Ouro Prêto

Ouro Prêto

(ō`ro͝o prā`to͝o) [Port.,=black gold], city (1996 pop. 61,606), Minas Gerais state, E Brazil. Founded as Vila Rica in the gold rush near the end of the 17th cent., it became a prosperous 18th-century mining town, a cultural center, and the chief seat of the abortive move for independence led by TiradentesTiradentes
, 1748–92, Brazilian patriot. His real name was José Joaquim da Silva Xavier. He gained his nickname, which means "tooth-puller," working as a healer in his youth. He later became an army officer.
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. The city declined as the mines lost importance but remained the capital of Minas Gerais until 1897, when it was superseded by Belo HorizonteBelo Horizonte
[Port.,=beautiful horizon], city (1996 pop. 2,091,770), capital of Minas Gerais state, E Brazil. The distribution and processing center of a rich agricultural and mining region, Belo Horizonte is the nucleus of a burgeoning industrial complex; its chief industries
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. Since 1933 the city has been a national historic site, preserving the 18th-century atmosphere of narrow, twisting, cobbled streets, the colonial mint and treasury, the old houses, the theater (oldest in South America), the governor's mansion, and the old churches, most notably the Church of São Francisco, decorated with the magnificent carvings of AleijadinhoAleijadinho
[Port.,=little cripple], 1730–1814, Brazilian sculptor. His real name was Antônio Francisco Lisboa. Although he was maimed in hands and feet, he is known for the brilliance of his church sculpture.
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. A mining school (est. 1875) is in Ouro Prêto, and mining (now for aluminum) remains important to the city's economy.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ouro Prêto

 

a city in southeastern Brazil, in the state of Minas Gerais. Population, 46,200 (1970); railroad station and highway junction. Major industries include nonferrous and ferrous metallurgy. One-third of Brazil’s aluminum is produced in Ouro Prêto. The city also has textile, food-processing, lumber, chemical, and leather footwear industries. Bauxite and iron and manganese ores are mined nearby.

Ouro Prêto was founded in the early 18th century as Vila Rica. From 1724 to 1897 it was the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. In 1823 the city received its present name. Ouro Prêto has a regular plan, with the rectangular Independence Square at its center. Architectural landmarks, primarily in the late baroque style, include the Governor’s Palace (1741, architects J. F. de Alpoim and M. F. de Lisboa) and the City Hall and the jail attached to it (late 18th and 19th centuries; since 1938 it has been a museum). Churches include del Carmen (1766–76), Sao Francisco de Assis (1766–94, architect Aleijadinho), and Nossa Senhora do Rosário do Barro (1785, architect M F. de Araújo).

In 1933, Ouro Prêto was declared a national monument. Old buildings in the city’s center may not be torn down, and new construction has been restricted.

REFERENCE

Bandeira, M. Guide d’ouro Prêto. Rio de Janeiro, 1948.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.