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Pier Hein

HEIN, Pier, Dutch naval officer, born in Delfts-haven in 1570died at sea, 20 August, 1629. His father was a sailor on a man-of-war, and when scarcely fifteen years old the son became an apprentice under him. Both were captured by the Spaniards, and remained four years in the galleys, suffering so much theft young Pier swore to revenge himself. He rose, by gallantry, to be vice-admiral of the East India company in 1616, and directed the armament of the fleet that was sent in 1624 against the Spanish colonies of South America. Jacob Willekens was appointed admiral, and Hein his chief-of-staff. The fleet arrived at Morro de Sao Paulo, thirty-six miles from Bahia, on 9 May, 1625, and the admirals immediately began operations. Diego de Mendoca, governor-general of Brazil, together with Marcos Texeira, bishop of Bahia, defended the place valiantly, but. on 10 June, Hein, after a hot engagement, crossed the bar of the harbor of San Salvador, and, by threatening the city with bombardment, obliged the governor to capitulate. Willekens returned to Holland on 2 August, 1625, leaving Hein with the marines and twelve men-of-war. During his absence on an expedition against Espiritu Santo, a strong Portuguese and Spanish fleet recaptured Bahia, and Hein sailed for Amsterdam, where he arrived in October, 1625, bringing enormous spoils. In the following year the East India company appointed him admiral, and gave him the command of a fleet of thirteen vessels, with orders to attack the coast of Brazil again. On 3 May, 1626, he attacked Todos os1 Santos, Bahia, and captured twenty-one merchant vessels that were anchored in the harbor, losing only three of his own ships. After a successful expedition against Rio Janeiro, where he also captured many prizes, he returned to the Texel, 26 October, 1626. Two years later the company sent Hein to capture the treasure-fleet that every year brought to Spain the tribute of the American colonies. With a fleet of twenty-four vessels he sailed from the Texel, 20 May, 1628, and, lying in wait at Havana, he met, on 9 September, near the coast of Cuba, the Spanish fleet of twenty well-armed vessels, and captured it after a desperate battle. The value of the booty was estimated at 18,000,000 piastres, and Hein was rewarded by the appointment of grand admiral of Holland. In the spring of 1629 he set out with a powerful fleet against the corsairs of Dunkerque, and, meeting a Spanish squadron on his way, defeated it, but received in the action a mortal wound. His country erected for him a mausoleum at Delft.

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