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Portugal's Royal History

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Book categories: Portuguese Royalty, Henry the Navigator, João VI, Pretenders, Portugal History, Al-Andalus, Empire, Palaces, Brazil, Spain, European Royalty, Children's Books, DVDs

Portuguese Royalty

The Reconquest Kings of Portugal: The Creation of a Medieval Frontier Monarchy by Stephen Lay. Examines the development of Portugal between the 11th and 13th centuries, when it grew from an embattled county under the control of Leon-Castile into an independent kingdom with borders that have remained largely unchanged until the present day.

House of Burgundy

King Dinis of Portugal and the Alfonsine Heritage by Sheila R. Ackerlind. Biography of King Dinis (or Denis), who reigned from 1279 to 1325.

House of Aviz

Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire by Roger Crowley. This book tells the story of the small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy, bringing to life such figures as King Manuel the Fortunate and João II the Perfect Prince.

The Making of a Court Society: Kings and Nobles in Late Medieval Portugal by Rita Costa Gomes. The first full-length study of the Portuguese royal court in the 14th and 15th centuries.

The Royal Book of Horsemanship, Jousting & Knightly Combat: Dom Duarte's 1438 Livro da Ensinana de Bem Cavalgar Toda Sela edited by Antonio Franco Preto. The first English translation of the King Duarte (Edward) of Portugal's 1438 chivalric treatise. Describes medieval horsemanship, including clothing, saddles, hunting, jousting, and more.

Sebastian, King of Portugal: Four Essays by Harold B. Johnson. Offers a radical new picture of the 16th century king's upbringing, providing evidence of Sebastian's sexual abuse at the age of nine and his homosexual behavior.

Prince Henry the Navigator

Prince Henry "the Navigator": A Life by Peter Russell. The son of 15th century Portuguese king John I, Henry the Navigator was an important patron of navigators and explorers.

The Golden Age of Prince Henry the Navigator by Joaquim P. Oliveira Martins. Biography of the founding father of colonialism, published in 1914.


The Baker Who Pretended to Be King of Portugal by Ruth MacKay. In 1578, King Sebastian of Portugal was killed in battle. Sixteen years later, a baker named Gabriel de Espinosa appeared in Spain, claiming to be the lost monarch.

The Calabrian Charlatan, 1598-1603: Messianic Nationalism in Early Modern Europe by H. Eric R. Olsen. In 1598 a man appeared in Venice claiming to be King Sebastian of Portugal, who had disappeared in battle two years before. Eric Olsen explores how Portuguese rebels sought to exploit the controversy to free their nation from Spain.

House of Braganza

The Lost Library of the King of Portugal by Angela Delaforce. Dom João V founded one of the most magnificent libraries in Europe. It was destroyed in 1755 by earthquake, tidal wave and fires.

Entertaining the Braganzas: When Queen Maria of Portugal Visited William Stephens in 1788 by Jenifer Roberts. Maria I of Portugal, an absolute monarch, became friends with William Stephens, son of a servant girl.

Portuguese Painting at the End of the Ancien Régime c. 1799-1807: History, Monarchy and the Empire by Foteini Vlachou. History painting featuring the monarchy's origins appeared in state-sponsored projects and aristocratic commissions.

Empire Adrift by Patrick Wilcken. The Portuguese court in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1821.

King João VI

History of Portugal

The History of Portugal by James M. Anderson. Includes a timeline, brief biographies, lists of monarchs and heads of state, and a bibliographic essay.

Historical Dictionary of Portugal by Douglas L. Wheeler. Hundreds of entries on people, customs, trends, historic sites, and Portugal's 500-year colonial empire.

A Concise History of Portugal by David Birmingham. Illustrated introduction to the people and culture of the country.

History of Portugal by A. H. de Oliveira Marques. From earliest times to Portugal's first empire in South America, and to its decline in the early 19th century before the rise of its third empire in Africa.

Polycentric Monarchies edited by Pedro Cardim, Tamar Herzog), José Javier Ruiz Ibáñez and Gaetano Sabatini. How early modern Spain and Portugal achieved and maintaind a global hegemony.

Portugal: A Traveller's History by Harold Livermore. Places the scenes and monuments of Portugal in their historical and cultural context.

Portuguese Empire

The Portuguese Empire, 1415-1808: A World on the Move by David Birmingham. The story of the first and one of the greatest colonial empires: its birth, apotheosis, and decline.

A History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668 by Malyn Newitt. A survey of the period of trans-oceanic empire building that made Portugal one of the world's most powerful maritime powers.

Renascent Empire? The House of Braganza and the Quest for Stability in Portuguese Monsoon Asia, ca. 1640-1683 by Glenn J. Ames. Details a fundamental shift in Crown policy toward Asia initiated by Prince Regent Pedro of Braganza (1668-1702).

Books About Royalty in Brazil

Portuguese Palaces

The National Palace, Sintra by Jose Custodio Vieira De Silva. The origins of the National Palace go back to 1281, but it was during the reign of Manuel I (1495-1521) that it became the focus of political life in Portugal and a symbol of royal power. Today it is one of Portugal's top visitor attractions.

Inside Pena Palace by Scala Publishers. Takes readers on a tour of Pena National Palace, one of Portugal's greatest examples of 19th-century Romanticism.

Children's Books

Henry the Navigator: Prince of Portuguese Exploration by Lisa Ariganello. For children ages 9 to 12.

Portugal by Bob Italia. For children ages 4 to 8.

Portugal by Jay Heale and Marshall Cavendish. For children ages 9 to 12.


These videos and DVDs are formatted for North American audiences. (Some links below may not be visible if you are using the ad-blocking feature of Norton Personal Firewall.)

Rick Steves' Spain & Portugal. Episodes from the popular PBS travel series.

Globe Trekker - Portugal & the Azores. Traveler Megan McCormick starts her journey in the beautiful Doruro Valley before heading north to trek through the spectacular Peneda Geres National Park. Moving south through Fatima and Santarem, she stops in Lisbon before ending her journey in the idyllic Azores.

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