Minas Gerais is a state in Brazil's Southeast region. Minas Gerais is a large state with a valuable 18th-century cultural heritage, originated in the Brazilian gold mining era. The state has also a nationwide popular cuisine, and beautiful landscapes in the Serra da Mantiqueira and Serra da Canastra mountain ranges.
Minas Gerais was the seedbed of the Brazilian revolution. Inspired by the American and French revolutions, a group of Mineiros, led by Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, nicknamed Tiradentes because he was a dentist, tried to break free from Portuguese rule, but was suppressed. The motto of Minas is Libertas quae sera tamen (Liberty, though it be delayed).
"Minas Gerais" means "General Mines", so called because of the various mines in the area. Some still operate; in February 2006 a ring of diamond smugglers, passing off diamonds from Minas as if they were South African, was broken up.