As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions but far more wide ranging, the dynamic burst of Portuguese voyaging at the start of the 16th century is one of the tipping points of world history: the moment that the world went global. Within a short time span, a tiny country whose population did not exceed a million created a maritime empire that stretched from Brazil to Nagasaki.
Conquerors tells the almost forgotten story of how Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India, and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire. In an astonishing blitz of 30 years, a handful of visionary empire builders, with few resources but breathtaking ambition, attempted to seize the Indian Ocean, destroy Islam, and take control of world trade. This is history at its most vivid - an epic tale of navigation, trade and technology, money and religious zealotry, political diplomacy and espionage, sea battles and shipwrecks, endurance, courage, and terrifying brutality. Drawing on extensive firsthand accounts, it brings to life the exploits of an extraordinary band of conquerors - men such as Afonso de Albuquerque, the first European since Alexander the Great to found an Asian empire - who set in motion the forces of globalization.
Portugal was the imperial pathfinder, the template for a wave of successors. Its empire connected the world and created a framework for profound interactions. It left a huge and long-lasting influence on the culture, food, flora, art, history, and languages of the globe. It marked the start of 500 years of domination by the West, which is only reversing now.
©2015 Roger Crowley (P)2015 Recorded Books
Awesome story that is not covered in the average History class in school. Doesn't take sides and presents the good and bad of both conquered and conquerer. Reader was engaging and since he had excellent material to work with the overall rating is very high.
This book was written well and spoken well. I had no previous knowledge of the Portuguese other than the Magellan voyage. Worth the money even if your on the fence about purchasing this.
This is a story only vaguely known of in the West, and largely through the residual traces of Portuguese rule in places like Malacca, Goa and Mombassa.
A complex period of history is summarized clearly but without oversimplification, and like all of Crowley's books reads like a good novel. What is most admirable is his ability to imagine himself in the moment and to avoid the easy judgments of liberal 21st century anti-colonialist outrage. What the Portuguese did was outrageous by any modern yardstick, but Crowley allows the story to tell itself and for the reader to understand the actions of those conquerors, and of their enemies, with reference to the morality of that distant time.
A tremendous achievement; a great read.
Crowley paints an extremely vivid picture of events 500 years in the past. I found myself looking forward to going to work, just so I could jump back into the narrative. Davis is a gripping narrator, knowing when to read like a narrator, and when to inflect like a stage actor. I've had a copy of Crowley's "1453" on my shelf for a few months, and having finished Conquerors, that book just leapt to the front of my reading list.
The author didn't do a great job distinguishing the names and dates. With some background knowledge it's a great read that moves fast and doesn't get bogged down with all of the minutia, yet has enough to help understand the situation.
One of the greatest Empire Builders of human history and all for the glory of his King, God and Portugal.
Awesome book that deserved to be turned into a movie!
In the 16th century Portugal, a small country with limited resources, became the first to explore and conquer the the Indian Ocean. This book describes in vivid detail the harsh reality of the cruelty and strategy required to accomplish that remarkable feat.
The exotic situations encountered in the initial amalgamation of Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism provides material for some remarkable stories. I highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to better understand the cultural clashes we see today. The effect of different leadership strategies in warfare is well demonstrated.
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