The Capture of Recife also known as James Lancaster's 1595 Expedition or Lancaster's Pernambucan expedition was an English military expedition during the Anglo–Spanish War in which the primary objective was the capture of the town and port of Recife in Pernambuco in the Portuguese colony of Brazil (then within the Iberian Union with Spain) in April 1595. An English expedition of ships led by James Lancaster sailed via the Atlantic capturing numerous prizes before he captured Recife. He held the place for nearly a month and then proceeded to defeat a number of Portuguese counterattacks before leaving. The booty captured was substantial, Lancaster chartered Dutch and French ships that were also present there thus making the expedition a military and financial success.
By virtue of the Iberian Union, the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 was in abeyance, and as the Anglo–Spanish War was still ongoing, attacks on Portuguese shipping and colonies were a fair target for the English. 38 Lancaster newly returned in 1593, decided on an expedition to Portuguese Brazil to tap the lucrative sugar and spice market. Lancaster mustered a small fleet of a joint stock venture in late 1594 with John Watts, Simon Boreman, Paul Bayning, John More, and William Shute as the leading investors. The fleet consisted of Consent of 350 tons owned by Watts, followed by Boreman's Saloman of 170 tons and Virgin of 60 tons; these were effectively armed merchant ships some of which had been used against the Spanish armada. Lancaster had been raised amongst the Portuguese, spoke the language, and had been a trader with them before war had broken out. :xxThe first ever English expedition under James Lancaster was attempted to the East Indies via Penang Island in June 1592. Remaining there until September, Portuguese and Spanish ships were plundered which although highly profitable had been a near disaster in terms of lives lost to storms and disease. :
In October 1594 they sailed from Plymouth, England, and on the outward voyage the English took several Spanish and Portuguese prizes and were joined by Edward Venner captain of the Peregrine out of Portsmouth and Welcome of Plymouth who with them also had a number of Spanish prizes.The combined forces soon captured its largest prize yet, a large Spanish galley-frigate.
As they sailed further South a few of the ships headed back to cash in the prizes, and whilst raiding supplies at Tenerife Lancaster learned from prisoners of a wine ship that a rich carrack from the East Indies had been wrecked near Olinda of which her cargo was safely stowed at Recife. 38This was great news for Lancaster which gave him even more of an incentive to take Recifie. The fleet now totaling nearly fifteen ships would accompany him there and converted the galley-frigate into a troop ship. :
By the end of March 1595 Lancaster arrived at Recife which is located where the Beberibe River meets the Capibaribe River to flow into the Atlantic Ocean and as such for the Portuguese it is a major port which was governed by Jorge de Albuquerque Coelho. The place is surrounded by many small coral islands and rivers while Recife itself is protected by Fort São Jorge which lays on a spit of land which leads directly via a sandy isthmus to the next port of Olinda. 51When Lancaster arrived he found three sixty-ton Dutch fluitships already there intending to take the cargo and prevent it going back to Portugal. Lancaster went aboard the Dutch ship and made arrangements with their commander, both of whom agreed to share the spoils as the English had the means to take the town and hold it, whilst the Dutch did not. :
On the early hours of Good Friday, Lancaster landed his troops on the beach and surrounded Recife on both land and sea so that the Portuguese would be confused as to where the main attack was to come from. 51After a preliminary naval bombardment the English attacked on all sides and the Portuguese resistance, although strong to start with, soon petered out; Fort São Jorge was overwhelmed and the spit of land was taken with only minor loss and consequently the town itself was taken with little resistance. The garrison fled to Olinda almost three miles away and took refuge, meanwhile Lancaster, with only ten casualties, permitted not the slightest disorder after the place was taken. :
Now in possession of the area Lancaster knew the Portuguese were preparing a counterattack so he strengthened Fort São Jorge (using the captured ordnance) which connected Recife with Olinda. He then proceeded at leisure to stow his ships with the goods found in the town of which there nearly 100 houses and store buildings.He agreed a fee with the Dutch captains to take a load of looted sugar and Brazil wood to England instead of Holland with Virgin to make sure they did, in effect using a diplomacy to charter the Dutch ships.
