The Bizarre Story of 10,000 Confederates Who Fled the U.S. to Brazil After the Civil War

Tyler McNally | June 9, 2015
Font Size

This past April marked the 150th anniversary of the Peace at Appomattox, the end of open hostilities between the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia. That does not mean that Southern sympathies no longer exist anywhere in the world, however. 

While there are plenty of houses in the South that still fly the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy, one town nearly 5,000 miles away from the U.S. fully embraces the traditions and lifestyle of the Confederate States of America.

Santa Barbara d´Oeste, Brazil was once the center of thousands of Americans, albeit Confederates, who immigrated to South America soon after the end of the Civil War. The 10,000 immigrants were called "Confederados" when they reached Brazil, and while their descendants soon lost their English proficiency, they never let go of their heritage.

Soon after the Confederados arrived in Brazil, they tried to revert back to their agricultural roots with the use of slavery, which was not abolished in Brazil until 1888. The varying climates between the American South and the Brazilian rainforest proved agriculture difficult as certain crops wouldn't grow. The farmers and their families were sucked into the urbanization of Brazil after the difficulties  of farming.

Every year, the town remembers their ancestors in the most lavish way possible: a reenactment of the Southern parties of old.

Women wear homemade hoop skirts, and men wear grey replicas of the Confederate uniform.

The annual party showcases battle songs and other forms of country music, as well as an assortment of Confederate bits and pieces that can be purchased with fake Confederate money - which probably has more monetary value now than it did during the late stages of the Civil War.

The town's graveyard is littered with Confederate flags marking the final resting place for original generations of Confederados. 

For the participants, they do not see the cultural problems associated with celebrating the cultural history of the Confederacy. It is their history and they love to celebrate it.

At one time, the population of Confederado descendants in Santa Barbara d´Oeste reached 200,000.

All images from Business Insider

donate
mrc merch