Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe having established its continental frontier as it is set today on 1297. Portugal has been an independent kingdom since 1143 When D. Afonso Henriques rebelled against his mother to wrestle the Condado Portucalense away from the Kingdom of Leon .
Portugal is located on the west side of the Iberian Peninsula, ideally positioned between Spain and the Atlantic ocean. Its geographic location along the Atlantic coastline is the reason why Portugal quickly became an ocean-bound country setting the stage for centuries of sea adventure and discoveries.
1415 was the year that set the tone for centuries to come. under the guidance of Prince Henry "The Navigator", the Portuguese set sail on epic voyages that would make them the first to discover the ocean routes to India, Brazil, China and Japan, while at the same time founding settlements on both African coasts.
Traces of this worldwide historic presence may be seen as trademarks of the Portuguese culture. The Portuguese language became one of the most widely spoken in the world, and the Portuguese people were privileged for being exposed to so many different civilizations. The vast monumental, artistic and archaeological heritage witness not only the 850 years of history of encounters with distant cultures, but also the presence in the territory of more ancient peoples (Celts, Suevians, Visigoths, Romans and Arabs).
Portugal's natural advantages of a sunny country with such diverse geographic features have turned the country into a chosen destination for many holidaymakers, an ideal place for practicing water sports and playing golf, offering modern tourism facilities, and quaint and personalized means of accommodation, such as Solares de Portugal (privately owned homes ranging from wonderful farmhouses to manor houses), and luxury and charm hotels located in castles, old monasteries and manor houses known as Pousadas of Portugal.
With the advent of the second decade of the 21st century Portugal is in its worse financial condition ever, after decades of miss-management that begun with then Prime Minister and now President Anibal Cavaco Silva, and ended with a horrifically corrupt Socialist government led by Prime Minister Jose Socrates. Socrates led a government that broke records in government spending and over-budgeted useless public work projects, while conducting promiscuously incestuous and possibly corrupted relations between the government and the so called public-private companies. The banking industry, the most powerful lobby group in the country, a cesspool of specialists on people's money thievery, along with a mafia of conflict of interests riddled politicians, had direct influence in writing legislation and implement actions that sank the economy. The Socrates government left the country in shambles and, thanks to the Justice Department‚Äôs putrid state of affairs, immune of responsibilities. Unlike Iceland, no one is in jail!
The Social Democrat Party under the leadership of current Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho inherited a country with a deficit of nearly 15 billion Euros ( in a country of 10 million people) and had no choice but to play into the hands of the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank‚Äôs requirements of severe austerity and financial cut backs. However mainly due to the usual government incompetence, led by a Parliament that true to historical form does absolutely nothing, serving only as a huge money siphon of public funds (Assembly persons get a full pension of over 5.000 Euros per month after 4 years in Parliament), the country is unable to cut back on expenses and has yet to meet a single imposed deficit target.
The Portuguese Parliament (known by the Portuguese people as a ‚ÄúCampo de Ferias‚ÄĚ or vacation camp), a cesspool of corruption and self-interest has no role or visible duty in governing since its inception. Assembly men and women are in its majority swimming in conflicts of interest. Many are lawyers who in the morning work for their law firms representing public-private firms in charge of government projects, and in the afternoon sit in the Assembly to vote on bills related to the same issues their law firms are representing. Every Assembly person has a laptop to conduct business while on the taxpayers payroll. With 230 assembly members for a country of 10 million people, Portugal's Parliament has the highest ratio of Assembly persons to the number of citizens in the civilized world. The United States, for example, has 435 members in the House of Representatives for 350 million citizens. Should the United States use the same ratio as Portugal it would need nearly 8,000 members!
Portugal is a country in trouble. Unless Justice, Legislation and the Constitution are reformed, and those who placed the country in the current situation and continue to govern under the flag of corruption are called to face their consequences, as well as implementing measures to weed out corruption, excesses, and conflicts of interest, there is no end in sight for its situation. Pedro Passos Coelho solution, in a national speech to the country, suggested Portuguese citizens begin looking for jobs in other countries. This is the faith of the Portuguese at this juncture.