Minas Geraes, an inland province of Brazil, bounded N. by Bahia, E. by Bahia, Espirito Santo, and Rio de Janeiro, S. by Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and \V. by Govaz; area, about 230.000 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 1,450,000. The face of the country is extremely irregular. Several mountain chains traverse it, especially in the south and west, sending out spurs and minor ridges which cross the province in every direction, and are separated by extensive and fertile valleys, watered by large rivers. The highest summits are Itacolume" (about 5,700 ft.) and Itambe- (6,000). The principal river is the Sao Francisco, which divides the province into two almost equal portions. Other large rivers are the Belmontc, Mucury, Doce, Paranahyba, Grande, and Verde Grande. Many of these, as well as the Silo Francisco, have' large tributaries such as the Jequetinhonha and the Rio das Vclhas; but none of them are navigable throughout. Minas Geraes was formerly famous for its mines (whence its name), at. one the richest and most numerous in Brazil' especially the gold mines of Ouro Preto, the capital, Morro Velho, and Minas Novas; but most of them have been abandoned, and even the Avashings, though known to be profitable, are for the most part unworked, agriculture or diamond washing on the Jequetinhonha being preferred.
Upon the discovery of diamonds in 1746, the government, to encourage the search for these gems, prohibited the extraction of gold. Rubies have occasionally been found; grisolitas (chrysoberyls), pingoas d'a-gua (white topazes), and other precious stones abound in the Mucury, the Rio das Americanas, etc. Although Minas Geraes is entirely within the tropics, it has, owing to its mean elevation of about 2,000 ft. above the sea, a generally mild and healthy climate. Vegetation is everywhere luxuriant; the forests contain vast quantities of timber and valuable cabinet woods; dyes of various kinds and several species of medicinal plants abound; and whole districts, covered with brilliant flowers, presenting the aspect of continuous gardens, are not uncommon. The soil is fertile, and yields plentiful crops of the various cereals; maize, millet, manioc, and cotton are the staple productions; tobacco thrives well; and the coffee is only inferior to that of Ceara. Great numbers of cattle pasture on the plains under the care of vaquciros, and the rearing of cattle and hogs is one of the principal occupations. There is a great variety of wild animals, birds, serpents, and insects.
A prosperous trade is carried on with Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo; the articles exported arc cattle, hogs, bacon, cheese, cotton fabrics, tobacco, coffee, skins, precious stones, drugs, etc. Manufactures, wine, flour, wheat, and salt are imported. With the exception of the great Union and Industry road, the facilities for transport are meagre, and goods are mainly carried on mule-back, which greatly enhances the price of all articles imported. There are forges, founderies, and cotton and woollen weaving establishments in many of the towns; wool bats, rum, sugar, and tobacco are manufactured on a large scale. Besides the colleges in the principal towns, there are upward of 250 primary and grammar schools in the province. - Minas Geraes was made a province in 1833. It is divided into 14 comarcas or districts. The capital is Ouro Preto, formerly Villa Rica; and other important towns are Marianna, Minas Novas, Janua-ria, Diamantina, and Sao Joao d'El Rey.