América is one of the most traditional and successful teams from Minas Gerais. It has won 15 state championships. The first 10 of them were in a row between 1916 and 1925, being the national record of successive accomplishments (together with ABC). The club was once considered one of the two main forces in the state (together with Atlético Mineiro). However, because of many ups-and-downs and few accomplishments along the 20th century, the club was replaced by Cruzeiro as the antagonist to Atlético, now being considered the 'third power' in the state. Recently, its major accomplishments were the Brazilian Second Division in 1997, South-Minas Cup in 2000, and Brazilian Third Division in 2009. América has a long reputation in forming young talents in football.  Among others, it has revealed the world-class players Tostão, Éder Aleixo, Gilberto Silva and Fred.
On April 30, 1912, a group of young men who played football purely for the love of the game, decided to turn their team into a football club. In the first meeting, the founders decided that the name of the club would be América Foot-Ball Club, and the colors would be green and white. The first matches were played on the mayor's field. In 1913, América and Minas Gerais Futebol Clube fused, and the club changed its colors to green, white and black. Between 1916 and 1925, the team won ten state championships in a row.
In 1933, as a protest to the professionalization of Brazilian football, the club changed its colors to red and white. In 1943, the club professionalized its football division, and returned to its previous colors. In 1948, América won its first state championship as a professional club.
América's greatest rivals are Cruzeiro and Atlético Mineiro. The derby between América and Atlético Mineiro is known as O Clássico das Multidões (The Derby of the Masses), and was first played on November 15, 1913, in a friendly game that ended in a 1–1 draw.
The club's official anthem was composed by Vicente Motta. There are also two other anthems. The unofficial anthem, which was composed by Fernando Brant and Tavinho Moura, and the supporters anthem, whose lyrics were composed by Márcio Dias Vianna and it was sung by Fernando Ângelo. América's mascot, was created by the cartoonist Fernando Pierucetti, and is a red-eyed white cartoon rabbit with clearly protruding teeth.