Important early view of the entrance to the Paraiba River, from Gaspar Barlaeus' important work on the Dutch Colonization of Brazil.
The view shows Fort Margareta or Margarida, the Dutch name for Fortaleza Santa Catarina which was built by the Portuguese in 1589 and was captured by the Dutch in 1634.
In the late 1630s, Holland attempted to reassert its claim over Brazil by establishing a series of forts along the coastline. One of the best-documented colonies was the expedition led by Prince Maurits of Nassau, who attempted to assemble an intellectual court in the New World. He brought with him a group of highly accomplished artists, mapmakers, and scientists to record the mysteries of Brazil. They included the celebrated painter Frans Post, and the astronomer George Markgraf, who produced the first serious study of the southern sky.
Post painted a wealth of images of the Brazilian landscape and the surrounding vegetation and wildlife. His works are some of the earliest European paintings of Brazil and were eagerly reproduced in print by Dutch engravers.