By Jordan Brasher
Brazil has a long, strange relationship with the United States Confederacy.
After the Civil War ended in 1865, ending slavery in the United States, some 8,000 to 10,000 Southern soldiers and their families left the vanquished Confederacy and went to Brazil.
There, slavery was still legal. Roughly 40% of the nearly 11 million Africans forcibly brought across the Atlantic between 1517 and 1867 went to work on sugarcane plantations in Brazil. It was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to formally abolish slavery, in 1888—23 years after the United States.
Legal slavery may have been a draw for the Confederate soldiers who migrated to Brazil after abolition.
Brazilian political economist Célio Antonio Alcântara Silva analyzed letters sent to Brazilian consulates and vice-consulates in the United States at the end of the Civil War and found that 74% of Southerners inquiring about emigration were slaveowners.