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The History of Brazil under the Governorship of Count Johan Maurits of Nassau, 1636–1644$

Caspar van Baerle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813036649

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813036649.001.0001

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Van der Dussen's Report on the Brazilian Territories. Sugar Production. Brazilian Flora and Fauna.

Van der Dussen's Report on the Brazilian Territories. Sugar Production. Brazilian Flora and Fauna.

(p.120) 6 Van der Dussen's Report on the Brazilian Territories. Sugar Production. Brazilian Flora and Fauna.
The History of Brazil under the Governorship of Count Johan Maurits of Nassau, 1636–1644

Caspar van Baerle

University Press of Florida

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter recounts the findings of a report of the Brazilian territories, including fauna and flora, trade, and government issues. It also goes into great detail about sugar production in Brazil, as well as religious demographics in the region.

Keywords:   religion, territories, flora, fauna, sugar, report, Brazilian, production

THE BRAZILIAN TERRITORY, conquered so far under the auspices and with the military might of the Company, consists of six provinces or capitanias: Sergipe del Rey, Pernambuco, Itamaracá, Paraíba, Rio Grande, and Ceará.1 The first and last of these six are now without inhabitants; the others were cultivated by us and are inhabited. Sergipe had inhabitants formerly but lost its population after an expedition led by Councilor Johan Gijsselingh and Sigismund Schoppe. The inhabitants fled out of fear of our arms and were resettled in Bahia, whereupon the area was devastated, in keeping with military strategy, so that it could not supply food for the inhabitants of Bahia. Ceará had a few Portuguese settlers in charge of a small fort. After capturing it, we strengthened it with a garrison of forty soldiers. So far it has not proved of any noteworthy benefit or gain, but the local Indians have helped us occasionally with arms and soldiers.

Pernambuco is the principal capitania, beautifully and very strategically situated between the São Francisco River and the island Itamaracá. In the Indian language, the word pernambuco means a hollow cliff or rock, which can be seen near the island Itamaracá, where the water flows underneath the rock.2 The province has the following harbors, bays, and anchorage for ships: at Recife, where it is open to the sea, anchorage is dangerous; inside the reef the water is less turbulent, and the situation is better. At Cape Santo Agostinho the water is shallow and the entrance is narrow and strewn with rocks. Many ships dock at Santo Aleixo Island for repairs, for which it is useful but for little else. At Barra Grande, situated between Una and Porto Calvo, the bay is wide and good for large ships. Here, Count Bagnuolo took refuge and landed his troops after the naval battle with Admiral Pater. Then there is the harbor at Jaraguá, where Luis de Rojas y Borgia landed, and the Porto do Francês, where Vidal and Magalhães did likewise.3 Finally, there is Cururipe, a most beautiful bay.

The principal rivers are the Jangadas River, Serinhaím, Rio Formoso, Rio de Porto Calvo, Camaragibe, de Santo Antonio, de São Miguel, and the São Francisco (p.121) River. The capitania is divided into six districts, of which Iguaraçu is the first and oldest, Olinda the second and largest, Serinhaím the third, Porto Calvo the fourth, and Alagoas the fifth; the São Francisco River forms the southernmost border of the district of Pernambuco, which is the sixth.

The five cities in the capitania of Pernambuco are Iguaraçu, Olinda, Mauritiopolis, recently built and now spreading out over Recife and Antônio Vaz, Bela Ipojuca, and Vila Formosa do Serinhaím. Smaller towns include Moribeca, São Lourenço, Santo Antonio, Santo Amaro, and others of similar size. The area has many mountains and the land is fertile, especially in the valleys near the riverbanks. In the hills, manioc and other produce are cultivated in large quantities, and some sugarcane is grown there, though it is more abundant in the valleys.

The capitanias mentioned above are split up into districts or communities and have a total of 121 engenhos, or sugar mills, though not all actually operate to produce sugar because many are in ruins or have ceased to function due to a lack of workers.

The capitania of Itamaracá, next to that of Pernambuco, consists of one district only, with one town and one harbor at the southern end. Although this harbor is so deep that ships can enter, there is a long channel, full of shoals, that makes a closer approach dangerous. Part of the island, where the sugar mills are located, is quite fertile; another part of it has such a plague of ants that nothing can flourish there. Its four settlements have twenty-three sugar mills, only fourteen of which are operative. The island produces quantities of melons and similar fruits, and grapes that are the very best in all Brazil.

The capitania of Paraíba that borders Itamaracá prides itself on the river of the same name. Because of its depth, it can easily accommodate transport ships loaded with goods. It is not divided into districts but into separate towns, with twenty sugar mills, two of which are inoperative.

Next is the capitania of Rio Grande, which has four separate districts. The village of Puntal, destroyed during the war, is a ruin and sad to see. The citizens were allowed to build a new village in a more desirable area, conveniently located in the district of Potengi. Fort Ceulen is located about a mile and a half from Puntal. The river bears the same name as the capitania, and is navigable for large ships; it runs into a bay that is calm and suitable for navigation. The inhabitants of the region lived on the cultivation of cattle in the many pastures, but due to the devastations of the recent war, the area's cattle were killed or driven off. There were only two sugar mills, one of which has fallen into ruin, while the other one is functioning. In the entire region of Brazil that is under our jurisdiction, there are 166 mills, of which 120 are working, and the others will be restored year by year. It is difficult to calculate exactly how much sugar each capitania, each district, and each community produces annually, given the (p.122) difference in climate, crops, seasons, locations, and temperatures, all of which determine the harvests.

The inhabitants consist of free citizens and slaves. The only freeborn are the Dutch, Portuguese, and Brazilians. The slaves are Negroes—that is, Africans—and Tapuyas who are Americans. Some of the Dutch inhabitants serve the Company and are paid a wage, some are on their own and do not render service to the Company. The first group came here as servants of the Company, or remained once their service came to an end. They are all here as settlers, after having served in the military or in some other function, and are prepared, if necessary, to go to war and fight for the independence of the state. There are lists that indicate their number and whether they can serve in the infantry or as foot soldiers.

The citizens from the United Provinces who came on their own did so mostly as merchants, as the merchants' employees, or in a humbler function as innkeepers, vendors, clerks, or laborers. Quite a few of them, once they have made money, buy a sugar mill, while others cultivate sugarcane or other produce and become plantation owners. They have put up so many buildings in Recife that it has become densely crowded, prices there are very high, and space is quite tight. As a result, empty areas on the island Antonio Vaz were sold in separate lots for future construction at a very high price, and that area is now also densely populated. This made it necessary for the Supreme Council to widen the city's perimeter and extend it out to Fort Frederik Hendrik. Construction did not slow down despite the reduction in trade and the rumors about an approaching Spanish fleet that had worried the citizens for so long. As their anxiety lessened, trade flourished once more, the price of merchandise increased, and with it the desire to build houses.