The Portuguese however intended to drive the English away so made several attempts at retaking the town, but each time assaulting the fortified isthmus they were repelled with heavy losses.The next attempt was made via the waters; blazing rafts were sent down the river and at the same time an attempt by fire-ships on sea was also made but these attempts were frustrated by Lancaster.
A number of French corsairs arrived during the middle of the occupation and Lancaster, being an exceptional diplomat as well of military mind, gave them Brazilwood in order to keep them satisfied; as a result they left without any bloodshed and even chartered one of the French ships to sail to England, a number of them also stayed to fight with the English. 52 With this extra number Lancaster ordered an attack on Olinda in order to deter any aggression while they consolidated their gains. This was achieved at night and Olinda was sacked after meeting little resistance with more booty taken, the majority being sugar.:
After remaining in possession of Recife for more than twenty days Lancaster knew that he would have to leave soon and prepared to sail. The Portuguese however were observed constructing a battery to command the entrance of the harbor, and Lancaster, sent a strong party of 275 men to destroy their work. 53 Almost all the officers of the party including Venner (who was trying to get them back), and others to the number of thirty-five were killed before the rest found the safety of the English lines. Buoyed by this success the Portuguese with their Indian allies then launched another attack on the isthmus, only to be repelled again this time with the help of the ships guns. After this close call Lancaster decided that the occupation had reached its end and decided to take advantage of leaving unmolested with the destruction of the battery.Attacking at night the English surprised the Portuguese who fled and the destruction was achieved, but some order was lost as fifty of the English ran forward, beyond the cover of the ships' broadsides, were met by a large body of Portuguese and their Indian allies and were ambushed. :
Lancaster put to sea with fifteen vessels ladened with merchandises but a strong gale outside caused the fleet to be scattered.Lancaster had four ships with him and arrived in the Downs in July, only one ship never made it, that being a Portuguese prize heavily damaged in gales and lack of crew so was scuttled.
The declared value of the bulk of goods from the carrack brought back by Consent and Salomon was £31,000 and the cargo of Virgin and two of the fluitships were assessed at £15,000. Pereguine, Welcome their prize and the other fluitship carried at least as much totaling over £51,000. 57 As well as Brazil wood the carracks cargo consisted of pepper, cloves, indigo, cinnamon, mace, Benzoin resin, frankincense, gum-lac, aloes, calicoes, silks, and rutile quartz blonde stones. In all the total would have represented £6,100 for the Lord Admiral and £3,050 for the Queen. Also of importance were new Portuguese rutters captured at Recife; Lancaster would use them to great effect for the first ever English East India company expedition in 1601.:
Philip II of Spain on hearing the news of the raid, as well as Walter Raleigh's capture of the settlement of Trinidad and the sack of Caracas by George Somers and Amyas Preston was enraged. He held the notion that any attack must be answered by an appropriate response, since a failure to act would be taken by friends and foes alike as a sign of weakness, and lead ultimately to the ruin of his states. As a result, the Spanish raid on Mount's Bay in Cornwall on 13 August of the same year was carried out in retaliation. 57:
The Portuguese would soon increase Recife's defenses and forts were built on the isthmus between Recife and Olinda to deter subsequent attacks but to little avail. The Dutch would return here again and again before being forced out by the mid 1600s by the Portuguese. The attack on Recife however goes down in history as being the last attack ever made by the English on the coast of Brazil.
Olinda is a historic city in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, located on the country's northeastern Atlantic Ocean coast, in Greater Recife. It has a population of 389,494 people, covers 41.681 square kilometres (16.093 sq mi), and has a population of 9,437 inhabitants per square kilometer. It is noted as one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil.
Sir James Lancaster VI was a prominent Elizabethan trader and privateer.
A carrack was a three- or four-masted ocean-going sailing ship that was developed in the 14th to 15th centuries in Europe, most notably in Portugal. Evolved from the single-masted cog, the carrack was first used for European trade from the Mediterranean to the Baltic and quickly found use with the newly found wealth of the trans-Atlantic trade between Europe and Africa and then the Americas. In their most advanced forms, they were used by the Portuguese for trade between Europe and Asia starting in the late 15th century, before eventually being superseded in the 17th century by the galleon, introduced in the 16th century.
The Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) was an intermittent conflict between the kingdoms of Spain and England that was never formally declared. The war was punctuated by widely separated battles, and began with England's military expedition in 1585 to what was then the Spanish Netherlands under the command of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester in support of the resistance of the States General to Spanish Habsburg rule.
Dutch Brazil, also known as New Holland, was the northern portion of the Portuguese colony of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch during the Dutch colonization of the Americas between 1630 and 1654. The main cities of the Dutch colony of New Holland were the capital Mauritsstad, Frederikstadt, Nieuw Amsterdam (Natal), Saint Louis, São Cristóvão, Fort Schoonenborch (Fortaleza), Sirinhaém, and Olinda.
The Dutch–Portuguese War was an armed conflict involving Dutch forces, in the form of the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, against the Portuguese Empire. Beginning in 1602, the conflict primarily involved the Dutch companies invading Portuguese colonies in the Americas, Africa, India and the Far East. The war can be thought of as an extension of the Eighty Years' War being fought in Europe at the time between Spain and the Netherlands, as Portugal was in a dynastic union with the Spanish Crown after the War of the Portuguese Succession, for most of the conflict. However, the conflict had little to do with the war in Europe and served mainly as a way for the Dutch to gain an overseas empire and control trade at the cost of the Portuguese. English forces also assisted the Dutch at certain points in the war. Because of the commodity at the center of the conflict, this war would be nicknamed the Spice War.
Singeing the King of Spain's Beard is the derisive name given to a series of attacks by the English privateer Francis Drake against the Spanish in the summer of 1587, beginning in April with a raid on Cádiz. This was an attack on the Spanish naval forces assembling in the Bay of Cádiz in preparation for the planned expedition against England. Much of the Spanish fleet was destroyed, and substantial supplies were destroyed or captured. There followed a series of raiding parties against several forts along the Portuguese coast. A Spanish treasure ship, returning from the Indies, was also captured. The damage caused by the English delayed Spanish preparations for the Armada by more than a year.
Matias de Albuquerque, the first and only Count of Alegrete, was a Brazilian colonial administrator and soldier. He was nicknamed "Hero of Two Continents" for his performance, beginning in 1624, against the Dutch invaders of colonial Brazil and for his role, beginning in 1641, as a general in Portugal, fighting for João IV during the Portuguese Restoration War, where he won the battle of Montijo over the Spaniards (1644). For this victory he was rewarded by the King with the title of Count of Alegrete.
Mare Liberum is a book in Latin on international law written by the Dutch jurist and philosopher Hugo Grotius, first published in 1609. In The Free Sea, Grotius formulated the new principle that the sea was international territory and all nations were free to use it for seafaring trade. The disputation was directed towards the Portuguese Mare clausum policy and their claim of monopoly on the East Indian Trade. Grotius wrote the treatise while being a counsel to the Dutch East India Company over the seizing of the Santa Catarina Portuguese carrack issue.
Scourge of Malice or Malice Scourge or Mare Scourge was a 38-gun ship ordered by George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland. She was built and launched at Deptford Dockyard in 1595. The Earl used her as his flagship during raids on the Spanish Main, where she provided additional force to support his fleet. She was later renamed Red Dragon; the East India Company used her for at least five voyages to the East Indies. The first recorded performance of the play Hamlet took place on Red Dragon in 1607 while she was anchored off the coast of Sierra Leone.
The naval Battle of the Abrolhos took place on 12 September 1631 off the coast of Pernambuco, Brazil, during the Eighty Years' War. A joint Spanish-Portuguese fleet under Admiral Oquendo defeated the Dutch after a six-hour naval battle.
The Action of 12–17 January 1640 was a naval battle between a Dutch fleet and a combined Spanish-Portuguese fleet during the Eighty Years' War. The battle took place on the Brazilian coast off Pernambuco and was an attempt by a fleet consisting of approximately eighty vessels transporting about 5,000 soldiers under the command of Portuguese Admiral Fernando de Mascarenhas to land reinforcements to bolster the Portuguese militia besieging the city of Recife. On 12 January this fleet was intercepted by a Dutch task force of about forty ships commanded by Willem Loos. The ensuing battle lasted with occasional breaks until the evening of 17 January, when the Spanish and Portuguese fleet retreated and sailed away to the north.
