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Portrait of Henrik Brouwer, Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, 1632-1636

Date: 1726
Dimensions:
Overall: 587 x 435 mm, 0.1 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00008305
Place Manufactured:Amsterdam

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    Description
    Hendrik Brouwer was Governor General of the Dutch East Indies for the Dutch United East India Company (VOC) between 1632 and 1636. He is one of the few Dutch Governors General to have already made his name prior to joining the VOC, during the Dutch War of Independence (1568-1648) when he sailed against the Habsburgs in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. During one of his early VOC voyages to the Dutch East Indies in 1610 he devised what became known as the Brouwer Route; a sailing route from South Africa to Java that reduced travel time from one year to six months by utilising the strong westerly winds that exist in the Roaring Forties. By 1617 a resolution by the Lords XVII made it compulsory for all VOC ships to use this method. He was by far a sailor, more than he was an administrator.
    SignificanceHendrik Brouwer is important because he devised the famous Brouwer Route which considerably reduced the travel time for ships sailing from Europe to the East in the 17th century. He was also a notable explorer and naval commander of the period. This print provides one of the few visual records available for an important and unique individual in Dutch (and world) history.
    HistoryHendrik Brouwer (also known to the Spanish for a time as Enrique Brower and sometimes as Henrik or Henderik) was born in Spring, 1581 in The Netherlands and died on 7 August, 1643 en route to Valdivia, Chile. He was a Dutch explorer, admiral and colonial administrator in both Japan and the Dutch East Indies.

    Brouwer first made his name as the privateer Enrique Brower during the Dutch War of Independence (1568-1648) when he sailed against the Habsburgs during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. His most notable achievement during this period was his occupation of the Spanish city of Castro, in Chile for a period of two months in 1600.

    Brouwer is thought to have first sailed to the Dutch East Indies some time around 1606. It was during a voyage there in 1610 (onboard the 400-ton RODE LEEUW MET PIJLEN [Red Lion with Arrows] and accompanied by the 260-ton GOUDA) that he devised what became known as the Brouwer Route - a sailing route from South Africa to Java that reduced travel time from one year to six months by utilising the strong westerly winds that exist in the Roaring Forties. By 1617 a resolution by the Lords XVII made it compulsory for all VOC ships to use this method, although the British initially avoided it when in 1622 the ship TRYALL travelled too far east and was wrecked on what is now called the Tryall Rocks, off the western coast of Australia. This mistake was not uncommon and the Brouwer Route played a major part in the discovery and subsequent charting of Australia's western shoreline.

    Following his arrival in the Dutch East Indies (Bantam, in the west of Java, near Batavia) on 18t August, 1611, Brouwer was immediately sent (in 1612, again aboard the RODE LEEUW MET PIJLEN) to Japan to temporarily replace Jacques Specx as Opperhoofd (supreme head[man]) of the Dutch trading outpost there. He held this position between 28 August, 1612 and 6 August, 1614. During this time he paid a visit to the Japanese Court at Edo.

    Following his time in Japan, Brouwer travelled to Siam, where he played an important part in opening up Dutch trade with Siam (Thailand). In early 1632 he was part of a delegation sent to London to solve trade disagreements between the British and the VOC. By now an experienced colonial administrator and diplomat (not to mention a formidable sailor) it is not surprising that Brouwer's next appointment was as Governor General of the Dutch East Indies. Appointed on 12 April, 1632, he held the position until 1 January 1636. During this time he worked closely with his successor, Anthony Van Diemen. Both men were explorers and it has been suggested that some of the voyages undertaken by Van Diemen's administration during this period had originally been suggested by Brouwer during his time as Governor General.

    In 1642 Brouwer led an expedition on behalf of a joint venture between the VOC and the Dutch West India Company to establish a base for trading gold at the abandoned ruins of Valdivia (in southern Chile). Setting sail from Dutch Brazil and travelling around Cape Horn, the expedition was able to confirm that Staten Island was not part of the wider continent to the south. Having made a pact with the Mapuche (the indigenous inhabitants of Chile; known to the Spaniards as the Araucanians) that would aid in the resettlement of Valdivia, Brouwer died before arriving there. He was succeeded as head of the expedition by his Vice-Admiral Elias Herckman who arranged for him to be buried in the new settlement. This settlement was abandoned, however, in October 1643 and reoccupied by the Spanish the following year, who disinterred Brouwer's body and burned it.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Portrait of Henrik Brouwer, Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, 1632-1636

    Primary title: Depicting Henrik Brouwer (Discoverer of the southern route to the East Indies), Inscription under sight reads "Henrik Brouwer Gouverneur Generaal Van Nederlands Indien J Van Braam Et Gonder De Linden Excudut Cum Privil"

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