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In a time of terror for Europe’s monarchs--imprisoned, exiled, executed--Napoleon’s army marched toward Lisbon. Cornered, Prince Regent João had to make the most fraught decision of his life. Protected by the British Navy, he fled to Brazil with his entire family, including his mentally ill mother, most of the nobility, and the entire state apparatus. Thousands made the voyage, but it was no luxury cruise. It took two months in cramped, decrepit ships. Sickness ran rampant. Lice infested some of the vessels, and...
In a time of terror for Europe’s monarchs--imprisoned, exiled, executed--Napoleon’s army marched toward Lisbon. Cornered, Prince Regent João had to make the most fraught decision of his life. Protected by the British Navy, he fled to Brazil with his entire family, including his mentally ill mother, most of the nobility, and the entire state apparatus. Thousands made the voyage, but it was no luxury cruise. It took two months in cramped, decrepit ships. Sickness ran rampant. Lice infested some of the vessels, and noble women had to shave their hair and grease their bald heads with antiseptic sulfur. Vermin infested the food, and bacteria contaminated the drinking water. No European monarch had ever set foot in the Americas, let alone relocating an entire court there. A week after landing, Prince João opened Brazil’s ports, liberating the colony from a trade monopoly with Portugal. While explorers mapped the burgeoning nation’s distant regions, the prince authorized the construction of roads, the founding of schools, and the creation of factories, raising Brazil to kingdom status in 1815. Meanwhile, under French control, Portugal was suffering the dire effects of famine and war. Never had the country lost so many people in so little time. But after Napoleon’s fall and over a decade of misery, the Portuguese demanded the return of their king. João sailed back in tears, but because of him Brazil remained whole and powerful. As he left, the last chapter of colonial Brazil drew to a close, setting the stage for the strong, independent nation that we know today, changing the history of the New World forever.
Winner of the Jabuti Prize
A Brazilian Academy of Letters Best Work of Nonfiction
Critical Acclaim for 1808: The Flight of the Emperor
"This vivid portrait of an unkempt, self-preserving king provides insight into the obscure history of Brazil. ... A meticulous and encyclopedic account of life in the colony of Brazil, as well as the doings of the Portuguese royalty in their new home ... 1808: The Flight of the Emperor offers important knowledge for understanding how modern-day Brazil, a diverse mix of the ancestors of Europeans, slaves, and natives, was created. ... Gomes tells that story completely, with vivid accounts from historians as well as original sources."
"Highly readable ... a well-researched, engaging history."
"Good airline reading on your next flight to Rio."
“A light and informative history ... Gomes offers a broad perspective on the period, portrayed in bright colors.”
—Folha de São Paulo
“A rare portrait ... Gomes’s research shines . . . in his ability to recreate with unparalleled flair a portrait of daily life in the colonies and how this all changed with the arrival of the Portuguese.”
—Estado de São Paulo
“This is a book that you will read with a broad smile. ... The result of ten years of research, 1808 is a veritable guidebook through all the events that formed part of this little-known episode of history. ... It conjures up a delicious blend of good humor and erudition to create a broad portrait of events and people that crossed paths during the thirteen-year adventure in the tropics. ... Through short, cinematic chapters, Gomes successfully sets up a jigsaw puzzle in which each piece fits right into the preceding one. ... In addition to supporting the historical record with primary source documents and with more recent studies, he makes the people of the era jump off the page. ... 1808 reveals these events with grace and weightlessness. ... It’s a historical synthesis that shines for the clarity of its explanations and for the interest of the past it projects onto the present. It’s a well conceived idea sustained by a flawless methodology.”
Posted October 6, 2013
amazing book... Read it!... It´s good. You will know more about Brazilian and Portugal culture...
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