Brief Overview of the Brazilian Gold Rush
In 1693, a significant event unfolded in Brazil, then a Portuguese colony – the Brazilian Gold Rush. This period was more than just a discovery of gold; it was a transformative era that shaped the nation’s destiny.
Ten Facts about the Brazilian Gold Rush
The Discoverer of Gold: It’s believed that the Brazilian Gold Rush began in 1693 when a group of bandeirantes, Portuguese colonial scouts, found gold in a tributary of the Rio Doce. Bartolomeu Bueno de Siqueira is often credited as the initial discoverer.
Rapid Population Growth: As news of the gold spread, there was an influx of people from all over Brazil and Portugal to the region of Minas Gerais, which had been sparsely populated until then. Between 1700 and 1720, the population of the region is believed to have grown from 4,000 to 400,000.
Wealth of the Portuguese Empire: The gold rush led to a massive influx of wealth to the Portuguese empire. It’s estimated that almost 800 metric tons of gold were extracted during the 18th century, making Portugal for a time the largest gold owner in Europe.
Creation of Boomtowns: The Brazilian Gold Rush led to the emergence of many boomtowns, the most famous of which is Ouro Preto. At the height of the gold rush, Ouro Preto became one of the most populous cities in the New World, with an estimated population of 80,000 in 1750.
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