The bandeirantes paulistas entered Brazil’s inland in search of natives for slavery. Around 1693, they arrived in the Ouro Preto region and found out, in the Tripuí brook, black stones that hid in their interior a high quality of gold. The reference point to the place was the Itacolomi peak. No one was able to find it again for years. Only in 1698 the bandeirante Antônio Dias de Oliveira saw the mountain again: it was the beginning of the Gold Cycle.
The Vila Rica de Albuquerque was founded in 1711, but it was shortened to “Vila Rica” and later baptized “Imperial City of Ouro Preto”, in 1823.
In the beginning of the XVIII century the city was at its height. At the time, there stood out the architect and sculptor Aleijadinho, the painter Manoel da Costa Athayde and the poets Alvarenga Peixoto, Thomás Antônio Gonzaga and Cláudio Manoel. Between 1720 and 1750 the gold production had reached its peak. In the end of the century, the first freedom movement appeared, in which the most prominent name was Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, the Tiradentes.
The city of Ouro Preto is considered National Monument (1933) and Historical Patrimony of the Humanity (title received from Unesco in 1980) for being the world’s greatest homogeneous baroque collection.