MENESES, Francisco Barreto (1616-1668)
21st governor-general of Brazil.
He was born in Peru, in 1616. His father was the Portuguese commander of Callao.
He arrived in Brazil in 1647 as field marshal. He was arrested by the Dutch, but managed to evade and stood out at the command of the Portuguese-Brazilian forces that expelled the Dutch on the Northeast of Brazil, which is why he came to be known as the Restorer of Pernambuco.
Once the war was over, he assumed the command of Pernambuco?s captaincy and, on 18 June, 1657, he was elected for the post of Governor-General of Brazil, having remained in this capacity until 1663.
The peace treaty signed with the Dutch forced Portugal to the payment, in money and in kind, of compensations for the other party?s loss of material possessions. In 1662, the governor was tasked to assemble the Brazil?s share in the above mentioned payment and in the dowry of Princess Dona Catarina, who would become the Queen of England by marrying Charles II. He managed to charge about 140.000 cruzados annually, 80 000 of which came from Bahia, and the rest from the remaining captaincies.
He was also charged with organising an expedition of Bandeirantes to Bahia?s backlands to stop the natives? riots against the settlers.
In São Paulo, hostilities between the two most powerful families, the Pires and the Camargos, were resumed. The governor sent there the general judge of the Southern district, Dom Pedro de Mustre Portugal, and a peace agreement was signed on the 1st of January, 1660.
In Maranhão, the inhabitants, instigated by the slave merchants, rose against the Jesuits? opposition to slave trade, and drove all the priests belonging to this Society out of the captaincy.
Barreto de Meneses resigned in 1663. He died in Portugal on 21 January, 1668.
CAMPO BELO, Conde de, Governadores Gerais e Vice-Reis do Brasil, Lisboa, Agência Geral das Colónias, 1935. Nova história da expansão portuguesa, dir. Joel Serrão e A. H. Oliveira Marques, vol. VII, O império Luso- Brasileiro: 1620-1750, coord. de Fréderic Mauro, Lisboa, Estampa, 1991. VARNHAGEN, Francisco Adolfo de, História Geral do Brasil: antes da sua separação e independência de Portugal, São Paulo, Ed. Melhoramentos, 4ªed., 1948.
Author: Rita Domingues
Translated by: Leonor Sampaio da Silva