History of Belo Horizonte


Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais, started small. It started as a village. But when João Leite da Silva Ortiz moved to the place this changed the village’s fate. Ortiz was an explorer from one of Brazil’s state. In 1701, he settled in Belo Horizonte and decided to set up a farm which he called Curral d’el Rey. Because the farm garnered much success this invited other settlers to inhabit the place. Gradually, the small village was bordered by other farms.

Sao Francisco river immigrants also played a role in the development of the city. For them to go to the southern parts of Brazil, they had to pass through Curral d’el Rey. These immigrants found the place to their liking and also decided to settle there.

In 1889, when Brazil has named a republic they also decided to have a change in the Minas Gerais’ capital. So Ouro Preto was replaced by Belo Horizonte as the new state capital. The village was not called by its current name though. It was known as Curral d’el Rey. It was not until 1906 that the name changed to Belo Horizonte which means “beautiful horizons.”

Then in 1940 Juscelino Kubitschek, the mayor at that time, commissioned Oscar Niemeyer to design the Pampulha Neighborhood. This brought about the great style and architecture that you see in the city today.