Political and religious center of Minas Gerais throughout the 17th and 19th centuries, the cities of Ouro Preto and Marianakeep their documental, architectural, and artistic collections preserved, thus becoming poles of attraction for historians from the main international universities and the most renowned Brazilian research centers.
In their archives are deposited documents of immeasurable wealth, whose diversity reflects the projection that the region occupied within Colonial America, in the Overseas Empire in the 16th and 19th centuries, along with other comarcas of Minas Gerais, in the process of the formation of the Brazilian national state.
TheMuseudaInconfidência(Inconfidence museum)in Ouro Preto, besides housing an expressive set of sacred art from the 18th century in Minas Gerais, also has a varied and rich documental collection. The books “Autos da Devassa da Inconfidência” (especially those referring to ecclesiastical defendants), the set of judicial processes that took place in Ouro Preto during the 18th and 19th centuries, the musical manuscripts discovered by Francisco Curt Lange (colonial music researcher) are added to the numerous transfers of documents from Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro to Portugal and that had remained there as property of the family of the Count of Galveas.
The Casa dos Contos de Ouro Preto(House of Coins of Ouro Preto) collection is perhaps the most important colonial fiscal collection in the country. It is a documental collection preserved in the form of microfilms produced or collected until 1772 by the Provedoria and, from that year on, by the Junta da Real Fazenda da Capitania de Minas Gerais. The series contains information about confiscations, royal revenues, tithes, entrance fees, literary subsidy, and the tenth estate, among others, which allows us to continue investigating our colonial and imperial past based on questions constantly raised by the present.
Comprising thousands of documents, the ArquivoHistórico da Casa do Pilar gathers document series related to post-mortem inventories, wills, civil suits, criminal proceedings, and 19th century newspapers from Minas Gerais.Also of notarial nature, the Historic Archives of Casa Setecentista(House of 1700s) ofMariana is composed by thousands of documents of similar origin to the ones above-mentioned, highlighting the magnificent collection of 22 thousand civil suits from the 18th and 19th centuries, many of them filed by slaves because of unfulfilled promises of freedom.
Another collection of great importance for the study of the relations between state and church, as well as the associationist movements of the 17th and 19th centuries, and the social and demographic History of Brazil, is what is preserved in theArquivoEclesiástico da Cúria de Mariana, (Ecclesiastical archives of the Curia of Mariana) the city where the first bishopric of Minas Gerais was established in 1745.
The documentation found in the ArquivoHistórico da Câmara Municipal de Mariana (AHCMM) and the Casa dos Contos de Ouro Preto(House of Coins of Ouro Preto)is of an administrative nature. Currently, the AHCMM collection is under the custody of the DEHISof the Institute of Human and Social Sciences of UFOP which, in partnership with the ArquivoPúblico Mineiro, microfilms a large part of the documentation deposited there. The documents that are part of the codices section date from the 18th to the 20th centuries, specifically from 1711 to 1971. and refer to three documental funds: that from the Municipal Chamber of Mariana, with approximately 800 volumes, mostly expense, revenues, taxes, fines, minutes and population censuses; and that from the City Hall of Mariana (about 120 volumes) with accounting records, decrees, laws, ordinances and public notices and from the state collection (approximately 90 books) containing records of land, industries and professions tax payments.
UFOP also has the collection of theEscola de Farmácia(School of Pharmacy), created in 1839, whichis the first institution of pharmaceutical education not linked to the medical course in Brazil and South America. In addition to having a library of rare works and a substantial documental and museological collection, already incorporated into theMuseuda Pharmacia, has documentation that refers to the beginnings of academic pharmaceutical practice in Brazil. Its collection, in addition to allowing a rich constitution of the school’s institutional life, makes it possible to reconstitute the trajectory of scientific practice in Brazil.
Due to its condition of provincial capital, in 1876 the city of Ouro Preto was chosen as the seat to house one of the most important educational institutions in Minas Gerais, theEscola de Minas(School of Minas) which, togetherwithSeminário do Caraça“performed in a certain époque a significant work in the field of education, thanks to what was done in the training of personnel and the accent of originality given to the life of the area. Hence their importance, justifying the attention received. More than simple schools, they are training units of a certain regional brand,”quotation by Francisco Iglesias, in the introduction to the book entitledA escola de Minas de Ouro Preto: o peso da glória, (The mining school of Ouro Preto: the weight of glory) from José Murilo de Carvalho, both theMuseu de Ciência e Técnica da Escola de Minas(Museum of science and technique at the school of mines) currently deserves to be highlighted about it.
The Biblioteca de Obras Raras (Rare Works Library) Professor José Pedro Xavier do Veiga da Escola de Minas has about 22,000 works, accumulated over more than 100 years and preserves its original space and furniture. Its collection includes periodicals and reference works dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries. As a complement to this collection, it is worth highlighting the existence of three others. The Casa do Pilar Archive Library has about 17,000 volumes emphasizing Minas Gerais History books. The Casa dos Contos Library has approximately eight thousand books, including numerous works from the 18th and 19th centuries. Finally, it is worth noting the importance of the Library of the Episcopal Palace of Mariana, called Museu do Livro, which has 4 thousand valuable works, mostly from the 16th to 17th centuries, with a musicological collection of that period.
More importantthough, is to point out that these institutions have served as support for research developed by DEHIS professors and students, allowing scholarly studies in primary sources, whether handwritten or printed. In this context, the DEHIS has been consolidating its role in the agglutination, preservation, dynamization and use of the collections present in the region, which allows the continuity of the research process regarding Portuguese America and post-independence of Brazil, with emphasis in Minas Gerais.