Rio de Contas

Lat: -13.583809999972000, Long: -41.810071999739000

Rio de Contas

Bahia, Brazil

Historical Background and Urbanism

When Sergeant-Major Francisco Ramos travelled up the River Contas to the Serra do Sincorá in the 1680s, he had already found the Creoulos quilombo (a hideaway built by runaway slaves), on the left bank of the Rio de Contas Pequeno – now the River Brumado – which was used as a lodge for travellers in the valley of São Francisco, Minas Gerais and Goiás making for Salvador. Ascending the River Brumado, Sebastião Raposo discovered gold in the 1710s, which led to the founding of the town of Mato Grosso, where Jesuits had built the Church of Saint Antony. In 1718, the town became the first neighbourhood of Sertão de Cima. To prevent evasion of the “quinto” tax, the Count of Sabugosa entrusted Pedro Barbosa Leal, who came from the Sertão hinterland, with founding towns in Rio de Contas and Jacobina. The town of Nossa Senhora do Livramento de Minas do Rio de Contas, now known as Livramento de Nossa Senhora, was founded in 1724. A 1726 decree by the Overseas Council ordered the creation of foundries in both towns. Because of outbreaks of fever during floods, a 1745 decree by King João V authorised the relocation of the town to a healthier location close to any existing village (Creoulos). “... with the designs for houses and yards to be made with straight lines (...) so that the same beauty might always be maintained”. The same decree transferred the seat of the parish from Mato Grosso to Vila Nova de Nossa Senhora do Livramento e Minas do Rio de Contas, which began to be called Santíssimo Sacramento. Rio de Contas began to stagnate in 1800 as a result of a decline in gold production and the discovery of diamonds in Mucugê in 1844. The town was raised to city status in 1885.

Religious Architecture

Equipment and Infrastructures