Monday, 25 July 2011

2011 - STAMPS OF BRAZIL - 13

The historical city of Ouro Preto celebrated its 300th anniversary on the last July 8th and our Post Office released on this day a commemorative stamp, the second issue of the Historical Cities series in 2011. Originally called Vila Rica, this city owes its origins to the discovery and exploitation of the gold and played a leading role in Brazil's history in the 18th century.
On July 8, 1711, Dom João V, King of Portugal created Vila Rica, merging all the villages located in the region of the Velhas River, at the foot of the monumental Itacolomi Peak. The tremendous wealth from gold mining brought a rapid growth of the city: Ouro Preto features the most authentic and homogeneous monuments of typical Baroque art of the colonial period in the Americas. In the closing years of the 18th century it became a centre of the movement for the emancipation of Brazil from the Portuguese colonial rule known as Inconfidência Mineira. Ouro Preto was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.
Gold production in Ouro Preto in the 18th century is portrayed on the right-hand corner of the stamp. It shows a gold pan, the main tool used by miners for extracting gold from sediment, gold bars, gold dust kept in bags, and gold coins. In the background, one can see a group of houses with their roofs, with the Carmo church in the foreground. Above, against a blue background, one can see the imposing silhouette of the Itacolomi Peak, which in the past was used as a landmark by the first explorers. At the center, one can see the statue of Joaquim José da Silva Xavier – leading member of the  revolutionary movement for the emancipation of Brazil known as the Inconfidência Mineira.  On lower right-hand corner, one can see the Council Chamber and Prison building, built between 1784 and 1846, today, it hosts the Inconfidência Museum, with its rich and diversified collection.

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