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Old 09-03-2007, 11:48 AM
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Prince Johan-Maurits 'The Brazilian' of Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679)

Prince Johan-Maurits of Nassau-Siegen (Dillenburg June 17. 1604 - Bergendaal December 20. 1679)

Parents: Count Jan VII ´The Middle´ of Nassau-Dillenburg and Countess Margaretha of Holstein-Sonderburg

Siblings: Johan-Maurits had 24 siblings, among them, Jan VIII 'The Youngest' of Nassau-Siegen, landgravine Juliana of Hessen-Kasselo and Prince George-Friedrich of Nassau-Siegen

Wife: Maurits never married

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Old 09-03-2007, 11:50 AM
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John Maurice of Nassau (Dutch: Johan Maurits, German: Johann Moritz, 17 June 1604 – 20 December1679) was count and (from 1674) prince of Nassau-Siegen.
He was born in Dillenburg. His father was John VII of Nassau; his grandfather John VI of Nassau, the oldest brother of Dutch stadtholder William the Silent of Orange.
John Maurice joined the Dutch army in 1621, at a very early age. He distinguished himself in the campaigns of his cousin, the stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. In 1626 he became captain. He was involved in 1629 in the capture of Den Bosch. In 1636, he conquered a fortress at Schenkenschans.

He was appointed as the governor of the Dutch possessions in Brazil in 1637 by the Dutch West India Company on recommendation of Frederick Henry. He landed at Recife, the port of Pernambuco and the chief stronghold of the Dutch, in January 1637.

Read the entire wikipedia article here

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Old 09-03-2007, 12:16 PM
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From 1637 to 1644, Prince John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen spent seven years in Brazil as Governor in the service of the Dutch West India Company. While he was away, his older brothers died, John on 27. July 1638 and William on 18. July 1642. Upon his return, he took possession of his inherited county of Nassau-Siegen, which became a principality in 1652. He was accompanied by artists and scientists, such as Marcgraf and Piso, who published the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae in 1648, from which the Brazilian bird (above left) is taken. In Pernambuco he founded Mauritsstad, and built the Palace of Freeburg (above right) on the present Praça da República in the City of Recife, with huge parks and a zoological garden.

From this site.

FVreeburg and Recife:

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Old 09-03-2007, 12:18 PM
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Appointed in 1636 by the Dutch West Indies Company, Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (John Maurice Prince of Nassau-Siegen, 1604-1679) consoli- dated Dutch rule for various years by means of his governance and admini- stration. In comparison to most of colonial administrators he not only seized to exploit the country economically, but also supported science and arts in the colony. Under his subsidy Willem Piso (Dutch physician, 1611-1678) and Georg Markgraf (German naturalist, 1610-1644) published Historia Naturalis Brasiliae, the first multivolume work about Brazil’s geography, flora and fauna, history, botany, ethnography and medicine.

Van Nassau’s natural history and ethnographic collection was supplemented by paintings of Frans Post (1612-1680) and Albert Eckhout (1610-1665), Post being able to claim himself to be the first to paint a South-American land- scape. It is due to him that there are pictures of Brazil’s “social and economic reality” in the 17th century as well as these conveyed first impressions of the tropical New World to the Europeans. Some of his paintings and sketches give us an impression of nature and architecture during this time, the functioning of the sugar industry, and the life of the natives.

Read the entire article here.

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Old 09-03-2007, 12:35 PM
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Pieter Nason (1612-1688/90), Portrait of Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (1604-79)
Unsigned, undated. Painted about 1665.
Oil on canvas, 92 x 116 cm.
Carved gilt wood frame, 20 cm.
Sticker remnants on back show three legible words: "Eisenbahn Wien - Express"
The painting was recently restored by the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

The sitter is wearing the Grand Cross of the Order of the Elephant (Denmark) and the Cross of the Order of St. John. He was Herrenmeister of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg.

According to documents in the Ministry's archives, the painting was donated to the Dutch legation in Stockholm on 17 January 1939 by Major Herbert Jacobsson of Gothenburg. Major Jacobsson died childless in 1949.

The only known reference to the painting in the literature is in the catalogue of a 1979 exhibition on Johan Maurits in Städisches Museum Haus Koekkoek (now B.C. Koekkoek Haus), Kleve, Germany, where it is illustrated as being in an unknown Swedish private collection. It is not recorded in the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague nor the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (ICN).
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:35 PM
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Johan-Maurits also employed the painter Frans Post aand Albert Eckhout to paint the beauties of Dutch Brazil. Here an example:

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Old 09-03-2007, 12:47 PM
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Prince Johan Maurits spent the last years of his live in Cleves where he acted as a sort of governor for Elector Friedrich-Wilhelm of Brandenburg, who was married to his cousin Princess Louise-Henriette of Orange-Nassau. Here he had a castle constructed and a parc. See a layout of the parc here. A picture of the castle can be seen here.
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:53 PM
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Johan-Maurits had the Mauritshuis constructed in The Hague, which became one of the most known buildings from the city. It is a museum now and has a lot of Dutch masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt.

Mauritshuis NL

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Old 09-03-2007, 04:35 PM
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Some images:

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Old 09-03-2007, 04:36 PM
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A buste of the Prince:

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Old 09-03-2007, 04:37 PM
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During the Princes governorship of Dutch Brazil a lot of exploration, research etc was done by Dutch scientists, here some results:

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Old 09-03-2007, 04:38 PM
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Apparently there was an exhibition about the Prince in Brazil in 2004:

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