Area Handbook for Portugal

Area Handbook for Portugal

Area Handbook for Portugal

Area Handbook for Portugal

Excerpt

On April 25, 1974, a military coup d'etat deposed Portugal's government, which itself had been established after a military takeover forty-eight years earlier. Marcello Caetano, who was prime minister at the time, had ruled for six years, but his administration was a continuation of the regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, who ruled Portugal from the early 1930s to the late 1960s. Both men, however, will be remembered for refusing to face up to the tide of anticolonialism that was sweeping across Africa during their tenures. In the postWorld War II era, as the former Belgian, British, French, and Italian colonies in Africa gained independence and became new states and members of the United Nations, the Portuguese leaders remained adamant about holding their colonies. Their intransigence eventually led to colonial warfare, revolution, and decolonization. Portugal not only lost its colonies but was also impoverished by its long, losing effort to hold them. In mid-1976 the new leaders of Portugal were seeking political stability as a platform from which to launch economic recovery and social reform.

The Area Handbook for Portugal is intended to provide a concise, objective description of Portugal and the Portuguese. The book covers the historical background and the geography of the country as well as the principal political, social, and economic aspects of the society. There is an inherent danger in writing about a country during the time that it is undergoing a revolutionary experience (six provisional governments, two coup attempts, and two national elections in two years indicate the mercurial nature of the revolutionary regime); however, the authors have made every effort to retain their objectivity while describing the roles played by a multitude of individuals, parties, and interest groups.

The spelling of place names in this handbook conforms to the rulings of the United States Board on Geographic Names except for the use of the conventional spelling of Lisbon rather than the Portuguese Lisboa. Area measurements have been given in hectares rather than acres, and all tonnages are given in metric tons unless otherwise noted.

This study results from the combined efforts of a Foreign Area Studies multidisciplinary team of researchers assisted by the organizational research support staff. The team was chaired by Eugene K. Keefe who wrote chapter I and coordinated the contributions of the . . .

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