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date: 01 December 2022

The Insurrection of Pernambuco and the Surrender of the Dutch in Brazil (1645–1654)locked

The Insurrection of Pernambuco and the Surrender of the Dutch in Brazil (1645–1654)locked

  • Hugo André Flores Fernandes AraújoHugo André Flores Fernandes AraújoUniversidade Federal de Santa Maria


The Dutch West Indies Company (WIC) occupied the heart of Brazil’s sugar economy between 1630 and 1654, benefiting from the lucrative Atlantic trade based on African slave labor. The changes that occurred with the end of the Iberian Union, with D. João IV acclaimed king of Portugal in 1640 and the signing of a truce with the United Provinces in 1641, created a favorable scenario for the organization of a plan to retake the Portuguese territories. The Luso-Brazilians of the northern captaincies were in debt, and, discontented with the WIC’s administration, they took advantage of the changes to articulate a revolt to expel the Dutch from Brazil.

This movement was designed to be a definitive strike against the WIC, seeking to retake the occupied territories in a few months. However, adverse factors turned the revolt into a war that lasted almost nine years. The Luso-Brazilian forces that began the revolt were not made up of professional soldiers, and the men were often poorly equipped and suffered from a lack of supplies. The revolt had the veiled support of the general government of Brazil and the Portuguese king, who provided troops, ammunition, and money that were used to maintain the army and bribe Dutch officers. The wars that took place on both shores of the Atlantic during this period directly influenced the course of the revolt. The Portuguese reconquest of Angola in 1648 was a heavy blow to the main source of slaves that the WIC used in Brazil, while the defeats suffered during the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–1654) weakened the ability of the Dutch to maintain maritime control in northeast Brazil. The deterioration caused by the prolonged war, the successive defeats, and the weak support of the WIC and the United Provinces to their forces in Brazil led the Dutch to capitulate in 1654, in the face of a naval blockade carried out by the fleet of the General Brazil Company.


  • History of Brazil
  • History of Latin America and the Oceanic World
  • 1492–1824
  • Military History

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