Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England by Juliet Barker

By Juliet Barker

Waged virtually six centuries in the past, the conflict of Agincourt nonetheless captivates. it's the vintage underdog tale, and generations have questioned how the English--outmanned through the French six to one--could have succeeded so bravely and brilliantly. Drawing on quite a lot of resources, Juliet Barker paints a gripping narrative of the October 1415 conflict among the outnumbered English archers and the seriously armored French knights. Populated with chivalrous heroes, dastardly spies, and a ferocious and impressive king, AGINCOURT is as earthshaking as its subject--and confirms Juliet Barker's prestige as either a historian and a storyteller of the 1st rank.

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Responding creatively to wrenching change, they worked to increase village autonomy and advance their own interests. When pressed to supply laborers, for instance, they often delayed, limited the numbers of workers, and helped conceal those who fled. In particularly egregious instances of unfair treatment, they used the Portuguese legal system to seek redress and, in some cases, abandoned the colonial villages with their people. Such actions bespoke a significant degree of independence despite the exigencies of colonial rule in the Brazilian north.

For João III, the king of Portugal, the spreading of Christianity was the stated justification for colonizing Brazil, and hence these six Jesuits had crossed the Atlantic Ocean with his first governor appointed to rule over Brazil, Tomé de Sousa (1549–1553). A Portuguese settlement, Vila Velha, already existed right inside the entrance to the bay, and it was here that the first Jesuits, the governor, and many others stepped ashore. All around the bay and up and down the coast lay traditional indigenous villages.

13 While Jesuit missionaries were willing to incorporate indigenous music, instruments, and dancing, they insisted that certain other customs be abandoned in the Indian villages where they worked. At the top of their list was ritual cannibalism. Nóbrega referred to cannibalism as “the most abominable” custom that existed among the Tupi peoples of Brazil; he saw it as connected to their practice of war, which he saw as motivated by hatred of enemies and the desire for revenge. 16 Unlike the Portuguese colonists who often turned a blind eye to the cannibalism ceremonies in the Indian villages, the Jesuits refused to accept them and sought to persuade Indians to willingly end the practice.

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