- (England before 1707)Next to Spain, the country with which Portugal has had the closest diplomatic, political, and economic relations into contemporary times and during much of its history as a nation. Today, the two countries retain the formal bonds of the world's oldest diplomatic alliance. Whatever the diplomatic ups and downs of the alliance, Britain and Portugal increasingly linked their economies, starting with the Methuen Treaty (1703) in the early 18th century. "English woolens for Portuguese wines" was the essence of this trade arrangement, but many other products were traded between these two peoples with quite different religious and cultural features. Among economic links, now traditional, are those in banking and finance, manufacturing, agriculture, and trade.Portugal joined Britain in several international economic organizations well before Portugal entered the European Economic Community (EEC), the predecessor of the European Union (EU), in 1986, among these the European Free Trade Association (in 1959), the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Tourism, too, has long been a key connection. Ever since the 1700s, privileged tourists have enjoyed the sun and citrus fruits of Portugal and Madeira for their health. Another significant link is that Britons comprise one of the largest foreign communities in Portugal. Tourism and foreign communities have increased considerably since the early 1960s, when cheap airfares began. Among EU members, Britain remains one of Portugal's largest foreign investors.
Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. by Douglas L. Wheeler . 2014.
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