Minas Gerais is a state in the north of Southeastern Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by gross domestic product, the fourth largest by area in the country; the state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, the sixth largest municipality in Brazil, after the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Fortaleza, but its metropolitan area is the third largest in Brazil with just over 5,500,000 inhabitants, after those of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Nine Brazilian presidents were born in the most of any state. With an area of 586,528 square kilometres —larger than Metropolitan France—it is the fourth most extensive state in Brazil; the main producer of coffee and milk in the country, Minas Gerais is known for its heritage of architecture and colonial art in historical cities such as São João del Rei, Ouro Preto, Diamantina and Mariana. In the south, the tourist points are the hydro mineral spas, such as Caxambu, Lambari, São Lourenço, Poços de Caldas, São Thomé das Letras, Monte Verde and the national parks of Caparaó and Canastra.
The landscape of the State is marked by mountains and large areas of fertile lands. In the Serra do Cipó, Sete Lagoas and Lagoa Santa, the caves and waterfalls are the attractions; some of Brazil's most famous caverns are located there. In recent years, the state has emerged as one of the largest economic forces of Brazil, exploring its great economic potential. Two interpretations are given for the origin of the name Minas Gerais, it comes from "Minas dos Matos Gerais", the former name of the colonial province. So a first and more common understanding affirms that the name means "General Mines", with the word Gerais serving as an adjective to the mines, which were themselves spread in several spots around a larger region. Another explanation is that this ignores the two large geographical spaces which conformed the state in its history: the region of the mines, the region of the Gerais; these corresponded to the areas of Sertão which were farther and hard to access from the mining spots. The confusion comes from the fact that the term "Gerais" is taken as an adjective to "Minas" in the first version, although according to this point of view it refers to the region called Gerais.
A further complication is that this is not a well-defined area on the map of the state, but rather a designation to these parts outside the mining spots, more related to the geography of Sertão, more isolated from the state's nucleus. Minas Gerais is in the north of the southeastern subdivision of Brazil, which contains the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, it borders on Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and the state of Espírito Santo. It shares a short boundary with the Distrito Federal. Minas Gerais is situated between 14°13'58" and 22°54'00" S latitude and between 39°51'32" and 51°02'35" W longitude, it is larger in area than Metropolitan Spain. Minas Gerais features some of the longest rivers in Brazil, most notably the São Francisco, the Paraná and to a lesser extent, the Rio Doce; the state holds many hydroelectric power plants, including Furnas. Some of the highest peaks in Brazil are in the mountain ranges in the southern part of the state, such as Serra da Mantiqueira and Serra do Cervo, that mark the border between Minas and its neighbors São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The most notable one is the Pico da Bandeira, the third highest mountain in Brazil at 2890 m, standing on the border with Espírito Santo state. The state has huge reserves of iron and sizeable reserves of gold and gemstones, including emerald and aquamarine mines. Emeralds found in this location are comparable to the best Colombia-origin emeralds, are most a bluish-green color; each region of the state has a distinct character, geographically and to a certain extent culturally. The central and eastern area of the state is hilly and rocky, with little vegetation on the mountains. Around Lagoa Santa and Sete Lagoas a typical Karst topography with caves and lakes is found; some of the mountains are entirely iron ore, which led to extensive mining. Recent advances in environmental policy helped to put limits to mining. About 200 kilometres to the east of Belo Horizonte is the second Metropolitan Region of the state, Vale do Aço, which has iron and steel processing companies along the course of the Rio Doce and its tributaries.
