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The name "Portugal" derives from a Roman or pre-Roman settlement called Portus Cale (the modern city of Porto) near the mouth of the Douro River.

The Romans referred to this region as the province of Lusitania, and the prefix Luso (meaning "Portuguese") is still used in some contexts.

Despite the diversity of invading populations and distinct regional economies and ways of living, Portugal is a homogeneous nation with a single national cultural identity and no ethnolinguistic groups. Continental Portugal at 35,516 square miles (91,986 square kilometers) occupies approximately a sixth of the Iberian peninsula.

Since the majority of the population was rural until the 1960s, geography has been an important factor in cultural adaptations and worldview.

The northwest (the province of Minho) is lush, green, densely populated, and the major source of emigrants.

The northeast (the province of Trás-os-Montes) is more mountainous and is divided into a northern region ( terra fria ) with long cold winters and a warmer region ( terra quente ) to the south.

The central part (including the provinces of Beira Alta, Beira Baixa, and Beira Litoral) varies from high and desolate mountain plateaus (the Serra da Estrela) to low coastal areas.

Last modified 16-Dec-2015 05:01