Historical Dictionary of Portugal

By (author) Douglas L. Wheeler, Walter C. Opello Jr.

Hardback - £97.00

Publication date:

10 May 2010

Length of book:

428 pages

Publisher

Scarecrow Press

ISBN-13: 9780810860889

Portugal is a small Western European nation with a large, distinctive past replete with both triumph and tragedy. One of the continent's oldest nation-states, Portugal has frontiers that are essentially unchanged since the late 14th century. The country's unique character and 850-year history as an independent state present several curious paradoxes. As of 1974, when much of the remainder of the Portuguese overseas empire was decolonized, Portuguese society appeared to be the most ethnically homogeneous of the two Iberian states and of much of Europe. This, in spite of the fact that Portuguese society had received during 2,000 years of infusions of other ethnic groups in invasions and immigration: Phoenicians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, Suevi, Visigoths, Muslims (Arab and Berber), Jews, Italians, Flemings, Burgundian French, black Africans, and Asians. Indeed, Portugal has been a crossroads, despite its relative isolation in the western corner of the Iberian Peninsula, between the West and North Africa, Tropical Africa, and Asia and America. Since 1974, Portugal's society has become less homogeneous as there has been significant immigration of former subjects from her erstwhile overseas empire.

The third edition of Historical Dictionary of Portugal greatly expands on the second edition through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on important persons, places, events, and institutions, as well as on significant political, economic, social, and cultural aspects.
This third edition of a title in the Historical Dictionaries of Europe series covers Portuguese political, economic, cultural, and social history. The volume begins with physical and political maps of Portugal, a chronology from 15,000 BCE to 2008, and an introduction to and overview of Portuguese history. This material is followed by entries in alphabetical order and appendixes listing monarchs, prime ministers, and presidents. An extensive bibliography concludes the work. Though Portugal is one of the oldest nation-states in Europe, much of its history may be unfamiliar to North American readers. Some interesting facts: England and Portugal share the longest alliance in European history; Portugal was the last European country to use cavalry in combat; following the massive earthquake in 1755, Lisbon was rebuilt in grids and became the first planned city in Europe. Part of the value of a dictionary such as this is convenience; a great deal of information is presented in a single volume. A good purchase for academic and large public libraries.