Famous for its gemstones, the state of Minas Gerais (General Mines) has a distinctly different personality than other regions of Brazil. Try this scenic road trip through colonial Brazil's boomtowns of the gold rush era:
In 18th-century Brazil, the prospect of rushing to Minas Gerais to eke out a living searching for gold or diamonds was a risky venture. It was a time when guns settled disputes, crime was rife and prostitution, gambling and drunken brawls were the source of entertainment. Heavily-taxed gold finds goaded discontented miners against the crown; hundreds of thousands of black slaves came into the country and died in the mines - the gold rush brought heartbreak and misery to untold fortune seekers. Yet, it also brought great wealth to the handful of settlements it established. It gave Brazil heroes, artisans and architecture, financed the British Industrial Revolution and fuelled Rio de Janeiro's economy...
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