American Monsters: Images of Brazilian Nature from Early Modern Europe

“The most disgusting and nauseating thing which man ever saw.” -Spanish chronicler Andres Bernaldez on Christopher Columbus’ first impression of Caribbean iguanas, 1513. IN HIS BOOK Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World, Harvard literature professor Stephen Greenblatt argues that “the production of a sense of the marvelous in the New World is at the very […]

Paintings from Dutch Brazil

Dutch Brazil, which officially called itself ‘Nieuw Holland,’ was a short-lived (1630-1654) state in the north-east of Brazil that resulted from the Dutch Republic’s aggressive policy of territorial expansion at the expense of the Portuguese colonies in the first half of the seventeenth century — a policy that also led to the Dutch occupation of […]

Image of the Week 5: The Restitution of Bahia, 1631

This remarkable map was produced by the cartographer João Teixera Albernaz the Elder (d. 1662) as part of his 1631 atlas Estado da Brasil (The State of Brazil). Lavishly illustrated in watercolors, the map meticulously depicts the recapture of the city of Salvador — the old colonial capital of Brazil — from an invading Dutch […]

Uniforms of the Brazilian Army

Greetings from Brazil! More to follow on the fascinating city of São Paulo. For now, I present some images of eighteenth century Brazilian army uniforms, courtesy of the excellent Portuguese-language blog Arquivo Histórico, : Note the ‘auxilaries’ in the bottom left of this last image — apparently mestizo and African-descended soldiers, sporting uniforms with much brighter […]