Empire Adrift

Empire Adrift : The Portuguese Court in Rio de Janeiro 1808-1821

4.05 (125 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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In 1807, at the height of the Napoleonic wars, the Portuguese prince regent Dom Joao made an extraordinary decision. Although horrified by the idea of sea travel, he opted to transplant his entire court and government to Portugal's largest colony, Brazil. With French troops closing in on Lisbon, aristocrats, ministers, priests and servants - a staggering 10,000 in all - clambered on board the rickety Portuguese fleet. After a rough transatlantic passage they spilled off their ships bedraggled, lice-ridden and dressed in rags, to the astonishment of their new world subjects. Thus began a unique 13-year period of imperial rule from the tropics. Rio de Janeiro was soon graced with a new opera house, lush botanical gardens and a royal palace - a 'tropical Versailles' set against the city's stunning jungle-clad mountains. But this metropolitan facade only partially obscured the brutal workings of what was then the largest slaving port in the Americas. While the court grappled with the dark side of its own empire, Brazil, with its eclectic mix of African, European and indigenous influences, was coming of age. Patrick Wilcken brings this remarkable period to the page, blending vivid contemporary testament with a rich evocation of the one time in history when European royalty went native.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 34mm | 680.39g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • col. Illustrations, 1 map, col. ports.
  • 0747556725
  • 9780747556725

About Patrick Wilcken

Patrick Wilcken grew up in Sydney and studied at Goldsmiths College and the Institute of Latin American Studies in London. He has contributed Brazil-related reviews and features to the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian. He has spent lengthy periods in Rio de Janeiro and now lives in Battersea, London. This is his first book.show more

Rating details

125 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 26% (33)
4 54% (67)
3 19% (24)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
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