Author: Barry Hatton
Extent: 256 pp
Publication: July 2018
Publisher: Hurst and Company
A History of Lisbon
A boldly written evocation of one of the world’s great cities—the gateway to the Atlantic and port of origin for Portuguese overseas exploration.
Lisbon was almost somewhere else. In 1755 Portuguese officials considered moving the city after it was devastated by what is believed to have been the strongest earthquake ever to strike modern Europe, followed by a tidal wave as high as a double-decker bus and a six-day inferno that turned sand into glass. Lisbon’s charm is legendary, but its rich, 2,000-year history is not widely known.
Barry Hatton unearths these forgotten memories in an entertaining account of Lisbon’s colourful past—from the Roman theatre and Hippodrome and the dramatic 1147 siege during the Iberian Reconquista, to the assassination of the king, the founding of a republic and the darkness of dictatorship in modern times. He brings to life this wealthy international bazaar at the centre of an empire that spanned four continents. By the mid-1500s, around 10 per cent of Lisbon’s population was black and the city today still bears hallmarks of an African heritage. But gone are the rhinoceros, five elephants, Arabian horse and jaguar that once led the king’s cortège; Lisbon is now a European capital, in yet another new chapter of the Portuguese story.
Queen of the Sea is an unrivalled, intimate portrait of a vibrant city at the heart of world history.