Portugal is a nation in southwestern Europe, occupying the western portion of the Iberian Peninsula. It is bordered on the north and east by Spain, with which it shares the Iberian Peninsula, and to the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Azores (Acores) and the Madeira Islands, both located in the Atlantic, are autonomous regions of Portugal.
Portugal was a monarchy until 1910, when the first Portuguese republic was proclaimed. A period of great instability followed. In 1926 a coup d’etat installed a dictatorship that ruled Portugal for nearly five decades. A series of costly colonial wars in Africa beginning in the 1960s drained Portuguese resources and weakened the national economy. Partly as a result of these wars, a revolution occurred in Portugal in 1974, and a military junta came to power. The next year Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. A new constitution in 1976 established a democratic system of government. Macau, the last remnant of Portugal’s colonial empire in Asia, was returned to China in 1999.