Ancient history

Pernambuco insurrection

Last updated:2022-07-25
The Pernambuco Insurrection took place between the 1640s and 1650s, resulting in the expulsion of the Dutch from Brazilian lands.

The so-called Insurrection Pernambucana occurred in the context of the Dutch occupation of part of the Northeast region of Brazil, including the region of Pernambuco. The Dutch settled in this region from 1630, in the period when Brazil was under the yoke of the Spanish throne, which was united with Portugal since 1580 in the process known as União Iberian. The Dutch invasions, which took place in Portuguese colonies in Africa as well, such as Angola, were motivated by differences with Spain that ranged from problems related to maritime trade to religious issues.

The situation the sugar mills of Pernambuco, which were controlled by the Companhia das Indias Occidentais (Dutch company), from the 1640s onwards, began to show signs of decline. Local producers became dissatisfied with the Dutch administration, which demanded dividends from profits at any cost. Some planters, pressured by the Dutch, took refuge in Bahia; others sought to relieve themselves of the debt in other ways.

This situation reached a saturation point in the year 1645, when there was the first insurrection campaign, mainly because it was in that year that the governor Maurício de Nassau left Pernambuco for his homeland. The first to command the insurrection of 1645 were the planters from the interior of Pernambuco. Afterwards, they soon began to be supported by the planters who returned from Bahia with the aim of recovering their lands. In a few months, the troops managed to reach Recife.

Later, the Dutch were also expelled from Alagoas and Sergipe. The main commanders of the insurgent troops were João Fernandes Vieira, Antônio Felipe Camarão and Henrique Dias, in addition to several commanders who faced the Dutch troops in smaller numbers and with few resources.

The decisive battles took place in the place called Montes Guararapes and became known as the Batalhas de Guararapes, which took place between the end of 1648 and the beginning of 1649 (see image at the top of the page) .

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