Henry Koster (author)

Last updated

Henry Koster
Bornc. 1793
Lisbon, Portugal
Died15 May 1820 (aged 2627)
Occupationcoffee-planter, traveller, author
A Brazilian sugar mill, as sketched by Koster in 1816 Engenho de acucar 1816.jpg
A Brazilian sugar mill, as sketched by Koster in 1816

Henry Koster (c. 1793 – 15 May 1820), also known in Portuguese as Henrique da Costa, was an English coffee-grower, explorer and author who spent most of his short adult life in Brazil, writing about his travels, slavery, and other subjects.


His work was also published in French under the name of Henri Koster.


Brazil at the time of Koster Brazil in 1817.svg
Brazil at the time of Koster

The son of John Theodore Koster, of Liverpool, [1] a sugar merchant, Koster was born in Portugal. In 1809 he was sent to Pernambuco because it was thought to be the way to improve his poor health. [2] He sailed from Liverpool in a ship called Lucy on 2 November 1809, travelling with a family friend, and arrived in Recife, Brazil, on 7 December. [3] [4] He spent a year at Recife before beginning a programme of travels around the country. In 1812 he rented an estate at Jaguaribe, where he slept in a hammock in an unfinished church until he could get possession of the big house, bought slaves, and established himself as a fazendeiro , growing and exporting coffee. [5] Koster spent the rest of his life in Brazil, except for short visits to England. While in Brazil, he pursued a particular study of the institution of slavery there, travelling widely, and began to write books about his experiences that were published in London. [2] His works are considered the most detailed accounts of north-east Brazil written in English in his period. [4]

Koster was a friend of the poet Robert Southey, who encouraged him to write his Travels in Brazil (1816), [6] which was dedicated to Southey "in memorial of affectionate respect and gratitude". [7] He began but did not finish a translation into Portuguese of Southey's multi-volume History of Brazil (1810–1819). [8] Southey mentions the sad loss of his young friend Koster in his Sir Thomas Marc (1831). [9]

He died in Pernambuco on 15 May 1820. A report of the death in The Gentleman's Magazine said he was "in his 27th year". [1]

Major works

See also

The standard author abbreviation H.Kost. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. [10]

Related Research Articles

Robert Southey British poet

Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, and Poet Laureate from 1813 until his death. Like the other Lake Poets, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Southey had begun as a radical, but became steadily more conservative, as he acquired respect for Britain and its institutions. Other romantics, notably Byron, accused him of siding with the establishment for money and status. He is principally remembered as author of the poem After Blenheim and the original version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Pernambuco State of Brazil

Pernambuco is a state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country. The state of Pernambuco also includes the archipelago Fernando de Noronha. With an estimated population of 9.2 million people in 2013, it is the seventh-most populous state of Brazil, and is the sixth-most densely populated and the 19th-most extensive among the states and territories of the country. Its capital and largest city, Recife, is one of the most important economic and urban hubs in the country. As of estimates in 2013, Recife's metropolitan area was at that time the fifth-most populous in the country, and the largest urban agglomeration in northeastern Brazil. The state, which has 4.6% of the Brazilian population, is responsible for only 2.8% of the Brazilian GDP.

Olinda Municipality in Northeast, 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 inhabitants per square kilometer. It is noted as one of the best-preserved colonial cities in Brazil.

William Jackson Hooker 18th/19th-century English botanist

Sir William Jackson Hooker was an English botanist and botanical illustrator. The standard author abbreviation Hook. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.

Richard Watson (Methodist) British methodist theologian

Richard Watson (1781–1833) was a British Methodist theologian who was one of the most important figures in 19th century Methodism.

Jørgen Jørgensen self declared King of Iceland, defied the crown of Denmark. Reigned for a short period

Jørgen Jørgensen was a Danish adventurer during the Age of Revolution. During the Action of 2 March 1808 his ship was captured by the British. In 1809 he sailed to Iceland, declared the country independent from Denmark and pronounced himself its ruler. He intended to found a new republic following the United States and the French First Republic. He was also a prolific writer of letters, papers, pamphlets and newspaper articles covering a wide variety of subjects, and for a period was an associate of the famous botanists Joseph Banks and William Jackson Hooker. He left over a hundred written autographs and drawings, most of which are collected in the British Library. Marcus Clarke referred to Jørgensen as "a singularly accomplished fortune wooer—one of the most interesting human comets recorded in history".

