, grateful to get away from Portugal.
After the Spanish Civil War was absorbed into the Second World War in 1938 Portugal proclaimed its neutrality. AmericanPeggy Druce considered traveling to Lisbon as an intermediate stage to return to the United States, but was immediately discouraged since she would have to cross war torn Spain to accomplish it.