Rio [de Janeiro, Brazil], South America

Rio de Janeiro is only mentioned a handful of times throughout the "North and South" novel. The only thing we really know about Rio is that Frederick, Margaret's older brother, stayed there for several years as a fugitive because he had started a mutiny while in the navy and was not allowed back to England unless he wanted to risk his life. In the novel, we get a small glimpse into Fredericks experience in South America when he asks if Mr. Hale wants to hear of his "vivid, graphic, rattling accounts of the wild life he had led" while he was there (Gaskell 250). This is relevant to the story line because this location was where Frederick sought safety to get away from the arrests and hanging they were doing to his other shipmates that were involved in the mutiny on the ship as well. 

Rio de Janeiro which means "River of January" was named in 1502 by the Portugese who mistakenly thought they had landed on a river in January of that year. The Portugese and the French fought over Rio for several years until 1567 when they moved the city to a safer location. After the Portugese left and the French gained their independence, Rio expanded in many ways culturally and economically. They had shifted from an agricultural to an industrial economy that increased their population even more. Now, Rio is one of the most populated cities around the world and is recognized as one of the most beautiful cities. There are many historical landmarks there that help to subject its visitors into their cultural life. Since the city of Rio developed and expanded into a largely populated city, "major efforts have been made to minimize social inequality and modernise the economy of Rio de Janeiro" (Meyer). 

After researching the history of Rio de Janeiro, I can see that South America would have been a rather safe place for Frederick to stay and hide out. Since Rio was, and still is, a very populated city, it would have made it a lot easier for Frederick to hide and blend in with the other people there. In the novel we see that Mrs. Hale and Margaret were proud of Frederick for standing up for himself and against injustice during his mutiny. I think this makes Rio a more important location for Frederick because this is where he got away from all of the trouble that was out looking for him. During the time that Frederick would have been over in South America, this was the time when Rio was expanding and looking for more growth, which I think would have impacted Frederick and made him want to see growth in himself. Referring to Amelia Meyers article "Rio de Janeiro (city)", she notes that the city strives to rid of social ineqaulity which is important because one of the themes in "North and South" is diversity. Even though Rio is not mentioned in Gaskell's novel a lot, it is important to understand where Frederick stayed for a short period of time to get away from his convictions. 

Settle, Zoe. "15 Must-See Rio de Janeiro Landmarks." Architectural Digest, 25 March 2016,

"Rio de Janeiro History". History of Rio, Brazil - RiodeJaneiro.com

"Learn About the Captivating History of Rio de Janeiro". World Travel Guide, 26 May 2019,

Meyer, Amelia. "Brazil". Rio de Janeiro City, 1 January 1970,

Gaskell, Elizabeth. North and South, Oxford University Press, 2008.


Latitude: -22.906846700000
Longitude: -43.172896500000