The first attempted Dutch invasion of Salvador took place in December 1599, when Admiral van Leynssen sent seven ships to Brazil, commanded by Captains Hartman and Broer.
In the early 17th century, Salvador was one of the most important cities in America, the capital of Brazil, a Portuguese state controlled by Spaniards, during the Iberian Union (1580-1640).
The attacks in the Baía de Todos os Santos lasted nearly two months.
The Dutch sank several Portuguese vessels and looted sugar mills in the Recôncavo. But they failed in their aim to conquer the City.
In subsequent years, Dutch pirates continued to attack Spanish and Portuguese ships on the high seas, both in the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
In 1604, they tried again to conquer Salvador, this time with a fleet of six ships commanded by Paulus van Caerden.
The attack was similar to the first and the result, the same failure.
In the following years, dozens of ships, carrying cargo from Brazil, were attacked by the Dutch.
In 1621, the Dutch founded the West-Indische Compagnie, a company sponsored by the Dutch government, with the participation of private investors and that mainly sought the commercial exploration of America.
The city dawns under the control and effects of the bombing of a Dutch squadron made up of 26 ships, under the command of Jacob Willekens.
The Dutch invasion of Salvador took place on May 9, 1624.
The day before, even under fire from the Forte de Santo Antônio, the Dutch managed to target the cannons at Ponta do Padrão and land at Porto da Barra.
Vanguard groups follow the Ladeira da Barra and cliffs until they reach the Porta de São Bento.
The Dutch spend the night at the Monastery “tasting the wines and confectionery” they find there.
There, they wait for the day to dawn and take the city center.
According to Ricardo Behrens, in the book 'Salvador and the Dutch invasion of 1624-1625', “Portuguese and Dutch reports tell that the confrontation began the day before when those in the city received with shots a boat with a peace flag sent by the fleet, before even from listening to the embassy.
In response, the invaders unloaded their cannons on the sides of the city, on the forts and on the ships that were in port”.
The sight of the armada, by itself, causes panic and rush in most of the inhabitants.
As much as they knew about the likelihood of the attacks, the city had no special strategy. D'El Rey had not established any weaponry resources.
The Dutch – whose armada left the port of Texel in December and the trip had therefore lasted nearly six months – were imbued with the purpose of invading the capital of the Kingdom of Brazil and with plenty of ammunition.
The devastating cannon fire during the Dutch invasion of Salvador and, later, the vandalism of the invaders, caused countless damages to the city, including the City Hall building where the Historical Archive was installed, whose documents are completely destroyed by the fire.
According to historian Affonso Rui, in the book 'Political and administrative history of the city of Salvador', “officials in charge of documentation, like a good part of the population, flee to Abrantes”, he says.
The 3.400 men, including adventurers and mercenaries that made up the Dutch invading squad, find no greater resistance to surrender the governor-general of the colony, D. Diogo Mendonça Furtado, and imprison him in the so-called Casa dos Governadores (in what would become the Palácio Rio Branco, in the current Praça Tomé de Souza), in the heart of the city, one of the most important cities in America, then capital of Brazil.
The Portuguese ruler had already shown concern about Brazil's unpreparedness for war and came into conflict with the Church, which saw no need for military concerns.
Thus, the Dutch did not have much trouble taking the city and Diogo Mendonça Furtado signed his surrender a day later.
He is taken prisoner to Amsterdam, with 12 other people, including auxiliaries and Jesuits, from where they are only released in 1626.
According to Behrens in his Master's thesis already converted into a book, “there are a series of conferences published in the Revista do Instituto Geográfico e Histórico da Bahia, nº 66, from 1940.
It is a publication commemorating the defeat of Maurício de Nassau when he tried to invade Bahia in 1638.
In addition to the conferences, suggestions made by members of the Institute to commemorate the date were published, among which the idea of making a series of commemorative plaques, like the one that still exists at the entrance of the Monastery of São Bento, stands out”.
The stay of the Dutch in Bahian lands would last practically a year.
It is up to Bishop Marcos Teixeira, later called Bishop Guerreiro, to promote resistance.
Through the ambush tactic, it prevents the invaders from leaving the city.
On March 27, 1625, the Portuguese-Spanish reinforcement squadron, commanded by the Spaniard Fradique de Toledo Osório, arrived in Bahia.
There were more than 40 days of battle and, on May 1st, he got his first surrender.
Colony was controlled by the Spanish during the Iberian Union
The colony was then controlled by Spaniards, during the so-called Iberian Union (1580-1640) which joined the two crowns after the disappearance of Dom Sebastião de Avis, in the Battle of Alcácer Quibir, in Morocco, in the war against the Moors, in 1578, when he aspired to victory over Muslims for the glory of Christianity.
It is worth understanding more: The “death” of Dom Sebastião provokes a succession crisis in Portugal, considering that the king had left no heirs. His disappearance generates “Sebastianism”, a kind of messianic belief that stipulated his return to the kingdom and which would last for three centuries as a symbol of Portuguese nationalism.
The solution found for the throne is his great-uncle, Cardinal D. Henrique (Henrique I, of Portugal), who, already quite old, died in 1580, marking the end of the Avis dynasty.
As a result, the Portuguese throne began to be disputed by other European dynasties, which claimed kinship with Dom Sebastião.
The then King of Spain, Felipe II, one of the most powerful monarchs of the time, was the grandson of Dom Manuel, O Venturoso, who, in turn, was Dom Sebastião's uncle.
This parental link is claimed by Felipe II and used as legitimation for the Spanish invasion of Portugal in 1580, instituting the dualist monarchy: two crowns under the same monarch.
Portugal only regains independence 60 years later when the reign of King João IV begins, founder of the Bragança dynasty.
It was during the period of the Iberian Union that the French invasions also took place.
