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In the 17th Century Brazil found itself the center of contesting and warring European powers. The Portuguese colonization of Brazil was followed by the invasion from Holland as well as by French attempts to establish a presence in the country. Historians however describe the Dutch invasion of Brazil in the 17th century as one of the most damaging, imposing and far-reaching occupations of the country. This was mainly due to the well-organized and well-planned nature of the Dutch intrusion. 1 The Dutch invasion was an attempt not merely at establishing some fortuitous harbors for trade but was colonization in the true sense of the term. One of the obvious reasons was export of natural resources such as sugar.
The Dutch occupation of Brazil presents a number of pertinent and important questions that will form the fulcrum of the discussion in this paper. These are - the reasons for the Dutch invasion; the short as well as the long-term impact on Brazil and the reasons why the Dutch left Brazil. Furthermore, in the analysis of the historical data and sources a central aspect tends to manifest itself. This refers to the question as to whether the invasion by the Dutch was just another manifestation of colonization with the concomitant detrimental and negative effects, or whether the Dutch occupation had a more positive and beneficial impact on the country in some senses. This question relates to the central thesis of this paper which refers to the question of short term as well as long term effects of the Dutch invasion and occupation. In the final analysis was this historical event beneficial or detrimental?
This paper will attempt to show that there is a certain ambiguity in the historical response to the event of the Dutch invasion of Brazil. On the one hand there are those critics and commentators who see the events through the prism of post - colonial discourse and the view the Dutch intrusion and occupation as essentially negative. On the other hand there are those who argue that the invasion of Brazil had positive outcomes, even precipitating nation building. This ambiguity of responses and views will be explored through the historical data and sources.
The reasons for the invasion of Brazil are complex and inextricably tied to the political, maritime and economic situation in the Seventeenth Century. The European colonization of Brazil begins with the Pedro Alvares Cabral, a Portuguese navigator, who is credited as the first European to reach Brazil, on April 22, 1500. He was allegedly attempting to discover a new route to southern Asia. The Portuguese subsequently settled and colonized the country with a colonial and administrative model based on the feudal system. The major export for Brazil was "brazil wood". Sugar also became a major export for Brazil in the 17th century. This relates to an increasing demand for sugar in Europe.
The potential of Brazil in terms of resources and trade also attracted other European powers. In defiance of the Papal Treaty of Tordesillas, which had divided the New World between Portugal and Spain, France proceeded to invade Brazil for a share of the lucrative dyewood trade. In 1504 the French captain Gonneville of Honfleur traded goods with natives on the coast. The French refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Treaty of Tordesillas and considered Brazil as an open area for trade and exploration. 2
This was to lead to incursions by European countries, such as Holland. The French created a settlement near Rio de Janeiro in 1555. This was to last from 1555 to 1567 - and was known as the France Antarctique episode; but they were later expelled by the Portuguese. 3 Likewise the Dutch colonized parts of Brazil from 1630 to 1654 when they invaded Pernambuco. They established their colonial capital in Recite , which came known the Nieuw Holland episode.4
During the period between 1638 and 1649 the Dutch were to control nearly half of the country. The influential and important Dutch West India Company had its headquarters in Recife. An important aspect of this colonization and one which will be embroidered on is that the Dutch also brought artists and scientists to Brazil. However, in 1649 the Portuguese won an important victory against the Dutch at the Battle of Guararapes. The Dutch eventually left Brazil in 1654 the colonized land became the property of the Portugal. 5
The history and reasons for the Dutch colonization of Brazil and the impact that it had on that country are best understood against the background of the economic status of Holland and the particular organizational skill and planning abilities that the Dutch showed. In the Seventeenth Century Holland was well organized in economic terms. They were also well aware of the economic wealth and trade viability of Brazil. A remark in the " dialogos da Grandezza do Brasil " ( 1618) states that the whole Brazil possesses more wealth than India. 6 The lucrative sugar p
Names mentioned in this term paper
a major export, Nassau,
Locations mentioned in this term paper
Brazil., Holland, the Netherlands, their capital, the Portuguese, Spain,
Keywords included in this term paper
the dutch, brazil, Dutch West India Company, sugar, Dutch Brazil, Dutch colony, Holland, Recife, Dutch colonialism, colonization, trade, Seventeenth Century, Pernambuco, a certain ambiguity, historical, European powers, final analysis, sugar plantations, Bahia, colonial period, Nieuw Holland, colonial power, Pedro Alvares Cabral, Colonial Spanish, long term, Johan Maurits, rio de janeiro, Willem Piso, Stefan Zweig, feudal system, Spain, indigenous population, a temporary truce, Albert Eckhout, Frans Post, Rio Grande, good governance, culturally significant, historical analysis, religious tolerance, France Antarctique, James Lockhart, nation building, Portugal, Andrew James, court system, cultural development, natural resources, Tordesillas,