Vale do Aço's largest cities are Coronel Fabriciano and Timóteo. Now that mining is restricted large areas of forest are being removed for timber, charcoal and to clear land for cattle ranching; the original forest cover of these inland hills is much fragmented. The city of Governador Valadares is in the limit of this region with the poorer North; the south of Minas Gerais is green, with coffee and milk production. This region is notably cooler than the rest of the state, some locations are subject to temperatures just below the freezing point during the winter; the region is famed for its mineral-water resorts, including the cities of Poços de Caldas, Lambari, São Lourenço and Caxambu. Many industries are located at Pouso Alegre; the southeast of the state, called Zona da Mata was the richest region unti
Bom Despacho, Minas Gerais
Bom Despacho is a Brazilian municipality located in the west of the state of Minas Gerais. The population is 49,236 in an area of 1213.55 km². The city belongs to the micro-region of Bom Despacho, it became a municipality in 1912. Bom Despacho is a statistical micro-region which includes 12 municipalities: Araújos, Bom Despacho, Dores do Indaiá, Estrela do Indaiá, Japaraíba, Lagoa da Prata, Leandro Ferreira, Martinho Campos, Quartel Geral, Serra da Saudade. In 2000 the area of this region was 7,515.50 km² and the population was 146,156 inhabitants. The city center of Bom Despahco is located at an elevation of 768 meters just off the major federal highway BR-262, which links Belo Horizonte to Uberaba. State highway MG-164 leads to Martinho Campos in the north; the São Francisco River forms the western municipal boundary. Neighboring municipalities are: Martinho Campos, Leandro Ferreira, Araújos and Luz, Dores do Indaiá. Distances to other cities Belo Horizonte/MG - 141 km Brasília/DF - 730 km Rio de Janeiro/RJ - 576 km São Paulo/SP - 580 km Martinho Campos/MG - 50 km Araújos/MG - 19 km Luz/MG - 49 km Moema/MG - 23 km Services, light industry, agriculture are the most important economic activities.
The GDP in 2005 was R$393 million, R$41 million from taxes, 223 million reais from services, 77 million reais from industry, 51 million reais from agriculture. There were 560 rural producers on 63,000 hectares of land. 179 farms had tractors. 2,000 persons were involved in agriculture. The main crops are watermelon, rice and corn. There were 78,000 head of cattle. Poultry raising was substantial with over one million head in 2006. There were 5 banks; the motor vehicle fleet had 8,354 automobiles, 1,049 pickup trucks, 2,520 motorcycles. The ratio of inhabitant per motor vehicle was 2/1. Working population by sector Transformation industries: 1,929 workers Commerce: 3,430 workers Lodging and restaurants: 302 workers Transport, communications: 450 workers Public administration: 1,000 workers Health and social services: 332 workers In the health sector there were 12 public health clinics and 2 private hospitals with 96 beds. Patients with more serious health conditions are transported to Belo Horizonte.
Educational needs of 9,700 students were met by 20 primary schools, 6 middle schools, 18 pre-primary schools. Municipal Human Development Index: 0.799 State ranking: 42 out of 853 municipalities as of 2000 National ranking: 584 out of 5,138 municipalities as of 2000 Literacy rate: 90% Life expectancy: 72 In 2000 the per capita monthly income of R$307.00 was above the state and national average of R$276.00 and R$297.00 respectively. Poços de Caldas had the highest per capita monthly income in 2000 with R$435.00. The lowest was Setubinha with R$73.00. The highest ranking municipality in Minas Gerais in 2000 was Poços de Caldas with 0.841, while the lowest was Setubinha with 0.568. Nationally the highest was São Caetano do Sul in São Paulo with 0.919, while the lowest was Setubinha. In more recent statistics Manari in the state of Pernambuco has the lowest rating in the country—0,467—putting it in last place; the city of Bom Despacho has seen a significant influx of German settlers in the 1920s, their tradition has vanished and their history is forgotten.
Due to the efforts of the Brazilian politician Faustino Assunção the city of Bom Despacho was chosen to participate in the settlement program initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture during the Bernardes government. The aim of this program was to attract European settlers to cultivate the soil surrounding Bom Despacho. For this purpose, the city provided two large areas of farmland in the direct vicinity of Bom Despacho which were named after Brazilian politicians, Colônia David Campista and Colônia Álvaro da Silveira. At the beginning of the 1920s settlers from various European countries arrived in several waves. Most of them were from Germany as the country was in political and economical turmoil after the defeat in World War 1; the new settlers received agricultural plots, houses and seeds on a credit basis which they had to pay off from the proceeds of their crop. The German embassy established and operated a German school on Colonia David Campista; the school served the families of a known total of at least 54 families.
