I have a lot of interest in history, economics and politics. 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. The accounts are both horrifying and fascinating. The world was different then and voyages lasted months and even years. To some extent Crowley presents this pre-existing as idyllic; few disagreements between merchants or rulers, and so on. The reality of the conquest is explained in detail, and it is fascinating how such a small kingdom came to dominate the Indian Ocean so thoroughly, with underwhelming numbers and little financial clout. I'm glad the moon did not have inhabitants for the Apollo astronauts to patronise and threaten, though.
Crowley has written an accessible book about a remarkable and depressing period in world history. Political and economic context is at the bare minimum, and the focus is on the adventuring side of things. However, I did not like the tendency of the author to portray savage Portuguese pirates who killed so many innocent people as great military commanders. Albuquerque in particular isn't stupid; he sees how impossibly pointless these tactics are, and starts making changes. Both began on the Iberian peninsula where the indigenous Christian populations of Castile, Aragon and other future components of a united Spanish monarchy, and the tough, impoverished little kingdom of , perched on the tip of the peninsula, drove out the Muslim Moorish invaders who had overrun their lands starting in the 8th century. The fidalgos however are so insulted by this that at one stage they apparently tried to break the weapons! 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.
In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. He lives in Gloucestershire, England. And understanding historical context is important too: wanting to get to the Indian Ocean in order to screw the Egyptian Muslims is definitely unpleasant, but and this is not to downgrade the unpleasantness I want to know why they did it. But the indomitable will of megalomaniacs like Albuquerque and his compatriots seemed to win the day. The money, the dreams, the bravery and tenacity required - these the two periods have in common.
They were unlike any Christians the Portuguese had ever seen. More than any accessible and popular maritime history that I know of, Crowley really examines in detail the critical years of 1497 when Vasco da Gama set sail for India to 1515 the death of the Portuguese governor of India, and warlord, Alfonso de Albuquerque. And with monsoon winds that are regular to make criss-crossing if not straightforward then timetable-able - well of course the various different civilisations, from Malacca and what is now Malaysia over to what is now Oman, with India in between, they're going to do what humans do: explore, and look for ways to make money. He lives in Gloucestershire, England. The Portuguese also explored inland Africa for the mythical Christian king Prester John.
«Os meus pecados certamente são grandes para o rei. Conquerors is a book that at times was hard to enjoy. The story he has to tell may be a thrilling one but not every historian could tell it so thrillingly. I would certainly buy and read such a book. Their vessels are armed with bombards, shorter than those in use with us.
It was Bartolomeu Dias who perfected a novel technique to swing around the southern tip of Africa to enter Indian Ocean. At Crowley's hand, the complete story of the Portuguese empire and the human cost of its ambition can finally be told. Even so, the book has done a good job showing the horrifying cost of conquest, and the intricate cultural world the Portuguese smashed to pieces. How could this tiny nation do what the great powers of Europe at that time could not even imagine? But, these traders brought overwhelming firepower to the table. Portugal was many years ahead of the competition both in it's ships, naval war power and knowledge of the seas. The book is easy to read and follow -- and the maps help too. Therefore, the level of detail in many of the events is lacking.
The unfortunate crews had their hands, noses, and ears cut off and were put ashore to announce the terror and majesty of Portugal. Our group has been meeting and discussing books for over 10 years now. I found the last point fascinating. Clearly, the author did his research, but he also knows how to tell a story and slip in lots of facts and keep it interesting. He is one of the very best writers that I know of in pulling together how political factors intersect with military and transport technology intersect with economic constraints while demonstrating the importance of military tactics.
In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. He encouraged his men marry local women and established an unique multi-racial culture in India, a theme that was resisted by a section of Portuguese, including the clergy. Ainda assim é notável o que os portugueses daquele tempo conseguiram, com tão poucos homens e com tão poucos meios. What it doesn't convey is the sheer, breathtaking excitement of it all. I recently read a book on Prince Henry the Navigator and as that ended at his death with a short description of Diaz and De Gama's voyages, this made the perfect 'sequel'. This book is a better as a background and introduction to the subject.