There was great hope that here, in a foreign world, another Tyre or Sidon would be built, founded on such auspicious origins.4 To promote this, the Supreme Council decided that Recife and the island of Antonio Vaz should be joined by means of a bridge. A stone pillar was built in the riverbed, where it had to withstand the perpetual force of the stream, thus serving as a test for the work to be performed.

The directors of the Company deliberated frequently about means for increasing the grandeur of the state, how they could attract immigrants, to be brought here and settled, spread out across these empty regions and uncultivated lands. Settlers would till the soil, their presence would benefit the treasury and trade, reduce expenses for the army and for security, and thus make possible the power and glory of the new state. Although it is certain that no man will desire something if he cannot foresee its benefits, the immigrants nevertheless were not to be deceived by empty promises of advantages. These people would not be granted land in the coastal areas near the ocean, for those regions have long since been occupied, (p.123) and inland areas are not suitable because food is not available. Therefore, special privileges and concessions must stimulate the Dutch settlers' desire for profit, and in particular encourage those who want to build a sugar mill and plant sugarcane. We have learned this from the king of Spain, who granted the colonists immunity from taxation for the first ten years and afterward demanded only half the fixed amount. But the change in circumstances since then does not permit our people to do likewise, for it is a fact that the areas along the coast are held by landowners, and the long distances inland are a deterrent for new settlers owing to the difficulty of transportation and the cost and shortage of provisions. Therefore, other means for making a living should be found that will serve a public need. Our country has a multitude of paid, skilled artisans, such as blacksmiths, master builders, coppersmiths, stonemasons, tailors and shoemakers, cabinetmakers, lathe operators, glaziers, potters, stonecutters, pewtersmiths, and saddle makers. There are so many different kinds of skilled workers that naming them all would tire out a veritable Fabius.5 At home their skill is barely sufficient to keep them alive, and each one feels that his work leaves him a pauper. If they move here, they can compare their former lack of fortune and rejoice daily in their great gain. There is no work anywhere for which there is no pay, nor pay without work. Work and pay, although different in nature, are thought of as belonging together in the natural order of things.

A master builder earns six florins a day, his assistant three or four florins, and the mill operators earn most of all. It is necessary to attract these workers so that they do not become a public burden in the United Provinces or paupers relying on the purse of private charities. It is better to send such people rather than criminals, thieves, or the rabble of fortune-seekers. The Spaniards used to do this, for they sent the dregs of their cities, who produced even more vicious offspring that retained their progenitors' depravity, making no distinction between right and wrong.

After the skilled craftsmen have made some money they buy a small property and see this first sign of good fortune as a promise of still better things to come. The outlook for establishing colonies could be very promising if the settlers were guaranteed a homestead and if the state makes certain that there are no attacks from outsiders, no unlawful use of power, and good laws to regulate trade. But it is disastrous, not to say ruinous, for the state if workers are sent who are not skilled in any craft or occupation, for they will spend all their time in an eating house or tavern. When they are expelled, and have no work, they are forced to rely on the help of others or on some kind of criminal activity.

There are three kinds of people who make suitable colonists: the first kind have some resources and want to put their energies into running a sugar mill; the second make a living as officials or administrators; the third are men who have (p.124) worked for the Company, and then put the money they have earned into agriculture, and in that way try to benefit our possessions in Brazil.

Negroes, who must be bought, are needed to do the work in the sugar mills and the fields. No matter how physically strong our people are, once transferred here they cannot tolerate this labor. Whether it is the climate or the change of food that weakens even the strongest, it gradually brings on indolence and torpor, so that ultimately we succumb to apathy even though we despised it at first. This weakness affects not only human beings, but many inanimate objects brought from Europe as well, such as iron, steel, copper, and much else that is subject to destruction and putrefaction.

The colonists from the Republic who devoted their energies to agriculture and sugar mills restored many areas to their former wealth, encouraging expectations that in a few years Brazil will flourish as it did under the Spanish king if the price of sugar, which has been low for a while, goes back to its former level.

The Portuguese (this is the second category of inhabitants) either settled here many years ago under Spanish rule or belong to the Jewish sects that migrated here from the Netherlands recently. They buy land and sugar mills and work these with great care. Many live in Recife, where they are busy trying to take over and dominate much of the trade. Most of them were owners of sugar mills formerly or bought mills whose owners fled because of the war. They make their laborers work in the fields planting sugarcane, or do the work in the sugar mill. This is work for which the Dutch are not yet qualified because they lack the skills needed for mixing and purifying the sugar sap, although they can do all other kinds of work. The Portuguese themselves do not do this kind of work but give orders to their Negroes, for they are better at giving orders than working. Most of them are hostile to us, and only fear keeps them subservient. Given an opportunity, they show their feelings, using insolent and immoderate language. They place their own interests before a good reputation or loyalty and conceal their greed and hatred of us. We have them as enemies within our walls and in the very heart of our cities and villages.

The Brazilians (this is the third category) are an ancient people, the indigenous masters of the land. They have not mingled with the Portuguese but live separately in their villages. Their houses are oblong in shape and built of straw, without any decoration or embellishment, and hold as many as forty or fifty under one roof. They rest at night and during the day on a bed made of netting suspended above the floor (they call these hamacas), without any walls separating them.6 They do not have any household equipment except the net for sleeping, drinking vessels (called cabaças), and earthen pots for cooking, and consider it unnecessary to have more. Their weapons consist of bows and arrows. Each dwelling is surrounded by its fields of manioc and beans. Whenever they are not engaged in warfare, they (p.125) spend much time on the hunt, and even more time doing nothing. They like eating cultivated fruits, as well as the native wild ones found in the forests and the fields. They satisfy their hunger with simple food that lacks refinement, but do not show the same moderation when they quench their thirst, for they will spend the day and night drinking alcohol without thinking it shameful. They make a drink from the manioc root, which is mashed, mixed with water, and then fermented, and another from acaju fruit when it is in season.

They live from day to day, free from any desire for wealth, and ask only for drink and some pieces of cloth with which to make a shirt for their wives and a cloak for themselves. Money is of no importance to them other than as a means to buy Spanish wine and brandy. Encouraged by these expectations and the hope for linen cloth, they will do any kind of work rather badly, unwillingly, and with an air of dejection.

Each village has its chieftain, who functions more as a person to look up to than as a commander. There is a headman for each of their houses whom they obey without question, for they understand as a matter of course that a large number of people cannot be governed without agreement between subject and governor. There is also a Dutch captain at the head of each community whose charge it is to remind the lazy and slow workers of their duties and to make certain that they are not defrauded of their wages by the owners of the sugar works. They do not work for more than twenty days at a time, and when these have passed, it is difficult to persuade them to continue. They do not expect to be paid, and in the belief that they will not get their pay they demand it before starting the work. Thus, if they walk off, the result is that the mill owners are cheated of their labor. Most of them are put to work cutting wood for the mills.

