The Confederados

Americana, Sao Paulo


Photo credit: Carlosar/Wikimedia

Alternative history is one of the biggest sci-fi subgenres. These stories deal with the big “what ifs” of history. Take for example Philip K. Dick’s novel The Man in High Castle, which asks, “What if the Nazis had won World War II?” Similarly, quite a few wonder, “What would’ve happened if the Confederacy had won the Civil War?” Well, if you’re curious, you can head on down to Americana, Sao Paulo and find out.

After Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, sore losers in the South weren’t crazy about rejoining the US. Sensing their frustration, Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil invited irate Southerners to pack up their bags and move even further south. Ten thousand people accepted his offer, and while most eventually went back home, 40 percent stayed in Brazil and established the town of Americana.

Nicknamed the “Confederados,” these immigrants set up a surreal little world of good old Southern values. They built Baptist churches, flew the Stars and Bars, and ate biscuits and black-eyed peas. And when they weren’t using forced labor to work their new cotton plantations, they were throwing antebellum balls and singing old-fashioned Southern ballads.

While the town has toned down its Dixieland vibe, the Confederados’ descendants still speak fluent English and throw an annual festival where people dress up in Southern costumes, have grand parties, and unfurl the Confederate flag—all in the middle of Brazil.

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