6 August 1661: Treaty of The Hague cedes Dutch Brazil to Portugal

Holland's swashbuckling adventure in Brazil came to an end on this day in 1661, with the signing of the Treaty of The Hague.

In the 17th century, the Dutch had designs on a grand trading empire. To achieve this, two companies were set up the (Dutch) East and West India Companies.

In 1623, the West India Company came up with a Groot Desseyn – it would simply take by force Portuguese possessions in South America and Africa.

So, in 1624, a Dutch fleet commanded by Jacob Willekens captured São Salvador de Bahia de Todos os Santos (modern-day Salvador). From there they intended to take Angola.

But things went badly. Salvador was retaken by the Portuguese, and the West India Company turned to piracy for a while.

They were soon back, however, flush with money from capturing a Spanish treasure fleet off Cuba in 1628. A fleet took the towns of Recife and Olinda in 1630, and soon the whole of the northeast of Brazil was occupied, with Recife (now named Mauritsstaad, after the colonial governor, Johan Maurits) its capital.

But their hold on the territory was weak. And in 1642, Maurits was recalled to Holland. Planters rebelled and the Portuguese made steady gains. Recife came under siege. And by 1648, Portugal had recaptured much of the territory that had been lost. But it was not until January 1654 that the Dutch at Recife surrendered, giving up all territories that remained in Dutch hands.

Dutch fleets continued to harry Portuguese forces in Brazil, and in 1661, by signing the Treaty of The Hague, Holland formally dropped its claims. In return, it received a payment of eight million guilders, and uncontested control of Ceylon.

Recommended

Cryptocurrency roundup: authorities tighten the screw
Bitcoin & crypto

Cryptocurrency roundup: authorities tighten the screw

Saloni Sardana looks at the cryptocurrency stories that caught our eye this week.
21 Jan 2022
Stockmarket crash: is the “superbubble” heading for a “superbust”?
Stockmarkets

Stockmarket crash: is the “superbubble” heading for a “superbust”?

America's Nasdaq stock index is down by more than 10% after soaring to all-time highs in a "superbubble". Are we about to see a "superbust" stockmarke…
21 Jan 2022
Inflation: now we really have something to worry about
Inflation

Inflation: now we really have something to worry about

We’ve been worrying about a sharp rise in inflation for years, says Merryn Somerset Webb – now, we finally have something to worry about.
21 Jan 2022
Share tips of the week – 21 January
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 21 January

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
21 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is
Inflation

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is

As inflation bites and the labour market remains tight, many of the nation's employees are asking for a pay rise. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why yo…
17 Jan 2022
US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?
Inflation

US inflation is at its highest since 1982. Why aren’t markets panicking?

US inflation is at 7% – the last time it was this high interest rates were at 14%. But instead of panicking, markets just shrugged. John Stepek explai…
13 Jan 2022
Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?
Global Economy

Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?

The idea that the US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates much earlier than anticipated has upset the markets. John Stepek explains why, and wha…
6 Jan 2022