However, the German immigrants on these two settlements dispersed within the next two decades. Unfrugal soil and tropical diseases let many settlers to abandon their lot and seek work in the big cities, such as Belo Horzionte; some German families returned to Germany. When Brazil joined World War 2 on the side of the Allies in 1942, the German school was closed and it was forbidden to speak German; as a result, many more settlers left their plots. Today, there are only few descendants of the original German settlers still living on Colonia David Campista and on Colonia Alvaro Da Silveira. However, some of them still speak German; the cemetery belonging to the two farmlands is called German cemetery by the locals. Its official inscription on the gate reads Imigrantes da Colonia. List of municipalities in Minas Gerais Colônia Álvaro da Silveira Colônia David Campista 5. Information pertaining German immigration to Bom Despacho, in Portuguese http://www.bomdespachomg.com.br/colonia_alemaes.php
Peter Wilhelm Lund
Peter Wilhelm Lund was a Danish-Brazilian paleontologist, zoologist and who spent most of his life working and living in Brazil. He is considered the father of Brazilian paleontology as well as archeology, he was the first to describe dozens of species of pre-historic Pleistocene megafauna, including the fabled Saber-toothed cat Smilodon populator. He made the ground-breaking discovery that humans co-existed with the long-extinct animal species, something which prompted him to terminate his scientific work, his comprehensive collections are today found at the Danish Natural History Museum in Copenhagen. Peter Wilhelm Lund was born into a wealthy family in Copenhagen, he showed an early interest in the natural science and was working towards a career in medicine but following the death of his father, his passion for natural history prompted him instead to opt for that study at the University of Copenhagen. As a student, he wrote two prize-winning dissertations. One of them, published in German, won him international recognition.
Due to a beginning tuberculosis, he traveled to Brazil in 1825 and spent the following three and a half years collecting specimens of plants and insects in the area around Rio de Janeiro, writing about ants and birds of the region. Back in Europe in 1829, he achieved a doctoral degree at the University of Kiel, traveled to Italy and established himself in Paris, where he came under the influence of Georges Cuvier, professor of comparative anatomy at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle and the most influential naturalist and zoologist of the time. In his Discours sur les révolutions de la surface du globe, Cuvier theorized that the extinction of species was caused by natural catastrophes in certain regions of the world; when that happens, the fauna from other regions migrate to populate the now uninhabited area. This became known as catastrophism or the catastrophic theory, would become the motto of Lund's scientific career. In 1832 Lund returned to Brazil never to return to Europe, he spent the first two years collecting botanical specimens in the provinces of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Charles Darwin passed through Rio in 1832 but it is unknown whether the two naturalists met. In 1835, Lund traveling inland through the province of Minas Gerais, in Lagoa, an area characterised by a peculiar Karst geology, discovered several caves full of fossilized bones from extinct Ice Age megafauna species, he settled in the small town of Lagoa Santa, dedicated the next eight years to excavating, collecting and studying more than 20,000 bones of extinct species, including mastodons and ground sloths. With him was the Norwegian painter Peter Andreas Brandt who assisted him throughout his work as an illustrator, he was assisted by the Danish botanist Eugen Warming from 1839 to 1859. Lund was the first to describe dozens of species, among them the world-famous Saber-toothed cat Smilodon populator, his exploration took place in the region of Lagoa Santa, rich in caves and karst formations and nowadays comprises the northern part of Greater Belo Horizonte. He was one of the first to recognize and record prehistoric rock and cave paintings in South America.
In 1843, Lund made a remarkable discovery. During a severe drought, he discovered, deep in a flooded cave, fossilized skulls and bones of 30 human beings. Since these individuals were found among the remains of long-extinct species; this finding led him to realize that humans and the prehistoric animals had co-existed, something, in frontal opposition to Cuvier's catastrophic theory. Only a year after his ground-breaking finds of human remains, Lund stopped the work in the caves, alleging lack of resources to finance the excavations, he donated his huge collection to the king and the people of Denmark. Alleging this time a fragile health condition, he decided to stay in Lagoa Santa, never to return to Europe. Whereas Lund took badly to his own findings, Darwin embraced them with enthusiasm; the next 35 years were spent exchanging letters with the curators of his collections in Copenhagen, as well as receiving the visits of young European naturalists. The complete study of his collections, E Museo Lundii, was published only in 1888.
