Minas is the capital of the Lavalleja Department in Uruguay. It is located in the south of the department, on the intersection of Route 8 with Route 12. The city is situated between hill ranges and the basins of the streams Arroyo San Francisco and Arroyo Campanero. Its status was elevated to "City" category on 16 May 1888 by decree Ley No. 1.980.
The city was founded in 1783 as Villa de la Concepcion de las Minas, when a number of families from the Asturias and Galicia regions of Spain settled in the area following a frustrated attempt to populate Patagonia. The idea of a city in the area was first raised in 1753 by Jose Joaquin de Viana, the governor of Montevideo, who wanted to create a population centre in "the zones of the mines". He commissioned Rafael Perez Del Puerto to design the layout of the city, the basis of which remains in place today.