Lisbon is the political, economic, and cultural center of Portugal. Large shipments of ceramics, cork, sardines, tomato paste, and wine are exported from Lisbon’s harbor.One of Europe’s chief shipyards is across the Tagus River from Lisbon. Portugal’s chief banks, insurance companies, and investment firms are in Lisbon.
During the 1400′s and 1500′s, the city served as headquarters for the explorers and adventurers who established Portugal’s empire in Africa, Asia, and South America. In 1755, an earthquake destroyed most of Lisbon and killed more than 60,000 people.
During World War II (1939-1945), Lisbon became a center of international political activity because it was a neutral city. On April 25, 1974, a military revolt in Lisbon overthrew the dictatorship that had ruled Portugal since 1926.