• A Brief History of Portugal

  • Indispensable for Travellers
  • By: Jeremy Black
  • Narrated by: Roger Davis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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A Brief History of Portugal

By: Jeremy Black
Narrated by: Roger Davis
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Publisher's Summary

This is a comprehensive history of Portugal that covers the whole span, from the Stone Age to today. An introduction provides an understanding of geographical and climatic issues, before an examination of Portugal's prehistory and classical Portugal, from the Stone Age to the end of the the Roman era.  

Portugal's history from AD 420 to the 13th century takes in the Suevi, Visigoths and Moors. Then, a look at medieval Portugal, covers the development of Christian Portugal culminating with the expulsion of the Moors, with a focus on key sites.    

A subsequent section on Spanish rule, between 1580 and 1640, explains why Spain took over and why Spanish rule collapsed.   

There is a significant focus on Portugal's global role, particularly during the age of exploration, or expansion, in the 15th century to 1580: Manueline Portugal, Henry the Navigator, Vasco da Gama and Belém. Portugal was the first of the Atlantic empires, with territory in the Azores, Madeira, West Africa and Brazil, and it remained a major empire until the 1820s, retaining an African empire until the 1970s. Its empire in Asia - in Malacca, Macao, Goa and Timor - continued even longer, until the 1990s. Black shows how Portugal had a global impact, but the world, too, had an impact on Portugal.    

Baroque Portugal, between 1640 and 1800, is explored through palaces in Mafra, Pombal and elsewhere and the wealth of Brazil.    

The 19th century brought turmoil in the form of a French invasion, the Peninsular War, Brazilian independence, successive revolutions, economic issues and the end of the monarchy.   

Republican Portugal brought further chaos in the early years of the 20th century, then the dictatorship of Salazar and its end in the Carnation Revolution of 1974. Portugal's role in both world wars is examined, also its wars in Africa.   

From the overthrow of autocracy to a new constitution and the leadership of Soares, contemporary, democratic Portugal is explored, including the fiscal crisis of recent years.   

Throughout Black introduces the history and character of the country's principal regions, including the Azores, Madeira and the Cape Verde Islands. He looks at key national sites, at Portuguese food and wine and the arts, with special sections devoted to port, Portugal's famous tiles and the university established at Coimbra in 1290.

©2020 Jeremy Black (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about A Brief History of Portugal

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Disappointing

A robot reads Wikipedia's entry on Portugal with no flair or flourish. Moreover, the word "moreover" features in dull textbook prose at least once every page...or so it seems. All very disappointing.

2 people found this helpful

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Title is misleading - terrible narration

I did not enjoy this book. Most of the book is devoted to rambling off dates and names and only 5% of the book was of interest to me as a tourist to Portugal. I did not find it "Indespensable For Travellers". The narrator's voice ranges from very loud to soft, so in order to hear the softer sections, the volume is too loud in other parts. I will not purchase another Audible book with this narrator.

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Into the light finally…

Fascinated by its history and I know there’s so much more to learn. I always have a hard time with the repetitive parts of cronológico dates, names of successions in staying focus.

I just feel I didn’t get enough of this read therefore I am reading it or shall we say hearing it again. Loved it!!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-18-22

worst history book I ever come across

This is not a history book, it is a parade of dates and names without even a hint of a story. In fact even the narrater, through no fault of his own I think, sounds like he falls asleep while reading and then suddenly wakes up reading an unexpected LOUD sentence. I have never been more disappointed in a book.

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  • Mr OJ Cousins
  • 08-10-22

Good

About to visit Portugal. Idea of the book is great - brief Portuguese history, tourist information and summary of Anglo-Portuguese relationship. However, writing and narration is OK/good rather than excellent. The section on modern election results, with percentage of seats won was very boring in audiobook format.

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  • Jon lanģley
  • 04-01-22

Brief yes, but a very good base.

I cannot think of any better way to learn the basics of this wonderful country, full of fascinating history and with such a superb effect on the worlds history. Good, packed with info without overwhelming and the narrator did a grand job. Verdict: essential reading.

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  • Emorizzi
  • 09-14-21

Good short history of Portugal

I bought this book because I wanted to learn more about Portugal and I was not disappointed. It contains a lot of information, not only about the history of the country but also interesting facts about the main landmarks in continental Portugal, it’s former colonies and the islands. I do recommend it!

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  • A Prince Tavira
  • 02-23-21

Great insights but wish more on 20th century

I know little about Portugal despite having moved here, which is totally shameful, so this was fascinating.

I only wish 20th century has been more extensive as Salazar and his legacy is almost invisible or non-existent in the English language. I just wish and of the only criticism of the book, covered more of that era.

Otherwise, fascinating, extensive and detailed.

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  • Samuel Dixon
  • 12-07-20

Fantastic

I myself decided to listen to this audiobook specifically for the Henry the navigator period of history.

I have been left knowing so much more and with many more interesting topics in which I want to learn about.

A very informative book which was read in an engaging way, it has certainly covered Portuguese history, where described as brief it is certainly extensive.

Would highly recommend.