Approximately 100 miles from Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city lies Villa Americana the last place where you would ever expect to hear English, much less a distinct southern accent from the pre-civil war. Villa Americana, considered by some to be a lost American colony founded after the Civil War, by Col. William Hutchinson Norris, the war which had recently occurred between the northern and southern states. This was a war that put brother against brother in the hopes of keeping slavery, or getting rid of it forever. Both sides obviously wanted it their way, but only one side would be victorious. The winners, the north, led by Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States wished to move on, and heal the country with the Reconstruction of the south. The loss of slavery in the south left many feeling angry and disgruntled that their way of life was challenged and disrupted forever.
Harriet, Elizabeth, Pattie and Emma Steagall one of the first American families to come to Brazil in 1867
Social and economic disintegration in the South at the end of the war impelled many people to move around. Not only Black people seemed to be permanently on the road. Many white farmers and planters were looking for a place of exile where they could reconstruct their lives. Perhaps as many as four thousand white Southern Americans left for Brazil in the years immediately after 1865. Besides farmers and planters, there were teachers, prospectors, machinists, shopkeepers, doctors, dentists, artisans, laborers, and evangelical preachers among the Southern exiles. After the Confederation defeat and the subsequent ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Brazil became the last major slave country on the American continents. Brazi...
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...es up the men in confederate gray and the women in period correct dresses. They enjoy the best of southern food and fondly remember the past. Still struggling to hold onto their culture in the face of assimilation.
In the end many of the settlers returned home to the United States and went on with their lives, they moved on and accepted the reconstruction. In fact President Jimmy Carter’s great uncle W.S. Wise, was one of the Confederados and is buried there. Carter decided to pay a visit to the colony, and to the cemetery where his uncle remains and had this to say, “My most significant feeling was one of great sadness they had foregone for all those generations the enjoyment of being a part of this nation they still revere so deeply. The futility of it all was apparent. None of them looked upon their ancestors as mistaken. They didn’t seem to feel any self-pity.”
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