The ''Confederados'' () were some 10,000 to 20,000
s who moved to
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 milli ...
, chiefly to the state of
São Paulo São Paulo (, ; Portuguese for 'Saint Paul') is a municipality in the Southeast Region of Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin ...
, from the
Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural List of regions of the United States#Official regions of the United States, region of the United States. It is ...
after the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and south ...
. Although many eventually returned to the United States after Reconstruction, some remained and descendants of ''Confederados'' can be found in many cities throughout Brazil. The city of Americana in Brazil was founded by these immigrants.

Original ''Confederados''

In 1865, at the end of the American Civil War, a substantial number of Southerners left the region; many moved to other parts of the United States, such as the
American West The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or ...
, but a few left the country entirely. The most popular destination for emigration was the Brazilian Empire, where slavery remained legal. Emperor Dom Pedro II wanted to encourage the cultivation of
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural condition ...

. After the American Civil War, Dom Pedro offered the potential immigrants subsidized transport to Brazil, cheap land, and tax breaks.Harter, Eugene C. ''The Lost Colony of the Confederacy''. Many Southerners who took the Emperor's offer had lost their lands during the war, were unwilling to live under a conquering army, or simply did not expect an improvement in the South's economic position. Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee advised Southerners against emigration, but many ignored their advice and set out to establish a new life away from the destruction of war and Northern rule under Reconstruction. Most of the immigrants were from the states of Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia, and South Carolina. No one has determined how many Americans immigrated to Brazil in the years following the end of the American Civil War. As noted in unpublished research, Betty Antunes de Oliveira found in port records of Rio de Janeiro (state), Rio de Janeiro that some 20,000 Americans entered Brazil from 1865 to 1885. Other researchers have estimated the number at 10,000. An unknown number returned to the United States when conditions in the Southern United States, South changed, as Reconstruction ended and the Jim Crow laws, Jim Crow era began. Most immigrants adopted Brazilian citizenship. The immigrants settled in various places, ranging from the urban areas of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, in Paraná (state), Paraná in the south, and in the Amazon basin, Amazon region, especially Santarém, Pará, Santarém. Most of the ''Confederados'' settled in the area to the north of São Paulo, around present-day Santa Bárbara d'Oeste and Americana. The latter name was derived from ''Vila dos Americanos'', as the natives called it. The first ''Confederado'' recorded was Colonel William H. Norris of Alabama, who left the U.S. with 30 Confederate families and arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 27 December 1865. The colony at Santa Bárbara d'Oeste is sometimes called the ''Norris Colony''. Dom Pedro's program was judged a success for both the immigrants and the Brazilian government. The settlers quickly gained a reputation for honesty and hard work. The settlers brought modern agricultural techniques for cotton, as well as new food crops, which spread among native Brazilian farmers. Some dishes of the American South were also adopted in general Brazilian culture, such as chess pie, vinegar pie, and Southern fried chicken. The early ''Confederados'' continued many elements of American culture, for instance, establishing the first Baptist churches in Brazil. In a change from the South, the ''Confederados'' also educated slaves and black freedmen in their new schools. A few newly-freed slaves in the United States emigrated alongside their Confederate counterparts and in some cases with their previous owners. One such former slave, Steve Watson, became the administrator of the sawmill of his former owner, Judge Dyer of Texas. When Dyer returned to the US, due to homesickness and financial failure, Dyer deeded his remaining property, the sawmill and 12 acres, to Watson. In the area of the Juquiá valley there are many Brazilian families with the surname Vassão, a Portuguese adaptation of Watson.

Descendants of the immigrants

The first generation of ''Confederados'' remained an insular community. As is typical, by the third generation, most of the families had intermarried with native Brazilians or immigrants of other origins. Descendants of the ''Confederados'' increasingly spoke the Portuguese language and identified themselves as Brazilians. As the area around Santa Bárbara d'Oeste and Americana turned to the production of sugar cane and society became more mobile, the ''Confederados'' moved to cities for urban jobs. Today, only a few descendant families still live on land owned by their ancestors. The descendants of the ''Confederados'' are mostly scattered throughout Brazil. They maintain the headquarters of their descendant organization at the Campo center in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, where there is a cemetery, chapel and memorial. The descendants foster a connection with their history through the ''Associação Descendência Americana'' (American Descendants Association), a descendant organization dedicated to preserving their unique mixed culture. The ''Confederados'' also have an annual festival, called the ''Festa Confederada'', dedicated to fund the Campo center. The festival is marked by Flags of the Confederate States of America, Confederate flags, Uniforms of the Confederate States Armed Forces, Confederate uniforms and hoop skirts, food of the American South with a Brazilian flair, and dances and music popular in the American South during the antebellum period. The descendants maintain affection for the Confederate flag even though they completely identify as Brazilian. Many ''Confederado'' descendants have traveled to the United States at the invitation of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an American descendants' organization, to visit Civil War battlefields, attend re-enactments, or see where their ancestors lived. The Confederate flag in Brazil has not acquired the same political symbolism as it has in the United States. Many descendants of the ''Confederados'' are of mixed race and reflect the varied ethnic groups of Brazilian society in their physical appearance. In the wake of then-Governor Jimmy Carter's visit to the region in 1972, Americana incorporated the Confederate flag into the municipal coat of arms (though the largely Italian Brazilian, Italian-descended population removed it some years later, reasoning that descendants of ''Confederados'' now comprise but a tenth of the municipal population). While in Brazil, Carter also visited the city of Santa Bárbara d'Oeste and the grave at the Campo of a great-uncle of his wife Rosalynn Carter, Rosalynn. Her relative was one of the original Confederados. Carter remarked that the Confederados sounded and seemed just like Southerners. Campo Cemetery with its chapel and memorial, in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, is a site of memory, as most of the original Confederados from the region were buried there. Because they were Protestantism, Protestant rather than Catholic Church, Catholic, they were excluded from the local cemeteries and had to establish their own. The Confederado descendants' community has also contributed to an Immigration Museum at Santa Bárbara d'Oeste to present the history of immigration to Brazil.

Notable Confederado descendants

*Warwick Estevam Kerr

In fiction

Yale University history professor Rollin G. Osterweis penned ''Santarem'', a novel about Confederados.

See also

* :Confederate expatriates *Other Confederate colonies: **Confederate settlements in British Honduras **New Virginia Colony *Knights of the Golden Circle *New Australia


Further reading

* * * * Cyrus B. Dawsey and James M. Dawsey editors, ''The Confederados: Old South Immigrants in Brazil'', Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 1998. * * * William Clark Griggs, ''The Elusive Eden: Frank McMullan's Confederate Colony in Brazil'', Austin: University of Texas, 1987, about the failed Iguape Colony. * Riccardo Orizio (Avril Bardoni, translator), ''Lost White Tribes: The End of Privilege and the Last Colonials in Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Brazil, Haiti, Namibia & Guadeloupe''. * * *

Archival material

* Auburn University in Alabama maintains a special collection of material related to the ''Confederado'' emigration, including correspondence, memoirs, genealogies, and newspaper clippings, especially related to Colonel Norris.

External links

Confederados collection at Auburn University

Confederados Website

Family Confederate Moore
{{Ancestry and ethnicity in Brazil American diaspora in South America American expatriates in Brazil Ethnic groups in Brazil Cultural history of Brazil History of the Confederate States History of the Southern United States Social history of the American Civil War Aftermath of the American Civil War Confederate expatriates Slavery in Brazil Sons of Confederate Veterans