John Hemming

The Tropical King

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


Bloomsbury 307pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

NAPOLEON BONNAPARTE’S LASTING geopolitical legacy is, curiously, not in Europe but in the Americas. He sold a substantial portion of its present-day territory to the young United States in the Louisiana Purchase, squandered an army trying to recapture Haiti from its rebellious slaves, and his inroads into the Iberian Peninsula led to the independence of almost every country in South and Central America. By sending armies to invade Spain and then virtually kidnapping the Spanish king, Ferdinand, and supplanting him with his own brother Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon smashed the patriotism with which the Spanish Empire revered its monarch. The United States’ winning of its independence and then the rhetoric of the French Revolution had influenced intellectuals in other American colonies. But it was the removal of the hereditary King that really inspired Miranda, San Martin, Bolivar and others to rise in rebellion.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,