Dutch Brazil

Nederlands-Brazilië (Dutch Brazil)
or Nieuw-Holland (New Holland)
Dutch colony

Flag Coat of arms
Dutch Brazil 1630-1654
Capital Mauritsstad (Recife)
Language(s) Dutch, Indigenous languages
Government Colony
 - Established 1630
 - Disestablished 1654
Currency Braziliaanse Guldens (Brazilian Guilders)
South America around 1650

Dutch Brazil, also known as New Holland, was the northern portion of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch during the Dutch colonization of the Americas between 1630 and 1654. The term 'New Holland' should not be confused with the later term for present-day Western Australia.

From 1630 onward, the Dutch Republic came to control almost half of Brazil's area at the time, with their capital in Recife. The Dutch West India Company (WIC) set up their headquarters in Recife. The governor, Johan Maurits, invited artists and scientists to the colony to help promote Brazil and increase immigration. The Portuguese won a significant victory at the Second Battle of Guararapes in 1649. On 26 January 1654, the Dutch surrendered and signed the capitulation, but only as a provisory pact. By May 1654, the Dutch demanded that the Dutch Republic was to be given New Holland back. On 6 August 1661, New Holland was formally ceded to Portugal through the Treaty of The Hague.


The significance of Spain

The Low Countries had long been part of the Spanish Empire; however, in 1568 the Eighty Years' War broke out, and the Dutch established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. A consequence of the war was the raiding of Spanish lands, colonies and ships by Dutch fleets. In 1609 the two countries signed a twelve-year peace treaty in which the Dutch Republic was allowed to trade with Portuguese settlements in Brazil, since Portugal was in a dynastic union with Spain from 1580 to 1640. The Dutch also agreed to delay the creation of a West India Company, a counterpart to the already existing Dutch East India Company. In 1621 the twelve-year peace treaty expired and the Dutch West Indian Company was immediately created. War resumed, and through the new company, the Dutch now started to interfere with the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in America. In 1624 the Dutch sent a large expedition to invade Brazil.

Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos

In December 1623, Commander Jan Van Dorth led the West Indische Compagnie (WIC) to Salvador, which was then the capital of Brazil. They arrived there on May 8, 1624, on which Portuguese Governor Diogo Tristão de Mendonça Furtado surrendered to the Dutch.[1] However, by April 30, 1625, the Portuguese recaptured the city, with the help of a combined Spanish and Portuguese force. The city was to then play a critical role as a base of the Portuguese struggle against the Dutch for the control of Brazil.

In 1628, the seizure of a Spanish silver convoy in Matanzas Bay provided the Dutch WIC the funds for another attempt to conquer Brazil.


Recife or Mauritsstad – Capital of the Nieuw Holland in Brazil

In the Summer of 1629, the Dutch coveted a newfound interest in obtaining Pernambuco, a Brazilian state (captaincy) famous for its sugarcane. The Dutch fleet was led by Hendrick Corneliszoon Loncq; the WIC gained control of Olinda by February 16, 1630, and Recife (the capital of Pernambuco) and António Vaz by March 3. Matias de Albuquerque, the Portuguese governor, led a strong Portuguese resistance which hindered the Dutch from developing their forts on the lands which they had captured. By 1631, the Dutch left Olinda and tried to gain control of the Fort of Cabedello on Paraíba, the Rio Grande, Rio Formoso, and Cabo de Santo Agostinho. These attempts were also unsuccessful, however.

Still in control of António Vaz and Recife, the Dutch later gained a foothold at Cabo Santo Agostinho. However, after the Portuguese regained Porto Calvo, the WIC gave control of Nieuw Holland to Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen due to the great advantage the Portuguese had over the Dutch by controlling Porto Calvo. By 1634 the Dutch controlled the coastline from the Rio Grande do Norte to Pernambuco's Cabo de Santo Agostinho. They still maintained control of the seas as well. By 1635 many Portuguese settlers were choosing Dutch-occupied land over Portuguese-controlled land. The Dutch offered freedom of worship and security of property. In 1635 the Dutch conquered three strongholds of the Portuguese: the towns of Porto Calvo, Arraial do Bom Jesus, and Fort Nazaré on Cabo de Santo Agostinho. These strongholds gave the Dutch increased sugar lands which led to an increase in profit.

Nieuw-Holland under Johan Maurits Van Nassau-Siegen


Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue in Mauritsstad (Recife).First Synagogue in all Americas

Maurits claimed to have always loved Brazil due to its beauty and its people. He organized a form of representative local government by creating municipal councils and rural councils. Through these he began to modernize the country with streets, bridges, and roads in Recife. On the island of António Vaz, he founded the town of Mauritsstad (also known as Mauricia) where he created an astronomic observatory and a meteorological station, which were the first created by Europeans in the Americas.
Under Maurits, protection for Brazilian Jews who had been formerly ostracized was increased. He allowed former Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity to return to their former faith.



