JOHN MAURICE OF NASSAU surnamed the Brazilian, was the son of John the Younger, count of Nassau Siegen-Dillenburg, and the grandson of John, the elder brother of William the Silent and the chief author of the Union of Utrecht. He fought in the campaigns of his cousin, the stadt holder Frederick Henry of Orange, and was by him recommended to the directors of the Dutch West India company in 1636 to be governor-general of the new dominion in Brazil recently con quered by the company. He landed at the Recife, the port of Pernambuco, and the chief stronghold of the Dutch, in January 1637. By successful expeditions he extended the Dutch posses sions from Sergipe on the south to S. Luis de Maranham in the north. He likewise conquered the Portuguese possessions of St. George del Mina and St. Thomas on the west coast of Africa. With the assistance of the famous architect, Pieter Post of Haarlem, he transformed the Recife by building a new town called after his name Mauritstad. He brought the colony into a flourishing condition, and reconciled the Portuguese settlers to submit to Dutch rule. His large schemes and lavish expenditure, however, alarmed the directors of the West India company, and John Maurice returned to Europe in July 1644. He was appointed by Frederick Henry to the command of the cavalry in the States army, and he took part in the campaigns of 1645 and 1646.
After the peace of Miinster (1648), John Maurice accepted from the elector of Brandenburg the post of governor of Cleves, Mark and Ravensberg, and later also of Minden. At the end of 1652 he was appointed head of the order of St. John and made a prince of the Empire. In 1664 he came back to Holland; when the war broke out with England he was appointed commander in-chief of the Dutch forces on land. In 1673 he was appointed by the stadtholder William III. to command the forces in Fries land and Groningen, and to defend the eastern frontier of the Provinces. In 1675 he retired. He died at Cleves on Dec. 20, 1679. The house which he built at The Hague, named after him the Maurits-huis, now contains the collections of pictures so well known to all admirers of Dutch art.
BIBLIOGRAPHY.-Caspar Barlaeus, Rerum per octennium in Brasilia et alibi nuper gestarum historia, sub praefectura illustrissimi comitis J. Mauritii Nassoviae (Amsterdam, 1647) ; L. Driessen, Leben des Fiirsten Johann Moritz von Nassau (Berlin, 1849) ; D. Veegens, Leven van Jaan Maurits, Graaf van Nassau-Siegen (Haarlem, 2840).