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Minas Geraes was christened by Senhora Regis de Oliveira, the wife of the Brazilian Minister to Great Britain, and launched at Newcastle-on-Tyne on 10 September 1908.
Minas Geraes was modernized at the Rio de Janeiro Naval Yard in the 1930s, and underwent further refitting from 1939 to 1943.
Two months after its completion in January 1910, Minas Geraes was featured in Scientific American, which described it as "the last word in heavy battleship design and the...
Two of these ship were laid down by Armstrong in Elswick (Minas Geraes and Rio de Janeiro), while the other was subcontracted out to Vickers in Barrow (São Paulo).