Bonaire, History, The Conquest of Bonaire by the Dutch, June 23, 1634

June 23, 1634. The dutch ship Groot Horn of 40 guns, Eenhoorn, Brack, Engel Gabriel, and two Biscayan sloops arrive at barbados bearing 400 men – 225 of them soldiers – to secure a new WIC Base in the Antilles, now that Sint Maarteen has been lost.

Their commanders are Johannes van Walbreek, an experienced commander in his thirties, and Pierre le Grand, professional French Hughenot soldier who has distinguished himself in Brazil and is charged with the military contingent. Together they are to conquer Curaçao and Bonaire, guided by Jan Janszoon Otzen, a man who has visited these islands as a Spanish captive.

Bonaire has been singled out for the next Dutch campaign. Van Walbeek had an accurate map drawn and dispatch the Brack to reconnoiter. Its captain reported that the island was inhabited by a few cattle and six indians. The main body proceeds to unhabited Bonaire, where van Walbeek awaits his scout (an indian spy from Bonaire) return from La Guayra before finally standing toward Curaçao on July 6.

Through faulty intelligence, the Dutch sight their objective only to be carried to far west by winds and currents, continuing as far as Santo Domingo before eventually beating Back to Bonaire on July 26.

SRC: 1/A Short History of the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam, 1979. By Cornelis Christiaan Goslinga. 2/War of the Americas. By David Marley

©2012 Olivier Douvry/GlobeDivers

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©2014 Olivier Douvry/GlobeDivers
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