Baía da Traição

When we are relaxed in some of the beautiful beaches of Baía da Traição County, 92 kilometers from João Pessoa, it is intriguing to think about that name of the historic region of Paraíba’s North Coast.

There are different stories for its terrible designation, but, all of them, involves the unquestionable fact that there was a great ambush here, on the dawn of Portuguese occupation.

Party in the Baía da Traição during the demarcation of Potiguara TI. Photo: Tiuré, 1981

The most accepted explanation dates from the first exploratory expedition in 1501, led by Gonçalo Coelho and followed by navigator Américo Vespúcio, who them wrote about the bloody episode to the king of Portugal, D. Manoel.

On the occasion, some of the sailors of the corsair fleet were sent to make contact after friendly waves of the Potiguara Indian. On land, they succumbed, surprised and devoured by the men-eater natives.

Ambushes aside, the extension of Baía da Traição reached, at that time, until the Guaju’ River Bar, actual frontier with Rio Grande do Norte, and became the commercial epicenter of redwood trade, trafficked by the French, who, unlike the Lusitanian, did not arouse local antipathy, due to their respectful and strictly mercantile relation with the natives.

The extraction of the coveted wood, valuable in Europe due to the one of its shell, used in fabrics, lasted for almost a hundred years, until invaders were expelled from Brazil.

Dutch Invasion

In 1625, after a short period of peace, Baía da Traição would again do justice to its name, at least from the Lusitanian point of view.

The French and the redwood matter were done. On the XVII century, the plot of unlikely partnerships between Indians and European conquerors was played by the Dutch, by the sugar trade and, once again, by the Potiguara Indians.

On that year, after occupying, for only 365 days, the city of Salvador, Bahia’s Inherited Captaincy capital, the Dutch were repelled by the Portuguese and took refuge, with their 26 vessels fleet, in Baía da Traição. Like the French, the Dutch were received as partners in war by the notorious Potiguara who saw them as liberators of the imposed oppression by Iberian forces.

A short while later, still fleeing, the fleet left for Amsterdam with the promise to return and brought a few natives aboard, among them, the legendary Pedro Poty.

The plan was to alphabetize and educate them in the reformed Christian doctrine and return five years later, with the Western India’s Company full military force, using the Potiguara as leaders, enticers and translators of the Protestant Reform.

It is important to highlight that before the confrontations initiated in 1625, Holland had a partnership with the Lusitanian on the Brazillian Northeast, where they invested in sugar cane processing machinery and took partially care of the refining. The partnership lasted until 1580, when Spain appropriated from power vacuum, in Lisbon, and took the Portuguese kingdom (and its colonies).

The Spanish broke the accord on sugar production, destroying a not so good relation, once Holland, Spain’s former colony, earned its independence in 1581.

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