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Indigenous Leaders and the Atlantic World: The Parallel Lives of Dom Antônio Filipe Camarão and Pieter Poty, 1600–1650

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Chapter Summary

From October 1645 to March 1646, an unusual exchange of letters took place between Antônio Filipe Camarão and Pieter Poty in Northeastern Brazil. Remarkable about the exchange was that both men were leaders of the Potiguars, an indigenous people from Northeastern Brazil. While Camarão was firmly aligned with the Portuguese, Poty was a loyal supporter of the Dutch West India Company which had occupied Northeastern Brazil since 1630. In the letters, written in the indigenous Tupi language, both men tried to convince the other to switch sides in the Dutch-Portuguese struggle for Brazil. Although Poty and Camarão can be construed as doomed chieftains of an indigenous nation hopelessly divided by the colonial rivalries of two aggressive European powers, the two leaders can also be viewed as shrewd individuals who used the European dependency on indigenous powers to their advantage.

Keywords: Dom Antônio Filipe Camarão; Dutch-Portuguese struggle; European powers; indigenous leaders; Northeastern Brazil; Pieter Poty

10.1163/9789004259713_010
/content/books/b9789004259713s010
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