By Amelia Meyer
Minas Gerais is a landlocked state in the west of Brazil. It is the second most populous and the fourth largest state in terms of its geographical area. Its capital city is Belo Horizonte, which is nestled in the centre of the state. It shares borders with Bahia, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and the Federal District of Brazil.
Originally inhabited by the native “Indians”, as they were called by European colonisers, the area now known as Minas Gerais was renowned for its being rich in gold, gems and diamonds.