André Vidal de Negreiros
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Last update: 22/11/2016
Vidal was the soul of the restoration, the man that never bowed to fear or convenience or was scared of the enemy power, and many times was almost crushed (PINTO quoted by SILVA, 2006, p. 160).
André Vidal de Negreiros, one of the leaders of the fight for the restoration of the Captaincies of Brazil that were under the domain of the Dutch, was born in the year of 1606, in the province of Paraíba. He was son of Francisco Vidal, born in Lisbon, and D. Catarina Ferreira, born in Porto Santo.
The Dutch invasion of Brazil occurred between the years of 1624 and 1654. In this period, the Batavians occupied Bahia (Salvador, 1624-1625), Pernambuco (Olinda and Recife, 1630-1654) and Maranhão (1641-1644).
In 1624, when he was 18 years old, Vidal de Negreiros presented as a volunteer for the organized troops of Paraíba for the freedom of Bahia. He received badges of honor and was promoted to the position of second lieutenant (official patent under the lieutenant) due to standing out as a resistance militant.
Starting there, his participation on the fight against the Batavians was intense, especially in the two Guararapes Battles, in Pernambuco, that resulted in the expulsion of the Dutch from the Northeast of Brazil. According to Evaldo Cabral de Mello, quoted by Silva (2006, p. 169), André Vidal participated in all great moment of both phases of the war: the fights surrounding Recife, the retreat to the South, the country incursions against a Dutch Brazil, the expedition of Luis Barbalho on the inland Northeast, from the bay of Touros to Salvador (1640), the articulations and intrigue plotted in Bahia and Pernambuco regarding the rebellion in 1645, the invasion of the captaincy in support to the rebels leading his own third of veterans, the governing, shared with Vieira, of the War of Divine Freedom, the refuse to take the royal order to retreat with his troops to Bahia, Casa Forte and the two battles of Guararapes, the Dutch surrender in Recife, the mission trusted from Barreto to him of officially communicating D. João IV of the restoration of Pernambuco – summarizing, the longest, the most intense and brilliant service record that a luso-Brazilian militating in the Dutch wars could be proud of.
With the restoration of Maranhão, he was named governor and general captain for that captaincy by a service charter from D. João on August 11, 1644. He didn’t stay for long in those land; since he had the goal of expelling the Dutch from Pernambuco, he made several incursions to Paraíba and Recife seeking followers in order to articulate the revolution. He came back to Recife and, together with João Fernandes Vieira, owner of the sugar mill of Várzea, one of the nuclear elements of the libertarian movement – the other ones were Henrique Dias and Felipe Camarão – he was able to articulate his plans to attack the Flemish.
In Pernambuco, the governor Maurício de Nassau decided to come back to Europe since he disagreed with the decision of the Dutch government regarding the immediate payment of the loans granted to land owners in the Northeast. Since his arrival to the captaincy in 1637, Vidal de Negreiros didn’t tolerate him “did not know his so-called merits [...] and saw him just as a tyrant occupating someone else’s lands”. His decision to leave Brazil favored the plans articulated by Vidal.
The resistance to the Dutch dominion in Pernambuco lasted from 1639 to 1654. The battles of Guararapes occurred in the years of 1648 and 1649, and the last Dutch ships to Europe left from Recife, in 1654. After several years of negotiations, on August 6, 1661, a peace agreement was signed between Portugal and the Netherlands, named Treaty of the Hague, in which the Dutch would receive from the Portuguese a compensation of four million guilders, the equivalent to 63 tons of gold, in addition to the Maluku Islands (Indonesia) and Ceylon (currently Sri Lanka). This fact, according to Pinto, quoted by Silva (2006, p.165), “depreciated the meaning of the victory, conquered by the bravery of Brazilians, and that cost them lives and huge fortunes”.
After the expulsion of the Dutch, Vidal de Negreiros travelled, in 1655, to Lisbon and, when he came back, took over the government of Maranhão. He stayed there for about two years. He went back to Recife to take over the government of the captaincy of Pernambuco (March 26, 1657 to January 26, 1661), since Barreto de Menezes took over the government of Bahia. Vidal left Pernambuco to govern Angola. It was a time when Portugal needed to recover their slave warehouses in Africa, which were dominated by the West India Company. This entrepreneurship was extremely necessary to recover Pernambuco and to maintain and explore Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Before Vidal took over the government of Angola (1661), there were: Salvador de Sá (1648-1652) and his successors and João Fernandes Vieira (1658-1661), that reestablished the traffic and articulated together with local authorities for the capture of slaves. Vidal continued Vieira’s activities.
In 1667, Vidal went back to Pernambuco and found a political conflict, in which the then governor Jerônimo de Mendonça Furtado was deprived of office by the strong opposition of the sugar aristocracy, which then chooses Vidal to replace him. He took that position for only five months.
In the last years of his life, he dedicated, according to Pinto (19--), to philanthropic work and built the church of N. S. do Desterro, between Itambém and Pedras de Fogo, in the border between Paraíba and Pernambuco. Single and without children he left, in his will, a great part of his property to be shared with people from this family, non-related household members and members of a monastic order.
After a life dedicated to fighting, already in old age, handicapped in one of his legs, he retreated to the Engenho Novo de Goiana, his property, where he died at 75, on February 13, 1861, and was buried in its chapel.
On August 4, 1942, by an initiative of the Archbishopric of Olinda and Recife, of the Command of the Seventh Military Region and the Government of the State of Pernambuco, the remains of André Vidal de Negreiros were transferred to the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, in the historical Montes Guararapes, in the municipality of Jaboatão dos Guararapes.
Recife, April 16, 2013.
(Update: november 22, 2016).
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Source: BARBOSA, Virgínia. André Vidal de Negreiros. Pesquisa Escolar Online. Joaquim Nabuco Foundation. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 August 2009.