Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 696 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
DURAO, JOS$ DE SANTA RITA (1720-1784), Brazilian poet, was born near Marianna, in the province of Minas Geraes, in 1720, and died in Lisbon in 1784. He studied at Coimbra, in Portugal, graduated as a doctor of divinity, became a member of the Augustinian order of friars, and obtained a great reputation as a preacher. Having irritated the minister Pombal by his defence of the Jesuits, he retired from Portugal in 1759; and, after being imprisoned in Spain as a spy, found his way to Italy in 1763, where he became acquainted with Alfieri, Pindemonte, Casti and other literary men of the time. On his return to Portugal he delivered the opening address at the university of Coimbra for the year 1777; but soon after retired to the cloisters of a Gratian convent. At the time of his death he taught in the little college belonging to that order in Lisbon. His epic in ten cantos, entitled Caram4ru, poema epico do descubrimento da Bahia, appeared in Lisbon in 1781, but proved at first a total failure. Its value has gradually been recognized, and it now ranks as one of the best poems in Brazilian literature—remarkable especially for its fine descriptions of scenery and native life in South America. The historic institute of Rio de Janeiro offered a prize to the author of the best essay on the legend of Caramflru; and the successful competitor published a new edition of Durao's poem. There is a French translation which appeared in Paris in 1829. See Adolfo de Varnhagen, Epicos Brazileiros (1845) ; Pereira da Silva, Os Varoes illustres do Brasil (1858); Wolf, Le Bresil litteraire (Berlin, 1863) ; Sotero dos Reis, Curse de litteratura Portugueza e Brazileira, vol. iv. (Maranhao, 1868) ; Jose Verissimo, Estudos de literatura Brazileira, segunda serie (Rio, 1901). DURAllO (anc. Epidamnus and Dyrrachium; Albanian, Durresi; Turkish and Slavonic, Drach), a seaport and capital of the sanjak of Durazzo, in the vilayet of lannina, Albania, Turkey. Pop. (1900) about 5000. Durazzo is about 50 M. S. of Scutari, on the Bay of Durazzo, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. It is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop and a Greek metropolitan, but in every respect has greatly declined from its former prosperity. The walls are dilapidated; plane-trees grow on the gigantic ruins of its old Byzantine citadel; and its harbour, once equally commodious and safe, is gradually becoming silted up. The only features worthy of notice are the quay, with its rows of cannon, and the bridge, 750 ft. long, which leads across the marshes stretching along the coast. The chief exports are olive oil—largely manufactured in the district—wheat, oats, barley, pottery and skins. Epidamnus was founded by a joint colony of Corcyreans and Corinthians towards the close of the 7th century B.C., and from its admirable position and the fertility of the surrounding country soon rose into very considerable importance. The dissolution of its original oligarchical government by the democratic opposition, the consequent quarrel between Corcyra and the oligarchical city of Corinth, and the intervention of Athens on behalf of Corcyra, are usually included among the contributory causes of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 B.C.). In 312 B.C., Epidamnus was seized by the Illyrian king Glaucias, and shortly afterwards it passed into the power of the Romans. As the name Epidamnus sounded to Roman ears like an evil omen, as though it were derived from the Latin damnum, " loss " or " harm," the alternative name of Dyrrachium, which the city possibly received from the rugged nature of the adjoining sea-coast, came into general use. Thenceforward Epidamnus rose rapidly in importance. It was a favourite point of debarcation for the Roman armies; the great military road known as the Via Egnatia led from Dyrrachium to Thessalonica (Salonica) ; and another highway passed southwards to Buthrotum and Ambracia. Broad swamps rendered the city almost impregnable, and in 48 B.C. it became famous as the place where Pompey made his last successful resistance to Caesar. After the battle of Actium in 31 B.C., Augustus made over Dyrrachium to acolony of his veterans; it became a civitas libera and a great commercial emporium (for coins see Maier, Numis. Zeitschr.,1908). The summit of its prosperity was reached about the end of the 4th century, when it was made the capital of Epirus Nova. Its bishopric, created about A.D. 58, was raised to an archbishopric in 449. In 481 the city was besieged by Theodoric, the king of the East Goths; and in the loth and 1th centuries it frequently had to defend itself against the Bulgarians. In 1082 it was stormed by the Norman Robert Guiscard, who in the previous year had defeated the Greeks under their emperor Alexius; and in 1185 it fell into the hands of King William of Sicily. Surrendered to Venice in 1202, it afterwards broke loose from the republic and in 1268 passed into the possession of Charles of Anjou. In 1273 it was laid in ruins by an earth-quake, but it soon recovered from the disaster, and became an independent duchy under John, the grandson of Charles (1294-1304), and afterwards under Philip of Otranto. In 1333 it was annexed to Achaea, in 1336 to Servia, and in 1394 to Venice. The Turks obtained possession in 1501. D'URBAN, SIR BENJAMIN (1777-1849), British general and colonial administrator, was born in 1777, and entered the British army in 1793. Promoted lieutenant and captain in 1794 he took part in that year in operations in Holland and Westphalia. In 1795 he served under Sir Ralph Abercromby in San Domingo. He went on half-pay in 1800, joining the Royal Military College, where he remained until 18o5, when he went to Hanover with the force under Lord Cathcart. Returning to England he filled various staff offices, and in November 1807 went to Dublin as assistant-quartermaster-general, being transferred successively to Limerick and the Curragh. He joined the army in the Peninsula in 18o8, and his marked abilities as a staff officer led to his selection by General (afterwards Viscount) Beresford as quartermaster-general in the reorganization of the Portuguese army. He served throughout the Peninsular War without once going on leave and took part in nine pitched battles and sieges, Busaco, Albuera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, the Nivelle, the Nive and Toulouse. He was promoted major-general in the Portuguese army and colonel in the British army in 1813, and made a K.C.B. in 1815. He remained in Portugal until 1816, when he was summoned home to take up the posts of colonel of the royal staff corps and deputy quartermaster-general at the Horse Guards. In 1819 he became major-general and in 1837 lieutenant-general. From 1829 he was colonel of the 51st Foot. Sir Benjamin began his career as colonial administrator in 182o when he was made governor of Antigua. In 1824 he was transferred to Demerara and Essequibo, then in a disturbed condition owing to a rising among the slaves consequent on the emancipation movement in Great Britain. D'Urban's rule proved successful, and in 1831 he carried out the amalgamation of Berbice with the other counties, the whole forming the colony of British Guiana, of which D'Urban was first governor. The ability with which he had for nine years governed a community of which the white element was largely of Dutch origin led to his appointment as governor of Cape Colony. He assumed office in January 1834, and the four years during which he held that post were of great importance in the history of South Africa. They witnessed the abolition of slavery, the establishment of a legislative council and municipal councils in Cape Colony, the first great Kaffir war and the beginning of the Great Trek. The firmness and justice of his administration won the cordial support of the British and Dutch colonists. The greater part of 1835 was occupied in repelling an unprovoked invasion of the eastern borders of the colony by Xosa Kaffirs. To protect the inhabitants of the eastern province Sir Benjamin extended the boundary of the colony to the Kei river and erected military posts in the district, allowing the Xosa to remain under British supervision. Since his appointment to the Cape there had been a change of ministry in England, and Lord Glenelg had become secretary for the Colonies in the second Melbourne administration. Prejudiced against any extension of British authority and lending a ready ear to a small but influential party in South Africa, Glenelg adopted the view that the Kaffirs had been the victims of systematic injustice. In a momentous despatch dated the 26th of December 1835 he set forth his views and instructed Sir Benjamin D'Urban to give up the newly annexed territory. At the same time Sir Andries Stockenstrom, Bart. (1792–1864), was appointed lieutenant-governor for the eastern provinces of the colony to carry out the policy of the home government, in which the Kaffir chiefs were treated as being on terms of full equality with Europeans. D'Urban in vain warned Glenelg of the disastrous consequences of his decision, the 'beginning of the long course of vacillation which wrought great harm to South Africa. One result of the new policy was to recreate a state of insecurity, bordering on anarchy, in the eastern province, and this condition was one of the causes of the Great Trek of the Dutch farmers which began in 1836. In various despatches D'Urban justified his position, characterizing the Trek as due to " insecurity of life and property occasioned by the recent measures, inadequate compensation for the loss of the slaves, and despair of obtaining recompense for the ruinous losses by the Kaffir invasion." (See further SOUTH AFRICA: History, and CAPE COLONY: History.) But Glenelg was not to be convinced by any argument, however cogent, and in a despatch dated the 1st of May 1837 he informed Sir Benjamin that he had been relieved of office. D'Urban, however, remained governor until the arrival of his successor, Sir George Napier, in January 1838. During his governorship Sir Benjamin endeavoured to help the British settlers at Port Natal, who in 1835 named their town D'Urban (now written Durban) in his honour, but his suggestion that the district should be occupied as a British possession was vetoed by Lord Glenelg. Though no longer in office D'Urban remained in South Africa until April 1846. In 1840 he was made a G.C.B., and in 1842 declined a high military appointment in India offered him by Sir Robert Peel. In January 1847 he took up the command of the troops in Canada, and was still in command at the time of his death at Montreal on the 25th of May 1849.
End of Article: DURAO

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.