The South Has Risen Again… in Brazil — Meet the “Confederados”
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 As noted in unpublished research, Betty Antunes de Oliveira found in port records of Rio de Janeiro that some 20,000 Americans entered Brazil from 1865 to 1885.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 US improved. Most immigrants adopted Brazilian citizenship
In the east of Brazil, two hours away from Sao Paulo, there’s a small community that has a direct blood link with people from the southern United States. They call themselves “Confederados”. Families with last names like Thomas, Strong or Williamson are living proof of the American emigration from Brazil that started after the Civil War. They left the devastation in the southern states to start over in Brazil, which was still a slaveholder nation. The Americans brought with them their expertise in farming, especially cotton, and helped start an agricultural revolution in Brazil. The descendants of these first immigrants are very proud of their roots and while they display the confederate flag proudly, they insist they are not racist and they denounce slavery.
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.
It’s about us breaking up as a couple and also about changing weather. You know, it’s multiple levels of meaning — weather being a metaphor for my emotions. That’s kind of what all of my songs were about then and, arguably, they still are.