Manuel Vandale (Van Dale)

Irene Vicente Martín (European University Institute) & José Carlos Vilardaga (Universidade Federal de São Paulo)

Date of birth: second half of the 16th century

Date of death: first half of the 17th century

Dutch merchant who visited Portuguese America on several occasions. His activity took place mostly in São Vicente, where he acted as merchant, but he developed other activities in Salvador, where his in-laws lived.

Link to BRASILHIS Database:

Manoel van Dale (Vandale) was born in Antwerp, Flanders, in the second half of the 16th century. He belonged to an influential traders’ lineage established in the Canary Islands around 1550 (Brito, 2012). He arrived in Bahia in the late 1580s and soon after, he married Magdalena Holsquor. With this marriage, Manoel van Dale related to Evert Hulscher (named in Portuguese as Duarte Osquer), a well-known sugar merchant, a shipowner and owner of at least one mill in Itaparica, Bahia, which was destroyed by the British in 1599. Although he himself rebuilt it again, the mill was to be burned again in 1627-8 (Campos Moreno, 1612; Salvador [1627], 1982). Holsquor was well settled in the city of Salvador where he married Violante Deça or de Sá, granddaughter of the first treasurer of Bahia, João de Araújo de Souza (Doc. Hist, XIV; 121), and therefore niece of Manuel de Sousa Deça, supplier and accountant of the Bahia mill (Calmon:1985, 537). Besides these contacts with the local elite, Holsquor traded with Buenos Aires, and from there with Cordoba and Upper Peru, through connections with the Portuguese merchant and smuggler Diego Lopez Lisboa. The Hulschers structured their influence in colonial politics with a broad and important family network of merchants, with representatives in Olinda, Lisbon, Antwerp, and Hamburg. One of Evert’s brothers, Johan, was the representative of the Schetz in Lisbon and mediated the purchase of a sugar mill, known as São Jorge dos Erasmos mill, in the Capitania of São Vicente, Brazil, in the 1550s. Similarly, two other brothers of Evert, Adam and Henrique, did the same in Amberes, trading brazilwood in ships of Hans Schot (c. 1591) (Kellebenz, 1968; Stols, 1973).

Through the friendship and family relationship with Evert, Vandale entered the commercial and political circuits of Brazil. In Salvador, where he lived until 1605, Vandale had a clerk, Henrique Pamelaert, who was a witness in inquisition process in Bahia in 1599 against Pieter Cornelius (Stols, Fonseca, Manhaeghe, 2014). Pamelaert had been trading with brazilwood from Rio de Janeiro. In 1606, Manoel Vandale was forced to return to Lisbon due to the expulsion ordered by Felipe III, who through a charter issued in March 1605, gave a one-year deadline for any foreigner living in Brazil to return to the Peninsula.

Shortly after arriving in Madrid, Vandale petitioned the Council of Portugal to be allowed to return to Brazil and meet his wife, Magdalena, who continued to live in Bahia, without “embargo of the law” (AGS, SP, 1476, pp 406-408). The Holsquor had been accepted as foreigners of whom ‘one cannot have suspicion’ (Liv. 1 of the government of Brazil, doc. 46, fol. 222) and Vandale asked to be given also as ‘native’. The Council referred the demand to the Viceroy and the Council of India in Portugal, already indicating that Vandale was headed to Lisbon and intended to go to Brazil accompanying the newly appointed governor of the Southern Repartition, D. Francisco de Souza, as “morador y poblador de las minas del Brasil y lengua de los mineros estrangeros (‘resident and settler’ of the Brazilian mines and the language of the foreign miners)” (BA, 51-VII-15, fl.157).

The Council of India analyzed the case in July 1607, and decided to dismiss it after receiving an anonymous paper, one of those that “are providential and sent by God”, pointing out the “bad intentions” of Vandale. According to the paper, Vandale was allegedly trying to reach Brazil again, and, together with his brother-in-law, Fulano Artosco, a “big merchant”, he was suspected of wanting to move inland with his slaves and go, mil by mil, raising other slaves against their owners. The Council’s resolution was that he was that he need to be “processed” (“apertado”) to confess (AGS, SP, 1476; BA 51-VII-15, pp 182-183).

