Governador Valadares

Governador Valadares

[gaw-vir-nuh-dawr vah-luh-dah-ris]
Governador Valadares, city (1996 pop. 231,077), Minas Gerais state, SE Brazil, on the Doce River. Beans, rice, sugarcane, and coffee are raised, and cattle are bred. Food processing, lumbering, and the mining of mica and beryl are also important industries.

Governador Valadares is a Brazilian city in the state of Minas Gerais. In 2006, its population was 260,405 inhabitants. It is an economical center of the middle Valley of the Rio Doce, making an significant influence on the east and northeast of Minas Gerais and local authorities of the state of the Espírito Santo. Governador Valadares sits on the bank of the Rio Doce, 324 km from Belo Horizonte.

The main watercourse through the municipality is the Doce River ("Rio Doce" in Portuguese) whose basin (of 83,500 square kilometers) is composed of 222 municipalities. Nowadays its waters are very polluted, with little vegetation on its banks and depleted fish stocks.


Governador Valadares is also a statistical micro-region including 25 municipalities: Alpercata, Campanário, Capitão Andrade, Coroaci, Divino das Laranjeiras, Engenheiro Caldas, Fernandes Tourinho, Frei Inocêncio, Galiléia, Governador Valadares, Itambacuri, Itanhomi, Jampruca, Marilac, Mathias Lobato, Nacip Raydan, Nova Módica, Pescador, São Geraldo da Piedade, São Geraldo do Baixio, São José da Safira, São José do Divino, Sobrália, Tumiritinga, and Virgolândia. Its population (2006) was estimated by the IBGE to be 407,815 inhabitants in a total area of 11, 327 km².


The area around Governador Valadares was explored in colonial times. The first expedition to reach the Doce River was in 1573, leaving from Porto Seguro in Bahia. Only in the beginning of the nineteenth century was its colonization begun when in 1808 the Portuguese government created military divisions in the region. In 1823, the D. Manoel barracks was established, on the left bank of the Doce, exactly at the point at which the river begins to be partially navigable as far as the sea. By the end of the nineteenth century, Dom Manuel was the main river port on the Doce, being a meeting place for muleteers and canoes that took products to the coast. Only after the beginning of the twentieth century was the occupation of the territory accelerated, with the construction of the Vitória-Minas railway in 1902. In 1925 the first electric plant was installed to serve the residences of the town. It was powered by steam.

Throughout its history Governador Valdares has had several names:

  • 1734 - Arraial de Porto de Dom Manuel
  • 1808 - Porto das Canoas
  • 1888 - Santo Antônio da Figueira
  • 1889 – Distrito De Santo Antônio do Bonsucesso
  • 1923 - Figueira

In 1937 the municipality of Figueira do Rio Doce was established, which then changed its name to Governador Valadares, who was the governor at the time.


Production and the intense trade in precious stones is the reason the "Brazil Gem Show" takes place in the local authority every year: an event that consists of the commerce of precious stones with Brazilians and foreign visitors

Governador Valadares is the biggest city and commercial center of the Eastern region of the state of Minas Gerais, having several cities in his area of influence, such as Teófilo Otoni and Caratinga. At present, Governador Valadares is growing in industrial development, due to its strategic position, human resources and international reputation.

It is a trade and industrial center. Sawmills and food-processing plants are in the city, and mica and beryl are mined in the area. Governador Valadares is one of the most famous gem-trading centres in Brazil. Gem minerals include amethyst, chrysoberyl, brazilianite, topaz and quartz. The Golconda mine, one of the oldest in the city, attracts the curiosity of tourists and stone collectors from all over the world.


The city is served by the railroad Vitória-Minas, of the CVRD and by the highway Rio-Bahia (BR 116). It is also connected with the capital of the state by the BR 381.

The city is on the Belo Horizonte–Vitória railway and on the Rio de Janeiro–Salvador highway. Distances from major centers:

The local airport is a category 3 airport, with a paved runway 1,400 meters long. There are regular flights to Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Seguro, Salvador, and Vitória.


The city hosts of one of the stages of the Brazilian Championship of Hang-gliding being that the competitors get off the Ibituruna's Peak, where it is possible to catch sight of the whole region of the Valley of the Rio Doce which bed is on the feet of the peak, and also it hosts several international championships of hang-gliding, which takes the local authority to be known like "The World-wide Capital of the Hang-gliding".

The city is known internationally for the World Paragliding Championship that has been held at Ibituruna Peak (1123 meters). In recent years the city and region have become notorious in U.S. immigration circles for being a major supplier of immigrants (illegal and legal) to the United States.



  • Annual average: 32.6 °C [90.7 °F]
  • Annual maximum average: 40.7 °C [105.3 °F]
  • Annual minimum average: 18.3 °C [65 °F]

Average annual rainfall index: 1,350 mm

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