Três Corações is a city in the south of Minas Gerais state in Brazil. Founded in 1760, the city has a population of about 70,000 and covers 826.0 km². The elevation is 864 m and the postal code is 37410-000. The geographical coordinates are: Latitude - 21° 42’ 00’’ S and Longitude - 45° 15’ 30’’ W.
- Municipal boundaries:
-North - Varginha and Carmo da Cachoeira
-South - Conceição do Rio Verde and Cambuquira
-East - São Bento Abade and São Tomé das Letras
-West - Campanha and Monsenhor Paulo.
Belo Horizonte - 287 km
Varginha - 30 km
São Lourenço - 93 km
Juiz de Fora - 272 km
Pouso Alegre – 112 km
São Paulo - 295 km
The municipality is watered by the following rivers: Verde, Peixe, Palmela, Lambari, besides several streams. The great reservoir of Furnas is located to the northwest at a distance of about 40 km. The important interstate highway, the BR 381 (Rodovia Fernão Dias) is located at a distance of 8 km.
Cattle raising plays an important role in the economy, with both dairy and beef cattle being represented. The main agricultural products are coffee, corn, potatoes, beans, rice, and regional fruits. The main natural resource (mineral) is the São Tomé stone, which is used in civil construction.
There are light industries producing toys, highway signs, fertilizers, leather, milk products, steel wheels for cars, aluminum wheels, copper wires, and animal food among others.
The city has one university maintained by local authorities: Universidade Vale do Rio Verde (UNINCOR), which offers courses in several areas, including dentistry.
Três Corações is the birthplace of football legend Pelé. Among other things there is a statue prominently placed in a plaza near downtown and a street, Rua Edson Arantes do Nascimento, named in his honour (the street was given Pelé's full birth name).
By the year 1760, the Portuguese Tomé Martins da Costa had settled on the banks of the Verde River to explore gold. After some years he built a big farm and started the construction of the "Santíssimos Corações de Jesus, Maria e José" (Joseph, Mary and Jesus's holy hearts) chapel.
In 1764 the Minas Gerais governor, D. Luiz Lobo Diogo Silva, visited Tomé M. Costa and noticed some small houses nearby.
In 1790, Captain Domingos Dias de Barros, Tomé's son in law, built a bigger chapel on the site where the old one stood. It was opened to the public of Três Corações do Rio Verde and the Três Sacratíssimos Corações parish in 1832.
Três Corações do Rio Verde became part of the Minas Gerais Province in 1873, after the President of the province sanctioned laws establishing that the territory was part of its civil parish.
The town continued to develop civically after Emperor D.Pedro II and the imperial family visited it in 1884, for the inaugural of the Minas & Rio railroad. The railroad connected the town to Cruzeiro, a town in the São Paulo Province. Three months following the emperor’s visit, the town was emancipated and became categorized as a city.
Though formally known as Três Corações do Rio Verde, on September 7, 1923, the city became known as Três Corações.
That is the political and official history. There are two other versions as to the origin of the city's name. One is that the path through which the river flows around the city forms the shape of three hearts. The other, more poetic version, tells the story of three cowboys, who while passing through the town from Goias, came upon three women, Jacyra, Jussara, and Moema. The women captured their attention, and the cowboys fell in love with them.
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