Historical province, Portugal. Lying southeast of the Tagus River, it borders Spain and the Atlantic Ocean. The region produces two-thirds of the world's cork. Until the Portuguese revolution of 1974, Alentejo contained vast estates, mostly owned by absentee landlords; many have since been divided among the Alentejanos.
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Alentejo is a south-central region of Portugal. Its name's origin, "Além-Tejo", literally translates to "Beyond the Tagus" or "Across the Tagus". The region is separated from the rest of Portugal by the Tagus river, and extends to the south where it borders the Algarve. There are five sub-regions; the Alto (High) Alentejo, the Baixo (Lower) Alentejo, the Alentejo Central, the Alentejo Litoral, and Lezíria do Tejo. Its main cities are Évora (region's capital), Santarém (formerly belonging to Ribatejo region), Portalegre, Beja, and Sines. It has 776,585 inhabitants (2001), and an area of about 31,152 km² (density of 24 inhabitants per square kilometre).
Being a traditional, old-time region, it is also one of the more recent seven Regions of Portugal (NUTS II subdivisions). Today Lezíria do Tejo subregion, formerly belonging to Lisboa e Vale do Tejo region, is part of Alentejo NUTS II region. Alentejo is a region known for its polyphonic singing groups, comparable to those found on Sardinia and Corsica.
The landscape is mostly made of soft rolling hills or plains, with cork oaks and olive trees, or the occasional vine. In the north you can find mostly cattle, such as cows, sheep and pig (both white and black); to the south, you will find mostly crops.
To the east of Portalegre is the Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede, a Nature Park Area that includes charming medieval villages that have changed very little from those days. In the south near Mértola is another Nature Park Area named Parque Natural do Vale Guadiana. This is mainly uninhabited and a contrast to the other above. To the west, the coastal strip that runs from the port of Sines down to Cabo de São Vicente is the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park.