Paintings from Dutch Brazil

Benjamin Breen

Dutch Brazil, which officially called itself ‘Nieuw Holland,’ was a short-lived (1630-1654) state in the north-east of Brazil that resulted from the Dutch Republic’s aggressive policy of territorial expansion at the expense of the Portuguese colonies in the first half of the seventeenth century — a policy that also led to the Dutch occupation of Portuguese Angola between 1641 and 1648 and a number of annexations in Portuguese India, including the city of Cochin (see below).

These devestating defeats for the Portuguese crown sprang from a combination of factors — the Dutch were a nation on the rise in this period, and the Portuguese, junior partners in the Iberian Union of the 1580-1640 period, found themselves with diminished resources and man-power to defend their far-flung empire. The tide began to turn in the 1620s (see my previous post on the Portuguese-Spanish defeat of the Dutch in Bahia, 1625)

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