Confederados: The Confederate Loyalists Who Fled To Brazil After The Civil War

By Jacob Shelton
(Unknown photographer/Wikimedia Commons)

After the Civil War, Southerners who couldn't stand to live in a world without slavery slipped away from the United States and—just as the Nazis would do in the final days of World War II—fled to Brazil. It wasn't just a handful Confederate soldiers who left the United States forever: Their numbers were somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000. Known as the Confederados, some of these men returned to the States following the Reconstruction, but many of them stayed in South America to build a life and a haven for some of the worst people in existence.

Going South

Fearing recrimination for fighting alongside the Confederate Army during the Civil War, many Southerners left the South in 1865. Former Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee pleaded with Southerners to stay put, but many of them refused to stick around and see how things worked out in ashes of the Civil War, so a mass immigration was soon underway. Some of them fled west to the western territories, but many former Confederates just went even souther. They couldn't imagine a world where a land owner wasn't also allowed to own people, and slavery was still legal in Brazil, so it seemed like a natural fit.