Friday, June 24, 2016

The Land of Cotton Ain't Forgotten

Thought for the day:  The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart. [Robert Green Ingersoll]

It's an understatement to say some die-hard Southerners never lost heart over losing the Civil War... or the War of Yankee Aggression, as they prefer to call it. They stubbornly cling to remnants of the past, while biding their time, whistling Dixie, and waiting for the South to rise again. But you know what? There's still a place where the Confederacy never exactly fell.

Most people are aware of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Virginia, but did you know there's also a Lost Colony of the Confederacy? A place where the old Confederacy is still celebrated, and many of its symbols continue to flourish? It's reeeeally in the deep south, Sooooo far south, it isn't even in North American. It's in... Brazil...






[image from widipedia]



Brazil's Emperor Dom Pedro II, as seen in this 1865 photo, was a staunch ally of the Confederacy, and after the Civil War, he offered subsidized passage to any Americans willing to emigrate to Brazil. That allowed this clever man to offer disgruntled Southerners an escape, while also enabling him to import some American prosperity. In what amounted to a voluntary exile, thousands of Confederates, who considered themselves war refugees, accepted the generous offer, and embraced Brazil's cheap land and legal slavery as an opportunity to recreate the way of life they'd enjoyed prior to the war.



Not all of the Southerners stayed, though. Some weren't too keen on Brazil's liberal race relations. Even though Brazil was the last country in the Americas to outlaw slavery, when the Deep South defectors arrived in Brazil after the war, they were shocked to find that blacks there had the right to vote, run for office, and hold positions of leadership over whites.

But those Southerners who DID stay... thrived. And continue to thrive today in the town of Americana, where residents celebrate the heritage of their ancestors by holding an annual festa, replete with rebel flags, Confederate uniforms, hoop skirts, fried chicken, and buttermilk biscuits.

 Just as the Southern drawls eventually faded, those who continue to celebrate their ties to the Confederacy are generally unaware of any connections between the Old South and slavery. In a country in which 51% of the population identifies as either black or mixed race, there is no debate over the use of Confederate symbols. To these celebrant Brazilians, those symbols represent family, unity, fraternity, and friendship.



In a nod to the past, festival attendees sing and dance to music of the Old South.


Legal tender during the festival is, of course... the Confederate dollar.

The overall creed of these revelers? Heritage, not hate. 

And their motto? To live and die in Dixie.


So although it may be far from U.S. soil, the American Confederacy lives on in Brazil, and probably will for many years to come. Why? Because those festivals also raise money to preserve the cemetery where many former Confederate soldiers and their families... the ancestors of these Brazilians... were laid to rest.



                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

56 comments:

  1. Today's History lesson. Thank you. I had no idea confederates fled to Brazil. Their descendants have certainly done well for themselves and I like them remembering their heritage with an annual festival.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea of them remembering their heritage with that festival as a way of honoring their ancestors.

      Delete
  2. This is a fascinating slice of American history that I've never heard of before. It's bitterly ironic that the Confederate flag can be flown in Brazil as a celebration of history, family, and heritage - - while here in the U.S.A. it would be condemned as an evil symbol of racism. So much for freedom of expression....

    You always manage to write about things that are new to me. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not so ironic, if you think about it. In Brazil, those symbols never existed as part of a war effort, or in support of slavery, so for them, the only context is family heritage. Here, the symbols are hated by some Americans about as much as Nazi symbols are hated by most Germans.

      Delete
    2. You're definitely right about that.

      Delete
  3. I had no idea. Now I'm going to go off to see if there are more videos and pictures since this has piqued my interest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Music to my ears! (Eyes...?) Anyhow, I LOVE to pique someone's interest.

      Delete
  4. Never knew they ran away to Brazil either at my sea. Rather funny how Brazil lets the flag be used and then the US gets their panties in a bunch at the first sight of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The flag has an entirely different meaning in Brazil. There, it doesn't have anything to do with a war that tore families apart and nearly destroyed the country, or anything to do with loss, suffering, or slavery. It's all about feel-good memories of their heritage, beginning when their ancestors fled to Brazil.

      Delete
  5. Brazil has a lot of runaway facets of history- confederacy, nazi, and who knows who else. Interesting.
    stay cool - it's a scorcher. I'm ready to run away...but not to Brazil. I"m thinking colder

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's bloody hot here, too. Gonna hit 98 tomorrow.

      But today? We're going to the movies in about an hour to see the new "Independence Day" movie. :)

      Have a super weekend.

      Delete
  6. WOW, who'd have guessed!
    Now, you've got me wondering about Brasil's climate and cost of living. (*smile*)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HA! My guess is it's H-O-T. (Not that it isn't sweltering here in Georgia...)

