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The Deepest South

The United States, Brazil, and the African Slave Trade

Gerald Horne

Publication Year: 2007

During its heyday in the nineteenth century, the African slave trade was fueled by the close relationship of the United States and Brazil. The Deepest South tells the disturbing story of how U.S. nationals - before and after Emancipation -- continued to actively participate in this odious commerce by creating diplomatic, social, and political ties with Brazil, which today has the largest population of African origin outside of Africa itself.

Proslavery Americans began to accelerate their presence in Brazil in the 1830s, creating alliances there—sometimes friendly, often contentious—with Portuguese, Spanish, British, and other foreign slave traders to buy, sell, and transport African slaves, particularly from the eastern shores of that beleaguered continent. Spokesmen of the Slave South drew up ambitious plans to seize the Amazon and develop this region by deporting the enslaved African-Americans there to toil. When the South seceded from the Union, it received significant support from Brazil, which correctly assumed that a Confederate defeat would be a mortal blow to slavery south of the border. After the Civil War, many Confederates, with slaves in tow, sought refuge as well as the survival of their peculiar institution in Brazil.

Based on extensive research from archives on five continents, Gerald Horne breaks startling new ground in the history of slavery, uncovering its global dimensions and the degrees to which its defenders went to maintain it.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. v

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pp. 1-16

This book is about the relationship between the two great slave empires of the 19th century—the U.S. and Brazil—in the context of the African Slave Trade, with the accent decidedly on North America. This is not a book about slavery in Brazil; though the narrative engages...

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Toward the Empire of Brazil

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pp. 17-32

Brazil, which borders every nation in South America except Chile and Ecuador, has only a tiny portion of its territory, in the far south, in the temperate zone. Its shoreline stretches for 4600 miles, and it is as near to Africa as to the United States—a connection which inevitably attracted nationals of the latter who were interested in...

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Into Africa

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pp. 33-52

U.S. nationals were leaders in fomenting the illicit slave trade and, as a result, permanently transformed Brazil for all time. In doing so, these U.S. nationals—and some from Europe and Brazil—“acting alone or in conjunction with the bandits, intervened in the affairs of these [African] chiefdoms to provoke conflicts that generated export...

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Buying and Kidnapping Africans

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pp. 53-66

Coffee was the driving force behind the stunning growth of the enslaved population of Brazil in the 19th century and U.S. nationals were a prime motor pushing Africans across the Atlantic from the late 18th century through the late 1840s.1 As the taste for this beverage grew among refined palates in Europe and North America, the demand...

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pp. 67-84

The illicit slave trade to Brazil did not easily coexist with simple notions of a rapacious Slave South hell-bent on dragging more Africans across the Atlantic into slavery and a pious abolitionist North determined to thwart their schemes. Such an analysis hardly explains...

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pp. 85-106

Charlotte Gardner of Nantucket was one of many U.S. nationals who made her way by ship to California from the eastern U.S. around Cape Horn with a stop in Brazil. Whiling away the weeks on board, she began reading the bestseller, Uncle Tom’s Cabin...

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The U.S. to Seize the Amazon?

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pp. 107-127

A street is named for him in Richmond, an oil portrait of him hangs in the Virginia State Library, a county in Tennessee has been named after him, along with a wing of the Naval Academy at Annapolis and a destroyer, not to mention his prominence at the University of Virginia where his name is inscribed...

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Making the Slave Trade Legal?

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pp. 128-150

“‘It is truly lamentable,’ ” said Abraham Lincoln just before his election as President, “ ‘that Great Britain and the United States should be obliged to spend such a vast amount of blood and treasure for the suppression of the African slave trade.’ ”1 His words reflected a deepening reality: the trade to Brazil had slowed...

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The Civil War Begins/The Slave Trade Continues

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pp. 151-171

In the antebellum era, slavery and, especially the African Slave Trade, were a “significant factor in the diplomacy of the Western Hemisphere. The influence of the institution on relations with Great Britain, Spain and Mexico”—not to mention Brazil and Portugal and Southern Africa—“has been described as a ‘constant orienting factor in...

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Deport U.S. Negroes to Brazil?

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pp. 172-197

The Civil War delivered a forceful blow to the solar plexus of the illicit slave trade and transnational slavery itself. Yet the continuation of slavery in Brazil and the unresolved status of U.S. Negroes seemed to lead some to conclude that deporting the latter to the Valley of the Amazon would make for a serendipitous...

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Confederates to Brazil

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pp. 198-221

The post–Civil War South was not a congenial place for those who held the African Slave Trade dear. Inevitably this also had an impact on Brazil, now sporting the once coveted but currently uncomfortable crown of being the heavyweight champion of slavery. Two simple cases of how Washington dealt with slavery in Brazil illustrate how...

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The End of Slavery and the Slave Trade?

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pp. 222-243

“Steve” was a freed Negro from the U.S. said to have “come with his former master Judge Dyer” to Brazil after the Civil War. But like many migrants, Dyer chose to return to the U.S., so “Steve continued to work the lumber mill given to him when Dyer elected to return to Texas, and he found it to be very profitable. . . . Steve adopted the...

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pp. 244-254

Despite the return to the U.S. of so many disgruntled exiles, others remained in Brazil where they continued to shape their new homeland, just as they had molded their old. Thus, “when a Senator opposed to slavery was assassinated on the eve of Brazil’s emancipation” in 1888, “the Confederados”—as they came to be called—“were...


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pp. 255-322


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pp. 323-339

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About the Author

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pp. 341

Gerald Horne is Moores Professor of History and African- American Studies at the University of Houston. His books include Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois; Race War! White Supremacy and the Japanese Attack on the British Empire; Black and

E-ISBN-13: 9780814790731
E-ISBN-10: 0814790739
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814736883
Print-ISBN-10: 0814736882

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2007

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Slavery -- Brazil -- History -- 19th century.
  • Slavery -- United States -- History -- 19th century
  • Slave-trade -- America -- History -- 19th century.
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