C. R. Boxer

C. R. Boxer

Charles Ralph Boxer FBA (8 March 1904 at Sandown on the Isle of Wight – 27 April 2000 at St. Albans, Hertfordshire) was a distinguished historian of Dutch and Portuguese maritime and colonial history.


Education and Military Career

The son of Colonel Hugh Boxer and his wife Jane Patterson, Charles Boxer was educated at Wellington College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Boxer was gazetted a second lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment in 1923 and served in that regiment for twenty-four years until 1947. He served in Northern Ireland, then, from 1930 to 1933, he was a language officer in Japan assigned to the 38th Infantry Regiment based at Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan. At the same time, he was assigned to the non-commissioned officers school at Toyohashi. In 1933, he qualified as an official interpreter in the Japanese language. Posted to Hong Kong in 1936, he served as a General Staff Officer 3rd grade (GSO3) with British troops in China at Hong Kong, doing intelligence work. In 1940, he was advanced to General Staff Officer 2nd grade (GSO2). Wounded in action during the Japanese attack on Hong Kong on 8 December 1941, he was taken by the Japanese as a prisoner of war and remained in captivity until 1945. After his release, Boxer returned to Japan as a member of the British Far East Commission in 1946-47. During his military career, Boxer published 86 publications on Far Eastern history with a particular focus on the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1945, he married Emily Hahn (d. 1997), with whom he had two daughters. He had earlier been married to Ursula Norah Anstice Tulloch.

Academic career

As a major in the British Army, Boxer had resigned from the service in 1947, when King's College London offered him its Camões Chair of Portuguese, a post he held for twenty years until 1967. During this period, the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London also appointed him as its first Professor of the History of the Far East, serving in that post for two years from 1951 to 1953.

On retiring from the University of London in 1967, Boxer took up a visiting professorship at Indiana University, where he also served as an advisor to the Lilly Library located on its campus in Bloomington, Indiana. From 1969 to 1972, Boxer held a personal chair in the history of European Overseas Expansion at Yale University.

Awards and honours

Honorary doctorate, University of Utrecht, 1950

Honorary doctorate, University of Lisbon, 1952

Fellow of the British Academy, 1957

Honorary doctorate, Universidade Federal da Bahia, 1959

Honorary doctorate, University of Liverpool, 1966

Member of the China Academy, Taiwan, 1966

Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, 1969

Honorary doctorate, University of Hong Kong, 1971

Honorary doctorate, University of Peradeniya, 1980

Gold Medal, Institute Historico e Geografico Brasileiro, 1986.

Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum, 1989

Other awards:

Order of Santiago da Espada (Portugal)

Grand Cross of the Order of Infante D. Henrique (Portugal)

Published works

S. George West, A List of the Writings of Charles Ralph Boxer Published Between 1926 and 1984, Compiled for his Eightieth Birthday (London: Tamesis Books Ltd, 1984).

Key works:

Jan Compagnie in Japan, 1660-1817 (1936)

Fidalgos in the Far East, 1550-1770. Fact and Fancy in the History of Macao (1948)

The Christian Century in Japan (1951)

Salvador de Sá and the Struggle for Brazil and Angola, 1602-1686 (1952)

South China in the Sixteenth century (1953)

The Dutch in Brazil (1957)

The Great Ship from Amacon (1959)

The Tragic History of the Sea (1959)

The Golden Age of Brazil, 1695-1750 (1962)

The Dutch Seaborne Empire (1965)

The Portuguese Seaborne Empire (1969)


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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