Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. "Conquerors" reveals the Imperio Portugues in all of its splendor and ferocity, bringing to life the personalities of the enterprising and fanatical house of Aviz. Figures such as King Manuel the Fortunate, Joao II the Perfect Prince, marauding governor Afonso de Albuquerque, and explorer Vasco da Gama juggled their private ambitions and the public aims of the empire, often suffering astonishing losses in pursuit of a global fortune. Also central to the story of Portugal s ascent was its drive to eradicate Islamic culture and establish a Christian empire in the Indian Ocean. Portuguese explorers pushed deep into the African continent in search of the mythical Christian king Prester John, and they ruthlessly besieged Indian port cities in their attempts to monopolize trade.
The discovery of a route to India around the horn of Africa was not only a brilliant breakthrough in navigation but heralded a complete upset of the world order. For the next century, no European empire was more ambitious, no rulers more rapacious than the kings of Portugal. In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. At Crowley s hand, the complete story of the Portuguese empire and the human cost of its ambition can finally be told.
Praise for "Conquerors"
Excellent . . . Crowley s interpretations are nuanced and fair. "The Christian Science Monitor"
In a riveting narrative, Crowley chronicles Portugal's horrifically violent trajectory from impoverished, marginal nation to European power, vying with Spain and Venice to dominate the spice trade. "Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)
Brings to life the Portuguese explorers . . . perfect for anyone who likes a high seas tale. "Publishers Weekly"
Readers of Crowley s previous books will not be disappointed by this exciting tale of sea battles, land campaigns and shipwrecks. . . . Crowley makes a good case for reclaiming Portugal s significance as forger of the first global empire. "The Daily Telegraph"
Crowley has shown a rare gift for combining compelling narrative with lightly worn academic thoroughness as well as for balancing the human with the geopolitical qualities on display here. The story he has to tell may be a thrilling one but not every historian could tell it so thrillingly. Michael Prodger, "Financial Times"
A fast-moving and highly readable narrative . . . Crowley s] detailed reconstruction of events is based on a close reading of the works of the chroniclers, notably Barros and Correa, whose accounts were written in the tradition of the chronicles of chivalry. "History Today""
- ISBN-13: 9780812994001
- ISBN-10: 0812994000
- Publisher: Random House
- Publish Date: December 2015
- Page Count: 400
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-10-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Crowley (Empires of the Sea) charts how, beginning in 1415, Portugal diligently explored sea routes around Africa and India, intent on creating a new non-Mediterranean course for trade, which resulted in a complete upheaval of the multireligious and multicultural governance of the Indian Oceans trade routes. In a flowing narrative, he demonstrates kings Joãos and Manuels high expectations of regional dominance, and brings to life the Portuguese explorers Vasco da Gama, Afonso de Albuquerque, and Francisco de Almeida. Detailed descriptions address the high mortality of seafaring, and Crowley documents the turmoil inflicted upon native cultures as the Portuguese refused to compromise or give credence to local customs or the rank of non-Christians, even as they indulged in a side quest for a near-mythical Ethiopian Christian king. Surprisingly, theres no discussion of the Portuguese sailors attitude toward Muslims after centuries of Moorish invasions and war on the Iberian Peninsula. Perfect for anyone who likes a high seas tale, these Portuguese pirates prove that resilience and superior firepoweras well as banning the construction of globes and the reproduction of charts to keep knowledge from their trading rivals in Veniceestablished Portuguese dominance in a high-stakes, high-rewards game for power that permanently changed global relations and trade, all in 30 short years. Agent: Andrew Lownie Literary Agency (U.K.). (Dec.)