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The NATO Embassy Driving Tour
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As one of the oldest nations in Europe, Portugal has almost eight centuries of history: from the Napoleonic Wars to its independence in 1791. Portugal and the United States established diplomatic relations this year, making Portugal the first neutral nations to forge ties with the young republic. In 1949, Portugal became a founding member of NATO and later joined the European Union. The Embassy of Portugal was established to maintain bilateral relations with the United States. The chancery is located along Embassy Row in the Massachusetts Avenue Historic District.


  • The Portuguese chancery. Wikimedia Commons.
  • Portugal's modern flag, adopted in 1911, includes a simple version of the national coat of arms. The flag was traditionally white and blue and changed to green and red after the 1910 Republican revolution. Wikimedia Commons.
  • Portugal's capital city, Lisbon, combines the feel of the coastline and an urban city. As the only European capital on the coast, there are many activities to engage in when visiting the city.

The Embassy of Portugal maintains diplomatic relations with the United States. The two countries have a long history of bilateral support. Portugal was one of the first countries to recognize the United States as an independent nation after the Revolutionary War. Portuguese consulates are located in San Francisco, New York City, Newark, Providence, Boston, and New Bedford, Massachusetts, with various honorary consulates across the United States. Portuguese communities reside throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, and Hawaii. 

Portugal remains very enthusiastic about relations with the United States, as the US is Portugal's "closest neighbor across the ocean.” The two countries engage in peacekeeping, economic development, science, security, and military support. Since the 1995 Agreement on Cooperation and Defense, Portugal and The United States Bilateral Commission meet semi-annually to review relations and current events. In 2015, the United States became Portugal's largest trading partner. 

Portugal helped found NATO in 1949 and entered the European Union in 1986. The NATO alliance has kept the United States and Portugal close allies over many years. The alliance between Portugal and NATO is very strong and continues to grow. Portugal actively participates in NATO operations and took part in operations conducted in Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Central and Eastern Europe. In fact, NATO has an office for the Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) in Lisbon. STRIKFORNATO is the alliances maritime battle staff and integrates the American maritime forces into NATO.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal had a firm command of the seas; however, it lost much of its wealth after the 1755 earthquake and the resulting destruction of Lisbon. Bad luck continued with occupation during the Napoleonic Wars and the independence of Brazil, which was Portugal's wealthiest colony in 1822. On the eve of World War I in 1910, revolution devoured the country, and the monarch was overthrown and replaced with restrictive governments regimes over the next several decades. In 1974, a left-wing coup overthrew the existing government and installed democratic reforms, and the following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies.

The World Factbook: Portugal. Central Intelligence Agency. January 12, 2017. Accessed March 15, 2017. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/po.html 

History. Embassy of Portugal: Washington, DC. Accessed March 15, 2017. http://www.embassyportugal-us.org/history/. 

Message from the Ambassador. Embassy of Portugal: Washington, DC. Accessed March 15, 2017. http://www.embassyportugal-us.org/message-from-the-ambassador/. 

Vital, Domingos Fezas. Message from the Ambassador. Embassy of Portugal: Washington DC. Accessed March 15, 2017. http://www.embassyportugal-us.org/message-from-the-ambassador/. 

U.S. Department of State. "A Guide to the United States' History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Portugal." Office of the Historian. Accessed November 2017. https://history.state.gov/countries/portugal

U.S. Department of State. “U.S. Relations with Portugal.” U.S. Department of State. November 29, 2016. Accessed March 15, 2017. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3208.htm