While living in Lagoa Santa, he hosted several European naturalists, such as the Danish botanist Eugenius Warming. Lund never married and died in Lagoa Santa three weeks before completing the age of 79; the cave where Lund made his discovery of "Lagoa Santa Man" is now protected by the 2,004 hectares Sumidouro State Park, created in 1980. The journal Lundiana is named in his honour. Lund is considered the "Father of Brazilian paleontology and archeology." His voluminous correspondence with Brazilian scientists and institutions is still uncollected. A species of Brazilian lizard, Heterodactylus lundii, is named in his honor. Danish writer Henrik Stangerup's novel The Road to Lagoa Santa is a fictional account of Lund's life, focussing on his early and sudden retirement, thought to have been motivated by religious doubts caused by his scientific findings. Birgitte Holten,Michael Sterll, Jon Fjeldså: Den forsvundne maler. P. W. Lund og P. A. Brandt i Brasilien. Museum Tusculanum Press. 2009. ISBN 978-87-7289-743-1 Jensen, A. Peter Wilhelm Lund, pp. 110–114 in: Meisen, V.
Prominent Danish Scientists through the Ages. University Library of Copenhagen 450th Anniversary. Levin & Munksgaard, Copenhagen. Luna, Pedro Ernesto de: Peter Wilhelm Lund: o auge das suas investigações científicas e a razão para o término das suas pesquisas, Ph. D. thesis, Universidade de São Paulo, 2007. Faria, F. Felipe
Coronel Xavier Chaves
Coronel Xavier Chaves is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Minas Gerais. The city belongs to the mesoregion of Campo das Vertentes and to the microregion of Sao Joao del Rei; the municipality contains part of the Ritápolis National Forest. List of municipalities in Minas Gerais
Sumidouro State Park
The Sumidouro State Park is a state park in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The remains of the first human inhabitants of Brazil were found in the park area in the early 19th century, along with bones of now-extinct megafauna; the main attraction is a large limestone cave. The Sumidouro State Park is in the municipalities of Lagoa Santa and Pedro Leopoldo to the north of the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, it is 50 kilometres from Belo Horizonte. The park is in the federal Carste de Lagoa Santa Environmental Protection Area, it has an area of 2,004 hectares. The unit was named after Sumidouro; the lagoon is drained by a network of galleries through which the water penetrates underground into the limestone basin. The Danish naturalist Peter Wilhelm Lund conducted research in the area now covered by the park in the first half of the 19th century, he found remains of the first inhabitants of Brazil, along with extinct megafauna. This coexistence of man with extinct species was quoted by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species.
The skeleton of "Luzia" found in Lagoa Santa in the 1970s was dated to 11,500 years ago, changing views of when the continent had been occupied. There are traces of stone age people who lived outside the caves in what may be the oldest open-air site of paleoindians; the Sumidouro State Park was created by state governor Francelino Pereira by decree 20.375 of 3 January 1980. It was called the Ecological Park of the Sumidouro Valley. Little was done to implement the park until 2006, when environmental compensation funding became available from the green line between Belo Horizonte and the Tancredo Neves International Airport in Confins. In October 2007 it was reported that the Sumidouro State Park was in the final stages of implementation, since August 2007 had a temporary headquarters at the Casa Fernão Dias; the State Forest Institute was to acquire 350 hectares by the end of the year and start construction of a visitor center, house for the manager and administrative structure, the goal was to complete implementation by the end of 2008.
The IEF was registering owners living in the park and checking their documentation so that compensation for expropriation could be calculated. The consultative council held its first meeting in October 2007 after an inauguration ceremony in the Gruta da Lapinha attended by councilors and representatives of the local community. Decree 44.935 of 3 November 2008 expanded the area of the park. Law 19.998 of 29 December 2011 defined the boundaries. It is a protected conservation unit with the objectives of promoting preservation of the environment and cultural heritage, while supporting research, environmental education and tourism. A study published in 2013 indicated that the local people were dissatisfied with the way the park was being managed. Residents said they had not been consulted in the park creation process, did not see the need for so many rules, if they had more information could help maintain the natural heritage while enjoying it as in the past; the park is in an area of carbonate rock formations, with springs, sink holes and caves rich in speleothems.
