Tony Disney’s A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire


A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire
From Beginnings to 1807
Volume 2, The Portuguese Empire
A. R. Disney
La Trobe University, Victoria

(ISBN-13: 9780521409087)

* Also available in Paperback
* | eBook formatPublished April 2009

Temporarily unavailable – no date available
$90.00 (C)

View Inside

The Kingdom of Portugal
was created as a by-product of the Christian Reconquest of Hispania.
With no geographical raison d’être and no obvious roots in its Roman,
Germanic, or Islamic pasts, it for long remained a small, struggling
realm on Europe’s outer fringe. Then, in the early fifteenth century,
this unlikely springboard for Western expansion suddenly began to
accumulate an empire of its own, eventually extending more than halfway
around the globe. The History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire,
drawing particularly on historical scholarship postdating the 1974
Portuguese Revolution, offers readers a comprehensive overview and
reinterpretation of how all this happened – the first such account to
appear in English for more than a generation. Volume I concerns the
history of Portugal itself from pre-Roman times to the climactic French
invasion of 1807, and Volume II traces the history of the Portuguese
overseas empire.


1. North Africa; 2. Exploring
the coasts of Atlantic Africa; 3. Engaging with Atlantic Africa; 4. The
Atlantic islands and fisheries; 5. Breakthrough to maritime Asia; 6.
Empire in the East; 7. Informal presence in the East; 8. Brazil:
seizing and keeping possession; 9. Formation of colonial Brazil; 10.
Late colonial Brazil; 11. Holding on in India: the late seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries; 12. Eastern empire in the late colonial era:


“This trenchant second volume sets a
new standard for reflecting on the Portuguese world empire during the
early modern period. Covering the Lusitanian presence on five
continents, it pays attention simultaneously to political decisions of
opposing court factions in Portugal, to the leading role of noble
captains and agents working inside and outside formal colonial
institutions, and to their involvement in a variety of local cultures.
As a result, Anthony Disney is able to emphasize the centrality of
Portuguese colonial situations as cultural hybrids.”
-Diogo Ramada Curto, European University Institute, Florence and
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

“Anthony Disney has provided in this impressive two-volume
survey of the history of Portugal and its overseas empire to the
beginning of the nineteenth century a work of synthesis that has long
been needed. Up-to-date in its scholarship, lucid and coherent in its
exposition, his account, skillfully blending narrative and analysis,
will immediately take its place as the essential starting-point for all
those interested in the origins and character of the first truly global
empire in world history.” -Sir John Elliott, Regius Professor Emeritus
of Modern History, University of Oxford

“The history of the Portuguese world is barnacled with
accretions: traditional errors, apparently ineradicable myths, partisan
controversies, irrational passions. Anthony Disney has scraped the
bottom and set the ship to rights. His book is sober but engaging,
meticulous but well paced, comprehensive but concise: a monument of
scholarship and discernment, which everyone interested in the subject
will want to hand.” -Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Tufts University

“This book provides a comprehensive and stimulating view of the
history of the early modern Portuguese Empire. Without losing sight of
chronology and geography, political projects and economic trends,
Disney skillfully elaborates on key issues of the social history of
Overseas Portugal, such as the nature of colonial societies or the
relevance of informal settlements. The author masters an impressive
range of primary sources and secondary materials and builds on them to
offer a refreshing global history of the Portuguese Empire that will
undoubtedly stand as reference in the field for many years to come.”
-Jorge Flores, Brown University

“Disney’s volume provides a full economic and political outline
of a truly global maritime enterprise. It is the most accessible and up
to date history of the Portuguese Empire available in English.” -Stuart
Schwartz, Yale University

“This long-awaited volume by Anthony Disney possesses all the
qualities we have come to expect of his scholarship. It is balanced,
sober and written with clarity of vision and purpose. Four decades
after Charles Boxer’s classic work on the Portuguese seaborne empire,
we at last have another elegant synthesis that takes on the whole of
the Portuguese overseas enterprise from 1400 to 1800 armed with the
fruits of the latest research. Imperial historians of a comparative
bent will be obliged to read this work, and students of European
expansion and the Iberian world will certainly find it on their reading
lists. It is unlikely to be replaced for another generation.”
-Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Professor of History, UCLA

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About fredericknoronha

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