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The Tragic History of the Sea

2001

C. R. Boxer, editor
Introduction by C. R. Boxer
Foreword by Josiah Blackmore

The Tragic History of the Sea

Compelling stories of shipwreck, adventure, and death on the high seas, now back in print.

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a time of great colonial expansion, marked by a mercantile frenzy of ships carrying merchants, aristocrats, missionaries, sailors, Inquisitors, botanists, and statesmen pursuing the spoils of empire. Among the narratives that chronicled these voyages, those of the Portuguese are unequaled. C. R. Boxer’s fascinating translations of famous Portuguese shipwreck stories detail the disasters and terrors plaguing the perilous sea trading route between Portugal and India.

This wonderful book is a ‘must’ for all readers interested in post-medieval seafaring and deserves a place in any basic maritime library.

International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a time of great colonial expansion, marked by a mercantile frenzy of ships carrying merchants, aristocrats, missionaries, sailors, Inquisitors, botanists, and statesmen pursuing the spoils of empire. Among the narratives that chronicled these voyages, those of the Portuguese are unequaled. C. R. Boxer’s fascinating translations of famous Portuguese shipwreck stories detail the disasters and terrors plaguing the perilous sea trading route between Portugal and India.

In the tradition of Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Defoe, and Poe, these dramatic stories of shipwreck—and those who lived to tell about it—represent existence and survival pushed to the limits. They describe disastrous turns of fate and miraculous rescues, heroism and cowardice, and offer the exhilaration and sheer emotive appeal of a tale of adventure well told. Often circulated in pamphlet form, these stories recounting the dangers and terrors of storm-tossed ocean voyages and the fate of castaways in distant lands were a popular genre, rife with compelling and often gory details.

This first ever paperback edition includes a new translation of the tragic tale of Captain Manuel de Sousa Sepúlveda, shipwrecked with his family on the sands of Africa in 1552, the previous English versions of which have long been unavailable. Vividly descriptive and engrossing, these tales of selfishness, cruelty, despair, pirates, mayhem, and harrowing storms will captivate readers.

The Tragic History of the Sea

C. R. Boxer (1904-2000) was an expert on the perils of the high seas. During his colorful twenty-three-year career in the military, he served as an interpreter and intelligence officer in the Far East, where he was imprisoned by the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. A prolific writer, autodidact, and bon vivant, he was also a celebrated collector of rare books and professor of Portuguese studies at universities in his native England and the United States.

Josiah Blackmore is associate professor of Portuguese at the University of Toronto.

The Tragic History of the Sea

This wonderful book is a ‘must’ for all readers interested in post-medieval seafaring and deserves a place in any basic maritime library.

International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

Hair-raising and heartbreaking accounts of survival characterize the shipwreck narratives and make them a fascinating read.

Sixteenth Century Journal