Holland and France, which previously maintained a friendly relationship with Portugal, are directly confronted with Spain.
Iberian supremacy is now being questioned by those European nations that also wanted to profit from the colonization process.
And this involved both economic reasons, despite the control of the sugar trade and the extraction of metals, as well as a religious one, insofar as Spain was Catholic while Holland and part of the French had adhered to Protestantism.
The period known as “Dutch Brazil”, in which a sophisticated Dutch administration prevailed in part of the Brazilian northeast coast, occurs in exactly this context.
There are no records of Dutch legacies in Bahia, unlike those verified in Pernambuco, such as the French in Rio de Janeiro and Maranhão.
First invasion attempt takes place in 1599
Other attempts of invasion by the Dutch had already been registered in Bahia, but they were not successful.
Failing to dominate the capital of Brazil, they managed to establish themselves in Pernambuco and extended their domains over a large part of the Northeast until they were definitively expelled from the Colony, in 1654.
The first Dutch attempt to conquer Salvador takes place in December 1599, when Admiral van Leynssen sends seven ships to Brazil, commanded by captains Hartman and Broer.
The attacks in the Baía de Todos os Santos lasted nearly two months. The Dutch sink several Portuguese vessels and loot sugar mills in the Recôncavo. But they fail to conquer the city.
In subsequent years, Dutch pirates continued to attack Spanish and Portuguese ships in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. In 1604, they tried again to conquer Salvador, this time with a fleet of six ships commanded by Paulus van Caerden.
The attack, similar to the first, results in the same failure.
In the following years, dozens of ships carrying cargo from Brazil were attacked by the Dutch.
In 1621, they founded the West India Company, a company sponsored by the Dutch government with the participation of private investors and which aimed mainly at the commercial exploitation of America.
In the 16th century, Portugal had good commercial relations with the Dutch, but this picture changes with the advent of the Iberian Union in 1580.
A year earlier, in 1579, the northern provinces of the Netherlands had formed the Union of Utrecht, a document signed by several states in the Netherlands struggling to gain independence from Spain.
In 1581, they formally declare their independence.
Spain, however, would only recognize it in 1648, 24 years after the West India Company decided to invade Salvador on the grounds that it felt harmed in its Atlantic business by the Spanish rule over Portugal.
The expulsion of invaders in the international context
February 1630. Dutch ships and cannons enter Brazilian waters again.
This time they invade Pernambuco, the world's largest sugar producer at the time. They land on the Pernambuco coast and conquer Olinda and Recife with relative ease.
The then governor Matias de Albuquerque retired to the interior with men and weapons and founded the Arraial do Bom Jesus, a fortification from which attacks on invaders departed.
As in the invasion of Bahia, the Luso-Brazilians adopted ambush warfare in an attempt to prevent the Dutch from penetrating the lands where most of the engenhos were located.
The resistance, however, does not contain the Dutch advance, which even received support from residents of the region, such as Antônio Fernandes Calabar. The collaboration, much more than betrayal, aimed to free itself from Portuguese rule.
Defeated, Matias Albuquerque has the cane fields around him set on fire and retreats to Alagoas. Before that, however, he manages to arrest Calabar and has him executed.
Seven years later, in 1637, the Companhia das Indias Occidentais decided to rebuild the mills with the aim of making a profit from Brazilian sugar again. To lead this project, he sent Count João Maurício de Nassau-Siegen to Brazil, with the title of governor-general.
The West India Company's accumulation of wealth is reflected in the administration and reconstruction of Recife, the capital of Dutch Brazil. Nassau had the ability to invite some planters to participate in the administration.
It does not offer them important positions, but it does not ignore their demands. It maintains religious tolerance, without forcing Portuguese-Brazilian settlers to convert to Dutch Protestantism.
In his zeal to understand Brazil better, Maurício de Nassau sends 46 scholars, painters and scientists from Holland to study and record the characteristics of the land, given the curiosity aroused by the rich fauna and natural beauties of the region.
The Dutch were pioneers in this type of study about Brazil.
The painters Frans Post and Albert Eckhout leave beautiful paintings of the northeastern Dutch colony. Scientists have studied tropical diseases and their possible cure.
The first astronomical observatory in the Americas was built in Recife. Maurício de Nassau also tried to give greater economic autonomy to the colony so as not to depend too much on the foreign market.
In 1640, Portugal obtains independence from Spain.
In August 1645, the Portuguese-Brazilian colonists achieved an important victory at Monte das Tabocas.
The government of Bahia sends aid and Recife is besieged. The victory, however, failed to dislodge the Dutch, who were very well garrisoned by sea. The fights go on for three years.
At the end of 1648, the Dutch suffered a great defeat at the Battle of Guararapes. Even so, Recife remains in the hands of the West India Company.
The international situation, however, helps to end the stalemate in the conflict between the Dutch and settlers in Brazil.
England declares war on Holland, in the dispute for the hegemony of the seas.
The British even helped the anti-Dutch rebels in Brazil.
The Portuguese rulers took advantage of the weakening of the invaders and sent a large reinforcement to the colonists in Brazil, at the end of 1653. Finally, in January 1654, the Dutch surrendered.
The period of Dutch rule in Brazil ended there. But only in 1661 did the Dutch government recognize that it no longer had rights over Brazil.
The Dutch invasion of Salvador in 1624
Bahia.ws – Salvador, Bahia and Northeast Tourism and Travel Guide
“On the eve, even under crossfire from Fort Santo Antônio, the Dutch manage to target the cannons at Ponta do Padrão and land in Porto da Barra.”
The text is a good summary, but there was no crossfire. The few shots from the fort of Santo Antônio were ignored, the landing was uneventful, and the fort was only captured two days after the capture of the city.
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