      Delete
  7. How interesting! I never heard a single thing about this before. You always come up with such fascinating stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some call it fascinating... others call it obscure. :) I just write about whatever floats my boat.

      Delete
  8. I had no idea! Thanks for the history lesson. Boy history will remember last nights vote in England, won't it. This seems to be a year we won't forget for a long, long time, if ever for many, many reasons!
    Happy July 4th weekend. A time for celebration and picnics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure! Yeah, England's vote was some kinda surprising. (To me, anyway... I expected it to be close, but going the other way towards staying.) It's an interesting time in history to be alive, that's for sure.

      Hapy 4th weekend to you, too. (Aw, what the heck... have a bang-up weekend THIS weekend, too.)

      Delete
  9. Fascinating! An enclave of Confederate cultural history in Brazil --I didn't know. My mom was from the enthusiastic South -- my father from the North. They talked a lot about that conflict. As political expression, I have always found the Civil War unnerving. Democratic sit-ins in Congress seem so much more relaxing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool. I'm really glad others find this info as interesting as I do. :)

      Indeed! Too bad all conflicts can't be settled with a pleasant little sit-in. Maybe with some nice hors d'oeuvres and chilled adult beverages.

      Delete
  10. What a surprising fact! Brazil, of all places.

    Looking forward to seeing "The County of Jones".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too. That should really be a good flick.

      Delete
  11. I am not surprised but wow how interesting. You always have the most fabulous posts. I talk about my dog !
    Since I am not from the North/South I have a different take on this. I see the flag as part of our history good or bad. Some see the flag as oppression it is a strange line to walk.
    I see the flag of Mexico as oppression where I live. Which is very not PC of me.
    Had very political comment here but dropped it.

    Have a great weekend.
    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm glad you think the stuff I write about is interesting, but listen... I LOVE your dog and the pictures you post!

      Yes, the Confederate flag is definitely a part of our history, but I can understand why so many people have an unfavorable opinion of it, and of what it stood for.

      You have a great weekend, too. Stay cool!

      Delete
  12. Heritage not hate is a brilliant motto. Which I would like to see adopted more broadly. World wide would be a good start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. The world would be a better place if everyone embraced that motto.

      Delete
  13. I loved your post but I'm still thinking of your opening quote. How true it is, especially today as my adopted land has chosen hatred and fear instead of love and hope.

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That quote is terrific, isn't it? I was shocked that Britain voted to leave the union. Don't lose heart.

      Greetings back atcha.

      Delete
  14. How interesting - I had no idea. Funny how Brazil turned out to attract so many people from lost causes/wrong ideas. A lot of former Nazis fled Germany and took up residence in Brazil, too (mostly in Argentina, though).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is interesting that Brazil has welcomed people who were considered undesirable in other parts of the world. But I don't think it was altruistic. I think it was more about building their economy.

      Delete
  15. I had no idea about this colony...interesting. To be honest...I would be ok with that flag disappearing forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't blame you for feeling that way about the flag, and am not the least bit surprised that you do.

      Delete
  16. I did not know about this part of history... very interesting that Brazil would take these people on... Hopefully they have learned from the past are just enjoying their lives now xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brazil has a long history of accepting disenfranchised people from other countries. I don't know that the Confederatos have actually learned from the past, because they are mostly unaware of any details about the Confederacy. They're just celebrating their ancestors.

      Delete
  17. Do you think they changed the lyrics of Dixie to "Way down south in the land of coffee..."?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Fascinating! They celebrate a heritage they don't understand and inaccurately remember.

    How many times has that happened in human history? How many things have we forgotten? What celebrations have thrived out of events far removed from what they appear to be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly why this story is so fascinating to me! I had a feeling it would pique your interest, too.

      You raise an interesting question... hmmmm. Wonder how we can research it...

      Delete
  19. I like the way they celebrate, and I especially like their creed: Heritage not Hate. Also had no idea that a bunch of Southerners ended up in Brazil!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the world would be a much kinder place if more people embraced that creed.

      Delete
  20. Interesting bit of history! I was unaware of any of it until today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool! I'm glad you found it to be interesting. :)

      Delete
  21. Wow, I never knew this. Interesting. In his economic history of the region ("Open Veins of Latin America") Eduardo Galeano suggests that had the south won the war, our economy would be more in line with the economies in Latin and South America.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very interesting theory, and it certainly makes a lot of sense.

      Delete
  22. Where do you come across these little known facts? That's awesome. I had no idea, but I love learning about the "migration" and how its roots are still alive, in a way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where do I come up with them? I read like a fiend, and follow all kinds of "what ifs" down various rabbit holes. :)

      Delete
  23. I'm glad you read and then share all these interesting things with us :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for the great history lesson! I love it when I learn new things. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Twas my pleasure. (Me, too! I'm an unabashed info junkie.)

      Delete