( 1821 - 1872 )
Mariano Procópio Ferreira Lage was an engineer, politician and builder. Mariano Procópio was responsible for the construction of the União e Indústria highway that connected the cities of Petrópolis in Rio de Janeiro and the mineira of Juiz de Fora, in Minas Gerais. The construction of the road was of great importance for the economy of the forest area of Minas Gerais, with the inauguration of the emperor D. Pedro II.
The enslaved people made up more than 80% of the workers in the construction of this road. The official historiography claims that Companhia União e Indústria did not use enslaved labor in the construction of the road. However, historians point out that 70% or 80% of slaves were used to open the road, totaling 2,000 captive workers. Even with the contractual ban on the use of enslaved labor, according to the signed contract. Other documents indicate that Mariano Procópio’s company hired slaves to work on the road.