|Henry Ford’s Amazon experiment in Fordlandia, Brazil. Photograph: Colin McPherson/Corbis|
Wallpaper’s Sara Henrichs dreams of visiting Henry Ford’s ghost town in the Amazon forest
Two years ago I went to Brazil with Willi, also known as my father, but Willi suits him better. I told Willi I had seven days, and he started laughing and said:
“Sara, I lived seven years out there and still haven’t seen everything I wanted. You will wander out of the ordinary, but you won’t make it to Fordlandia.”
After the Civil War in the USA, Dom Pedro II placed advertisements in American newspapers and sent recruiting agents north to recruit Confederate Americans to move to Brazil by offering land and financial assistance.
They settled in four locations:
> Santarém – an Amazon city. There are descendants still living there today.
> Linhares, Rio Doce – State of Espiríto Santo north of Vitoria ,the capital
> Santa Catarina State – Most left and move to São Paulo State.
> São Paulo State – Americana and Santa Barbara d’Oeste were founded by the Confederados
As the years passed, most of the colonies disappeared as families returned to the US or were assimilated into the Brazilian society. However, Americana in São Paulo State survived and prospered over the years and carries on the legacy of those Southerns who moved to Brazil after the Civil War.
Peace Corps Brazil would send out Volunteers to survey possible site locations for incoming PCVs. Around 1963, one of these PCVs, while surveying a small town in southern Bahia, was told that there was an American woman living there. He was taken to her home where he met a very elderly lady. She spoke broken English. Supposedly, she was the daughter of one of the original Rio Doce families.
UPDATE – 7 Nov 10: Latest post about The Confedrados
- Santarem Confedrados – some history
- Visit to Santa Barbara d’Oeste with photos
- Os Confederados – the official Brazilian site
- The story of the US Confederates in Brazil – Professor North Texas State University
- Wikipedia – Confederados
- Auburn University Special Collections and Archives Deparment
- Brazil, no promise land for Confederates
- Confederate Colonies of Brazil
My compadre up in Santarem, PA, a city on the Amazon River between Manaus and Belem, included this photo on his Blog post.
This ship is about 699 km (436 miles) upstream from the mouth of the Amazon River.
This is about the same distance as from Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA. Or, Paris to the Mediterranean, London to Edinburgh…..
The Amazon River is truly the Mother of All Rivers as far as size is concerned.
And Manaus? It’s about 1,294 km ( 808 miles) from the mouth of the Amazon River, and these ships arrive there as part of their cruise.