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Dutch military officer and administrator of German origin (17/6 / 1604-20 / 12/1679). Johann Mauritius van Nassau-Siegen is born at Dillemburg Castle in Germany. He is a member of the house of Nassau, an aristocratic family that disputed the thrones of Germany and the Netherlands. In 1618, during the Thirty Years' War, he joined the Netherlands Army and participated in various campaigns.
In 1632 settles in the city of The Hague, where it contracts many debts to build the Palace Mauritius. According to historians, it is for this reason that in 1636 he accepted the proposal of the Dutch West India Company to manage the newly conquered Dutch colony in Brazil, which stretches from the coast of Sergipe to Maranhão.
He lands in Recife in 1637 and spends seven years in the colony. He gets the sympathy of the landlords by proposing funding for the recovery of sugar mills and plantations. In its administration, it promotes urban improvements in the village of Recife, ensures freedom of worship and attracts artists and scientists from various areas to the colony, including painter Frans Post.
He quarrels with the Company of the Indies and resigns in 1644. He returns to Holland, where he holds important diplomatic and military positions. In 1652 receives the title of prince of the Germanic Empire. He retired from public life in 1674 and died five years later in Kleve, Germany.