The Portuguese: A Modern History

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Interlink Books, 2011 - History - 261 pages
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An intimate portrait of a fascinating country and its people. Portugal is an established member of the European Union, one of the founders of the euro currency and a founding member of NATO. Yet it is an inconspicuous and largely overlooked country on the continents south-west rim. Barry Hatton shines a light on this enigmatic corner of Europe by blending historical analysis with entertaining personal anecdotes. He describes the idiosyncrasies that make the Portuguese unique and surveys the eventful path that brought them to where they are today. In the fifteenthand sixteenthcentury Age of Discovery the Portuguese led Europe out of the Mediterranean into the Atlantic and they brought Asia and Europe together. Evidence of their one-time four-continent empire can still be felt, not least in the Portuguese language which is spoken by more than 220 million people from Brazil, across parts of Africa to Asia. Analyzing present-day society and culture, The Portuguese also considers the nations often tumultuous past. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake was one of Europes greatest natural disasters, strongly influencing continental thought and heralding Portugals extended decline. The Portuguese also weathered Europes longest dictatorship under twentieth-century ruler Antnio Salazar. A 1974 military coup, called the Carnation Revolution, placed the Portuguese at the center of Cold War attentions. Portugals quirky relationship with Spain, and with its oldest ally England, is also scrutinized. Portugal, which claims Europes oldest fixed borders, measures just 561 by 218 kilometers. Within that space, however, it offers a patchwork of widely differing and beautiful landscapes. With an easygoing and seductive lifestyle expressed most fully in their love of food, the Portuguese also have an anarchical streak evident in many

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About the author (2011)

'Barry Hatton has been a foreign correspondent in Lisbon for more than twenty years. He co-authored a biography, in Portuguese, of Portugal's first woman prime minister, Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo.

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