Em memória do Capitão Sebastião Serrão

Iure gentium quibusvis ad quosvis liberam esse navigatione (Pela lei das nações da navegação é livre para todos que a assumam); Lusitanos nullum habere ius dominii in eos Indos ad quos Batavi navigant titulo inventionis (Os portugueses não tem o direito por de descoberta à soberania sobre as Índias Orientais onde os holandeses viajam) Lusitanos in Indos non habere ius dominii titulo donationis Pontificiae (Os portugueses não tem o direito de soberania sobre as Índias Orientais, em virtude do título papal) . Foi desta forma que o holandês Hugo Grotius no início do século XVII, justificou o fim do Mar Fechado, dividido entre portugueses e espanhóis.

Fazia já alguns anos que a “Laranja Mecânica” andava a fazer a vida negra aos portugueses nas rotas orientais e a 25 de Fevereiro de 1603, a Nau Nossa Senhora da Conceição, capitaneada por Sebastião Serrão, foi pirateada por holandeses, com 150 toneladas de porcelana, prata e outras preciosidades vindas de Macau, «seven hundred soldados, together with between eighty and one hundred women, children and an unspecified number of merchants». O saque rendeu 3.5 milhões de florins, – para cima de um dinheirão, portanto. Durante 60 anos Portugal lutou contra as forças da “globalização”, no Atlântico e no Índico.

«At dawn on February 25th 1603, van Heemskerk was told that a carrack of the Portuguese China fleet had been sighted at anchor. The Witte Leeuw and the Alkmaar engaged the Santa Catarina before it could flee, and for most of the daylight hours, cannon fire raked the sails and rigging of the Santa Catarina to disable her. It was a one-sided battle and before evening the Portuguese captain Sebastião Serrão, raised the white flag and offered to surrender his ship for safe passage for his crew and passengers to Melaka. Jakob van Heemskerk accepted the surrender and immediately took off some cargo as a precaution. European protocol prevailed, and in March, the Melaka Council thanked van Heemskerk for keeping his word, though they acidly pointed out that the Dutch were lucky to encounter this valuable vessel, and that it had fallen into their hands only through a ‘secret and unknown judgement of God’. The governor of Melaka, Dom Fernão de Albuquerque added that the carrack’s defense had been impeded by the many women and children on board, and had van Heemskerk met one of his own ships, the outcome would surely have been different. Truly a strange mix of warfare and formality

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