European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies to 1648

By Frances Gardiner Davenport | Go to book overview

38.
Treaty of truce and commerce between Portugal and the United Netherlands, concluded at the Hague, June 12, 1641. Ratification by the King of Portugal, November 18, 1641. [Ratification by the States General, February 20, 1642.]

INTRODUCTION.
Early in 1641, John IV., having accepted the crown of Portugal upon its severance from that of Spain, and needing support from Spain's enemies,1 sought alliance with the United Netherlands. The States General were well disposed toward the new king, and, in accordance with suggestions from Richelieu, had already resolved to despatch an envoy to Portugal and to equip a fleet to act with that of France in favor of Portugal and against Spain.2 Nevertheless there were obstacles to an alliance. During the twenty years of hostilities between the United Netherlands and Spain, following the expiration of the truce of Antwerp,3 the two great trading companies of the Dutch had endeavored to supplant the Portuguese in their colonial possessions and trade, which were, for the most part, insufficiently defended by the Spanish government. In the Far East, by the end of January, 1641, the Dutch East India Company had expelled the Portuguese from part of Ceylon and from Malacca. In Brazil, the Dutch West India Company had gained control of the captaincies from Maranhão to Sergipe del Rey; and in Africa, the same company, with a view to securing the supply of slaves needed for the Brazilian sugar plantations, had dislodged the Portuguese from the forts of Cape Coast Castle and St. George of the Mine ( 1637) and from the island of Arguin ( 1638).4The Portuguese ambassador, Tristão de Mendoça, having been detained in England, did not deliver his credentials to the States General until April 12. His proposals5 were as follows:
1. A ten years truce should be concluded between Portugal and the States General in the East and West Indies and wherever the King of Portugal should be recognized.
____________________
1
Cf. Doc. 37, introduction.
2
Arend, Algemeene Geschiedenis, III. ( 5), 300; Aitzema, Saken van Staet, II. 753 ff.
3
Doc. 28.
4
J. G. Doorman, "Die Niederländisch-West-Indische Compagnie an der Goldküste" in Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, XL. ( 1898) 443, 444; De Lannoy and Vander Linden, L'Expansion Coloniale: Néerlande et Danemark, p. 97.
5
Arend, op. cit., III. ( 5), 307.

-329-

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