Regardless of this, Manoel Vandale reached Brazil sometime around the 1600s, according to a letter from Governor Diogo de Meneses to the king (22/04/1609), in which he informed, among other things, that he was sending Vandale arrested to Lisbon, in following with the royal provision (Cortesão, 1956: 3-12). According to Afonso Taunay (1929), based on Varnhagen, Vandale boarded on Captain Jaques Postei’s ship, which left Dieppe in 1608, and was taken at Cabo Frio by Martim de Sá. On that occasion, Francisco Duchs, who would later be one of the captains during Salvador takeover in 1624, would have been sent to the general governor, Diogo de Meneses, but Vandale would have run away. His dispatch to Lisbon in 1609, however, indicates that Vandale was also arrested on that occasion and sent to Bahia.

Back to Lisbon, the name of Manoel Vandale appeared again in a letter of inquiry from the Council of India in July 1610. The Conselho da Fazenda (Treasury Council) accepted the opinion of the Council of India, but without explaining the cause of the consultation. (AGS, SP, 1498). According to Paul Meurs (2006), and Stols and Cordeiro (2012), in 1612 Vandale was again in the village of Santos, São Vicente, as representative of the heirs of the Schetz family, and allied with the Jesuits, to prevent the sale of the goods of the former Engenho dos Erasmos (Erasmos Mill), which was under negotiation by Captain-General Jerônimo Leitão heirs, through the absentees’ purveyor.
Kellenbenz (1968) transcribes a power of attorney for the widow Anna van Pelquen, made in Antwerp notary’s office in November 1614, and on which Vandale appeared as a witness. In this document, the widow delegated to Pedro Tacq (Taques), a São Paulo resident, in Capitania de São Vicente, and who had been secretary to the general governor Francisco de Souza, to charge a debt from a Guinea black woman and her children, who would have the right to the heritage, from another resident on the Capitania, Giraldo Bethinque. This author still registers the presence of Vandale in Lisbon, in 1615.

According to Eduardo D´Oliveira França (1970), Vandale was one of the characters of Flemish origin who acted as an ally of the Dutch in 1624, when the Dutch conquered city of Salvador.. This may explain his move to the southern provinces after Salvador reconquest by the Portuguese and Spanish armies the following year (1625). In October 1626, Vandale, sick from a “disease assigned by lord to him”, dictated his will in the São Paulo de Piratininga town. There, and through the inventory of his godos written around 1627, it is known that Vandale had three children Maria Vandale, of twelve years old, João, of seven years old and Francisco, of five years old. It is also known that Vandale wished to be buried at the Nossa Senhora do Carmo church in São Paulo; and that he belonged to the Confraria do Santíssimo Sacramento (Blessed Sacrament Fraternity) from the same town. His wife, Magdalena, presented as an erudite and a “noble and good-looking woman” was named as the children’s trustee. Furthermore, in this will, it is known that Manoel owned a farm in São Paulo, and had many clothes, fabrics, boxes, chests and an office, leather for a state chair, mattress, sugar arrobas, and mowing equipment. He had a “tomboy from the wild Angola”, and five “manumitted pieces”, from the local land. But what drives the attention in his inventory are the debtors, some of them from São Paulo town, such as Pedro Taques, who had already been responsible as his debts collector, and others in Bahia and Portugal. The latter were under Jerônimo Glocens’ responsibility (Goossens), as he had been the Schetz’s agent in Lisbon in the early 17th century and had served in Brazil as the trader agent based in Venice, Carlos Hellemans; and Johan van der Veken, one of the wealthiest traders in Rotterdam (Brasilhis). The debts in Bahia would remain partly with his wife, and partly with Balthazar Ferreira. (Inventários e Testamentos, 1927: 41-57).


Documental sources:

AESP (1927). Inventarios e Testamentos. Vol. VII. São Paulo: Departamento do Arquivo do Estado de São Paulo, p.41-57.

