staden, hans

Through Madeira, in the new maritime routes, passed throughout the 16th century armed ships and hired bombers in the most varied places (Bombers), especially Germans, as is the case of Hans Staden, born in 1525 and deceased in 1579, who left us a brief description of Funchal city. This traveler, that later also showed knowledge of fortification, moved to Brazil in 1547, passing through Funchal in the ship of captain Penteado, name of difficult identification today because several ship commanders used it, and integrated in a small squad that included one more caravel.

These bombers upon arrival to Funchal, received the mission of travelling to the coast of Morocco, to Berber coast, given the information that there were some non-Portuguese ships negotiating with the moors, succeeding in imprisoning one of those ships, Castilian, from Valencia square, loaded with Moroccan sugar, among other things such as dates, almonds, goat skins, and gum Arabic, “a good and intact load” (STADEN, 1974, 42), that they brought to Funchal. The ship was imprisoned in the port of the old Portuguese city of Santa Cruz de Cabo de Guer, later Agadir, referred in the text as “Ighir Ufrani”, but in the illustration as “Cape Gell” of “Sheriffie in Barbaria”, since it fell under the power of the Marrakesh sultan in 1542, in which, many Madeiran died and others were imprisoned, having taken years to be rescued (Convento da Piedade de Santa Cruz).

The ship in which Hans Staden went to Brazil in 1547 had the mission of acquiring Brazil wood and take some deportees to the population of Pernambuco (Pernambuco), ending up having combats with insurrectionist natives in that captaincy, and later with a French ship. Returning to Lisbon in October of 1548, Hans Staden decided to return to South America, then at the service of Castile, leaving Seville in 1549 bound to Río de la Plata. The Castilian ship wrecked near Santa Catarina, so Staden decided to continue to S. Vicente, hired as constable and later as commander of the small fort of S. Luis, which in the meanwhile rebuilt, according to his writings, within the duality of the functions referred before. This fortress, after its reconstruction, was renamed S. José de Bartioga as of 1762.

Thus, this German adventurer went through many complicated situations, almost serving as meal for the cannibals, by whom he was held hostage for many months. After returning to Europe, he published these adventures in Marburg in 1557 under the title Warhaftige Historia und beschreibung eyner Landtschafft der Wilden Nacketen, Grimmigen Menschfresser-Leuthen in der Newenwelt America gelegen (True Story and Description of a Country of Wild, Naked, Grim, Man-eating People in the New World, America), work that later had innumerous editions and translations. The original edition contained several engravings, one of them showing a Portuguese ship with two sailors measuring the height of the stars with an astrolabe and cross-staff, illustration included together with the text about the visit to Funchal, and that will become one of the most disseminated images by the bibliography of the Discoveries. The engraving that represents Santa Cruz de Cabo de Guer is the oldest iconographic representation of this Portuguese fortification.

The passage of Hans Staden through Madeira and especially, through Funchal, represents the close relationship of this island with Brazil, and its dislocation to Agadir evidences the connection of Funchal square with the commerce of the squares in southern Morocco, even after these squares stopped being Portuguese.

Bibliog.:: CARITA, Rui, História da Madeira, I vol., Povoamento e Produção Açucareira (1420-1566), Funchal, SER, 1999; Id., “L’Ile de Madére dans les relations marocaine-portugaises”, comunicação ao Colóquio Internacional Le Maroc et le Portugal: dialogue des cultures, Rabat, Universidade Mohamed V de Rabat, Faculdade de Letras e Ciências Humanas, 11-15 dez. 1991; STADEN, Hans, Warhaffige Historia Hud Bescherenbung Eines Landeschaft Der […] Meusceufresseerbriten In Amerika, Marbourg, André Kolbe, 1557; STADEN, Hans, Duas Viagens ao Brasil, Belo Horizonte/ São Paulo, Ed. Itatiaia/Ed. da Universidade de São Paulo, 1974.

Rui Carita

(updated 08.06.2016)