by David Forest
Most people don’t know it, but Britain’s Industrial Revolution in the 1700s was funded by an unusual source.
In 1693, some of the biggest gold discoveries ever seen were made in the Brazilian jungle. The discoverers were Bandeirantes, the equivalent of American cowboys. They were Portuguese adventurers who roamed Brazil’s difficult wilderness seeking fortune.
The discovery of Brazilian gold caused the first recorded gold rush – the first time people moved en masse to chase a rich mining find.
One particular Brazilian town became the focus of this frenzy. It’s named Ouro Preto, or “black gold” in Portuguese. Today, it’s a tourist town a couple of hours outside Brazil’s modern mining center, Belo Horizonte. Back then, it had a population larger than the New York of the time.