Oliveira, Minas Gerais

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Oliveira is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais. It is located at latitude 20º41'47" south and longitude 44º49'38" west, at an altitude of 982 metres. It is located 165 kilometres at southwest from Belo Horizonte. Its estimated population was 41,181 according to the latest IBGE census.[1]

Oliveira is the birthplace of Brazilian scientist Carlos Chagas.


Oliveira's history begins around the middle of the 16th century. Portuguese travellers used to stop in Oliveira's region, when travelling towards Goiás, through the "Picada de Goiás" or "Caminho de Goiás" (Path of Goiás). From this small village emerged the city. It used to have considerable political importance and regional hegemony during the Brazilian Empire.

Some stories say that a disease outbreak in the region of Mariana was also responsible for a great migration to the Oliveira. The village of Oliveira used to belong to the village of São José do Rio das Mortes, which is the current Tiradentes (Minas Gerais), and it already possessed a chapel in 1758. The village was raised to the title of parish on July 14, 1832, and then raised to a town, on March 16, 1839 by the provincial law nº 134. Finally, it was lifted to the title of city on September 19, 1861. Differently than other cities in the same region, such as Ouro Preto and São João Del Rei, Oliveira did not emerge due to the exploration of gold and diamond, instead the development of livestock and agriculture activities were the main reasons. Such activities began with the Bandeirantes that started to migrate from São Paulo to the countryside of Minas Gerais. During the transition from village to city, the municipality had always stood as a strategic place for goods exchange and capital flow, as it was an important path for travellers. Therefore, all these reasons were responsible for the rapidly growth of the municipality at that time. After the end of slavery in Brazil, the Brazilian government stimulated the immigration. Oliveira received Syrian and Lebanese settlers, who managed the commerce activities. Moreover, the city had a very strong Portuguese influence, mainly in architecture.

There are two versions about the origin of the Oliveira's name. There are stories that the first inhabitants of the region found some olive trees. Therefore, they named the place "Oliveiras" that later would be simplified to Oliveira. However, there is a rumor that a portuguese woman, called Dona Maria de Oliveira, used to live in the region during the second half of the 18th century. She used to live in a house in the region where Oliveira currently exists, when the first Bandeirantes started to travel towards Goiás. Therefore, Oliveira was named because of her surname.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the city became around the world, as it was the birth place of the famous scientist Carlos Chagas. He discovered the Chagas disease and he was the pioneer in the research of diseases caused by protozoa. He was also indicated to the Nobel Prize in the beginning of the 20th century in Germany.


Oliveira is located at latitude 20º41'45" south and longitude 44º49'37" west. It is located at the mesoregion called Campos das Vertentes and the average altitude is 982 meters. Politically, it is part of the West of the state of Minas Gerais, even though it is geographically located at the southwest of the state. The estimated population in 2006 was 40,966 according to the PNUD, and 41,181 in 2013 according to IBGE. Besides the main city, Oliveira also possess the district of Morro do Ferro, which consists on an approximate population of 1,500 inhabitants. Morro do Ferro is located at 35 kilometers from Oliveira's city centre. The whole municipality's area is 896,494 km².

Oliveira is the sixth most populous city in the West of Minas Gerais. It is the 80º most populous city of the state and 289º most populous city amos the Southeast of Brazil. It is currently attempting to become an important industrial hub.

Oliveira is locate near the main urban agglomeration of the southeast of Brazil and the other important cities of the state of Minas Gerais. List of cities and the distance (in kilometers) to Oliveira:

Oliveira is also the name of the political microregion of Oliveira (Microrregião de Oliveira), which also includes other eight municipalities located in the south of the West of Minas Gerais. The microregion of Oliveira is bordered by the microregions of São João Del Rei, Lavras, Divinópolis, Conselheiro Lafaiete, Formiga, Itaguara e Campo Belo. Therefore, it is a place of confluence in the West of Minas Gerais, the Metropolitan Area of Belo Horizonte, the South of Minas Gerais and the Campos das Vertentes.

