The Minas Gerais class battleships were built in British shipyards for the Brazilian Navy.
The Minas Gerais class were ordered in 1906, just as the HMS Dreadnought was completing trials and was about to be commissioned. Consequently, the Minas Gerais ships were considered state of the art. However, unlike Dreadnought, which had turbines, they were powered by reciprocating engines with coal-fired boilers. They were considered the most powerful dreadnoughts when completed, carrying a main armament of twelve 305mm (12") main guns mounted in six dual turrets: fore and aft had two each, with another two as wing turrets. They were later converted to oil-burning.
In 1904 the Brazilian government approved a naval expansion programme and in 1906 ordered two battleships from British yards, the vessels were built in an attempt to enhance the Brazilian naval power in South America. Their completion sparked a mini South American naval race, however this quickly ended upon the outbreak of World War I with Argentina and Chile ordering two battleships each from the American and British shipyards, respectively.
Minas Gerais was involved in the mutiny of Chibata Revolt on 22 November, 1910 where six officers were killed, among them the commanding officer, Captain Batista das Neves.
Brazil declared war on Germany in 1917 and São Paulo was to join the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow, and was subsequently sent to the United States for a major refit. However the refit was not completed until 1920, by which time World War I had ended and therefore the ship never fired its guns in anger. Minas Gerais also underwent a refit in 1923. Minas Gerais was modernised between 1934-37, however São Paulo was judged in too poor condition to justify a refit. During World War 2, although Brazil entered the war on the Allied side, neither ship saw action and both were decommissioned and were slated to be scrapped. São Paulo was decommissioned in 1946, and its hull was sold to British breakers in 1951. While being towed across the Atlantic, a heavy gale 150nmi from the Azores caused the tow-ropes to snap and the ship has never been sighted again. In 1954, Minas Gerais was successfully towed to Genoa, Italy and scrapped.