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Hugh Swynnerton Thomas, Baron Thomas of Swynnerton (born 21 October 1931 in Windsormarker), is a Britishmarker historian and Hispanist.

Thomas was educated at Sherborne Schoolmarker in Dorsetmarker before taking a BA in 1953 at Queens' College, Cambridgemarker. He also studied at the Sorbonnemarker in Parismarker. His 1961 book The Spanish Civil War won the Somerset Maugham Award for 1962. A significantly revised and enlarged third edition was published in 1977. Cuba, or the Pursuit of Freedom (1971) is a book of over 1,500 pages tracing the history of Cubamarker from Spanishmarker colonial rule until the Cuban Revolution. Thomas spent 10 years researching the contents of his book.

Thomas is married to the former Vanessa Jebb, daughter of the first Acting United Nations Secretary-General Gladwyn Jebb.

From 1966 to 1975 Thomas was Professor of History at the University of Reading. He was Director of the Centre for Policy Studies in London from 1979 to 1991, as an ally of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He became a life peer as Baron Thomas of Swynnerton, of Notting Hill in Greater Londonmarker in letters patent dated 16 June 1981. He has written pro-European political works, as well as histories. He is also the author of three novels.

Thomas's The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870 "begins with the first Portuguese slaving expeditions, before Columbus's voyage to the New World, and ends with the last gasp of the slave trade, long since made illegal elsewhere, in Cuba and Brazil, twenty-five years after the American Emancipation Proclamation," according to the summary on the book jacket.

Thomas should not be confused with two other historical writers: W. Hugh Thomas writes about Nazi Germany and Hugh M. Thomas is an American who writes on English history.


  • The Spanish Civil War (1961); 2nd Revised edition (1977); 4th Revised edition (2003).
  • Cuba or the Pursuit of Freedom (1971)and with revised editions (1998) and (2002)
  • Europe: the Radical Challenge (1973)
  • An Unfinished History of the World (1979) published in USA as A History of the World and as the original title in London by Hamish Hamilton in (1979) and with revised editions (1981) and (1982).
  • Armed Truce (1986)
  • Ever Closer Union (1991)
  • Conquest: Montezuma, Cortés and the Fall of Old Mexico (1994)
  • World History, The Story of Mankind from Prehistory to the Present (1996)
  • The Slave Trade: The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440–1870 Simon and Schuster. (1997)
  • Rivers of Gold (2003)
  • Beaumarchais in Seville (2006) ISBN 9780300121032
  • The World's Game
  • The Oxygen Age
  • The Suez Affair relates to the Suez Crisis of 1956
  • Europe: The Radical Challenge: Goya's 'The Third of May' 1808
  • Also a biography of John Strachey


  1. Instituto Cervantes: Portal de hispanismo Retrieved on 2009-10-31

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