List of the municipalities in the microregion of Oliveira (sorted by size of population/IBGE 2013):


As Oliveira is located in a very steep terrain, field and surrounded by mountains, it has a Köppen climate classification, or a tropical climate of altitude. Compared to the average of Brazil's climate, it can be considered a cold city. The average temperature is around 19 °C. The minimum temperature ever registered in Oliveira was -1 °C in July 18, 1926 and the maximum temperature ever registered was 34 °C in January 8, 1930 (shadow temperature). The trend for the current climate has been the decrease of maximum temperatures and the increase of minimum temperatures. The climate is temperate, which is the same in almost all cities in the southeast and south of Minas Gerais. The annually rainfall is around 1550 mm.

The average temperature, in Celsius degree(°C), during the 24 hours of the two days corresponding to the four seasons:

  • Annual Average Temperature: 19,54 °C
Average temperature in the four seasons
Season Average Temperature
(in Celsius)
Spring 20.10 °C
Summer 21.57 °C
Fall 16.82 °C
Autumn 19.67 °C
Climate data for Oliveira, Minas Gerais - Brasil
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F 82.9 82.2 82.2 79.7 77.7 76.3 76.1 79.7 79.7 82.2 82 81.9 80.22
Average low °F 64.2 64 62.8 59.2 54.9 51.4 49.6 52.5 56.8 60.4 62.1 63.5 58.45
Precipitation inches 10.465 8.354 7.382 2.756 0.984 0.717 0.457 0.575 2.299 5.26 8.063 12.598 59.91
Average high °C 28.3 27.9 27.9 26.5 25.4 24.6 24.5 26.5 26.5 27.9 27.8 27.7 26.79
Average low °C 17.9 17.8 17.1 15.1 12.7 10.8 9.8 11.4 13.8 15.8 16.7 17.5 14.7
Precipitation mm 265.8 212.2 187.5 70.0 25.0 18.2 11.6 14.6 58.4 133.6 204.8 320.0 1,521.7
Source: [2]


Oliveira's territory is located between the beginning of two great basins: Platina and Sanfranciscana basins. Oliveira technically belongs to the Platina basin. The main rivers that supply water to the city are Lambari river and Jacaré river, which is an affluent of Grande river.

Topography and Vegetation[edit]

Oliveira's territory is situated in a region that can be considered as an extension of the Mantiqueira Mountains. The city is located on a set of hills at an average altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. The topography is divided in:

Topography (%) Plain: 5 undulating: 70 Mountainous: 25 Maximum altitude: 1209 meters Minimum altitude: 910 meters

Oliveira's vegetation is composed predominantly by Cerrado and Temperate Grasslands. Temperate Grasslands are mainly consisted of grasses and can be found in the higher altitudes of Oliveira.


Oliveira is known for having a excellent urban infrastructure. It has the greatest First Aid Post (Emergency Department) of the Middle-West of Minas Gerais, which has been opened. Oliveira's architecture has a clearly Iberian Influence and it is visibly the most european-like city in the region. Such architecture is highly expressed in the great 19th-century mansions, statues, monuments spread along the city. Its squares and avenues are well decorated and its buildings are remarkable, such as Our Lady of Oliveira Cathedral (Catedral de Nossa Senhora de Oliveira), which is based on roman gothic style and the old Matriz Church built in baroque style during the 18th century. Furthermore, there are several modern buildings in the city.


Oliveira is located at a strategic place and it is crossed by three important federal and state highways:


The Centro-Atlantic Railroad (Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica) passes by Oliveira and links interior areas of Brazil to the coast.


Oliveira has an airport, which runway is 1,180 meters length and 20 meters width. It can receive small and middle sized airplanes. There is also a terminal for boarding and arrivals.


  1. ^ IBGE. "Cidades@". Retrieved 2007-02-19. 
  2. ^ "Tempo Agora - Climatologia em Oliveira, MG". 

Coordinates: 20°41′45″S 44°49′37″W / 20.69583°S 44.82694°W / -20.69583; -44.82694