Rio de Contas has its origins in the 18th century. In 1718 the town of "Santo Antônio de Mato Grosso" was founded. It was later elevated to the status of municipality in 1773, with the designation of "Vila Nova de Nossa Senhora do Livramento das Minas do Rio de Contas". In 1840 its name was shortened to "Minas do Rio de Contas", and in 1931 it finally changed its name to the "Rio de Contas". For many arriving from the south, it is the gateway to Chapada Diamantina. It stands at 1200 metres above sealevel.