The natives are now also wanted for other work because there are few Negroes and they are expensive. Knowing this, the native Indians prefer to run away rather than exhaust themselves in labor. They are much inclined to engage in warfare, and would rather get what they want by means of bloodshed than sweat. They have no scruples about deserting their own troop or company. Whenever a troop is selected from one of the villages, some will have disappeared before they start on the march. They are given less pay than our soldiers because it is difficult to get them to accept the same discipline as our troops. They are terrifying to our enemies, not so much for their strength but for their reputation for malevolence and their fierce and cruel pursuit of their fleeing enemies, to whom they show no mercy as they kill each one.

They lack any understanding of religious matters; although the priests have taught them Christian formulas such as the Lord's Prayer and symbols for the apostles, they are ignorant of all else. The preacher David Doreslaar learned their language so that he could instruct the ignorant in divine matters, and went to (p.126) live in their villages to teach the children and to baptize and marry them, thereby moving them from paganism to Christianity.

At this time, the villages of Alagoas, Una, São Miguel, Goyana, Paraíba, and Rio Grande have 1,923 men for the army, and more than three times that number of women. Only a thousand of the men are fit for military service, the rest being old men left in the care of their families. The women frequently go with the men to the battlefield and share their fate, whether this is life or death.

Some of the slaves are Brazilian Indians or Africans, others were brought from Maranhão. The Portuguese bought Indians who had been captured by the Tapuyas, who sold them as slaves. They had been our allies and were abandoned by us in the Bay of Traïção, when Boudewijn Hendriksz was admiral of the fleet.7 All have now been given their freedom. The ones from Maranhão were also bought as captives from the enemy; they are restricted by their servitude and not entitled to a change in status. A third group of slaves is made up of Africans; of these the ones from Angola are the best workers. The slaves from a tribe called Ardres are very lazy, stubborn, and stupid, and detest work, with the exception of a very few who cost more because they tolerate labor better. The slaves from Calabar are worth little owing to their laziness and stupidity. The Negroes from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Cape Verde are not well suited for slave labor, but they are more civilized and show more taste for neatness and elegance, particularly the women, for which reason the Portuguese use them as domestic servants. The Negroes from the Congo and Sonho are most suited to slave labor; this is the reason why it is in the Company's interest to take such trafficking into account and to unite the counts of the Congo and of Sonho in friendship.8

The products of Brazil are sugar, brazilwood, other kinds of wood of different colors, tobacco, ox hides, and confectionery. Cotton and an orange dye called oreliana are in good supply whenever cultivated. I have written earlier aboutthe history of processing sugarcane and will not discuss it further at this point.9 Nature, skill, and labor work admirably together in its production. Nature, with its benefits of sun and air, produces the fluid secreted in the cane, which is harvested by means of various operations. The cane stalk grows shoots, and when these are planted they will produce sugar throughout a man's lifetime. New plants will grow from the old and dying ones unless severe heat and drought burn the fields, or rivers flood and the cold, stagnant waters destroy the roots. The stalks must be kept free of weeds, or else the tender new shoots will be smothered in the extraneous growth and will produce a lower quality sugar of an undesirable color. After the cane has been cut, it is transported to the mill, where it is treated in several different ways, in containers of various forms, until the sugar has crystallized and is shaped in several sizes and sorted according to quality.

The tree that is known as pau brasil, or brazilwood, grows in the interior of (p.127) Brazil, ten or twelve leagues from the coast. It does not cluster together, but is sparsely spread out among other species of trees. These trees are cut by the Negroes when they have no other work to keep them busy. They strip off the thick bark, for only the core of the tree is red. The bark is white, as much as three fingers deep, full of knots, rough, and covered with small growths. The tree has many small, spear-shaped, dark green leaves which hang from a thin branch in neat order. It is said that the tree has neither flowers nor fruit, and seemingly is propagated by means of its roots.

The merchandise most sought after by the Brazilians is linen cloth, not the kind made in Rouen, but that woven in Osnabrück. Some merchants had been seduced by the profits they had made on linen from Rouen, and imported this, and the linen produced in Steinfurt, in such quantities that they could not sell it at retail. The different kinds of linen retained their value, and their price increased. For such goods as copper, iron, wine, beer, oil, butter, cheese, flour, dried fish, bacon, ham, and smoked meat, prices remained constant, but for salted fish, beans, peas, and other legumes, they declined.

To return to the inhabitants of Brazil, Count Johan Maurits enjoys good health and energy and is eager to promote whatever is proper and advantageous for the Company. Councilors Mathias van Ceulen, Johan Gijsselingh, and Servatius Carpentier have served in their functions for many years and request dismissal, unwilling to serve any longer. If they must continue looking after the Company's affairs against their will, they would do so halfheartedly, as their former enthusiasm for the task gradually weakens and fails them. The Political Council that so far consisted of nine members has been reduced to seven owing to the death of Sebastiaan van Hoogeveen and the departure of Joannes Bodecher. The seven members are Elias Herckmans, Nonno Olpherdi, Baltasar van de Voorde, Pieter Mortamer, Gijsbert de With, Pieter Bas, and Daniel Alberti. Olpherdi is in charge of the São Francisco region and the Alagoas; Pieter Bas of Porto Calvo and Serinhaím; and Daniel Alberti and Pieter Mortamer respectively of Paraíba and Itamaracá, so that we are now reduced to a triumvirate here. Herckmans and van de Voorde are in charge of the treasury and handle the payments of the military, and have not been able to administer justice as well. Altogether there is need for nine council members and justices to fill the Political Council and strengthen the colony with an assembly of magistrates. We propose the following to assume this duty and honor, namely Jacob Aldrich, the financial manager; the physician Willem Piso; and Theodorus Kaiser, and can strongly recommend them for their virtues, fidelity, and diligence.

In Recife, the affairs of the church are administered by Frederik Kesseler, Pieter Lantman, and Franciscus Plante, the Count's chaplain, men esteemed for their virtues and praised for their understanding of ecclesiastical matters. In Olinda (p.128) and the surrounding countryside, Joachim Soler and Johannes Polhemius preach to the faithful in French and Portuguese, and in Itamaracá, Cornelis van der Poel does likewise. In Paraíba, Samuel Bachiler, an Englishman, is preaching to the Dutch. A Dutch preacher named David Doreslaar has started preaching to the indigenous people in their language and in Portuguese as well. Jodocus van Stetten is the preacher in Cape Santo Agostinho, and in Serinhaím it is Johannes Eduardus. Thus, the people of our faith are also preaching Christianity among the pagans, although the Gentiles consider this folly.10 Thereby we partake of the glory of having spread the light of the faith in foreign lands, a glory which the Roman Catholics have claimed for themselves only. The inhabitants of Rio Grande, Porto Calvo, and Penedo do not have ministers, but have the help of a comforter of the sick. The situation is no better for the inhabitants of Cape Santo Antonio, Capiguaribe, and Goyana, who are mostly Dutch. This is the reason why the Portuguese accuse them of being irreligious, profane, and neglectful of worship.

