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Portugal, the 'ancient ally', is a country easily accessible, with an enviable climate, welcoming inhabitants and famous beaches. English and Spanish apart, Portuguese is more widely spoken than any other European tongue. This historical guide draws on personal experiences ranging from a residence of three years to regular visits since 1936. It combines introductory chapters on eight centuries of nationhood, and sections on the Roman and Islamic past, architecture, painting, music and birds, with visits to the great cities of Lisbon and Oporto, and to the country's varied regions. The author's aim is not merely to describe; rather to account for the emergence of what the visitor may expect to see. He avoids jargon, preferring clarity and moderation - although permitting himself an occasional expression of saudade (the nostalgia for Portugal which haunts all who have loved this land).
Harold Livermore studied in Portugal in 1937 and taught there, in Cambridge and in Canada. He was educational director of the Luso-Brazilian Council in London and is a member of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences and of the Portuguese Academy of History. His first 'History of Portugal' was awarded the CamSes Prize and was followed by a 'New History' and a 'Shorter History'. He has also published a history of Spain and an account of the medieval origins of both countries. A selection of his articles, 'Essays on History and Literature', appeared in 2000.
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