Last week, September 7th, Brazil celebrated the 186th anniversary of its independence day. Paying homage to the Brazilian culture, we decided to briefly describe the origins, history, symbolism and pantone of the Official Brazil Flag. The flag of Brazil has a green field on which a large yellow rhombus is centered. A blue circle is placed within the rhombus, with white stars of five different sizes and a curved white band running through it. The motto “Ordem e Progresso” (“Order and Progress”) is inscribed in capital letters (of the same shade of green as the field) inside the band. It is one of the few national flags that don’t have the generally blood-and-war-related colors red or black in any part of their composition.
The modern flag was officially adopted on November 19, 1889. The concept was the work of Raimundo Teixeira Mendes, with the collaboration of Miguel Lemos and Manuel Pereira Reis. The design was executed by DÃ©cio Vilares. The current national flag and ensign maintains the same design with some minor changes.
History of the Brazilian Flag: Upon the proclamation of the First Republic, one of the leading figures in the process, lawyer and recently-appointed Minister of Finances and Taxation Ruy Barbosa, proposed a design for the national flag that was strongly inspired by the flag of the United States. This flag was used only for 4 days beginning November 15, 1889.
On November 19, 1889 the “Father of the Republic” and an acting president, field marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, vetoed the design, claiming that it was too much of a copy of another country’s flag. Fonseca, who had been a royalist all his life and only led the coup that resulted in the proclamation of the Republic because he felt that the Emperor’s actions were putting the country’s stability in jeopardy, then suggested that the new Republican Flag should resemble the Imperial Flag. The decision was then made to replace only the royal crest with a new design (eventually decided to be the blue globe with the stars and the positivist motto). The objective in doing so was to reassert the continuity of the national unity during the transition from a Constitutional Monarchy to the Republican model. Raimundo Teixeira Mendes’ design was presented to president Fonseca and promptly accepted.
Brazil’s current flag was inspired by the flag of the former Brazilian Empire. On the imperial flag, the green represented the Imperial House of Braganza of Pedro I Emperror and the yellow represented the Habsburg Imperial Family of Empress Leopoldina, Pedro I’s first wife. Thus, green and yellow are the colours of the Families of origin of the first imperial couple, founders of the Brazilian monarchy. The centre of the old imperial flag bore the Imperial Coat of Arms.
On the modern republican flag, the green background represents the forests, the yellow rhombus stands for the mineral wealth, and the blue circle, which replaced the coat of arms of the original flag, depicts the sky over Rio de Janeiro on the morning of November 15, 1889 – the day the Republic of Brazil was declared. It is shown as seen from outside of the celestial sphere (i.e. the view is mirrored).
The stars, whose positions in the flag reflect the sky above Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889, represent the union’s member-states – each star representing a specific state (which is not the case of the stars in the flag of the United States). The number of stars changes with the creation of new states and, since the early days of the republic, has risen from an original 21 stars to the current 27, standing for the 26 states and the Federal District.
The star that represents the Federal District is Sigma Octantis, a star whose position near the south celestial pole makes it visible across almost the whole country, all year round. In addition, given its polar position, all the other stars depicted on the flag trace appear to rotate around Sigma Octantis. Choosing this star to represents BrazilÂ´s Capital, therefore particularly apt (although it is a much fainter star than any of the others).
The motto Ordem e Progresso (“Order and Progress”) is inspired by Auguste Comte’s motto of positivism: “L’amour pour principe et l’ordre pour base; le progrÃ¨s pour” but (“Love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal”). It was inserted because several of the people involved in the military coup d’Ã©tat that deposed the monarchy and proclaimed Brazil a republic were followers of the ideas of Comte’s thought.
Stars on the Brazilian Flag: The flag of Brazil contains 27 stars. The constellation of the Southern Cross is on the meridian. To the south of it is Polaris Australis (Sigma Octantis, numbered 7), representing the Federal District. The motto appears on a band roughly coincident with the ecliptic. A single star lies above the band, representing the large northern state of Para, which straddles the Equator.
Regarding the pantone for the Brazil flag, among official sites, there are a couple that give Pantone and/or CMYK values for the “mark” of the Federal Government, used on publications and websites, stating that the colors are to be the same as those used in the national flag. These sources do not agree completely. We then decided to follow the Presidency for the Pantones of the Brazilian Flag:
Green: PMS 355 and CMYK 100-0-100-0
Yellow: PMS Yellow and CMYK 0-10-100-0
Blue: PMS 280 and CMYK 100-70-0-20
We hope our readers were able to grasp a little bit more of the culture and history of Brazil.
Andre Skowronski is the founder Belavista-Rio, a vacation rentals agency and Rio de Janeiro on-line guide. Please visit —> http://www.belavista-rio.com/blog to find a list of apartments in the best neighborhoods of Rio, as well as several tips on the wonder city at the Belavista-Rio Blog.