<i>Quarterly Review</i> British literary and political periodical

The Quarterly Review was a literary and political periodical founded in March 1809 by the well known London publishing house John Murray. It ceased publication in 1967.

John Mawe British mineralogist

John Mawe was a British mineralogist who became known for his practical approach to the discipline.

Dorothy "Dora" Wordsworth was the daughter of poet William Wordsworth (1770–1850) and his wife Mary Hutchinson. Her infancy inspired William Wordsworth to write "Address to My Infant Daughter" in her honour. As an adult, she was further immortalised by him in the 1828 poem "The Triad", along with Edith Southey and Sara Coleridge, daughters of her father's fellow Lake Poets. In 1843, at the age of 39, Dora Wordsworth married Edward Quillinan. While her father initially opposed the marriage, the "temperate but persistent pressure" exerted by Isabella Fenwick, a close family friend, convinced him to relent.

Jaguaribe Municipality in Nordeste, Brazil

Jaguaribe is a municipality in the state of Ceará in the Northeast region of Brazil.

Pedro de Araújo Lima, Marquis of Olinda Brazilian politician

Pedro de Araújo Lima, Marquis of Olinda was a politician and monarchist of the Empire of Brazil. His long political career expanded through the reigns of João VI, Pedro I and Pedro II. He was also one of the founders of the Brazilian Conservative Party.

Pernambucan revolt

The Pernambucan revolt of 1817 occurred in the province of Pernambuco in the Northeastern region of Brazil, and was sparked mainly by the decline of sugar production rates and the influence of the Freemasonry in the region. Other important reasons for the revolt include: the ongoing struggle for the independence of Spanish colonies all over in South America; the independence of the United States; the generally liberal ideas that came through all of Brazil the century before, including many French Philosophers, such as Charles Montesquieu and Jean-Jacques Rousseau; the actions of secret societies, which insisted on the liberation of the colony; the development of a distinct culture in Pernambuco.

Mascate War 1710-1711 armed conflict in Portuguese America

The Mascate War or the Sugar War, also known as the War of the Peddlers, was a conflict fought between two rival mercantile groups the Zillioto family and the Astrid family in colonial Brazil from Oct. 1710 to Aug. 1711. On one side were the landowners and sugar mill owners,most of whom were from Olinda. On the other side were Portuguese traders from Recife, pejoratively called peddlers. It ended in a stalemate at the siege of Recife by the militias. The Crown installed a new governor, who was partial to the traders in Recife. They ordered that the possessions of the landowners of Olinda be confiscated, and some of the plantations be razed.

History of Pernambuco

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.

Captaincy of Pernambuco captaincy of Brazil

The Captaincy of Pernambuco or New Lusitania was a hereditary land grant and administrative subdivision of northern Portuguese Brazil during the colonial period from the early sixteenth century until Brazilian independence. At the time of the Independence of Brazil, it became a province of United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Captaincies were originally horizontal tracts of land 50 leagues wide extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Torsedillas meridian.

John Bacon Sawrey Morritt British politician

John Bacon Sawrey Morritt was an English traveller, politician and classical scholar.

Manuel Arruda da Câmara Brazilian botanist

Padre Manuel Arruda da Câmara was a Brazilian cleric, physician and scientist, who became known as one of the great Brazilian botanists of the late eighteenth century.

Lieutenant-General Sir James Bathurst was a British Army commander from the Bathurst family.


  1. 1 2 The Gentleman's Magazine (London), Vol. 128 (1820), p. 186
  2. 1 2 Leslie Bethell, The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 3 (1985), p. 175
  3. Henry Koster, Travels in Brazil (1816), pp. 1–3
  4. 1 2 Francis A. Dutra, A Guide to the History of Brazil, 1500–1822 (1980), p. 396
  5. 'Art. IV. Travels in Brazil By Henry Koster', review in The Quarterly Review dated January 1817, in bound volume XVI (London: John Murray, 1817), pp. 344387
  6. Leslie Bethell, 'The British Contribution to the Study of Brazil', in Marshall C. Eakin, Paulo Roberto de Almeida, eds., Envisioning Brazil: A Guide to Brazilian Studies in the United States (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), at p. 352
  7. Koster (1816), p. iii
  8. Lionel Madden, Robert Southey: the Critical Heritage (2002), p. 23
  9. Robert Southey, Sir Thomas Marc, or Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (London: John Murray, 1831), p. 152
  10. IPNI.  H.Kost.