Winner of the Drawing for a free copy of Forsaken Dreams is Joy Isley!! Congratulations,Joy!
Those of us who love to learn about history, often find the Civil War in America fascinating. Not because of the cruelty and death, but because a nation could be so torn apart on the issues of slavery and economics that they saw the need to split into two nations and fight brother against brother! Even more remarkable is that, despite the animosity and hatred, history proves that the two halves became a whole again. Surely the hand of God played a huge role in that.
But did you know that a great many Southerners fled the South after the war? Frustrated and disillusioned, they abandoned the country of their birth and took off for greener shores. Think about it, what would make a person do that? What would make you do that? Let’s take a peek at the reasons
The post-Civil War South was unrecognizable.
J.S. Pike from South Carolina comments
“The banks were ruined, railroads destroyed. Their few manufactories were desolate, their vessels swept from the seas and rivers their live-stock was consumed. Notes, bonds, mortgages, all the money in circulation, debts, become alike worthless. The communities were without clothes and without food. Lawlessness, poverty fear, hunger violence ruin and social disorder were to mark the south for many years. Northern merchants and speculators moved into the Southern states after the war, taking away economic opportunities from Southerners. The southern landscape was in shambles. . .never was there greater nakedness and desolation in a civilized community.”
In addition, almost every family mourned the loss at least one relative in the war. Then to make matters worse, Congress declared 150,000 leading Southern citizens guilty of treason without a trial and denied them rights of citizenship.
From the diary of confederate officer Douglas French Forrest: “the whole country for miles around was filled with predatory bands, utterly irresponsible, recognizing no rights of property, utterly demoralized”
Many Southerners felt that had no choice but to leave. So they did!!
Three million people migrated from the former Confederate States in the decades following the Civil War. Most moved to sparsely settled lands in western North America, to the larger cities of the north, to Canada, and to Mexico. But some went to Brazil’s golden shores!! We don’t know how many actually went to Brazil because few had passports and they just boarded ships and went down. However a study of available figures, newspaper reports and data gathered from descendants makes it safe to estimate that at least 20,000 Southerners came to Brazil Their descendants now number over 100,000 and are spread over the country.
Most of these “Confederados”, as they came to be called, were professional farmers and planters. However, others included generals, admirals, governors, senators as well as mechanics, machinists, preachers, teachers, and even a few freed slaves.
In 1869 George Washington Keyes, formerly of Montgomery, Alabama, from his plantation in Brazil, wrote to a friend back in America “I left the United States because of anarchy which I expected to prevail, poverty that was already at our doors, and the demoralization which I thought and still believe will surely cover the land.:
Fifty years after the war Dr. Robert Norris, another immigrant to Brazil replied to an American visitor as to why he never returned to the U.S. “You folks made our lives so impossible in the United States that we had to leave. We were welcome here in Brazil. This is our country now and here we are going to stay. “
In fact, you may find it interesting that a few miles outside the Brazilian town of Santa Barbara, at least four times a year, a group of people gather at a small chapel and cemetery in the middle of sugarcane fields. What’s so weird about that? They are all dressed in costumes of 19th century America, sing old Protestant hymns and listen to a sermon. Afterward, they share a meal of fried chicken and biscuits and gravy and dance to the tune of Dixie. If you look real close, among the Brazilian features, you may find some blue eyes here, some red hair and freckles there and you may even hear English spoken instead of Portuguese.
These are the descendants of the Confederados who fled to Brazil after the Civil War.
And this is the history upon which my new series, Escape to Paradise is based.
Disclaimer: I am neither in favor of the North or the South. I abhor war and slavery and am proud of my country for finally freeing the slaves. Death and atrocities occurred on both sides of this war. However, my series is told from a Southern perspective.
Don’t miss book 1 in my Escape to Paradise series, Forsaken Dreams!!
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