|Siegen, Nassau, Germany –|
Fürst Johann Moritz von Nassau-Siegen, der
One of the best-known buildings in the Hague, Netherlands, is the Mauritshuis (see above), now the Royal Dutch art gallery, and named after Prince John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen, who had it built in 1633. His grandfather John of Nassau in Dillenburg was a brother of the Dutch revolutionary hero William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, Count of Katzenellenbogen. After his assassination 1584, he was succeeded in 1585 by his son Maurice (German Moritz, Dutch Maurits, Latin Mauritius) of Nassau-Orange, who was born in Dillenburg, Nassau, Germany, on 13. November 1567, and named after his mothers father, the Prince Elector Maurice of Saxony. The island of Mauritius was named after Maurice of Nassau-Orange.
From 1637 to 1644, Prince John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen spent seven years in Brazil as Governor in the service of the Dutch West India Company. While he was away, his older brothers died, John on 27. July 1638 and William on 18. July 1642. Upon his return, he took possession of his inherited county of Nassau-Siegen, which became a principality in 1652. He was accompanied by artists and scientists, such as Marcgraf and Piso, who published the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae in 1648, from which the Brazilian bird (above left) is taken. In Pernambuco he founded Mauritsstad, and built the Palace of Freeburg (above right) on the present Praça da República in the City of Recife, with huge parks and a zoological garden.
When Prince John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen arrived in Pernambuco, Recife was nothing but a small fishing village, and when he left, it had been transformed into the major port of the colony of Nieuw Holland or Dutch Brazil. He not only built palaces and fortifications, as shown on the two pictures by Frans Post (see above), but also dikes, canals, paved streets, and the first astronomic observatory in the Americas on Freeburg Palace. The about 3000 free burghers of Mauritsstad, whether Catholic, Calvinist or Jew, enjoyed religious freedom. Approximately 1450 Jews lived in Dutch Brazil in 1644, and Rabbi Isaac Aboab da Fonseca, who arrived from Amsterdam in 1642, became the first rabbi of Recife and the New World.
From 1647 to 1679, Prince John Maurice of
Nassau-Siegen spent the last 32 years of his life in Cleves as Governor for his
friend, the Prince Elector Frederick William of
Brandenburg. As in Brazil, he took an interest in
landscaping so that the City of Cleves (Kleve) owes some
beautiful parks to him (above left). He also advised Prince Frederick William on how to turn
Potsdam near Berlin into a paradise. Prince John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen was
buried at Bergenthal in the village of Bedburg-Hau near Kleve, Germany,
where his cast-iron tomb is
Rabbi Isaac Aboab da Fonseca, and
Prince John Maurice
Richter am Amtsgericht Herborn a.D. Dr. Jur. Ewald Metzler, Master of Comparative Law.
legal scientist, I had the privilege to discover in 1983 in
Herborn the 3D structure of the Ten
Commandments, and succeeded in reconstructing the two stone Tablets of the Law
Email: Dr. Ewald (Ed) Metzler-Moziani.
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by Dr. Ewald (Ed) Metzler-Moziani.