Anna Paes, Plantation owner in the Brazilian colonial era

Anna Paes (1617-1674) was the owner of the Casa Forte Mill, one of Pernambuco's most important sugar cane mills, the site of the most notable victory in the struggle against Dutch rule in colonial Brazil.

Anna Paes (Anna Gonçalves Paes de Azevedo) (1617-1674) was born in the plantation Jerome Paes, later Casa Forte, Recife, Pernambuco, probably in 1917. Daughter of Jerome Paes de Azevedo, rich landlord and master of the Engenho Jerônimo Paes and Isabel Gonçalves Froes, daughter of Diego Gonçalves, the founder of the aforementioned ingenuity, which extended over a large area located near Passo do Fidalgo, on the left bank of the Capibaribe River.

Anna Paes was raised according to Portuguese customs. In addition to Portuguese, he spoke and wrote Latin and later Dutch and German. At the age of 18 she was already widowed by Captain Pedro Correia da Silva who died facing the Dutch in defense of the Fort of St. John the Baptist Brum, after three months of marriage. With the death of his father, he began to manage and ingenuity transforming him in one of the best of the captaincy of Pernambuco. He lived with his mother, alternating his home between his mill and a house located at Rua do Bom Jesus, in downtown Recife.

In 1637 Anna Paes marries Charles de Tourlon, captain of the Dutch army, with whom he had a daughter, Isabel de Tourlon. Accused of complicity with the Brazilians in a revolt against the Dutch, by determination of Mauricio de Nassau, is deported to the Netherlands taking with his daughter Isabel. After official confirmation of her husband's death in 1644, Anna marries Dutch captain Gilbert de With, a senior representative of the West India Company.

On August 17, 1645, the plantations were occupied by the Dutch troops commanded by Henry Van Huss, after being rejected from the Mount of Tabocas. At the time the mill served as a fortification for the Dutch, but the Pernambuco soldiers, commanded by Sergeant Antonio Dias Cardoso, attack the mill and come out victorious. The defeat at the Battle of Casa Forte cost the Dutch around 37 dead, many wounded and over 330 prisoners.

In 1654, with the end of Dutch rule in Brazil, Anna Paes, being married to a Dutchman, was considered equally Dutch and had all her property confiscated and was deported to Holland with her husband and two children, Kornelius and Elizabeth. His device went up for auction and the Big House destroyed. Later the place where the mill was located was called “Casa Forte”. The current neighborhood of Casa Forte has the main avenue called 17 de Agosto. The early chapel that preceded the present date back to the time of the mill itself.

Anna Paes died in Dondrecht, the Netherlands, on December 21, 1674.