Between morning and afternoon, fires across Portugal and Spain appeared to flare up, producing much more smoke at the time of this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite than during the earlier Terra MODIS image also acquired on August 4, 2003. Portugal has declared a national disaster due to the fires, which have been burning over a week and have killed 14 people.
Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe and the world, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. The pre-Celtic people, Iberians, Celts, Carthaginians and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Visigoths and Suebi Germanic peoples. After the Muslim conquests of the Iberian Peninsula, most of the territory was part of Al-Andalus for several centuries. Portugal as a country was established during the early Christian Reconquista. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128. The Kingdom of Portugal was later proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique in 1139, and independence from León was recognised by the Treaty of Zamora in 1143
Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC