XVII Century

Dutch Brazil I ( 1600 - 1636 )


Dutch forts at the beginning of XVII century

Two wooden forts (Fort Nassau and Fort Oranije) on the eastern shore of the Xingu River are built by colonists from Zeeland.


A Zeeland expedition under the command of Pieter Adriaenszoon Ita sails with 150 men. They arrive on the shore of the Ginipape River where they build a fort on a peninsula. This colony survives for six years. Historical information about these settlements is incomplete, but for the first twenty years of the XVII century the Dutch hold some forts in this region. Here they trade with the natives.


Dutch West Indies flag

Map of the port of the city of Salvador da Bahia de Todos-os-Santos. Illustration from the work by Gaspar Barleus, Rervm per Octennivm in Brasilia et alibi nuper gesterum sub Praefectura Illustrissimi Comitis I. Mavritii, Nassoviae, &c…, (Amsterdam, J. Blaeu, 1647).

Dutch West Indies Company (WIC) is founded in Amsterdam so as to regulate and protect the contreband trade being carried by the Dutch in the American and African possessions of Spain and Portugal and establish colonies on both continents. The Dutch set their eyes on the most important town of Portuguese Brazil: Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos.


Dutch troops land a few miles from Salvador, advance and enter the town in the morning of 10 May 1624. The Portuguese governor, Diogo de Mendonça surrenders. Johan Van Dort becomes governor of the city.


A combined Spanish-Portuguese armament recovers Salvador.


Piet Heyn after a battle takes over a Spanish galleon full of gold and silver which allows the Dutch to form a new force.


A fleet sent by the WIC of 67 ships, 1170 guns and 7000 men under general Hendrick Corneliszoon Lonck captures Pernambuco, the metropolis of a rich sugar growth district in the north of Brazil. The Dutch are masters of Recife, Olinda and the island of Antonio Vaz.


A Dutch expedition of 366 men under the command of Crestofle d Artischau Arciszewski, a Polish captain, is sent to the island of Itamaracá. Fort Orange is built in the extreme south.


A Portuguese Mulatto, Domingo Fernandes Calabar deserts to the Dutch. He was born at Porto Calvo (Alagoas) and he knows the country very well; his desertion is very useful for the Dutch.


Van Ceulen captures the Fort of Reis Magos (Dutch Fort Ceulen) at the mouth of the Rio Grande.


View of Paraíba - by Frans Post

The West Indies Company allows free trade. The Dutch conquer the city of Paraíba.




St Augustine cap falls to the Dutch.The Dutch control the entire coastline from Cabo de Santo Agostinho to Rio Grande.


Portrait of Johan Maurits of Nassau, etching made from a drawing by Frans Post

The WIC directorate decide to put a Colonial Governor at the head of the Brazilian colony or Nieuw Holland.32-year old Johan Maurits, count of Nassau – Siegen is the man selected for this office.



Twinsite 2000

 Lycée Pasteur, Curso Experimental Bilingue, São Paulo - Brazil
Alexandre Giraud - Danilo Machado - Barbara Dieu

Lyceum Berlage, Amsterdam - Netherlands
Walid Alaoui Mdaghri - Saladin Allioui - Enes Geloz - Esosa Izekor - Ismael el Khamsi - Patrick Holmes BB

(c) 2000