Sharing the western side of the Iberian Peninsula with Spain is Portugal. Although it is somewhat culturally and geographically isolated from Spain, Portugal features beautiful countryside, lively cities, and a rich, unique culture. The dictatorship-based government ended in 1974 and was followed by the advent of Democracy. Finally, Portugal joined the European Union in 1986. As a result, the country has evolved from one Western Europe’s poorest countries into one of ever-increasing prosperity.