The Catholic population is granted free exercise of religion, although not without objections and grumbling by some. Their ministers are either clergy or monks, known as presbyters and priests, who are subject to their vicar; they celebrate mass and assist with the sick. The monks are Franciscans, Carmelites, and Benedictines, according to their order. The Franciscan order is the largest, housed in six convents distinguished for their beautiful architecture. The first one is in Frederica, the second in Iguaraçu, the third in Olinda, the fourth in Ipojuca, the fifth on the island of Antonio Vaz, and the sixth in Serinhaím.11 The Franciscans do not own any land or buildings, but live on the alms which they receive daily. Carmelite convents are found in Paraíba, Frederica, and Olinda, where a magnificent building was begun but is not yet finished because the work was interrupted. They live on the modest income they receive from testamentary legacies and the rent of buildings and land. The Benedictines have two convents, one in Frederica and the other in Olinda. They have fields in Paraíba and own herds of cattle, buildings, cane fields, and a sugar mill in Pernambuco which they call Masurepa.

Most of the Jewish inhabitants came here from the Dutch Republic. Some, who were originally Portuguese, pretended to convert to Christianity during the Spanish king's reign, but, freed from the fear of persecution under a more indulgent ruler, they now freely associate with the Jews. This proves clearly that such hypocrisy was the result of fear of persecution, induced by the worshippers of the purple rather than by God.12 They are quite audacious in the performance of their religion and its rites, so that the papists and our followers of the Reformed Church complained that they should be expelled or returned to the Republic, where they are allowed to have their synagogues. After they had been warned by the councilors, they lessened the public display of their cult of Moses and their Jewish rites.

There is little hope of converting the followers of Roman Catholicism, owing (p.129)

Van der Dussen's Report on the Brazilian Territories. Sugar Production. Brazilian Flora and Fauna.

Figure 6.1. View of Serinhaím, 1645. The emblem shows a horse because the region was known for its many horses. A peaceful scene of a small town, with the church, the convent, and a cart drawn by oxen, with a female passenger. Portuguese women led very secluded lives and, unlike Dutch women, were not seen walking unaccompanied in the streets of the town.

(p.130) to their stubborn opinion of its truth, which is difficult to dispel. They believe that they must retain the sacred rites and ceremonies of their forefathers, and that it is an unspeakable crime to reject these. One of our ministers can address them in Portuguese, but not one of them wants to listen. They are made stubborn by the warnings of their priests, who seek to capture their minds with superstitious beliefs and make them deaf to our words. They prefer the old beliefs, which they repeat often, to any new ones, and a splendidly ornate religion to one that is less brilliant and ostentatious. We can try to instill our teachings in the young whose minds are not yet imbued with doctrines, but the Portuguese are taught privately at home, and they engrave their instructions on these unschooled minds with anxious solicitude.

Indigenous food products consist of manioc, different kinds of fruits, and vegetables.13 The manioc flour is prepared from the roots. The plant is similar to pentafilia, but has nine stalks instead of five, which resemble fingers standing up in a row; it produces neither flowers nor seed. It has a woody stalk from which protrude new shoots. Three or four segments of the shoots are planted, with half the segment above the soil, in a small mound of soil three feet in diameter. These small mounds are spread out in clumps all over the fields. The segments form roots under the soil, from which sprout new subterranean stalks like branches, as thick as an arm and, if the soil is good, the length of an ell. These the Dutch call sweet potato, although they are too thick to be similar. They produce two or three sprouts aboveground, which after eight, ten, or twelve months begin to turn woody and function as seed. Manioc is different in that it does not bear fruit in order to propagate; plants in our region bear fruit that produces seeds. Manioc is excellent food, liked by the Portuguese, the Brazilians, the Negroes, and even by our soldiers.

There are many species of wild and domesticated animals in Brazil.14 I will mention some of them, first of all the wild pig, which is an amphibious animal; the meat has a good taste and it is healthy food. Its four legs are of uneven length, with hind legs that are longer than the front, so that it moves rather slowly, and when pursued by hunters, it will dive into the water if possible. The anta is quite similar to a mule although it is smaller in size; the muzzle is narrower and the lower lip, which looks somewhat like a tube, is stretched forward, the ears are round, the tail short, and the body grey overall. These animals shy away from light, forage only at night, and at dawn find a hiding place. Their meat tastes like beef.

The animals called cotias in the native language are about as large as a hare or somewhat smaller and have almost no tail. The larger ones are known as pacas and look much like a cat, with a brown hide flecked with white. Their meat is considered a great delicacy. The tatus are the size of a young pig and have a skin (p.131) covered with scales resembling armor, from which protrudes the head, somewhat like a tortoise. Their meat is very pleasing to the palate, and is served especially at banquets.

There are also many jaguars in Brazil, which are much feared by the native people because of their ferocious agility sharpened by hunger. The serigues are about the size of a fox and have a curious and unusual abdominal feature consisting of two sacks in which they carry their young. Their young cling firmly to the teats and do not release these until they are strong enough to find food on their own. There is another unusual animal which the Portuguese call preguiça because it is so slow to climb up a tree and come down again that a period of four days is hardly enough. The tamanduas are also a noteworthy species; they have the body of a sheep, a very long, thin snout, and long, large claws. They feed on ants, and use their claws to dig a hole in the ants' nests and hills, then insert their long tongue and withdraw it covered with an army of clinging ants, which they swallow. Like squirrels, they have a long, bushy tail, covered with hair, which serves as a cover under which they hide so that no part of the body is visible.

The jaguaretas, which the Portuguese call onças, are black tigers or jaguars. The cajatayas are monkeys that have a yellow body and smell of musk. The teiú is alizard, and is found in different colors and sizes. The boiguaçu is a very large snake that displays many colors. The boicininga, which the Portuguese call cascavel, is a poisonous snake that has a long tail with rattles, and so warns people of its approach. The boiobi is a green snake. The corigões are the serigues which I mentioned above.

The following kinds of birds are found here: the toucan is about the size of a magpie, with a yellow breast and the rest of the body black. It has a large, long beak that is yellow on the outside, red on the inside. The guará is bright red all over. The piretaguaras are pleasing to the eye with their bright green feathers. The parrots or papagayas are well known. The arara has purple and azure feathers and is called the Brazilian raven, surpassing all the others in size and beauty. The American ostrich is smaller than the African variety.

One finds not just wild animals in Brazil, but also herds of cattle and horses brought in by the Portuguese not so long ago, which have produced a large number of offspring. There are blood horses that fetch a high price; they are bought in large numbers in Angola by the Portuguese. There are other kinds of animals found in large herds; therefore only a few herders are needed to manage five hundred and even a thousand steers and cows for one owner. They flourish especially in the fields of Piratininga, where the grazing meadows are fertile and lush. Their increase in numbers is incredible, and their meat is so excellent that it is given to the sick as food and for healing. Because of the temperate climate, the chickens are in such abundance that they cannot be counted. They are equally in demand (p.132) by the Indians and the Portuguese and are well cared for. The land produces geese that are larger and better than the European variety. The sheep are not much in demand because they are very fat and therefore not to our taste.

