Leitura: 3 min

Where does the name Inhotim come from?

Where does the name Inhotim come from?

No one knows for sure where the name Inhotim comes from, but its origin generates a lot of curiosity among park visitors and employees. One of the best known theories relates the word to an English miner, “Sir Timothy”, who would have lived in the area where the Institute is today. The word “Sir”, translated into Portuguese as “Senhor”, was often pronounced simply as “Nho”. Thus, “Sir Timothy” would have become “Nho Tim”.

Another story, evidenced by a notice served on May 26, 1865, registers the existence of a place called “nhotim”, where João Rodrigues Ribeiro, son of Joaquim Rodrigues Ribeiro lived. In one of the receipts attached to the old document, there is a signature in which the location is spelled as “Nhoquim”.

The name “Joaquim” also appears in the story told by Dona Elsa, who lives in the Brumadinho region. She offers a variation of the version that involves the English miner, “What I remember people saying is that there was a landowner who was named Joaquim, I think, and his nickname was Tim. So, he was “Senhor Tim”, and became NHÔ TIM. In the old times, we didn’t say “senhor”, we used to say “nhô”. And that’s where the name Inhotim came from”.

There is also a story of the journey made by English engineer James Wells throughout Brazil between 1868 and 1886. At some point, he recalls a conversation he had with an African-Brazilian worker on a road near Brumadinho. Local mode of speech indicates that the word Inhotim may be a variation of the expression used by slaves to say yes, sir (in Portuguese: sim, senhor): “N’hor sim”. The existence of six former-slave communities in the municipality of Brumadinho, four of which are acknowledged by the Palmares formation, reinforces this hypothesis.

These are some of the possible explanations for the Institute’s name, collected by the Inhotim Center of Memory and Heritage (CIMP) . CIMP was created back in 2008 to rescue the region’s stories and traditions and is one of the projects carried out by the Institute with neighboring communities.

Have you ever heard a different story about the origin of the name Inhotim? Share it with us!

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