The climate is tropical humid, with rainy summers when there are periods of flooding and dry winters. The flora includes species from the Atlantic Forest biomes. Vegetation includes gallery forest and rocky meadows. Flora include ipê-amarelo, ipê-roxo, aroeirinha, jatobá-do-campo, manjoba and faveiro; the park is in the transition zone from cerrado to Atlantic Forest, has dry forest. Trees with heights of 5 to 8 metres predominate in the cerrado, in the northeast and east regions of the Sumidouro lagoon; these include pequi, pau-terra, cagaita and sucupira. Deciduous trees predominate in limestone areas; these include aroeira, angico, catiguá, embiruçu, paineira and maria-pobre. There are species typical of the caatinga such as cactos mandacaru and figo-da-barbária, shrubs such as pimentinha-do-mato. Around the Gruta da Lapinha the predominant trees are semi-deciduous, losing about half their leaves in the dry season, growing to 15 to 20 metres; these include angico-branco, jequitibá-branco and paineira.
The original forest has been damaged by man, causing impoverishment of the soil and invasion of cerrado species. The park's management plan includes restoration of some of the areas. There 13 species of mammals including 13 species of bats. There is a large bat population due to the many caves in the park area. Fauna include jaguar, gray brocket, coatis, crab-eating fox, black-tufted marmoset, gray four-eyed opossum, Brazilian squirrel, South American water rat, capybara pacas, common agoutis, Brazilian guinea pig and tapeti. Amphibians include pererequinha-de-banheiro, rãzinha, rã-cachorro, rã-manteiga, rã-assobiadeira, sapo-cururu, sapo-cururuzinho and sapo-bororó.132 species of birds have been recorded. These include pied-billed grebe, Neotropic cormorant, snowy egret, black-bellied whistling duck, southern lapwing, whistling heron, black-necked stilt and osprey (Pandion haliaetus
Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Tiradentes is a municipality in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. It is located at 21°06′37″S 44°12′41″W, has an area of 83.5 km², a maximum elevation above sea level of 927 m. Tiradentes had an estimated population of 6,364, as of 2004; the original village was established in 1702 and became a city on 19 January 1718. In 1889 the city was renamed from São José del Rey in honour of the national hero, born nearby, it has been acclaimed as an unspoiled example of Portuguese colonial architecture. A section of the Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas narrow gauge railway from São João del Rei to Tiradentes has been preserved as a tourist line
São João del Rei
São João del Rei spelled São João del Rey or São João del-Rei, is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais. It is a historical city with much 18th-century architecture; the current population is estimated at 85,000 inhabitants. It is located in the drainage basin of the Rio Grande and its terrain is located in the Mantiqueira mountains, it is a centre for the cities in the southeast of Minas Gerais. The municipality contains part of the Ritápolis National Forest; the city was founded by the bandeirantes. The original small village situated in southern Minas Gerais was created as a staging post on the Estrada Real, a trade route from the coast at Paraty to cities in the central region of Minas Gerais such as Ouro Preto and Conselheiro Lafaiete. Huge amounts of gold were found near the city itself. Today, São João del-Rei is a university town; the campus of the Federal University of São João del-Rei and a number of other educational institutions are present in the city. A second medical school is to be established at the University.
The city has many famous religious festivals through the year, most of them preserving the way it was celebrated by the time of the foundation, with baroque music and special celebrations that attracts tourists from all over the world during Holy Week, when the town receives the greatest influx of visitors. Catedral Basílica Nossa Sehora do Pilar, a Minor Basilica, dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of São João del Rei Rosário Carmo Mercês e Bonfim São Francisco de Assis Senhor dos Montes Santo Antônio Nostra Senhora da Piedade do Bom Despacho Tiradentes Tancredo Neves Lucas Moreira Neves Bárbara Heliodora Otto Lara Resende São João del Rei was an important station on the Estrada de Ferro Oeste de Minas, a narrow gauge railway characterised by woodburning steam locomotives, the location of a major roundhouse; the station and surrounding facilities have been turned into Brazil's largest railway museum, a tourist railway operates from the station to the well preserved colonial town of Tiradentes.
Guia Turistico e Histórico de São João Del Rei Municipal website Guia del Rei