Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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VIEIRA, Joao Fernandes, Brazilian patriot, born in Olinda about 1600; died in Pernambuco about 1660. He was one of the richest proprietors of the province of Olinda when that port was captured in February, 1630, but when the East India company sent out Prince Maurice, of Nassau, as governor-general, Vieira, with other proprietors, quietly submitted to the new government, as it was only a change in foreign masters, Portugal being then under Spanish rule. But Portugal recovered her independence in 1640, and after the recall of the Prince of Nassau in 1643, when the Dutch began to pursue the native owners with vexatious measures, discontent became general. Taking advantage of this sentiment, Vieira put himself at the head of a revolutionary movement, and in June, 1645, with a small army of badly equipped country people, attacked the outposts of Recife, but after a short struggle was defeated. The insurrection, however, spread over the whole country, Vieira employed his resources in procuring arms and ammunitions for the revolutionary forces, and with untiring energy and great natural talent harassed the Dutch forces in numerous encounters. He was not well supported by the home government and the governors of the other Brazilian colonies, and but for his unwavering resolution the province would have been conquered again. Amid great hardships he held out until he received succor from Andre Vidal de Negreiros. Soon he took the offensive, and after the two battles of Os Guarapes, in 1648-'9, the Dutch no longer dared show themselves outside the fortifications of Recife, which place, after the capture of Fort Milhon, capitulated, 26 January, 1654, thus ending the Dutch dominion in Brazil. Vieira, as the first instigator of the insurrection in the province of Pernambuco, was greatly honored by the people and court, but refused all recompense, retiring to private life. Lately a monument in honor of his memory and that of Negreiros's has been erected in Pernambuco.
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