Brazil’s history is just about as fascinating as can be. After thousands of years of native tribes ruling the land, Portuguese and European colonizers took over the land in the 16th century and set about exploiting it to fit their needs and wants. One of the best examples of this history is the town of Ouro Preto in the state of Minas Gerais, the home of Brazil’s gold mining past.
From the late 17th to the late 19th centuries, Ouro Preto saw hundreds of gold mines open in the surrounding area and became the home of the gold industry in Brazil. This led to the city of around 70,000 becoming the capital of the region and one of the wealthiest places in South America.
This heritage can still be explored today, as the city has kept its colonial buildings dating back to these days, where some of the gold extracted from this area can still be seen today, especially in churches.
There are numerous former gold mines in the area surrounding Ouro Preto which can still be visited as well, including Mina do Chico Rei, located near the city center and next to the famous Nossa Senhora da Conceicao temple.
The Museu da Inconfidencia is another must-visit place in Ouro Preto to learn about how gold mining started and created conflicts in the area, as its focus is a failed 18th-century rebellion in which miners from the area looked to break free from Portuguese rule.
In short, if you are at all interested in the mining history of Brazil, you owe yourself a chance to visit this fascinating city!