BRAZIL: American Town

The dusty, backlands Brazilian hamlet of Estaçäo de Santa Barbara was just a whistle stop on the Paulista Railroad until two foreigners arrived there in 1868. The foreigners were Colonel William H. Norris and his son Robert, unreconstructed U.S. rebels from Oglethorpe, Ga. Heartsick at the South's defeat, they had listened with interest to tales of Brazil, a vast country where slavery was still a respected institution and a gentleman planter could work his lands in peace and dignity.

The Norrises liked what they saw around Santa Barbara. It was hot country, but without the debilitating humidity of Rio. The...

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