This article approaches Brazil as a forgotten Atlantic battleground of the American Civil War. I explore armed confrontations of Union and Confederate vessels along the Brazilian coast as well as slave flight to North American ships to understand how the war inspired slaves to imagine their captivity undone in Brazil. In the 1860s, Afro-Brazilians rebelled at the sight of warships like the CSS Sumter in Maranhão or ran away to New England whalers in Santa Catarina, believing either that North American ships carried troops ready to uphold the abolition of slavery or that they would allow the enslaved to claim the principle of free soil. Afro-Brazilian geopolitical literacy, therefore, points to the importance of Brazil as a cradle of antislavery as well as a sounding board for a war that reverberated in all corners of the African diaspora.

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