Confederate Immigrants To Brazil - Mr. Joseph Whitaker and Mrs. Isabel Norris
The Confederados is a cultural sub-group in the nation of Brazil. They are the descendants of people who fled from the Confederate States of America to Brazil with their families after the American Civil War. Santa Barbara do Óeste and Americana Santa Barbara, Vila Americana, New Texas and other towns in the State of São Paulo were heavily populated by Confederate soldiers.
At the end of the American Civil War, the Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil was interested in having cotton crops due to the high prices and, through Freemasonry contacts, recruited experienced cotton farmers for his nation. Dom Pedro offered the potential immigrants subsidies and tax breaks. General Robert E. Lee advised Southerners not to flee to South America but many ignored his advice and set out to establish a new life away from the destruction of war. Many Southerners who took the Emperor’s offer had lost their land during the war, were unwilling to live under a conquering army, or simply did not expect an improvement in the South’s economic position. Although a number of historians say that the existence of slavery was an appeal, Alcides Gussi, an independent researcher of State University of Campinas, found that only four families owned a total of 66 slaves from 1868 to 1875. The Confederates were the first organized Protestant group to settle in Brazil
The first original Confederado known to arrive was the senator William H. Norris of Alabama—the colony at Santa Barbara 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 brought with them modern agricultural techniques and new crops such as watermelon, and pecans that soon spread among the native Brazilian farmers. Some foods of the American South also crossed over and became part of general Brazilian culture such as chess pie, vinegar pie, and southern fried chicken. The original Confederados continued many elements of American culture and established the first Baptist churches in Brazil. They also established public schools and provided education to their female children, which was unusual in Brazil at the time.
Harter, Eugene C. (2000). The Lost Colony of the Confederacy. Texas A & M University Press.