“Afbeeldinge vande Cabo St Augustin met Haer Forten”, copper engraving published by Johannes Janssonius in Amsterdam 1651 as part of Isaak Commelin’s “Frederick Hendrick van Nassauw Prince van Orangien: zyn leven en bedryf”. Size. 27,7 x 37,6 cm.
By the end of the 16th century, Pernambuco was an economically successful Portugese colony, due notably to its prosperous sugarcane cultivation. Olinda, Pernambuco’s capital, already had Jesuit schools and a hospital. By 1580, Pernambuco was the world’s leading sugar producer, while the Dutch (which entertained amicable relations with Portugal) processed and distributed it across Europe. This sweet business turned sour when Spain (involved in the Eighty Year’s War with the Netherlands) took over the Portuguese crown and closed Brazilian harbours to the Netherlands.
In order to overcome this situation, the Dutch did what any modern-day venture capitalist does when negotiations get stale: a hostile takeover. The Dutch West India Company was founded in the Netherlands in 1621 and sent several expeditions to the Brazilian Northeast coast to regain control of its “offshore investment”.
In 1635, the Dutch conquered Cabo de Santo Agostinho from the Portuguese. In this print we see the cape now under Dutch control, with a bird’s-eye view of the fortification located there. Cabo de Santo Agostinho was not only a military stronghold, but also the export port for Portuguese sugar from Pernambuco.
Price: Euro 475,-