War for the Future


Richmond Loves Rio

Welcome to the RVA Global Tour. eat great food, see great art, take selfies with history, and earn prizes at the museum. 

  1. Snap a photo with two or more posters. 

  2. visit the american civil war museum to get your prize.

Scroll down for Dom Pedro II’s story, find others at the tour home page, and take off around the world… from Richmond! [Note: This is a prototype test of the Global Tour. Please let us know what you think! email to cgraham@acwm.org]

In October, 1864, the United States warship Wachusett captured the Confederate merchant raider, Florida in Bahia Bay, Brazil. Brazilian soldiers at Forte de Nossa Senhora do Populoe Sao Marcelo half-heartedly tried to stop the incident.

At 148 Main Street in Richmond worked the Brazilian Vice Consul in the Confederate States, H.R. Baldwin (the block where the Capitol Waffle Shop currently resides) Richmond had a long relationship with Brazil. That South American country had long imported vast amounts of Richmond milled flour, and in the 1850s, its coffee industry exploded on the strength of Americans’ demand for a hot cup.

Confederates had good reason to hope for continued friendly relations with Brazil. The Richmond Dispatch excitedly reported on the presence of Brazilian agent Don Felix de Castro in the new Confederate capital: de Castro apparently told Confederates that Brazil will “not only sympathize with us, but will strongly protest against the United States blockade” of Confederate ports.

Brazil was a stable nation with a booming economy in the Southern hemisphere. Many Confederates aspired to expand their trade there. Brazilians, after all, enslaved black people, a signal to Confederates of a deep affinity, and many Confederates imagined the Amazon Basin to be central to their hemispheric economic power.

Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II, in the 1850s, oversaw a massive forced migration of enslaved people from the sugar growing north to the coffee plantations in the south of his country…but he also oversaw the gradual end of slavery there. In 1850 Brazil outlawed the importation of slaves.

In 1864, when the Wachusett captured the Florida, Brazil was engaged in the War of the Triple Alliance, in which it, Uruguay and Argentina allied against Paraguay in a six year long contest that cost nearly 400,000 lives and devastated Paraguay. At a critical moment, Brazil appealed to its slaveholders to enlist their slaves but the owners refused: setting national sentiment against slaveholding and paving the way for partial emancipation in 1870 and full emancipation in 1888. Brazil’s half-hearted attempt to protect the Florida, then, represented a larger disinterest in following the Confederate States’ plans for the future.

Find Rio in Richmond


See Dom Pedro II at the location of Brazilian Consulate in Confederate Richmond, where the Capitol Waffle Shop currently sits at 1100 East Main Street.


Immerse yourself in South American culture by attending Tango After Work at the VMFA.