Ponte Nova is a city and a municipality in central-eastern Minas Gerais state, Brazil. The population is approximately 65,000 inhabitants and the area of the municipality is 471.07 km. The elevation is 402 meters above sea level.
Ponte Nova is located a few kilometers south of the Doce River on a tributary called the Piranga. It has railroad connections to Ouro Preto and is linked by state highways to the capital of Belo Horizonte and to Ouro Preto.
Distances to major cities:
- Belo Horizonte - (MG) 180 km
- São Paulo - (SP) 781 km
- Rio de Janeiro - (RJ) 420 km
- Vitória - (ES) 392 km
The economy is based on agriculture, limited industry and services. Ponte Nova produces livestock, both dairy and meat, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables, and swine raising, this being quite developed with more than 350 establishments and 30,000 head.
Until recently the city was the center of a prosperous sugar-cane growing area and there were several mills (engenhos in Portuguese). In fact the first sugar cane mill in the state of Minas Gerais was installed in Ponte Nova in 1885. Most of these have now closed.
The beginnings of the city go back to 1755 when the first farms were established in the region. Agriculture and commerce were the occupations of the first inhabitants. The town saw the cycles of first sugar cane and then coffee. From 1770 to 1832, the town was officially denominated an Arraial and was called Capela Filial do Furquim. In 1862 it was raised to a Vila and Ponte Nova became the seat of a municipality. Official designation as a city came much later.
- History of Ponte Nova: http://www.pontenova.mg.gov.br/home/index/paginas/historia.asp