The “royal road” of trade in Brazil Revitalized colony – Tourism

So Joo del-Rei is the starting point of the route from Minas Gerais. Authorities are mobilizing to formalize the itinerary and train guides
(photo: Jair Amaral / EM / DA Press – 10/21/14)

The hope brought by the pandemic, finally, to a level of control, with the resumption of tourism and the announcement of new projects to revitalize the devastated sector during the most restrictive period of the health crisis, leads to the rediscovery of high cultural routes . and historical significance in Minas. Among them is the 210-year-old Caminho do Comrcio, which was set up to facilitate the connection between Gerais and Rio de Janeiro and allow the court to be provided more quickly and economically.

The arrival of the Portuguese royal family in Brazil in 1808, led by Dom João VI (1767-1826), greatly increased the population of the River. Thus, on November 14, 1811, the Royal Council of Commerce, Agriculture, Textiles, and Navigation of the State of Brazil and its Overseas Areas, a member of the Johannine administration, determined the opening of the Caminho do Comércio. Now, in the 21st century, the route will be restructured and should have signs at certain points to guide travelers.

The importance of the old supply route to the Portuguese court and the new cultural itinerary, with its huge possibilities and attractions, have attracted the attention of historians Marcos Paulo de Souza Miranda – author of several books, such as the recently launched “Introduction to the Right to Preserve Brazilian Culture”. and Rodrigo Magalhes, who has been researching the route for over 10 years. At the end of last year, in Bom Jardim de Minas, in the south of the state, when a commemoration of the 210th anniversary of the creation of Caminho do Comrcio took place, they launched “Historical Studies on Caminho do Comércio – Commemorative. The route edition ”, a work that can guide those interested to continue their journey.

According to the authors, Caminho Novo da Estrada Real, opened in the early 18th century by Garcia Rodrigues Paes (sertanista, who died in 1738), was very long and did not link Rio de Janeiro directly with the main food production area of ​​Minas Gerais. . Gerais – the southern and Campo das Vertentes regions – became obsolete and inadequate in the early 19th century.

“The situation led to the creation of the Caminho do Comrcio, which was much shorter and cheaper at the time because the fees charged at the border between the captains were lower,” said Souza Miranda, also a prosecutor and member of the Instituto Histrico e. Minas Gerais. .

food and tools

According to research conducted by Souza Miranda and Magalhes, according to the scenario, completed in 1816, the drivers left the Comarca do Rio das Mortes, whose headquarters were in So Joo del-Rei, in Campo das Vertentes, but covered a vast expanse of Mine. , leading oxen, pigs, bacon, chickens and cheeses. On their return from Rio de Janeiro, they brought salt, oil, wine, vinegar, cod, lamps, tools and glass. “Historical records also show that large numbers of enslaved people were transported from the coast to farms in Minas Gerais to provide labor,” said Souza Miranda.

Along the way, the traveler will notice that there are cities, districts and other places very close to each other. The reason is in the past. About every three leagues, there were rustic farms surrounded by simple structures that allowed travelers to stay overnight, always with a mouthful of clean water, stone structures for fire and trees, such as the araucaria in its vicinity, whose dry branches functioned as fire wood. for easy burning, essential for attenuating the cold in the mountains and caves of the Mantiqueira region.

From the beginning to the end of the trail is 280 kilometers. Starting from the town of Nossa Senhora da Piedade do Iguau (now Nova Iguau-RJ district), Caminho do Comrcio crossed the area now called the Tingu Federal Biological Reserve, climbed the mountains, passed through the port of Ub (now Andrade). Pinto, Vassouras-RJ), went to Valena, also in Rio de Janeiro, and then passed through the old mining camps of Rio Preto (Varejas and Funil region), Bom Jardim (passing through Taboo), Turvo (now Andrelndia), Madre de Deus, So Miguel do Cajuru, Rio das Mortes Pequeno and, finally, Vila de So Joo del-Rei.

The trade route

In me…

“I know Joo del Rei

“Mother of God


“Good garden

of mines

“Rio Preto

… and in Rio de Janeiro


»Iguau Velho

ferme r
The rustic farms for the nights of the drivers traveling in the entourage were one of the landmarks of the road that connects Minas to Rio. (photo: HISTORICAL STUDIES ON TRADE / DEVELOPMENT)

Scientists mark and map attractions

In addition to traders, many foreign scientists, according to research, traveled the route during the 19th century. Among them were the Frenchman Auguste de Saint-Hilaire (1819), the Englishman Robert Walsh (1829) and Charles James Fox Bunbury (1835) and the German Ernst Hasenclever (1839). “Everyone left important records on the road. Many traces and some original parts of the Caminho do Comrcio still exist and are mapped by a group of researchers working in the Alto Rio Grande region of Minas Gerais, ”says Souza Miranda.

Those who travel the route will have access to cultural and scenic attractions, in addition to several places for ecological and cultural tourism. The centuries-old ruins of Iguau Velho, the lush nature of the Serra do Tingu and the colonial farms of the Valena and Vassouras region of Rio de Janeiro await visitors. In Minas, the waterfalls and mountain scenery between Rio Preto and Bom Jardim, including the famous Gruta do Funil, colonial architecture, archeological sites, quality sweets, cheese and cachaa produced in the Andrelndia region, centuries-old farms and churches, mountains and folk traditions Madre de Deus de Minas, São Miguel do Cajuru chapel, with artistic paintings by the famous painter José Joaquim da Natividade …

In Minas, you can also see: the ruins of the old Capela do Rio das Mortes, where Nh Chica was baptized, considered miraculous; the imposing tricentennial architecture of So Joo del-Rei, among other points. At the end, the book brings the Caminho do Comrcio Passport, so that travelers can collect stamps from the municipalities they pass through.

And there are more news: in Rio Preto, in the Zona da Mata, the passenger’s passport is already initially stamped at the bus station, located in Praça Baro de Santa Clara, in the city center. Meanwhile, the municipality of Nova Iguau (RJ) is installing eight signal totems on the Estrada Real do Comrcio.


According to the Municipal Secretary for Sports, Recreation and Tourism of Bom Jardim de Minas, Ademir Aparecido Rodrigues, the route will be restructured. “We need to meet with all the managers of the municipalities, Minas and the state of Rio de Janeiro, to outline the next steps and organize the route on the dirt roads, as well as the formation of the guides. For now, it is not advisable to go on the Caminho do Comércio without a guide “, says the secretary. Once structured, Ademir points out, the itinerary will stimulate tourism and create opportunities for the population.

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