AGS, Archivo General de Simancas, Secretarias Provinciales, Libro 1476, fólios 406-408.

AGS, Archivo General de Simancas, Secretarias Provinciales, Libro 1498 (Registro de Cartas de V.M de 1608-1611), f.99v.

BA, Biblioteca D’Ajuda, Códice 51-VII-15, f.157.

BA, Biblioteca D’Ajuda, Códice 51-VII-15, f.182-183.

BA, Biblioteca D’Ajuda, Códice 51-VIII-18, f.213v.

Printed sources:

Carta de Diogo de Meneses de 22 abr. 1609. In: Cortesão, Jaime (comp.) (1956). Pauliceae Lusitana Monumenta Historica (1494-1600). Vol.1. Lisboa. Real Gabinete Português, p. 3-12.

Salvador, Frei Vicente (1982). História do Brasil (1627). São Paulo, EDUSP.

Documentos Históricos da Biblioteca Nacional, vol. 14 (Mandados, Provisões, Doações), 1551-1625, Rio de Janeiro, 1921.


Calmon, Pedro (1985), Introdução e notas ao Catálogo Genealógico das Principais famílias, de frei Jaboatão. Salvador de Bahia: Imprensa Gráfica da Bahia, 1985.
Santos Pérez, José Manuel; Cabral de Souza, George F. (Eds.) (2006). El Desafío Holandés al Dominio Ibérico en Brasil en el siglo XVII. Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca.

Stols, Eddy; Fonseca, Jorge; Manhaeghe, Stijn (2014). Lisboa em 1514. O Relato de Jan Taccoen Van Zillebeke. Coleção: Cadernos de Cultura – n.º 8 (2.ª série). Edições Húmus e Centro de História da Cultura da Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Taunay, Afonso d’E. (1929). História Seissentista da Villa de São Paulo. Vol. IV, São Paulo: 1929.

Vilardaga, José Carlos (2014). São Paulo no Império dos Felipes. Conexões na América Meridional (1580-1640). São Paulo: Intermeios.

Wiesebron, Marianne (Ed.) (2013). Brazilië in Nederlandse Archiven/O Brasil em arquivos neerlandeses (1624-1654). Leiden: CNWS.

Books chapter:

Santos-Pérez, José Manuel (2020). La América portuguesa en la encrucijada. Circulación de personas entre Brasil, la América Hispana y la Corte de los Habsburgo en los años de la Unión de Coronas. Megiani, Ana Paula Torres; Ruiz-Peinado, José Luis; Santos-Pérez, José Manuel. Redes y circulación en Brasil durante la Monarquía Hispánica (1580-1640). Madrid: Sílex Ediciones.

Stols, Eddy; Cordeiro, Silvio (2014). O Engenho dos Erasmos ou dos Esquetes em São Vicente. Stols, Eddy; Mascaro, Luciana Pelaes; Bueno, Clodoaldo (orgs.). Brasil e Bélgica: cinco séculos de conexões e interações. São Paulo: Narrativa Um.

Periodical articles:

Brito, Ana Viña (2012). Los flamencos en Canarias en el siglo XVI. ¿Una comunidad extranjera? Especificidades en la Isla de la Palma. Revista de Historia Canaria, 194; 161-191.

França, Eduardo D´Oliveira (1970). Um problema: a traição dos cristãos-novos em 1624. Revista de História, 41, 21-71.

Kellenbez, Hermann (1968). Relações econômicas entre a Antuérpia e o Brasil no século XVII. Revista de História, 37, 76, 293-314.

Sluiter, Engel (1967). Os holandeses no Brasil antes de 1621. Revista do Instituto Arqueológico, Histórico e Geográfico de Pernambuco, 46, 187-207.

Stols, Eddy (1973). Os mercadores flamengos em Portugal e no Brasil antes das conquistas holandesas. Anais de História, 5, 9-54.

Web pages:

Meurs, Paul (2006). Engenho São Jorge dos Erasmos, the remains of an early multinational. Vitruvius. Revista Arquitextos, 6 (27 de abril de 2021). Recuperado em:

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