Lisbon's charm is legendary, but its vibrant 2,000-year history is not widely known, from its Roman legacy to its centuries under Moorish rule. Its journey from port town to Portugal's capital was not always smooth sailing--in 1755 the city was devastated by the largest earthquake ever to strike modern Europe, followed by a catastrophic tsunami and a six-day inferno that turned sand to glass.
Barry Hatton unearths these forgotten memories in a vivid account of Lisbon's colourful past and present, bringing to life the 1147 siege during the Iberian reconquista, the assassination of the king, the founding of a republic and the darkness of a modern dictatorship. He reveals the rich, international heritage of Portugal's metropolis--the gateway to the Atlantic and the unrivalled Queen of the Sea.
Hatton (The Portuguese: A Modern History), a British correspondent in Lisbon for three decades, delivers an intimate, witty, and entertaining guide to the history of Portugal's capital. A lively and knowledgeable narrator, he highlights seminal events in Lisbon's rich 2,000-year history, as well as its neighborhoods, landmarks, monarchs, musicians, and master builders. He conjures Roman times, when Lisbon was a "city of note" with a hippodrome and thermal baths; the 1147 Siege of Lisbon, a dramatic battle fought with stones and catapults; the 16th century, when Portugal's empire extended over four continents and Lisbon became a dazzling international bazaar; and the catastrophic 1755 earthquake, tsunami, and fires that obliterated two-thirds of Lisbon's buildings and killed thousands but also led to its rebuilding as a more modern city with broad squares and wide boulevards. Despite more turmoil occupation by Napoleon's army in 1807, the assassination of a king in 1908, the formation of a republic in 1910, a 50-year dictatorship, and the 1974 revolution that ended it Portugal joined the European Economic Community in 1985 and hosted the last World's Fair of the 20th century. Hatton celebrates Lisbon's rich blend of cultures and the influence of Africans, Muslims, Jews, Indians, and Chinese on the city's music, cuisine, and culture. This vivid and eloquent guide to Lisbon's past spills over with affection for the city.