Gerais (literally: General Mines) was formed mainly by colonists who searched
for veins of gold (discovered 1693) and gems, and later diamonds which come from
the naturally occurring itacolumite rock that can be found in great numbers
in the region.
the 18th century, mining exploration was strongly controlled by the
Portuguese Crown, which imposed heavy taxes on everything extracted (one
fifth of all gold would go to the Crown). Several rebellions were attempted
by the colonists, always facing strong reaction by the imperial crown. One of
the most important was the Felipe dos Santos revolt that ended with his
execution but also with the separation of Minas Gerais of São Paulo. The most
notable one, however, was the Inconfidência, started in 1789 by group of
middle-class colonists, mostly intellectuals and young officers. They were
inspired by the American and French Enlightenment ideals. The conspiracy failed
and the rebels were arrested and exiled. The most famous of them, Joaquim
José da Silva Xavier (known as Tiradentes), was hanged by order of Queen Mary
I of Portugal, becoming a local hero and a national martyr of Brazil. The
Minas Gerais flag — a red triangle on a white background — is based on the
design for the national flag proposed by the “Inconfidentes”, as the rebels
the 19th century, politicians like José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva were
instrumental in the establishment of the Brazilian Empire under the rule of
Dom Pedro I and later his son, Dom Pedro II.
The rebellious miners of 1789 took as
their national emblem of their unfortunate republic a white flag with a green
equilateral triangle in its middle, on its sides the motto LIBERTAS QUAE SERA TAMEN.
Because the conspiration was discovered before a resurrection could take
place this flag was never used.
The triangle was chosen to symbolize
the Holy Trinity, contrary to the five balls of the Portuguese quinas which
symbolize the five wounds of Christ.
The motto was chosen after a
discussion between colonel Alvarenga and Dr. Claudio Manoel da Costa, two
leaders of the movement. The last proposed to take a motto referring to the
American Liberty breaking her chains and expressed by the motto LIBERTAS EO QUO SPIRITUS (The
spirit comes from him from whom liberty comes).
This was rejected by the colonel and
Da Costa then proposed AUT LIBERTAS
AUT NIHIL (Liberty or Death).
In the end a proposal of Alvarengo was
accepted. It was LIBERTAS
QUAE SERA TAMEN (Freedom Albeit Late) taken from the Egloghe
(pastoral poem) of Virgil.
de Minas Geraes
time of the Empire the arms used by the provinces were the Imperial Arms. At
the proclamation of the Republic the states
were granted the right to adopt their own achievements.
The first official emblem of the state
was adopted by Law n° 1 of 14 December 1891. It was:
hammer and a pickaxe on saltire and a wheelbarrow and other agricultural
tools, topped by a hat of liberty.
five pointed star
Supporters: A maiden symbolizing Liberty on the dexter and a miner symbolizing
Mining on the sinister.
Motto: LIBERTAS QUAE SERA TAMEN.
(surrounding the achievement) ESTADO
DE MINAS GERAES / 15 DE JUNHO DE 1891. (the
date of the adoption of the constitution of the state)
of 14 December 1891 reads:
“O povo do Estado de Minas Gerais, por
seus representantes, decretou e eu, em seu nome, snacciono a presente lei:
Art. 1.° - Para authenticidade dos actos legislativis, administrativos e
judiciarios, são adoptados o grande e o pequeno sello do Estado, cujo emblema
o governo é autorizado a mandar fazer, contendo as allegorias da
agricultura e da mineração, a data de 15 de junho de 1891 e la legenda
Libertas quae sera tamen.
Art.2.° - Revogam-se as disposições em contrario - Mando, etc.
Dada no Palacio da Presidencia do Estado de Minas Geraes em Ouro
Preto, aos 14 dias do mez de setembro dse 1891, 3.° da Republica -
(a) José Cesario de Faria Alvim.”
achievement was replaced by another one by law n° 6.498 of 5 February 1924.
star Gules, charged with a disc also Gules, a mining-lamp an a hammer and
pickaxe in saltire.
Garland: Branches of coffee and tobacco,
tied with a bow inscribed with the date:
15 DE JUNHO DE 1891
Motto: In chief: LIBERTAS QUAE
SERA TAMEN. On a ribbon
in base: ESTADO DE MINAS GERAES.
illustration in the head of this essay
The law n° 6.498 of 5 February 1924
“O Vice-Presidente do Estado de Minas Geraes, em execicio, resolve
approvar como sello do Estado, a que se
refere a lei n.° 1 de 14 de setembro de 1891, do desenho que a este
acompanha, rubricado pelo Secretario de Estado dos Negocios do Interior,
começando a vigorar este decreto a partir de 1.° de maio deste anno. O
Secretario de Estado dos Negocios do Interior assim o tenha entendido e faça
Palacio da Presidencia do Estado de Minas Geraes, em Belo Horizonte, 5
de fevereiro de 1924.
Dias Maciel, Fernando Mello Vianna 
The Constitution of the Federation of 1934 abolished the symbols of the
states and their achievements were replaced by the national emblem.
Constitution of 1946 restored the autonomy and also the achievements of the
Minas Gerais, with
the exception of the Mining Triangle, comprises the 4th Military Region.
headquarters are in Belo Horizonte (MG).
© Hubert de Vries 2011-11-14