Lisbon, Portugal

Capital and largest city of of Portugal, on the Tagus River. The city is built on the terraced sides of a range of low hills overlooking the harbor.

In the older section the streets are narrow and crooked, but the newer section has straight, broad, tree-lined avenues, handsome squares, and extensive public gardens. Population (1981 preliminary) 812,385.

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Lisbon is the center of the country's rail and highway network, and an international airport is nearby. The major industrial and commercial area of Portugal. Lisbon has an exceptionally fine harbor and is also the chief seaport of Portugal. In Lisbon are shipbuilding yards, petroleum refineries, and plants producing chemicals, foodstuffs, hardware, paper, and textiles. Imports are mainly raw materials, and the chief exports include cork, canned fish, olive oil, resin, and wine.

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Lisbon is believed to have been founded by the Phoenicians and occupied by the Romans in the 2nd century BC and by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD. The city was held by the Moors from 716 until it was recaptured by the Portuguese in 1147. Around 1260 Lisbon became the capital of the kingdom of Portugal, and following a period of colonial expansion, it became one of the wealthiest cities in Europe. It declined in importance during the period of Spanish rule (1580-1640). In 1755 an earthquake, followed by a tidal wave and a fire, destroyed much of the city. Portugal was a neutral nation during World War II, and Lisbon became both a haven and a port of embarkation for refugees from all over Europe. A 1988 fire, called the worst disaster in the city's history since 1755, destroyed the shopping district.

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