Minas Gerais State Information

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Minas Gerais (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈminɐz ʒeˈɾajs]) is one of the 26 states of Brazil. It ranks as the second most populous, the third by gross domestic product (GDP), and the fourth largest by area in the country. The state's capital and largest city, Belo Horizonte, is a major urban and finance center in Latin America, and is the sixth largest municipality in Brazil, after the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasilia and Fortaleza, but its metropolitan area is the third largest in Brazil with just over 5,500,000 inhabitants, after those of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state with the largest number of presidents of Brazil; Brazil's current president, Dilma Rousseff, born in Belo Horizonte, is one of them.

With an area of 586,528 square kilometres (226,460 sq mi) (larger than Metropolitan France) it is the fourth most extensive state in Brazil. The main producer of coffee and milk in the country, Minas Gerais is known for its heritage of architecture and colonial art in historical cities such as São João del-Rei, Congonhas, Ouro Preto, Diamantina, Tiradentes and Mariana. In the south, the tourist points are the hydro mineral spas, such as Caxambu, São Lourenço, Poços de Caldas, São Thomé das Letras, Monte Verde and the national parks of Caparaó and Canastra. The landscape of the State is marked by mountains, valleys, and large areas of fertile lands. In the Serra do Cipó, Sete Lagoas, Cordisburgo and Lagoa Santa, the caves and waterfalls are the attractions. Some of Brazil's most famous caverns are located there. In recent years, the state has emerged as one of the largest economic forces of Brazil, exploring its great economic potential.

Minas Gerais is in the north of the southeastern subdivision of Brasil, which also contains the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo. It borders on Bahia (north), Goiás (northwest), Mato Grosso do Sul (far west), the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (south) and the state of Espírito Santo (east). It also shares a short boundary with the Distrito Federal (northwest). Minas Gerais is situated between 14°13'58" and 22°54'00" S latitude and between 39°51'32" and 51°02'35" W longitude. It is larger in area than Metropolitan France or Spain.

Minas Gerais features some of the longest rivers in Brazil, most notably the São Francisco, the Paraná and to a lesser extent, the Rio Doce. The state also holds many hydroelectric power plants, including Furnas. Some of the highest peaks in Brazil are in the mountain ranges in the southern part of the state, such as Serra da Mantiqueira and Serra do Cervo, that mark the border between Minas and its neighbors São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The most notable one is the Pico da Bandeira, the third highest mountain in Brazil at 2890 m, standing on the border with Espírito Santo state. The state also has huge reserves of iron and sizeable reserves of gold and gemstones, including emerald, topaz and aquamarine mines. Emeralds found in this location are comparable to the best Colombia-origin emeralds, and are most often a bluish-green color.

SOURCE (text extracts from): http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minas_Gerais

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