With such a long sea coast, it is not surprising that Portugal has witnessed so many sailings and arrivals. This is why Portugal has been open to the world and to communication for so long. Portugal has assimilated peoples of different origins: Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, northern Europeans and peoples from Mauritania. In spite of all these mixtures, Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe. In the 12th century, the country gained its independence from the other kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula thanks to Count Afonso Henriques, who was the first king. A century later, with the conquest of the Algarve, Portugal was to definitively establish its continental borders.
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