Francisco Félix de Sousa

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Francisco Félix de Souza

Francisco Félix de Sousa (1754 – 1849) was the eight generation grandson of Tomé de Sousa (1503-1579) who was the first governor-general of the Portuguese colony of Brazil from 1549-1553. He was a nobleman and soldier born in Rates, Póvoa de Varzim. De Sousa's grand father was born a noble and participated in military expeditions in Africa, fought the Moors and commanded the nau Conceição to Portuguese India, part of the armada of Fernão de Andrade. Francisco Félix de Souza was named after his father Francisco de Souza. Francisco Félix de Souza was Merchant who traded in Palm Oil, Gold and Slaves. He later migrated to what is now the African republic of Benin, traded in Palm Oil, Gld and Slave and later become.[1][2] He has been called, "the greatest slave trader".[3] Marketing slaves in the then Dahomey region, he was known for his extravagance and reputably had at least 80 children with women in his harem.[4] De Sousa continued to market slaves after the trade was abolished in most jurisdictions.[3] He was apparently so trusted by the locals in Dahomey that he was awarded the status of a chieftain."[5] Although a Catholic, he practised the Vodun Religion, and even had his own Family shrine.[5] He was buried in Dahomey.[5]

De Sousa was a personal friend of Dahomeyan king Ghezo, who made Félix de Sousa chacha (viceroy) of Ouidah after he assisted the King in 1818 and brought him to power.[6] According to Edna Bay, de Sousa was "deeply influential as an intermediary between European and African cultures".[6] Today he is known as the founder of the Afro-Brazilian community in Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. De Souza family has been very instrumental in fighting for the Independence of Togo and Benin. Pa Augustino de Souza who was Francisco Félix de Souza's grandson was the first person to form a Political party in Togo. His great grand daughter is the wife of the present Benin President. Isidore de Souza another grandson according to Britannica was the first Roman Catholic archbishop of Cotonou from 1991; he was a major force in his country’s transition to a multiparty democracy (b. April 4, 1934, Ouidah, Dahomey, French West Africa [now Benin]—d. March 13, 1999, Grand Popo, Benin).[7]

The protagonist of Bruce Chatwin's book The Viceroy of Ouidah, a white Brazilian slave trader, is said to be based upon Francisco Félix de Sousa.


  1. ^ David Ross, “The First Chacha of Whydah: Francisco Félix de Souza,” 1969
  2. ^ Alberto da Costa e Silva - Francisco Félix de Souza, mercador de escravos 2004
  3. ^ a b Ramer, Richard C. (February 2008), "Bulletin60PartXIX", Richard C. Ramer Old & Rare Books, retrieved 2008-08-26 
  4. ^ Thomas 2006, p. 695
  5. ^ a b c Jose C. Curto: Africa and The Americas: Interconnections During The Slave Trade (2005) p. 235
  6. ^ a b Bay 2008, p. 68
  7. ^