The seas are full of marine life and the rivers are known for their many different kinds of fish. The olho de boi, a fish found in the ocean, is so called because it has the eyes of an ox, an epithet that Homer used to refer to Juno. In size it equals the Spanish tuna fish and is so fat that the Indians use it to make an oil that resembles butter. The camurupi is one of the most important fish and has an excellent flavor, but it is dangerous because of its barbs, one of which stands straight up on its back. The pirambá, which makes a snoring sound, is about eight or nine times the length of a hand, and much prized for its agreeable taste. It has two small appendages in its mouth that resemble stones and are used like molars for grinding the shellfish on which it lives. The Indians put these little “stones” in a collar for adornment around the neck. There are large quantities of a fish called bejupir, which is like the Portuguese sturgeon, with a smooth, rounded shape, black on its back, and a white belly. There is also a fish known in European waters as tainha, as the Portuguese call it, which is used as a remedy against snakebite. There are varieties of carp which the Portuguese know as parga and sargus, varieties of mackerel, and many rays, hornfish, and others. The dorado, known to the Indians as warakapemme, is quite superior in taste. The araguaga is a swordfish, but guaperva and peixe porco are both shunned because of their sharp spines. Quacacuja is an aquatic bat, and the nhanduguaçu a giant spider.15

There are many turtles found in large masses on the shore, where they deposit their eggs in the sand. These are much like chicken eggs—round, white, and with a hard shell. The tubarô, or shark, is the most cruel of all species, and can be fatal to swimmers; it is often surrounded by many-colored fish which the Portuguese call pelgrimes or romeiros. The Indians use shark teeth on their arrows because they are very sharp and poisonous. The flying fish have eyes that are beautiful and brilliant and flash like jewels, and wings like those of a bat, without feathers but with a silvery sheen. When they try to evade an enemy fish, they fly up out of the water and often fall into a ship, which the sailors interpret as a favorable omen.

It is said that in these regions one can also find the torpedo fish or electric ray, which the Indians call puraquê, for it can produce torpor in the limbs. If anyone touches it, even with a stick, the arm becomes lame. Once the fish is dead, it is no longer poisonous and can be eaten.

Tritons, known to the Indians as ipupiapra, are an amazing fish, for they have what seems a human face and an elegant appearance, and like a woman they display long, flowing hair. They are seen in an area about seven or eight leagues from the Bay of All Saints, and also near the province of Porto Seguro. It is believed that they kill human beings by holding them in a tight embrace, not deliberately, but (p.133) out of affection. Bodies that wash ashore often show marks of mutilation at the eyes, nostrils, and fingertips, possibly caused by these monsters sucking or biting the corpse.16

These seas teem with cuttlefish whose blood is black as ink, and with squid and sea-nettle, while oysters and other shellfish are abundant. The Indians use the shells of mussels as spoons and knives. Horn shells and scallops are rivals for beauty and a delight to the eyes.

Seabirds are worth mentioning, some because of their elongated beak, others because of a bifurcated tail, or because they seem to suffer from a kind of falling sickness, or their variety of color; some are remarkable because they cannot fly.

Forms of produce brought into this country, such as melons, cucumbers, pomegranates, fig trees that bear fruit two or three times a year, many varieties of medicinal plants, rice, millet, and different kinds of legumes, all grow in abundance. Trees of different varieties are native to the region, such as the copaiba, whose bark, when cut in the summer, produces a sap like a liquid balsam that gives off a sweet fragrance and has the marvelous power of curing wounds and removing scars. These trees are recognized when animals that have been bitten by a snake have rubbed against them, instinctively seeking this natural remedy. The cabureiba also produces a very fragrant balsam. The icicariba tree produces resin, and the itaiba secretes a resin known as anime to the Portuguese, which is also very fragrant and has many uses. The anda produces chestnuts that have a purgative effect. Mucuitaiba is pau santo in Portuguese, anhuibapeapija is the same as sassafras, cajucatinga is the Brazilian cedar tree, and acaju is the foremost Brazilian appletree. The sap of the jenipapo is used by the Indians to paint their skin. In addition, there is manioc, which was mentioned earlier. The tree called sapucaia grows very tall and produces a very hard calyx that hangs upside down, like a little box with a cover like a lid, thanks to the marvels of nature. This contains chestnuts that have a good taste, and when they are ripe, the cover opens and they fall out, offering food to eager mortals. But it would take too long to describe this and more natural products.17

There is no lack of wood for construction, the kind of timber that hardens with age, suitable for shipbuilding and water-resistant. The country lacks laborers; it cannot produce rope or tar, but there is chalk, and bricks are made here. The ironworkers use charcoal made from wood rather than stone, which our people prefer. As the local rope industry lacks hemp, they make rope from tree bark twisted into shape for use on ships.

Next I will turn to the strength of the army and of the fortifications, their location and number, the fleet, and other means of defense. Recife is the principal seat of the government, of commerce, and of war and military activities, and has many warehouses for supplies, merchandise, and the armory. On the side from which (p.134) Olinda is visible, it has two raised bulwarks that are horn-shaped, one built of stone that faces out to the harbor and the sea, the other consisting of an earthwork that faces the river. They are connected by means of a rampart that runs between them, with a palisade guarding it. In the center is the gate that provides access to the city. The stone bulwark is guarded with seven bronze pieces of artillery. The earthwork has five bronze pieces and two of iron, providing protection to the land side and safety for the harbor.

All of Recife is protected by strong palisades, with the artillery placed ready for firing. Along the palisades, close to the shore, are two raised batteries, one next to the ammunition storage and guarding the harbor, the other closer by, and both provided with artillery of bronze and iron. Fort São Jorge, or Land Castle, is located along the shore on the road to Olinda at a distance of two musket shots from Recife. It is built of stone, rising to a considerable height, and guarded with a bastion of marble and thirteen iron cannon aimed at the harbor.

The Water Castle can be seen out in the ocean opposite the Land Castle. It is of circular construction, with seven formidable bronze cannon destined for guarding the harbor, its entrance, and the shore. Recife, Fort São Jorge, Fort de Bruyn, and the redoubt are within reach of the Water Castle's artillery. Close by Fort São Jorge one can see Fort de Bruyn, with its four bulwarks and seven bronze artillery pieces enclosed within the walls. At an equal distance is the Tower Fort or Redoubt, which prides itself on having been named for Madame de Bruyn; that too is surrounded by walls and protected by two bronze artillery pieces. The ruined fort to the south is undergoing repairs to house a garrison of fifteen or twenty men, and to serve as a refuge for the citizens of Olinda in case of marauding and plundering troops.

