Brazilian Days 346
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Anniversary of Belo Horizonte (MG)
When engineers projected a new capital for the state of Minas Gerais, at the end of the 19th century, they wanted to create a viable city free from diseases and revolutions. They were inspired upon the modern cities of Paris and Washington. The planned city was divided into three zones: a central urban zone, surrounded by an suburban zone and the rural zone. The center was planned with straight, wide avenues and received all essential facilities: transport, education, sanitation and medical assistance. The original city was limited by a circular avenue, which was called Avenida 17 de Dezembro, now better known as Avenida do Contorno, which now limits the actual center of Belo Horizonte.
The suburban area was characterized by irregular streets and was thought to be populated at a much later stage, and therefore didn’t receive the urban infrastructure. The rural area was thought to be populated by five rural colonies with a large number of farms, and was thought to function as a green belt around the city.
The original inhabitants were rapidly removed from the urban zone and were offered houses that were much more expensive. They had no other option than to move far from the city limits. The urban center was exclusively reserved for government employees, whereas construction workers were blocked to live there. They moved to the suburban zone where the first favelas were erected. At the time of the inauguration of Belo Horizonte, the city itself was still under full construction.
Death of writer José de Alencar
Death of writer Pagu
Birth of admiral Tamandaré (1807)
Foundation of the city of Belo Horizonte (MG)
Already in 1701, bandeirante (pioneer) João Leite da Silva Ortiz arrived in the Serra (mountainous region) of Congonhas. In the search for gold, he and his companions encountered an area with beautiful views, with a moderate climate and with arable land. João decided to stay there, and he constructed his Fazenda do Cercado, with some crops and cattle. His prosperous fazenda caught attention and soon more adventurers arrived in this region. The settlement was named Curral del Rei, while the Serra de Congonhas was renamed into Serra do Curral. Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (Our Lady of Good Travel) was chosen as patron saint. Curral del Rei expanded gradually. When mining activities were started, the village expanded quickly: from a number of 40 families to more than 18 thousand people. A new church was built: Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem. The prosperous mining era had a short life. Various regions of Curral del Rei became autonomous, and the population dropped rapidly. With the fall of the Brazilian Empire, republicans in Curral del Rei proposed to have the name changed into Belo Horizonte. With the announcement of the construction a a new capital for the state of Minas Gerais, the villagers started a big party that lasted three days. They were dreaming of the modernization of their village, but soon they realized that the new capital had become a nightmare for them: there was no space for the original inhabitants of Curral del Rei, they were forced to move out of the construction area, and had to move to locations far from the construction site. On these locations favelas emerged.
Transfer of the capital of Minas Gerais, from Ouro Preto to Cidade de Minas (now Belo Horizonte)
The discussion of a new capital of the state of Minas Gerais already had started in 1789, when the inconfidentes (conspiracy leaders) were planning to transfer the capital from Ouro Preto (symbol of colonialism) to São João del Rei. There were four more attempts for a transfer to the capital, but all failed. Only after the proclamation of the Brazilian Republic, in 1889, another attempt was made. This time, the transfer should not have taken place to another existing city, but to a new city, to be constructed. In 1891, a decree issued by governor Augusto de Lima, stated that a new capital should meet hygienic needs. On 17 December 1893, a law was added to the state constitutional law that the new government seat should be created in Belo Horizonte. Within the time limit of four years, the new city was constructed, under the supervision of Aarão Reis.
Birth of F1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi.
1994 – Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) declared former president Fernando Collor de Mello not guilty of the accusations of corruption that led to his step-down in 1992.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom © 2007, 2014
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