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The Portuguese Empire, 1415-1808: A World on the Move 2nd Paperback Edition Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0801859557
ISBN-10: 0801859557
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Offers a variety of complimentary perspectives on the background, nature and extent of Portuguese expansion..a powerful reminder that empires are made, not born.

(Lincoln Paine Nautical Research Journal)

Enumerates Portuguese contributions to other peoples' pasts and presents, especially in the contexts of the 'ebb and flow of commodities,' the 'dissemination of flora and fauna' and the 'transmission of styles, theories and ideas.' The original feature is the author's concentration on people and transport as vectors of cultural exchange... He evokes a lively picture of the highly mobile merchants, missionaries and administrators who hurried back and forth across oceans and continents to keep the enterprise going.

(Times Literary Supplement)

A. J. R. Russell-Wood realized that human and geographical factors contributed much to Portuguese success. Some practices were responses to the colonial experience itself. He therefore culled this historical literature, largely modern works in English including his own, to explore a rich variety of aspects of the Portuguese colonial empire... If geography is defined as mankind's relationship with its planet, this book is the essence of historical geography. Informative and entertaining, it is important for its new approach and insights, and because it confirms the amazing global perspective of Portugal's colonial rulers.

(Journal of Historical Geography)

This is a book where every page bears witness to the author's fascination with the Portuguese colonial world and his deep love of his subject. It is the kind of book which results from a scholar's decision to open to the world the files he has accumulated in a lifetime's reading. As a result it is a sort of encyclopaedia of strange and recondite information, colourful detail, anecdotes and quotations. It is certainly a book that any student of Portuguese colonial activity would want to read and, indeed, to own.

(Mariner's Mirror)

About the Author

A. J. R. Russell-Wood is professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University. His books include Fidalgos and Philanthropists: The Santa Casa de Misericoridia of Bahia; Society and Government in Colonial Brazil, 1500-1822; and From Colony to Nation: Essays on the Independence of Brazil.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 2nd Paperback Edition edition (July 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801859557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801859557
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book on the Portuguese history overseas is not a boring record of past events but a lively account of the intense movement of the Portuguese in the so-called Age of Discoveries, from Madeira to Brazil, to Japan and to Korea. It is a fascinating and well-documented record of the constant flow of people and commodities between Portugal and Africa, Asia and America. The superb illustrations help bring to life this constant flux and reflux. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and am very happy to recommend it to anyone interested in Portugal and its people,of today and yesterday.
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Format: Paperback
This is a lively account of the Portuguese sea discoveries in the 15th and 16th century, arriving at new lands and meeting new people, the trade and other exchanges that followed, all presented in a most interesting manner. Movement, colour, adventure make this book engaging reading. I also have Hermano Saraiva' s "Portugal a Companion History", another excellent book. I think they go very well together, one for the overseas history the other for Portugal itself. These are two books that bring history to life.
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Format: Paperback
In terms of scope of work, Russell-Wood's Portuguese Empire -World on the Move is a welcome addition to the "holistic" study of Portuguese overseas enterprise. To be sure, Portuguese scholarship has "caught up" with developments in Western historiography in the last two decades or so; there is also no shortage of area studies. Yet coverage remains uneven and this is especially so where English works on the subject is concerned
In terms of Western historiography, global history remains a nascent field. The diversely and globally located formal and informal enclaves does not mean that the overseas experiences belong to the Portuguese people alone, they were not to be claimed exclusively by Asians, Africans or Brazilians either; but as one scholar remarked -it was a shared memory
Like its more "matured" British counterpart, Portuguese history is increasingly interacting with indigenous and primary sources. Russell-Wood's Portuguese Empire is built on largely secondary sources, as expected; including afew Portuguese primary materials. Mastering the languages and the necessary paleography remains a daunting task for any historian. Eventhough the perspective might be Portuguese, the issues dealt with are global in nature; qualifying it in the category of world history.
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If you're into naval/empire history, this book will grab hold of you and not let you put it down. Though not completely rare, serious writing on the Portuguese empire is often higher billed by the then Spanish contemporaries or simply briefly mentioned, usually in reference to slavery and disease. This work helps to not only counterbalance this tendency but to also illumine exactly what, when, and where the Portuguese were developing during the early days to the end of the empire.

Very well written and very thought provoking. Again, if you're into ships, naval history, and a people who touched mostly all others, this is one serious book to consider.

ALSO, I recommend Eugene Mendonsa's "West Africa" for a slightly more detailed description of the Portuguse presence in West Africa (1440s-1637).
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One sure thing about the author is the deep knowledge he has on the subject. But the way the book is presented, developing a subject -like the chapter about flora and fauna- makes the reading a little difficult since you see lots of names and short stories related to that. I was expecting a chronological story, my fault then.
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