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Post Emancipation of Brazil's Enslaved
Created by John Eipper on 04/07/17 1:55 AM

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Emancipation of Brazil's Enslaved (Istvan Simon, USA, 04/07/17 1:55 am)

Brazil went through the same upheavals as the United States in the abolition of slavery, and abolished it later than the United States did. Nonetheless, it did so without the horrible bloodshed of a civil war, and in a somewhat typical Brazilian, and in my opinion, very wise fashion.

The Princesa Isabel was the most prominent member of the Brazilian Royal family who was enlightened and strongly wanted to abolish slavery. The farmers that benefited form slave labor opposed it, much like the southern farmers opposed the abolition of slavery in the US. The genius of the royal family was to find a compromise, which avoided civil war, and yet insured that slaves would be freed within a generation. The critical legislation that accomplished this miracle was called the "Lei do Ventre Livre," which essentially stated that the babies of slaves would be free, and not subject to slavery.

JE comments:  Ventre Livre (free womb) was enacted in 1871, and Brazil formally abolished slavery in 1888, the last country in the Western Hemisphere to do so.

Istvan, have you ever visited Americana, São Paulo state, which was founded by Confederate immigrants after the US Civil War?  Some unrepentant defenders of the Peculiar Institution, including a Senator from Alabama, preferred exile over living in a nation without slavery.

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  • Americana, Brazil's Confederate "Colony" (Tor Guimaraes, USA 04/08/17 5:23 AM)
    In his commentary to Istvan Simon's post of April 7th, John Eipper asked about the city of "Americana, São Paulo state, which was founded by Confederate immigrants after the US Civil War."

    One of my diehard Confederate friends in Tennessee was interested in knowing more about it, so in one of my trips to Brazil I spent a few days there collecting photos, brochures, and other information.. They have a small museum about the Confederates who moved there, a memorial cemetery, and an yearly parade celebrating the event. Otherwise Americana is just like any nice Brazilian city of the same medium size.

    JE comments:  Obrigado, Tor!  An analogous Brazilian city would be Londrina, Paraná, founded in the 1930s by British railway engineers and workers.  Interestingly, many of the first settlers were German and Japanese.  This must have been a fascinating place to live during WWII.

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    • Confederate Settler Julia L. Keyes, "Our Life in Brazil" (Clyde McMorrow, USA 04/08/17 2:16 PM)
      I have a small volume Our Life In Brazil by Julia L. Keyes that describes the emigration of a family from the post-war South to Brazil aboard Brazilian chartered boats, their life as settlers, their repatriation by US Navy vessels, and the return to the plantation where they were welcomed by their ex-slaves.

      It is bound but there are no publisher marks. There is a preface that reads, "This book was compiled by Nancy Hamlin Huber for her husband, Gilberto Huber, on the occasion of the 100 years' anniversary of his American ancestors' first voyage to Brazil. Christmas 1967." There is a short piece that is attributed to "a Kansas City Paper. June 16, 1912."  The main body of the text appears to be a composite of journal entries of several of the participants in the adventure, assembled by Julia Keyes in 1874. There is a reference to this manuscript in WorldCat.

      What Dom Pedro Segundo wanted was educated managers of agro-industrial enterprises who could organize large farms and build the necessary infrastructure to develop Brazil. What Brazil got were people who complained about the quality of the servants. The new immigrants were not that attracted to manual labor and made few efforts to learn the language or interact with the locals. Most returned to the US after a few years.

      JE comments:  This book sounds fascinating.  I get the impression that Nancy Hamlin Huber is from the part of the Keyes family which remained in Brazil.

      Some years ago I read Eugene C. Harter's The Lost Colony of the Confederacy.  As the Amazon blurb reads, the book describes the "grim, quixotic journey" of the US settlers, or Confederados.  Clyde McMorrow is correct:  most of the 20,000 returned to the United States.


