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Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire
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In Conquerors, New York Times bestselling author Roger Crowley gives us the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy. Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Conquerors reveals the Império Português 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,” João 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
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Street Date:
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Roger Crowley. (2015). Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire. Random House Publishing Group.

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Roger Crowley. 2015. Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire. Random House Publishing Group.

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Roger Crowley, Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire. Random House Publishing Group, 2015.

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Roger Crowley. Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire. Random House Publishing Group, 2015. Web.

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      • bioText: Roger Crowley read English at Cambridge University and taught English in Istanbul. He has traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean basin over many years and has a wide-ranging interest in its past and culture, as well as in seafaring and eyewitness history. He is also the author of 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West, Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World, and City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas. He lives in Gloucestershire, England.
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title
Conquerors
fullDescription
In Conquerors, New York Times bestselling author Roger Crowley gives us the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy.
Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Conquerors reveals the Império Português 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,” João 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
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: History Today
      • content: Praise for Conquerors "Excellent . . . [Roger] 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 "In his previous studies of the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century struggles between Christians and Ottomans for control of the Mediterranean, 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, which covers the voyages of Dias and da Gama and the battles and conquests of Almeida and Albuquerque . . . [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."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Christian Science Monitor
      • content: "Crowley has an astonishing gift for narration; his account is as exciting as any thriller."--The Wall Street Journal "Crowley's page-turner history . . . deserves to be this [season's] most recommended nonfiction book. . . . Rich in character, action, surprise, what transpired in those few desperate weeks is one of history's best and most thrilling stories."--The Dallas Morning News "[Crowley] offers exquisitely delicate insights and undulating descriptive passages. Yet in his descriptions of the battles, his prose is so taut and tense, it is impossible not to be caught up in the harrowing action."
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Independent Review of Books
      • content: "[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page."--The New York Times "The rise and fall of Venice's empire is an irresistible story, and Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler."-- Financial Times "A pleasure to read . . . a gripping story."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 12, 2015
        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 Ocean’s trade routes. In a flowing narrative, he demonstrates kings João’s and Manuel’s 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, there’s 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 firepower—as well as “banning the construction of globes and the reproduction of charts” to keep knowledge from their trading rivals in Venice—established 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.).

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from September 1, 2015
        Portugal's bloody, defiant imperial adventure. In a riveting narrative, Crowley (City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas, 2012, etc.) chronicles Portugal's horrifically violent trajectory from "impoverished, marginal" nation to European power, vying with Spain and Venice to dominate the spice trade. The story begins in 1479, when Spanish and Portuguese delegates met in Tordesillas, Spain, "to bargain for the world." The rival countries, intent on finding a sea route to the Indies, "simply cut the globe in two with a vertical line through the Atlantic Ocean." With Isabella and Ferdinand funding explorers such as the "unreliable fabulist" Columbus, King Manuel of Portugal made his own grand plans. "Manuel," writes the author, "was incapable of distinguishing men of true merit from the inept, the corrupt, and the self-interested." Among the worst was the ferocious Vasco da Gama, angry, short-tempered, and a fanatical hater of Muslims. He became the face of Portugal for sultans, villagers, and seamen as his fleet pillaged, threatened, murdered, and dismembered in their assault on Africa and India. Crowley describes in gory detail Portugal's collision with "a polyethnic world...more deeply layered and complex" than they could understand, a world that fueled the "deeply rooted idea of holy war as a Portuguese vocation." The author also vividly re-creates the dire conditions endured by explorers and their crews. Food deteriorated, and worms devoured biscuits and meat as well as the boards of ships; drinking water became increasingly foul, and scurvy could wipe out an entire crew in 111 days. The Portuguese project came to be overseen by Afonso de Albuquerque, a "highly intelligent, tortured man" who applied the nation's technological expertise to a flexible strategy of defensible forts, a network of bases, and "the necessity for exemplary violence" against Muslims. An impressive history of global clashes, religious zealotry, and economic triumph.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2015

        Crowley (Empires of the Sea) offers a play-by-play of how Portugal became the first European global power-empire. Starting in the late 15th century, this peripheral European country started amassing navigational knowledge that allowed its sailors to eventually round the tip of Africa and enter the cosmopolitan sea-trading area of the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese presence signaled the end of Muslim and Indian domination of the world's important sea-trade routes--and the beginning of European hegemony in it. Crowley's detailed investigation of how the country built up its empire follows the people and events that led to a shift in economic domination and hence, world power. The author explicitly shows the cultural misconceptions, miscommunications, technological superiority, and sheer hubris that resulted in a newcomer population dominating a majority one. Although aimed at those who enjoy their history filled with intricate details vs. overarching themes, this chronicle brims with larger-than-life figures and epic battles, both between men and nature. VERDICT This chronicle will be of interest to history buffs and a welcome read for those who appreciate accounts of naval battles, the European "Age of Discovery," and the history of marine travel and trade on the seas.--Laura Hiatt-Smith, Conifer, CO

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        July 1, 2015

        Crowley spent some of his childhood in Malta, hung around Greece the summer after finishing school, and taught in Istanbul after reading English at Cambridge, and his enduring interest in the history of the Mediterranean shows in his first three books: Constantinople: The Last Great Siege/1453; Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World, a Sunday Times (UK) History Book of the Year in 2009 and a New York Times best seller; and City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas. Here he turns his attention to Portugal's entrance into the empire game--and cutthroat dominance of the spice trade--after Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route to India.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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In Empires of the Sea and City of Fortune, New York Times bestselling author Roger Crowley established himself as our generation's preeminent historian of the great European seafaring empires, and the go-to author for post-Crusade clashes of East and West. Now, in Conquerors, Crowley gives us the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers--a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal's discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy.

Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal's rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Conquerors reveals the Império Português in all of its splendor and ferocity, bringing to life...
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