Portugal is 900 years old, and even though it has a relatively small area, it played a crucial role in world history. As of today, it is the oldest country in Europe with the same borders. During the 15th and 16th centuries Portugal started a major chapter in world history with the New World Discoveries "Descobrimentos". It established a sea route to India, and colonized areas in Africa Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde..., South America Brazil, Asia Macau,..., and Oceania East-Timor,... creating an empire. The Portuguese language continues to be the biggest connection between these countries.
In 1910, the Republic was established, abolishing the monarchy. However, this Republic was fragile and a military dictatorship was implemented, which lasted for 46 years, plunging the country into a marked stagnation. In 1974, Portugal became a free democracy, and in 1986 it joined the current European Union, quickly approaching European standards of development.
Portugal is one of the warmest European countries. In mainland Portugal, yearly temperature averages are about 15°C 55°F in the north and 18°C 64°F in the south. Madeira and Azores have a narrower temperature range as expected given their insularity, with the former having low precipitation in most of the archipelago and the latter being wet and rainy. Spring and Summer months are usually sunny and temperature maximum are very high during July and August, with maximums averaging between 35°C and 40°C 86°F - 95°F in the interior of the country, 30°C and 35°C in the north. Autumn and Winter are typically rainy and windy, yet sunny days are not rare either. Temperatures rarely fall below 5°C 41°F nearer to the sea, averaging 10°C 50°F, but can reach several degrees below 0°C 32°F further inland. Snow is common in winter in the mountainous areas of the north, especially in Serra da Estrela but melts quickly once the season is over. Portugal's climate can be classified as Mediterranean particularly the southern parts of the Algarve and Alentejo, though technically on Atlantic shore.