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      • Confederates in Mexico: Captain James Box (Richard Hancock, USA 04/17/17 3:08 AM)
        I found Clyde McMorrow's April 8 posting on Confederates in Brazil very interesting. The same thing happened in Mexico. My grandfather William Box Hancock related a similar story about Confederates migrating to Mexico. He dictated "The Early Life of W. B. Hancock" to his wife Bertha Monagin Hancock in 1934 and this story was typed out in 1942.

        Grandfather's Uncle Jim Box went to Mexico in the 1830s and was commissioned a captain in the Mexican army. As a reward for his services, the Mexican government gave him a liberal concession of land in the state of Durango. He engaged in mining and became a famous Indian fighter. Because of the upcoming civil war, he was able to organize a colony of his people and their friends to go to Durango and share the land given him by the Mexican government. This group suffered an attack of smallpox on the trip to Durango and a number of them lost their lives. Later they suffered from Indian attacks and other ill luck before reaching Durango. The colony soon broke up and returned to Texas.

        Captain Jim Box refused to return and Uncle Frank sent his wife and baby back with her parents. Uncle Frank soon became homesick for his family and decided to return also. This was an extremely dangerous 700-mile journey. He supplied himself with tortillas and dried beef and started home, riding at night to avoid both Indians and Mexicans. He hid out in thickets during the day. He soon ate up all his food but was able to kill rabbits with rocks. He did not shoot his gun because he feared that the sound would bring on the Indians. He made this trip to San Antonio safely.

        Captain Jim Box wrote a story of his experiences in Mexico which was published as a book in New York. I found this book at the University of California at Berkley's rare-book collection. It could only be read at the library and I didn't have the time to do this. Uncle Frank told Grandfather about a strange experience that Captain Box and his friend had when he was captured by Indians, who planned to burn him at the stake. As a last resort, he gave them the Masonic sign of distress. An old Indian Chief recognized the sign and the Indians took them close to a Mexican town and released them. Capitan Box eventually died on his Durango ranch from mountain dysentery.

        My Grandfather drove cattle up the Great Western Trail to Dodge City, Kansas five years straight (1879-1884). This constituted the bulk of this 100-page manuscript. He had many other interesting experiences, but he felt that his trail-ride experiences were the only thing that would be valuable for posterity.

        My father told of other happenings which could have been included to make a full-length book.

        JE comments:  Another great Wild West family narrative from Richard Hancock!  Richard, a reprint of Captain James Box's Adventures and Explorations in New and Old Mexico is available from Amazon.  I'm going to order myself a copy: 


        I am especially curious about the chronology of Captain B's time in Mexico.  Did he emigrate shortly before the US Civil War?  That would be unusual, as few in 1861 believed the war would amount to more than a battle or two.

        Note the "Old" Mexico in the title.  As a child in Missouri in the 1970s, I recall how the locals referred to the country as Old Mexico, as distinguished from the US state of "New" Mexico and plain old (not Old) Mexico, which of course is a town in Missouri.  I wonder if this is still the practice.

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  • Americana, Brazil (Istvan Simon, USA 04/11/17 7:03 PM)
    To answer John E's question, I have been to Americana, São Paulo, and know the region well. One of the legacies of the Americans who settled there for a while is that people in the region pronounce the letter r the way Americans do, which is very different from the way it is pronounced in Brazil.

    There are also many blond and blue-eyed kids, another legacy of the slave owners that moved to Brazil. This is also the case in the Northeast, because of the Dutch invasions that happened there, see


    Likewise, consider the German settlers in southern Brazil in Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. The most famous example currently of this is supermodel Gisele Bundchen, the wife of Superbowl quarterback Tom Brady.

    JE comments:  Bundchen was born in Três de Maio, Rio Grande do Sul, which is known as the Milk Capital of Brazil, as well as an epicenter of the German dialect commonly spoken there,  Riograndenser Hunsrückisch.  Wikipedia tells us it is spoken by thousands.  Does anyone in WAISworld have familiarity with the German speakers of the region?

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