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stepping stones of maritime history


The Prins Wilhelm was a ship belonging to the Dutch West Indian Company.

Battle of Abrolhos, which took place on 12 September 1631 between the Portuguese and the Dutch in the waters near the Abrolhos archipelago off the coast of Brazil.

During the 17th century, the Dutch Republic (Netherlands) and Portugal were engaged in conflicts over control of trade routes and colonial territories. In 1630, the Dutch captured the Portuguese colony of Pernambuco, which included the strategically important city of Recife.

In response, the Portuguese assembled a fleet under the command of Admiral Antonio de Saldanha and dispatched it to retake the colony. The Portuguese fleet consisted of around 40 ships, including heavily armed warships and smaller vessels.

The Dutch, led by Admiral Hendrick Loncq, were outnumbered but well-prepared. They had positioned a defensive line near the Abrolhos Islands, consisting of anchored ships, artillery batteries, and a combination of larger warships and smaller vessels.

The Portuguese launched a series of attacks on the Dutch positions, attempting to break through their defensive line. However, the Dutch forces managed to repel the Portuguese assaults and inflicted heavy casualties on the Portuguese fleet.

The battle lasted for several hours, and in the end, the Portuguese were forced to retreat, unable to overcome the Dutch defenses. The Dutch victory at the Battle of Abrolhos secured their control over Pernambuco and solidified their position in the region.

The battle was a significant event in the Dutch-Portuguese War (1621-1661) and had a lasting impact on the colonial dynamics in Brazil. The Dutch would continue to hold control over parts of Brazil until they were eventually expelled by the Portuguese in the following decades.


Type: Fregat, oorlogsschip
Built: Amsterdam,
Owner: WIC Chamber Amsterdam

Tonnage: 500 last

Complement: 150 matrozen / 150 soldaten
Flagship, General Pater

Armament : 26 bronze, 20 iron


  • De Laet, VIII, 240 e.v.
  • Francisco de Brito Freire, Historia da Guerra Brasilica (1675) p 214/220.
  • David F. Marley, Wars of the Americas: A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the America's Volume 1. p. 183.

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