Fort Waerdenburgh is located on the mainland, near the salt pans. It was originally planned as a quadrangle but now is triangular in form, for there was not enough space to add a fourth bastion. However, it was considered easily accessible to enemy attack and therefore two curtain walls and the palisade, where these were open to enemy attack, were taken down. Now, the three bastions have been turned into three towering redoubts, higher than the original palisades, with bronze artillery to ward off the enemy.

Fort Ernestus on the island of Antonio Vaz is located on the south side of Recife, built as a square, guarded by a wide moat, and surrounded by a palisade.18 It guards the river, the nearby fields, and the city of Mauritiopolis, which has recently been built there, with four pieces of artillery. The city, which faces the fort, lies open on that side, while the side that faces the mainland is enclosed with a high wall, which will have to be extended out farther to Fort Frederica if necessary, because the city has too few houses and lacks space for more building. Mauritiopolis, enclosed on either side by Fort Frederik Hendrik and Fort Ernestus (p.135) with its five bronze cannon, has little to fear from enemy attack. Fort Frederik Hendrik is built in the shape of a pentagon and called five-cornered because of its five bastions. It is surrounded by a wide moat, a parapet, and a palisade, and is fortified against attack by a double hornwork, one very large, the other smaller in size. The surrounding areas are low and open to flooding by the sea at high water. The hornworks are defended with eight bronze cannon against any attack by nearby enemy forces.

Farther inland, along the Capibaribe River, there are four towers or redoubts which guard Recife from a distance by obstructing the enemy's approach. They are now in ruins and have not been repaired. Fort Prince Willem is located in the Afogados. It is solidly built and elegant, notable for its square shape, and is guarded by a palisade and a moat. It has six bronze cannon that cover the roads into the varzea (or the open country) which cross the area.

The following fortifications guard the island of Itamaracá: Fort Oranje protects the entrance to the southern harbor with four strong bastions enclosed within a palisade because the moat is dry. It has twelve cannon, six of bronze and six of iron. In the small city of Schoppe, the fortifications consist of a wall around the church and an earthwork, which protect the harbor, and a watchtower at the northern part of the city that guards the city gate. The earthwork has eleven cannon, two of bronze and nine of iron. There is another watchtower at the northern entrance with three iron artillery pieces.19

Paraíba has the following forts: Fort Margarethe, which has several kinds of defense—a moat, a wall, a strong parapet, fourteen bronze cannon, and forty-two of iron. Restinga is located on a sand spit, surrounded by a palisade, with four bronze cannon and two of iron aimed at the enemy. Fort Santo Antonio North is partially surrounded by the sea, but on the land side it has a tower protected by a barrier and artillery. The Franciscan monastery in Fredericopolis is surrounded by a wall and serves as a fort; it is enforced with hornworks, a moat, barriers, and ten cannon. A watchtower guards the harbor.

Fort Ceulen, located in the capitania of Rio Grande, guards the approach from the sea. It is very well protected because of its location, construction, and ten bronze and sixteen iron artillery pieces.

These are the forts in the northern part of Brazil. To the south of Recife there is, in the first place, Fort Van der Dussen at Cape Santo Agostinho, which guards the harbor with six cannon; Fort Domburg, which guards against sudden enemy attacks, is situated in front of it. There is a stone battery at the foot of a hill near the entrance to the harbor with three cannon suitably located to prevent ships from entering. At the rear it lies open and cannot be closed off because of high mountains nearby on either side.

Porto Calvo is guarded by Fort Boaventura, which is an ominous name. It is (p.136) located at the top of a forty-foot hill and has a moat, barriers, a parapet, seven bronze cannon, one of iron, and two that use stone balls as additional safeguards. Fort Mauritius, which covers the São Francisco River, is built on a high, steep mountainside five or six miles from the ocean and on the northern bank of the river. It has access on one side only. Provided with five bastions and seven bronze pieces, it dominates the surrounding plain. During the rainy season it is surrounded by stagnant floodwater.

Here follows an inventory of the supplies remaining in the arsenals: 67,000 pounds of gunpowder; 50 muskets; 60,000 pounds of lead shot; 36,000 pounds of fuses; 200 bandoliers to hold bullets; 12 carbines for the cavalry; 5,000 pieces of flint; 40 rifles for the use of the sailors; 16 sabers; 8 halberds; 199 battle-axes for the cavalry; 1,400 hand axes; 100 sickles; 80 carts to move soil; 3 door locks; 40 rifles; 1,600 cannonballs; 10,350 cannonballs of different weight; 50 axes; 110 different kinds of iron instruments; 10 gimlets.

We lack the following military supplies: muskets or long rifles, lances, sickles, trumpets, mattocks, tambourines, large hatchets, hammers, molds for making lead balls, stakes, material to clean swords, all kinds of nails, files, and other materials. We have not received these supplies, although we have asked for them, and this is the reason that we see the ruins of forts in need of repair throughout the territory.

There is a serious shortage of food supplies, so that I fear our population will suffer famine if help does not come quickly.20 According to your instructions, a certain sum of expenditures is allotted for food, according to one's position, but so little food is brought in that it is impossible to give out the quantity that constitutes one's portion. The proceeds of the sale of Negroes and the sugar mills had to be spent. But when these funds also ran out we were reduced to extreme measures, for we were without money in the treasury and without food supplies. We ordered the native population, on pain of death, to bring flour and cattle sufficient to feed the people in the towns and garrisons. In payment we gave them a signed voucher which they could later exchange for money. That way indigence compels need and desperate hunger rules supreme.

It is almost impossible for me to say how much the Company's treasury loses due to this lack of food supplies and how hunger devours the annual income from taxes and tributes. While there is such need, we will not be able to keep the garrisons safe, and fear that it exposes them to extreme danger. Truly, we must attribute the safety of our people to the enemy's indifference rather than to our efforts, for the soldiers have no energy when their bodies are weak, and there is no force stronger than hunger to wrench the weapons out of their hands. Our wish to be strong is in vain, because we are not allowed to live as men of strength. You are mistaken in your belief that the country can produce sufficient supplies, for it (p.137) is not sufficient for so many. You are wrong in your reckoning of supplies offered for sale by the merchants which, as usual, will be sold at retail for high prices in the sugar mills and out in the countryside. We cannot rely on these uncertain expectations.

