The potentates of Gold and strategies for social mobility. How to become nobility in the tropics (Minas Gerais - XVIII century) Cláudia Otoni1 Prefeitura Municipal de Belo Horizonte The origins of potentates relate to the discovery of gold, relying on private militias of armed slaves, making deals under life-threatening manners and using the rents from their own farms, this group of powerful men sometimes cooperated with the Crown, seeking to obtain privileges, sometimes remained independent, facilitating the waywardness of gold or heading revolts in the hinterlands of Minas Gerais. If at first the rulers confronted the Crown in their "territories of power," they also gave rise to contribute to the metropolitan interests through impediment of riots, defense planning, aid in the charging the fee called the fifth, and by turning their subordinates available. The power of ruling through networks of solidarity gave them the social recognition giving rise to a political culture characterized by domination and privately supported not only by a cultural tradition based on honor and bravery, but also by negotiation with the Crown in search of ennoblement. The nobility in Portuguese America was formed from the favors given by monarchs. It was not a blood and hereditary nobility, but one related to the land that required a right to it by providing services to the Crown through the acquisition and maintenance of territories , approaching the idea of nobility coming from the process of the Reconquista in Portugal. By drawing a profile of these potentates, some already inventoried by historiography, it is perceived that they were conquerors or descendants of any conqueror. They held positions in the administration, and got involved in the Holy Office, had land grants and titles, and had under his command many captives. Aiming to enhance their own homes, the potentates used various strategies to keep their position as in their marriage and insertion in the town council, which facilitated access to other privileges and their signs of distinction. This article intends to raise these strategies for social ascent of potentates in Minas Gerais in the eighteenth century, demonstrating that their power is maintained not only by the ability to offer 1 Pós-graduada em História Moderna e Contemporânea (PUC-Minas,1992); pós-graduanda em História e Cultura de Minas Gerais (PUC-Minas, 2010); professora de História pela Prefeitura Municipal de Belo Horizonte. and return benefits in their informal practices, but because they were fully included in the cultural universe of ennoblement from a political culture of the Portuguese Crown. Keywords: power of leadership; solidarity networks; ennoblement; political culture.