View of Itabira
Location in Minas Gerais state
|• Total||1,253,704 km2 (484,058 sq mi)|
|Elevation||795 m (2,608 ft)|
|• Density||0.095/km2 (0.25/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-03:00 (BRT)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-02:00 (BRST)|
It is currently the twenty-fourth largest city in the state in terms of population, with 119,186 inhabitants, according to a 2018 IBGE survey. It is known as the "Capital of Poetry", by virtue of being the birthplace of poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, is part of the Circuit of the Gold and of Estrada Real.
The first settlements at the site date to the early eighteenth century, when the village of Itabira do Mato Dentro was founded by bandeirantes seeking gold. Itabira was politically emancipated as a municipality on 9 October 1848, through Provincial Law No. 374.
It is located in southeast Minas Gerais, 110 kilometers away from the state capital, Belo Horizonte and 845 kilometers away from the federal capital Brasília. The highest point in the city is 1,672 meters above sea level, and is known as Alto da Mutuca. Itabira is an access point for a number of smaller cities, such as Jaboticatubas, Santa Maria de Itabira, Itambé do Mato Dentro and Nova Era. The closest international airport is Tancredo Neves International Airport (Confins) in Belo Horizonte.
Itabira is a regional economic center, and hosts a thriving iron ore extraction operation headed by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce since 1942, when the company was created by President Getúlio Vargas specifically for the mineral exploration of the Rio Doce valley. As of 2017, it is the second largest mining company in the world, and a considerable part of its iron ore output comes from the mines at Itabira. As a result of the decades-old extraction operations, the city faces air pollution problems.
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