Every Dutchman is well acquainted with the East India Company (VOC). The West India Company (WIC) however, is lesser known. Furthermore very few know of the episode when the WIC was active on the northern Brazilian coast. This period lasted roughly from 1624 to 1654. Yet this has been an important episode for both the Netherlands and the fledgling Brazil. Towards the end of the 12-year truce with Spain, the Netherlands sought to conquer and colonize the Portuguese part of South America and thus set up a profitable trade in sugar and dye wood. For Brazil, the efforts of the painters Frans Post and Albert Eckhout, the geographer Georg Markgraf and the physician Willem Piso would be the first documentation of Brazilian flora, fauna, geography and ethnology.
Preface I Sailing to Brazil II Establishment of the WIC III The WIC Charter IV The 'Groot Desseyn' V The Silver Fleet VI Olinda Conquered VII Olinda Abandoned VIII Recife Threatened IX Porto Calvo X A Governor General XI Cleaning up Recife XII A Clash of Egos XIII The African Adventure XIV The Slave Trade XV Threat and Expansion XVI The Beginning of the End XVII The Return XVIII The End XIX What …, if …? XX Biographies XXI References
Johan Maurits was no stranger among the elite in The Hague. Campaigns of the State Army usually took place in the summer months and from October on the army withdrew to the garrisons. The young Johan Maurits liked to stay in The Hague where he enjoyed the luxury and entertainment at the Court of Frederick Hendrick and his wife Amalia van Solms. There he got acquainted with scientists and artists who were guests at the court and the young charming count himself was also welcomed as a guest at the many balls and parties. In 1632, Johan Maurits already had been promoted to colonel and during the winter stay in the Hague he purchased a plot of land in the city center, adjacent to the stadtholders premises, to erect a residence there that would do justice to his noble status. Johan Maurits befriended the stadtholder's secretary, the poet, writer and composer Constantijn Huygens, who acquired a neighboring property and together they decide to grant the building assignment for their residences to Jacob van Campen, at that time one of the most renowned and best architects in the Low Countries. Van Campen designed both houses in Dutch classicist style and Johan Maurits urged the builder to use luxury building materials. As construction progressed, the expenses rose considerably and around 1635 threatened to exceed the financial capacity of the young count. ×