Diamantina is a Brazilian city in the state of Minas Gerais. Its estimated population in 2006 was 44,746 in a total area of 3,870 km². Arraial do Tijuco (as Diamantina was first called) was built during the colonial era in the early 18th century. As its name suggests, Diamantina was a center of diamond mining in the 18th and 19th centuries. A well-preserved example of Brazilian Baroque architecture, Diamantina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other historical cities in Minas Gerais are Ouro Preto and Mariana.
Diamantina is a statistical micro-region that includes the following municipalities: Diamantina, Datas, Felício dos Santos, Gouveia, Presidente Kubitschek, São Gonçalo do Rio Preto, Senador Modestino Gonçalves, and Couto de Magalhães de Minas. The area of this region is 7,348 km² and in 2006 the population was 80,063 inhabitants. The population density (2000) was 11.2 inhab/km².
Diamantina is located 292 kilometers almost directly north of the state capital, Belo Horizonte in a mountainous area. The elevation of the municipal seat is 1,114 meters. The Jequitinhonha River, one of Brazil's most important rivers, flows to the east of the municipal seat. Diamantina is linked to the state capital by federal highway BR-259, by way of Curvelo. Diamantina Airport has regular flights to Belo Horizonte.
Famous Natives of Diamantina
- Chica da Silva, an enslaved African-Brazilian folk heroine became first lady in the region, after having married a Luso-Brazilian ruler; born circa 1730. Adaptations of her story were made into songs and famous soap operas translated into other languages.
- Alice Dayrell Caldeira Brant (pseudonym: Helena Morley), whose diary Minha vida de menina (translated into English as The Diary of Helena Morley) is a classic in Brazilian literature; born in 1880; died 1970.
- Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, responsible for the creation of the new capital, Brasília, President of Brazil from 1956 to 1961; born in 1902.