Koster, Henry (1793–1820)

Son of the Lisbon merchant, John Theodore Koster. At the age of only sixteen his father sent him to Brazil, both for his health and to set up as a sugar planter. Koster travelled extensively in Pernambuco and returned to England only briefly in 1811 and again in 1815. On the latter occasion, his visit to Southey in Keswick turned into a prolonged stay after Koster was injured in a coach accident. Koster had already aided Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819) by locating manuscript material in Pernambuco; in 1815 he helped Southey decipher Portuguese texts and set about translating the first volume of the History of Brazil into Portuguese. He also accompanied Southey on his visit to the Low Countries in the autumn of 1815. Southey encouraged Koster to publish his journal of his time in Brazil as Travels in Brazil (1816), a widely admired book that is still an important source for the social history of North East Brazil. Koster returned to Pernambuco in 1816 and died there in 1820.

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