The Dutch settlers were divided into two separate groups, the first of which was known as “Dienaren” (servants). Dienaren were soldiers, bureaucrats, and Calvinist ministers employed by the WIC.


Vrijburghers (freemen) – or Vrijluiden – were the second group of Dutch settlers who were all the other Dutch settlers that did not fit into the category of Dienaaren. The Vrijburghers were mostly ex-soldiers formerly employed by the WIC but who then began to settle down. Others included Dutch who left the Netherlands to find a new life in Nieuw Holland. This group was the most economically important in Nieuw Holland since most trade was under their control.

The end of Dutch Brazil

WIC loses control

After Maurits was summoned back from Nieuw-Holland by the WIC board in 1643, the WIC lost control over the colony. Portuguese planters – under control when Maurits was gouvernor-general – organized a revolt against the Dutch. The Portuguese gained Várzea, Serinhaém, Pontal de Nazaré, the Fort of Porto Calvo, and Fort Maurits in 1645.

On December 13, 1647, the Dutch left Itaparica and on January 28, 1654, the WIC lost control of Recife, leaving the Portuguese their colony of Brazil and putting an end to Nieuw Holland.[2]

Peace treaty

Seven years after the surrender of Recife, a peace treaty was organized between the Dutch Republic and Portugal. The Treaty of The Hague (1661) was signed on August 6, 1661,[3] and demanded that the Portuguese pay 4 million reis over the span of 16 years in order to help the Dutch recover from the loss of Brazil.

See also


  1. ^ Facsimile of manuscript regarding the ending of hostilities:Tractaet van Bestand ende ophoudinge van alle acten van vyandtschap als oock van traffijq commercien ende secours ghemaecht ghearresteert ende beslooten in s'Graven-Hage den twaelf den Junij 1641 ...;
  2. ^ Facsimile of manuscript regarding the surrender of Dutch Brazil:Cort, Bondigh ende Waerachtigh Verhael Wan't schandelyck over-geven ende verlaten vande voorname Conquesten van Brasil...;
  3. ^ Facsimile of the treaty:Articulen van vrede en Confoederarie, Gheslooten Tusschen den Doorluchtighsten Comingh van Portugael ter eenre, ende de Hoogh Mogende Heeren Staten General ...;


  • Pita, Sebastião da Rocha, História da América Portuguesa, Ed. Itatiaia, 1976
  • Boxer, C.R., The Dutch in Brazil, 1624–1654, The Clarendon press, Oxford, 1957. ISBN 0-208-01338-5

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coat of arms of Dutch Brazil — Coat of arms of New Holland (Dutch Brazil), resulting of the union of the four coats of the main Dutch dominions in Northeastern Brazil: The first quarter represents Pernambuco; the second quarter, on the right, Itamaracá; below, on the left,… …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch Brazilian — Neerlando Brasileiro  · Nederlandse Brazilianen …   Wikipedia

  • BRAZIL — BRAZIL, South American federal republic; general population (est.) 183 million (2005); Jewish population 97,000. Jewish history in Brazil is divided into four distinct periods with a specific interval: (a) The presence of new christians and the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Dutch–Portuguese War — Dutch Portuguese War Portuguese Armada vs Chartered Fleets Date 1602–1663 Location …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch Golden Age painting — Dutch Masters redirects here. For the cigar, see Dutch Masters (cigar). Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid (1658–1660) Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century,[ …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch Empire — For a comprehensive list of the territories that formed the Dutch Empire, see Evolution of the Dutch Empire. Flag of the Netherlands …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch colonization of the Americas — European colonization of the Americas First colonization British colonization Courlandish colonization Danish colonization Dutch colonization …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch people — This article is about the ethnic group known as the Dutch and their descendants world wide. For information on the population of the Netherlands, see Demographics of the Netherlands. The Dutch (Nederlanders) Street view in a small Dutch town… …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch (ethnic group) — Infobox Ethnic group group=The Dutch (Nederlanders) Dutch people talking on the street poptime= 20 million 31.5 million(Blue → Dutch born) (Green → Reported ancestry) region1 = flagcountry|Netherlands pop1 = 13,186,600 (Ethnic Dutch)… …   Wikipedia

  • Dutch ship Brederode — Brederode off Hellevoetsluis by Simon de Vlieger Career (Dutch Republic) …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.