Fires, Smoke, and Burn Scars Across Portugal. Nine people have been killed in forest fires in Portugal, which continue to grow in the dry, hot conditions existing across the country. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite shows dozens of active fires detected by the sensor marked in red. The huge blazes concentrated in central Portugal are billowing a cloud of smoke that blankets most of the northern part of the country. This image was acquired on August 3, 2003. This false-color image shows vegetation in bright green, burned area in reddish brown, clouds in light blue (ice) and white (water), and smoke in grayish blue.
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.