General Information

Portuguese Republic

National name: República Portuguesa

Land area: 35,382 sq mi (91,639 sq km); total area: 35,672 sq mi (92,391 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): 10,642,836

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Lisbon, 2,618,100 (metro. area), 559,400

Other large city: Oporto, 264,200

Monetary unit: Euro (formerly escudo)

Languages: Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official, but locally used)

Ethnicity/race: homogeneous Mediterranean stock; less than 100,000 citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization; East Europeans have entered since 1990

Religions: Religion Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census)

Literacy rate: 93% (2003 est.).

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $230.5 billion; per capita $21,700. Real growth rate: 1.9%. Inflation: 2.4%.

Portugal occupies the western part of the Iberian Peninsula and is slightly smaller than Indiana. The country is crossed by three large rivers that rise in Spain, flow into the Atlantic, and divide the country into three geographic areas. The Minho River, part of the northern boundary, cuts through a mountainous area that extends south to the vicinity of the Douro River. South of the Douro, the mountains slope to the plains around the Tejo River. The remaining division is the southern one of Alentejo. The Azores stretch over 340 mi (547 km) in the Atlantic and consist of nine islands with a total area of 902 sq mi (2,335 sq km). Madeira, consisting of two inhabited islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and two groups of uninhabited islands, lie in the Atlantic about 535 mi (861 km) southwest of Lisbon.

An early Celtic tribe, the Lusitanians, are believed to have been the first inhabitants of Portugal. The Roman Empire conquered the region in about 140 B.C. Toward the end of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths had invaded the entire Iberian Peninsula.

Portugal won its independence from Moorish Spain in 1143. King John I (1385–1433) unified his country at the expense of the Castilians and the Moors of Morocco. The expansion of Portugal was brilliantly coordinated by John's son, Prince Henry the Navigator. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias reached the Cape of Good Hope, proving that Asia was accessible by sea. In 1498, Vasco da Gama reached the west coast of India. By the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese empire extended to West and East Africa, Brazil, Persia, Indochina, and the Malayan peninsula.

In 1581, Philip II of Spain invaded Portugal and held it for 60 years, precipitating a catastrophic decline in Portuguese commerce. Courageous and shrewd explorers, the Portuguese proved to be inefficient and corrupt colonizers. By the time the Portuguese monarchy was restored in 1640, Dutch, English, and French competitors had begun to seize the lion's share of the world's colonies and commerce. Portugal retained Angola and Mozambique in Africa, and Brazil (until 1822).

The corrupt King Carlos, who ascended the throne in 1889, made João Franco the prime minister with dictatorial power in 1906. In 1908, Carlos and his heir were shot dead on the streets of Lisbon. The new king, Manoel II, was driven from the throne in the revolution of 1910, and Portugal became a French-style republic. Traditionally friendly to Britain, Portugal fought in World War I on the Allied side in Africa as well as on the Western Front. Weak postwar governments and a revolution in 1926 brought Antonio de Oliveira Salazar to power. As minister of finance (1928–1940) and prime minister (1932–1968), Salazar ruled Portugal as a virtual dictator. He kept Portugal neutral in World War II but gave the Allies naval and air bases after 1943. Portugal joined NATO as a founding member in 1949 but did not gain admission to the United Nations until 1955.

Portugal's foreign and colonial policies met with increasing difficulty both at home and abroad beginning in the 1950s. In fact, the bloodiest and most protracted wars against colonialism in Africa were fought against the Portuguese. Portugal lost the tiny remnants of its Indian empire—Goa, Daman, and Diu—to Indian military occupation in 1961, the year an insurrection broke out in Angola. For the next 13 years, Salazar, who died in 1970, and his successor, Marcello Caetano, fought independence movements amid growing world criticism. Leftists in the armed forces, weary of a losing battle, launched a successful revolution on April 25, 1974. After the 1974 revolution, the new military junta gave up its territories, beginning with Portuguese Guinea in Sept. 1974, which became the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. The decolonization of the Cape Verde Islands and Mozambique was effected in July 1975. Angola achieved independence later that same year, thus ending a colonial involvement on that continent that had begun in 1415. Full-scale international civil war, however, followed Portugal's departure from Angola, and Indonesia forcibly annexed independent East Timor. Also in 1975, the government nationalized banking, transportation, heavy industries, and the media. Portugal continued to experience social, economic, and political upheavals for the next decade.

Portugal was admitted to the European Economic Community (now European Union) on Jan. 1, 1986, and on Feb. 16, Mario Soares became the country's first civilian president in 60 years. Aníbal Cavaço Silva, an advocate of free-market economics and the Social Democratic candidate, had been elected as prime minister in 1985, signaling a more politically stable era. General elections in Oct. 1995 went to the Socialist Party, which fell just short of an absolute majority in the assembly. Lisbon mayor Jorge Sampaio, a Socialist, won the race for president in Jan. 1996. Portugal's Socialist government continued to take advantage of rosy economic conditions in 1997, and in 1999, Portugal became a founding member of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

Portugal gave up its last colony, Macao, on Dec. 20, 1999, turning the small Asian seaport over to China.

Islamic History and Muslims

According to International Religious Freedom Report  2006 , there are 35,121 Muslims in Portugal, about 0.3% of the total population. Most of the Muslim population originates from the former Portuguese overseas provinces of Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, most of the latter having their origin in the Indian subcontinent.

For several centuries, from 711 to 1249, much of the territory of what is now Portugal was under Muslim control, under the name Al-Garb Al-Andalus (the west of Al-Andalus). This presence has left a significant cultural heritage in Portugal, notably in the form of islamic art. The Portuguese language has also been influenced, with many words borrowed from the Arabic language. In Mértola is the only mosque that partially survives, having been converted to a Catholic Church after the Reconquista.

Lisbon Mosque (Portuguese: Mesquita Central de Lisboa) was erected in 1988, to serve the Muslim community of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. It was designed by António Maria Braga and João Paulo Conceição. The external features include a minaret and a dome. The mosque contains reception halls, a prayer hall and an auditorium.

The Ismaili Centre: Lisbon



  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Central Mosque of Lisboa, Lisboa
Phone: +351 213874142

Spagheti, Ponta Delgada, Azores
Phone: 351-296287927

Centro Islâmico de Lisboa, LISBON
Phone: +351 -213874142

Ayesha Siddiqa Mosque of Odivelas, Laranjeiro
Phone: 219327474

Comunidade Islâmica de Lisboa, Lisbon, portugal
Phone: 00351-213874142

Hotel Alif, Lisbon
Phone: 351-217826210

Phone: 219-882028

Colégio Islâmico de Palmela, Palmela
URL:   Phone: 212110531

Phone: 00351-1-558544

Mosque of Hazrat Bilal(r.a.), Porto
Phone: 966-073698

  AL FURQÁN, Loures
  Albufeira mosque, Albufeira
  Alnoor mosqueta, Quarteira
  Ayesha Siddiqa Mosque of Odivelas, Laranjeiro
  Central Mosque of Lisboa, Lisboa
  Centro Cultural Islâmico do Porto, Oporto
  Centro Islâmico de Lisboa, LISBON
  Delegation of Islamic community of Coimbra, Coimbra
  Hazrat Hamza (R.A) Mosque, Porto
  Islamic community of Sul do Tejo, Laranjeiro
  Islamic Place of Worship of Évora, Evora
  Islamic Place of Worship of Carnaxide, Carnaxide
  Islamic Place of Worship of Cavaleiros, Cavaleiros
  Islamic Place of Worship of Fetais, Fetais
  Islamic Place of Worship of Portela, Portela
  Islamic Place of Worship of Vialonga, Vialonga
  Madressa Ahle Sunny Jamat, Laranjeiro
  Martim Moniz Mosque, Lisbon
  Masjid Aisha Siddika (R.A.), Lisbon
  Masjid e Bilal , Oporto
  Masjid Póvoa de Stº. Adrião, Povoa
  Masjid-e-Rahman, Mem Martins
  Masjide Bilal (r.a) Forte da Casa, Povoa Santa Iria
  Mesquita de Faro, Faro
  Mosque of Coimbra, Coimbra
  Mosque of Hazrat Bilal(r.a.), Porto
  Mosque of Laranjeiro, Laranjeiro
  Mosque of Laranjerio, Almada
Comunidade Islâmica de Lisboa, Lisbon
Hanifa, Matosinhos

Colégio Islâmico de Palmela, Palmela
  Escola de explicações Molana Zabir, Lisbon
Mohammed Alim, Caparica

   Muslim Owned Business

Al-Phone Kingdom Lda., Albufeira
  Hotel Alif, Lisbon
  Mania Das Viagens, Coimbra
  MK HALAL, LTD., Lisbon
  Skynet Comercio de Telemoveis Lda., Lisbon
  Spagheti, Ilha De Sao Miguel
  Spagheti, Ponta Delgada
Talho halal cidade iman, Oporto

Islam in Portugal (  , November, 2008).
Info please ( ,  November, 2008).
Islam Finder (  , November, 2008).
World Religions Statistics ( , November, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Portugal, November 2008.