Following its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of Brazil, its wealthiest colony, in 1822. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.
Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community - the EU's predecessor - in 1986. Over the following two decades, successive governments privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country joined the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU members.The economy grew by more than the EU average for much of the 1990s, but the rate of growth slowed in 2001-08. The economy contracted in 2009, and fell again from 2011 to 2013, as the government implemented spending cuts and tax increases to comply with conditions of an EU-IMF financial rescue package, signed in May 2011. Portugal successfully exited its EU-IMF program in May 2014. A modest recovery gathered steam in 2015 due to strong export performance and a rebound in private consumption. Growth slowed slightly in the first half of 2016, but rebounded in the last two quarters of the year to register at 1.4 percent for the year. Unemployment remains high, at 10.2%, at the end of 2016, but has improved steadily since peaking at 18% in 2013.The center-left minority Socialist government has unwound some unpopular austerity measures while managing to remain within most EU fiscal targets. The budget deficit fell from 11.2% of GDP in 2010 to 2.0% in 2016, the country’s lowest since democracy was restored in 1974, and surpassing the EU and IMF projections of 3%. Portugal is expected to exit the EU’s excessive deficit procedure by mid-2017.