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date: 26 September 2022

The Discovery of Gold Mines in Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, and Goiáslocked

The Discovery of Gold Mines in Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, and Goiáslocked

  • Adriana RomeiroAdriana RomeiroFederal University of Minas Gerais


After more than a century and a half of looking for precious metals, by private individuals and the Portuguese crown, gold in abundant quantities was finally discovered in 1695, in the sertões of Cataguases—a region that corresponds to the central portion of the current state of Minas Gerais. The event marked the beginning of a series of finds in the most western part of Portuguese America in the first half of the 18th century, in the regions that would come to be known as Minas do Cuyabá and Minas dos Goyazes. The 18th century marked the dawn of a golden era in the Luso-Brazilian world, pointing to the concretization of the promises that, since the 16th century, had proclaimed an era of wealth for Portugal. The most profound consequence of the discovery of gold was a new geopolitical reconfiguration of Portuguese dominions in the American continent, in a politically delicate conjuncture, in which America came to occupy a central position in the Portuguese Empire, at the same time that Iberian territorial boundaries—established by the Treaty of Tordesillas—were the subject of intense negotiation. The captaincy of Minas Gerais, where a large amount of gold was discovered for the first time, constituted a laboratory where the Portuguese crown drafted the political and administrative formula that would later be applied in the captaincies of Mato Grosso and Goiás.


  • History of Brazil

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