Provinces, Portugal's historic

   Today, continental Portugal is divided into 18 administrative districts, each with a district capital. Traditionally, Portugal was divided into historic provinces whose names reflect the multiple cultural influences of various invaders of ancient Lusitania from the Romans to the Muslims (Arabs and Berbers). More than a few of these names derive from the Arabic, including Algarve, a corruption of "Al-gharb" or "The West" province. The 12 historic provinces, whose names continue to be used in everyday life despite the new (since the 19th century) district system, are: in the north, Minho, Trás-os-Montes, Douro, Douro Litoral, and Beira Alta; in the center, Beira Baixa, Beira Litoral, Estremadura, and Ribatejo; and in the south, Alto Alentejo, Baixo Alentejo, and Algarve.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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