The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir

By E. W. Bovill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Africa Invaded

T HE CITIZENS OF LISBON hurried out to Belem to watch the grand spectacle of the expedition's departure. There, lying in the Tagus about three miles below the capital, were many hundreds of ships of varying sizes. Those which attracted most attention were the long war-galleys, banked with oars and carrying nearly all the nobles and fidalgos of Portugal. Next in interest were the tall galleons, already unfurling their sails, their decks crowded with troops. From every mast-head a long pennant streamed gaily before the wind. Galleys and galleons alike, as well as the lesser craft, sparkled brightly as the sun caught the body armour and swaying pike-heads of the fighting men and lit up the gay colours of their battle banners.

Rising high above the heads of the crowds lining the shore was the splendid façade of the Convent of the Jeronimos with its superb church of Santa Maria. The finest example of Manueline architecture, the history and oriental exuberance of the convent were appropriate to the occasion. Founded to commemorate the sailing of Vasco da Gama to discover the sea-route to India, it had become the final resting place of the Portuguese sovereigns. From the elephants of the royal sarcophagi to the statue of Prince Henry the Navigator on a corbel of the church door, it symbolised the proudest traditions of the people. Built of white limestone from the neighbouring quarries of Alcantara and not many years completed, it made a dazzling background to a scene which was as moving as it was rich in colour.

Close by, and rising out of the river just below the assembled fleet, was that splendid little fortress the Torre de Belem. Contemporary with the great convent and of no less significance, it

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The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chapter I - The Fear of the Moor 1
  • Chapter 2 - Don Sebastian 7
  • Chapter 3 - Mulai Mohammed 19
  • Chapter 4 - The Kingdom of Fez 25
  • Chapter 5 - Mulai Abd El-Malek 36
  • Chapter 6 - Queen Elizabeth's Secret 43
  • Chapter 7 - The Meetinq at Guadalupe 53
  • Chapter 8 - Ways and Means 62
  • Chapter 9 - Lisbon 74
  • Chapter 10 - Africa Invaded 89
  • Chapter 11 - The Road to El-Ksar 100
  • Chapter 12 - On the Plain of El-Ksar 114
  • Chapter 13 - The Battle 127
  • Chapter 14 - Philip I of Portugal 141
  • Chapter 15 - Mulai Ahmed El-Mansur 158
  • Chapter 16 - The Moors Re-Arm 169
  • Chapter 17 - El-Mansur and Elizabeth 175
  • Note on the Contemporary Accounts of The Battle of Alcazar 187
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 192
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