Some of our military are quartered in the garrisons and some spread out across the country, making it easier to provide them with food. The reason is that we do not know where the Spanish fleet might land, or when we may have to ward off sudden invasions along our borders. Fort Mauritius at the Rio Grande holds 540 armed troops under their respective colors and commanders. At the Alagoas there are 293; at Camarigibe, 93; at Porto Calvo, 480; at Serinhaím, 750; at Ipojuca, 75; at the Panterra mill, 79; at Cape Santo Agostinho, 240; at Fort Van der Dussen, 170; in the Santo Amaro region, 170; in Muribeca, 175; in the village of São Lourenço, 422; in Fort Prince Willem at the Afogados River, 263; and in Fort Frederik Hendrik, 230. The Count's guards are stationed on Antonio Vaz Island. Fort Ernestus has 180; Recife, 277; Fort De Bruyn, 125; Olinda, 193; Iguaraçu, 93. Fort Oranje has 182; Goyana, 165; Fredericopolis, 101; Fort Margarethe, 360; and Fort Ceulen, 82. Since my departure, 150 men have been sent as supplementary troops from Zeeland and 66 from North Holland. The total number of troops in Brazil is 6,180. Forty soldiers were selected to protect Ceará.

With these troops instructed and armed to protect the forts, there are none left to defend against an enemy incursion; there are no mobile troops in the field that can guard the Brazilian coast against a Spanish fleet. If a great calamity had not diminished the strength of this Spanish armada, we would certainly have suffered the enemy's aggressive attack.21 At the time when their fleet sailed past our shore on its way to Bahia, we did not have this number of troops, although we added a legion when Arciszewsky returned here. The enemy landed 3,000 troops which had recently been recruited in Spain, added 700 from Bahia, 2,000 under the command of Count Bagnuolo, and 1,000 Brazilians. In addition, they hoped that 2,000 men from among our Portuguese population would ignore their oath to us and go over to the Spanish side. We certainly never had an equal number, sufficient to dare oppose them, no matter how we scraped together troops on every side. As is customary in war, we increased the number of our troops by lying about the total and by ignoring attempts at sedition, no matter what schemes were planned against us, and scared the enemy away with the loud claims of victory with which wars end.

Since the Spaniards reached Bahia, they have not done anything to justify that kind of preparation. They have only sent Captains Vidal and Magalhães against us in the Brazilian countryside, with small detachments, spreading letters around with which the Conde da Torre, the governor of the Bay of All Saints, impressed the credulous souls among us who are easily frightened.22 Even now they are (p.138) wandering around the countryside and Moribeca, and because they travel by day along hidden paths, and invade better-known areas only at night, it is difficult to capture them. They have only one thing in mind, namely, to extort money from the owners of the mills, to steal whatever comes their way, and to take the weapons from any of our soldiers if they find them wandering about. They claim that they are forbidden to set fire to the sugarcane fields and to devastate the land. They wander around everywhere, not subject to laws of fidelity to the king, without pay, devastating the mulattoes and Negroes and doing great damage to the inhabitants of the countryside, while they know all the hiding places and escape routes.

The registers give the names of the ships, large and small, that lie in the harbors of Brazil, in the bays, and along the shore, together with the number of sailors. It is imperative for the safety of Brazil, for the use of the Company, and for maintaining the honor of the Republic that we be sent ships and sailors without delay, as well as weapons, food, soldiers, and clothing, which are needed to strengthen our position. We have nothing and lack everything and cannot possibly hope for victory on land or at sea without support of this nature. Without weapons we are helpless; properly armed, we are full of courage.

The accounts list how much money is owed and how much is spent for employees. We expect a far larger crop this year than last. I will add this complaint: many ships are in poor condition and are hardly seaworthy any more. The ones that were sent needed immediate provisioning upon arrival, and ships recently sent from the Republic were too heavily loaded. Other ships, owing to the shortage of sailors, required the transfer of our soldiers to naval operations.

And this is not all. The soldiers are poorly clothed and go almost naked. Although we are not daunted by this and do not ask for perfumed ointments, we want to be properly dressed. For we find encouragement not only in having sufficient weapons, but also in clothing and proper care of the body. Therefore it is to the Company's honor and interest if the stipend for clothing and necessities of this kind is increased, for in this way, rather than with money, it is simple to cut down on the soldiers' pay. They are not averse to having a stipend and their pay combined, but they are unused to this kind of financial abundance and waste their money in the taverns and eating houses. They squander their time and their entire means until they are reduced to poverty, whereupon they decide to return to their own people in their native land.

We have found that Bahia, of all places, is most hostile, and acts like a nail in a healthy body. It devastates the land and dominates the sea with its ships, which is easy because there are so many harbors and bays open to the enemy. If this Carthage endures, there will be no future without war for us. This will be their ultimate triumph; this cave of Cacus, this hiding place of evildoers, must be conquered by the Company.23 This will be the most difficult task and the summit of (p.139) all our labors, and to attempt such an undertaking will require help on a very large scale. Those who fight this battle will reap not only the benefits of fortune, but will gain power and land. An army of five thousand experienced and trusted soldiers is needed, and I am writing to persuade you to recruit these in the Republic and to have them transported here, provided with appropriate arms. Then they can be added to the local troops and become acquainted with the terrain. In addition, we must spread this war to the sea, and will require eighteen large ships and as many brigantines, equipped with sailors and weapons. These I ask to have present along the coast of Brazil at the beginning of autumn, so that in March and April when it is quiet in the garrisons because of the rainy season, they can transport sugar to the Republic or win good fortune in the West thanks to some outstanding deeds. We will also need smaller ships—cutters, skiffs, and carriers—that can load and unload the large ships, for ours are all worn by years of use, rotted, or broken, and some sank accidentally. The treasury is so empty that unless it can be replenished very soon we fear bankruptcy. The operators of the sugar mills refuse to sell sugar unless paid with ready cash. If it becomes necessary to remove the Dutch mill owners when the Spanish armada arrives, any title to the property will be lost.24


(1.) Much of the following chapter is based on a report presented to the directors of the (p.343) Company in April 1640 by Adriaen van der Dussen, one of the councilors. It is dated December 1639, by which time he had returned to the Republic. Naber includes the original Dutch text of this report, rather than a translation of Barlaeus' Latin transcription. Comparing the two gives some notion of Barlaeus' work method; he selects what to present from the information he has, and what to leave out, without indicating his omissions or why. This leads to occasional confusion in the narrative because it is not always clear who is the subject, or the speaker.

(2.) Pernambuco means para nãmbuco in the Indian language, i.e., pedra furada, or hollow rock (see Brandão, n. 117).

(3.) Adriaan Pater was the Dutch commander killed in a naval battle in 1631 (see chap. 1, n. 40). Count Bagnuolo was forced to withdraw from Porto Calvo by Count Johan Maurits (see chap. 2). For the fate of Don Luis de Rojas y Borgia, commander of the Spanish forces, see chap. 5, n. 13. Andre Vidal de Negreiros and Pedro Jacques de Magalhâes were commanders of the Portuguese rebel forces.

(4.) Tyre and Sidon “were the principal agents of the great Phoenician burst of maritime commercial exploration” (Grant, Guide to the Ancient World, 674) .

(5.) Hor. Sat. 1.1.14. “Cetera de genere hoc adea sunt multa, loquacem/Delassare valent Fabium” [Others of this kind are so numerous, they can wear out even a chatterbox like Fabius].

