Queen of the Sea

A History of Lisbon

July 2018 9781849049979 280pp
EU Customers


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’s vivid account . . . is full of fascinating detail for those who love the city, from the origins of fado (the melancholic music of Lisbon) to the story of the exiles who haunted its streets during the Second World War.’ — The Sunday Times

‘[An] exotic history of triumph and riches, disaster and decline.’ — The Times

‘[A] jaunty, well-informed book on Lisbon . . . Hatton is an erudite guide, good at capturing the dense flavour of the city.’ — The Times Literary Supplement

‘A companionable history of a darkly intriguing city . . . Hatton’s enjoyable . . . account provides a fascinating and sometimes disquieting backdrop to Lisbon’s uncanny ability to survive.’ — Financial Times

‘Enchanting . . . and playful.’ — The Spectator

‘A readable history . . . hugely engaging.’ — History Today

‘Intimate, witty, and entertaining . . . this vivid and eloquent guide to Lisbon’s past spills over with affection for the city.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘An enchanting account of an enchanting city, where peoples from across the globe have converged over the last two and a half millennia.’ — David Abulafia, author of The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean

‘Hatton’s vivid history brings to life the fascinating story of one of Europe’s most unique yet under-appreciated cities.’ — Roger Crowley, author of Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire


Barry Hatton has been a British foreign correspondent in Lisbon for three decades. He is the author of The Portuguese: A Modern History.

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.