Boxer, Charles Ralph

(1904-2000)
   Eminent British scholar, author, teacher, collector, soldier, and authority on the history of Portugal's overseas empire (1415-1825). Trained as a professional soldier, not an academic, Boxer was educated at Sandhurst and served as a British army officer and Japanese language specialist in the Far East until 1947. Captured when the Japanese took Hong Kong early in World War II, he spent the remainder of the war in Japanese prison camps. After the war, he retired from his military career and began a long, distinguished academic career. In 1947, he was appointed Camoens Professor of Portuguese, King's College, University of London. He also taught at London's School of African and Oriental Studies and at Yale and Indiana Universities.
   Numbering more than 300, his many publications on the Portuguese empire in Africa, Asia, and Brazil to 1825 dominated international scholarship on the subject during the last half of the 20th century. His masterful general historical synthesis of 1969, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 1415-1825, remains a classic. With his mastery of Far Eastern languages, as well as Dutch, Portuguese, French, Spanish, and German, Boxer was also an avid collector of rare coins, art objects, books, and manuscripts. His extraordinary private collection remains preserved in the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington. Like his contemporary academic colleague, Gilberto Freyre, some of his writings had an impact beyond the academy and became politically controversial. Boxer's incisive 1963 book, Race Relations in the Portuguese Colonial Empire (1415-1800), was not well-received by Portugal's dictatorship, then embroiled in colonial wars in Africa. Briefly, Boxer was ostracized in Lisbon. Following the Revolution of 25 April 1974, however, many of Boxer's books were published in Portuguese in Portugal.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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