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Empires and IndigenesIntercultural Alliance, Imperial Expansion, and Warfare in the Early Modern World$
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Wayne E. Lee

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814753088

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814753088.001.0001

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The Opportunities and Limits of Ethnic Soldiering

The Opportunities and Limits of Ethnic Soldiering

The Tupis and the Dutch-Portuguese Struggle for the Southern Atlantic, 1630–1657

(p.193) 8 The Opportunities and Limits of Ethnic Soldiering
Empires and Indigenes

Mark Meuwese

NYU Press

This chapter examines the Dutch colonization of northeastern Brazil from 1630 to 1654. The colony was governed by the West India Company (WIC), which depended on a strong navy and army. Without enormous investments in soldiers, ships, and weapons, the company would never have been able to wrest away the rich sugar provinces of northeastern Brazil from the Iberian powers, to which Brazil belonged as part of the Spanish–Portuguese Doublemonarchy from 1585 to 1640. In addition to European company soldiers, the WIC greatly depended on indigenous allies in Brazil. These included the Tupi-speaking peoples who lived along the coast. The Tupis were sought out as military allies of the WIC because of their numerical strength and their familiarity with European weapons.

Keywords:   Dutch colony, northeastern Brazil, West India Company, Spanish-Portuguese Doublemonarchy, Tupis

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