(6.) The word hamaca, said to be of Carib origin, was adopted by the English as “hammock,” and by the Portuguese and Brazilians as maca. The cabaça is a gourd, made from the shell of the calabash.

(7.) Boudewijn Hendriksz, the commander of the second Dutch fleet sent out after Salvador had been recaptured by the Spaniards in 1625, was killed in battle in the Bay of Traição.

(8.) The Dutch West India Company had captured Elmina on the west coast of Africa in 1637, with the notion that slaves for the Brazilian sugar plantations would be imported from Africa, rather than buying them from other nations (see chap. 3). Hence the suggestion to become better acquainted with the rulers of the Congo and Sonho.

(9.) See Brandão, n. 134, who identifies oreliana as uruçu or the fruit of the annatto tree, which produces an orange dye. Sugar processing is discussed in chapter 3 .

(10.) The author frequently intersperses van der Dussen's report with his personal comments; Barlaeus' Latin text reads “nostrae quoque fidei homines Christum, quantumvis Gentibus stultitiam, inter illas praedicent.” Barlaeus is paraphrasing Saint Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:23): “nos autem praedicamus Christum crucifixum, Judaeis quidem scandalum, gentibus autem stultitiam.” In the King James Version, this reads: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” Does Barlaeus want his readers to substitute the native Indians for the Greeks? The Gentiles are “the people of ‘our faith.’”

(11.) See Brandão, n. 140: the convent in Iguaraçu is the “Vila de Iguaraçu,” founded in 1588; in van der Dussen's report, which is Barlaeus' source, he says that the second Franciscan convent is located in “I. Garasu.” Brandão adds that illustration no. 11 of the 1647 text, labeled in the banner as Garasu, erroneously identifies the building (under the letter B) as “Coenobium S. Francisci,” i.e., the Franciscan convent. This offers one more example of the many distortions of the names of people and places found in the Latin text.

(12.) This comment, an indirect reference to the pope and the Inquisition, is not found in van der Dussen's report; it is clearly the author's, who was known for his dislike of the Catholic Church and its clergy.

(13.) Barlaeus uses oler, but the Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary corrects this: it should read holus, translated as kitchen or garden herbs, vegetables.

(14.) The following section on the Brazilian flora and fauna is printed in italics in the 1647 edition, with the name of the animal or species under discussion set in roman type. In the translation, I have reversed this. The name of each animal is in italics, the text in roman. The 1647 (p.344) edition has a printed side note in the text, perhaps at the author's suggestion, that he has added this text to van der Dussen's report in order to give the reader additional information. See Brandão, n. 146, who adds that portions of this information seem to be derived from Father Maffei's Historiarum indicarum, II, 30 a nd gives several instances where the descriptions are very similar. It is also quite likely that Barlaeus got his information from Piso and Marcgraf's work on Brazilian natural history. Some of the animals mentioned here, such as the anteater, sloth, ostrich, etc., can be easily identified; for the others I have consulted Marcgraf's wonderfully instructive and illustrated Historiae rerum naturalium brasiliae. It was published shortly after Barlaeus' Historia, in 1648, but much of its content was available when Barlaeus was working on his Historia, because his descriptions of the flora and fauna and of the Chileans and the Tapuyas are derived at least in part from this work. Count Johan Maurits had made Marcgraf's material available.

(15.) Brandão has several notes concerning this section of the Brazilian fauna and flora; note 183 deals with the nhanduguaçu, a giant spider which in Tupi language is nhandú + açu,” i.e., a giant spider or caranguejeira, which translates as “bird spider.” In Piso and Marcgraf's Historia naturalis brasiliae, however, the Nhanduguacu appears twice: In Piso's section, 44, nhanduguacu is listed as “ex araneorum genere insignis & stupendae magnitudinis” [a spider of stupendous size]; it nests in the hollows of trees and its bite is poisonous. In Marcgraf's Historiae rerum naturalium brasiliae, 248, under “Insects,” the Nhandu Guacu is described as a large spider, and there is a woodcut illustration. In his section on birds, 190, the Nhanduguacu appears again: the first entry is Nhanduguacu brasiliensibus. Ema Lusitanis, Struthio aves; i.e., the Brazilian ostrich. The Latin “tigris” which Barlaeus uses refers not to a tiger but to a jaguar; it is also known as onça.

(16.) See Peter Mason, “Classical Ethnography and Its Influence on the European Perception of the Peoples of the New World,” 135–38, who suggests that Barlaeus may have used as his source for “the excessive love-making of the female Tritons” Alexander's legendary travel accounts, parts of which survived in a Latin work known as Epistola ad Aristotelem that dealt with the Alexander legend. The description of the Tritons as Barlaeus gives it is not found in Piso and Marcgraf's Historia naturalis brasiliae.

(17.) Here Barlaeus again takes up van der Dussen's account.

(18.) Barlaeus errs when he locates Fort Ernestus “ad latus Reciffae Australis,” i.e., to the south of Recife. Naber, 179, is still copying van der Dussen's text, and he says, “Het fort Ernestus op ‘t eyland Ant. Vaz west van ‘t Reciff gelegen” [Fort Ernestus on the island Antonio Vaz located to the west of Recife]. On a map published by Claes Iansz Visscher entitled Perfecte caerte der gele-gentheyt van Olinda de Pharnambuco … ende Reciffo [Accurate Map of the Location of Olinda in Pernambuco … and Recife], dated 1648, the fort is located at the tip of the island Antonio Vaz, to the west of Recife.

(19.) When the Dutch captured the island Itamaracá in 1633, the small city was named Schoppe after Sigismund von Schoppe, commander of the Dutch forces. The island Itamaracá is separated from the mainland by a deep, narrow waterway.

(20.) The “I” speaking here is still van der Dussen, not the author. Van der Dussen's direct address is meant for the directors of the Company.

(21.) Van der Dussen is talking about the long-expected Spanish fleet, which sailed past Pernambuco in August 1639. Rather than attack the Dutch at that time, the commander, the Conde da Torre, aware that many of the troops were sick after the long ocean crossing, decided (p.345) that they were incapable of an attack; this is the calamity that spared the Dutch an attack at that time. The Conde da Torre spent almost six months at Bahia before venturing north again in January 1640 to meet with the Dutch. Barlaeus recounts this episode in chapter 8.

(22.) Vidal and Magalhães are mentioned earlier in this chapter (see note 3).

(23.) Cacus, a son of Vulcan, was a giant of immense physical strength who dwelt in a cave on Mount Aventinus and troubled the whole region around with his robberies.

(24.) This is the end of van der Dussen's report. After the Dutch conquest, many of the Portuguese owners of mills that had been destroyed or taken over by the Dutch were allowed to buy back these properties against a promise that over the years they would repay this debt. It was often given as one of the reasons why the Portuguese rebellion gained adherents; there would be no question of paying off these large debts if the West India Company were removed from the territory.