The history of Pernambuco begins since before discovery by the Portuguese, with Indigenous populations of the Caeté and Tabajara indigenous peoples. The name has represented different entities at different times: a captaincy, a province, an independent Republic (briefly) and a state.
The Battle of Sesimbra Bay was a naval engagement that took place on 3 June 1602, during the Anglo-Spanish War. It was fought off the coast of Portugal between an English naval expeditionary force sent out from orders by Queen Elizabeth I to prevent any further Spanish incursions against Ireland or England itself. The English force under Richard Leveson and William Monson met a fleet of Spanish galleys and a large carrack at Sesimbra Bay commanded by Álvaro de Bazán and Federico Spinola. The English were victorious in battle, sinking two galleys, forced the rest to retreat, immobilized the fort and captured the carrack in what was the last expedition to be sent to Spain by orders of the Queen before her death the following year.
The Battle of Flores (1592), also known as Cruising Voyage to the Azores of 1592, or the Capture of the Madre de Deus describes a series of naval engagements that took place from 20 May to 19 August 1592, during the Anglo-Spanish War. The battle was part of an expedition by an English fleet initially led by Sir Walter Raleigh, and then by Martin Frobisher and John Burrough. The expedition involved the capture of a number of Portuguese and Spanish ships including the large Portuguese carrack Madre de Deus, after a long naval battle off the island of Flores in the Azores. The expedition, particularly the capture of the great carrack, was a financial and military success. The rich cargo aboard the carrack, which at the time equaled nearly half the size of the Kingdom of England's royal annual revenue, was subject to mass theft when it arrived in Dartmouth, England, followed by quarrels over the shares of the prize. The expedition had formative consequences for the English both financially and on the future of English exploration.
The Action of Faial or the Battle of Faial Island was a naval engagement that took place on 22–23 June 1594 during the Anglo-Spanish War in which the large and rich 2,000 ton Portuguese carrack Cinco Chagas was destroyed by an English fleet after a long and bitter battle off Faial Island in the Azores. The carrack, which was reputedly one of the richest ever to set sail from the Indies, was lost in an explosion which denied the English, as well as the Portuguese and Spanish, the riches.
The Blockade of Western Cuba also known as the Watts' West Indies Expedition of 1591 was an English privateering naval operation that took place off the Spanish colonial island of Cuba in the Caribbean during the Anglo–Spanish War. The expedition along with the blockade took place between May and July 1591 led by Ralph Lane and Michael Geare with a large financial investment from John Watts and Sir Walter Raleigh. They intercepted and took a number of Spanish ships some of which belonged to a Spanish plate convoy of Admiral Antonio Navarro and protected by the Spanish navy under Admiral Diego de la Ribera intending to rid English privateers. The English took or burnt a total of ten Spanish ships including two galleons, one of which was a valuable rich prize. With this success and the loss only one ship the blockade and expedition was terminated for the return to England. The blockade was one of the most successful English expeditions to the Spanish Main during the war militarily and financially.
The Azores Voyage of 1589, also known as Cumberland's Third Voyage, was a series of conflicts in the Azores islands between August and September 1589 by an English military joint stock expedition led by George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, during the Anglo–Spanish War. All the islands were attacked either for provisions or the attainment of Spanish and Portuguese prizes. A number of Portuguese and Spanish ships were captured and also included a battle at Faial which resulted in the capture of the fort and the main town, which was subsequently sacked and burned. The English were able to return home unmolested with a total of thirteen prizes - the expedition was a success and with a good profit for the investors although many lives were lost to disease and storms.
The Newfoundland Expedition also known as Bernard Drake's Newfoundland Expedition was an English naval expedition that took place during the beginning of the declared Anglo-Spanish War in the North Atlantic during summer and Autumn of 1585. The area of conflict was situated mainly in an area known as the Grand Banks off present day Newfoundland. The aim of the expedition was to capture the Spanish and Portuguese fishing fleets. The expedition was a huge military and financial success and virtually removed the Spanish and Portuguese from these waters. In addition the raid had large consequences in terms of English colonial expansion and settlement.
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