Francisco Félix de Sousa (1754 – 1849)
Francisco Félix de Souza was a major slave trader and merchant who traded in palm oil, gold and slaves. The Afro-Brazilian migrated from Brazil to what is now the African republic of Benin. He has been called, “the greatest slave trader”.
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De Sousa continued to market slaves after the trade was abolished in most jurisdictions. He was apparently so trusted by the locals in Dahomey that he was awarded the status of a chieftain.
His early years in Africa are well documented in a long article (in Portuguese) by Alberto Costa e Silva entitled “The Early Years of Francisco Féliz de Souza on the Slave Coast”.
Although a Catholic, he practised the Vodun religion, which is consistent with his Afro-Brazilian background, and even had his own family shrine. He was buried in Dahomey.