during 19th century and the beginning of the following century, minas gerais was the most important sugarcane plantation area in brazil. in the 1830's, there were 4.150 productive unities working with sugarcane transformation in minas. the sum of all sugar mills in the northeast coast, north of rio de janeiro and the plains of s？o paulo did not reach half of the number of sugar mills in minas gerais. in the same period, it is estimated that 85.000 captives was employed in the fabrication of sugar and of aguardente. that such a large contingent had neither been employed in any other sugarcane plantation area nor in any other period of brazilian slavery history. furthermore, it is estimated that in the 1830's minas gerais produced 33.200 tons of sugar. the sugar production of s？o paulo did not surpass 8.500 tons, and the production of pernambuco was 27.000. the sugar exportation of bahia was not more than 30.000 tons and the amount exported by rio de janeiro did not reach 17.000.