Flag of Brazil

Flag of Brazil
Country Brazil
Population 216,422,446 (2023)
Area (Km²) 8,358,140
Сontinent South America
Emoji 🇧🇷
  hex rgb
#009739 0, 151, 57
#FEDD00 254, 221, 0
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255
#012169 1, 33, 105

The Brazilian flag was adopted on November 19, 1889, but then it had 21 stars. On May 11, 1992, the flag acquired its modern look, i.e. 27 stars. The flag of Brazil is a green background with a yellow diamond, inside which is a blue sphere with 27 stars and a white ribbon with the inscription "ORDEM E PROGRESSO".

Meaning of the Brazilian flag

  • The green color symbolizes the country's diverse ecosystems, such as the Amazon and the Pantanal;
  • The yellow diamond reminds us of Brazil's sunny disposition and its earthly riches. This color symbolizes precious metals and sunlight;
  • Blue represents the greatness of the Brazilian spirit: as wide as the sky and as deep as the country's waterways;
  • The white ribbon with the inscription "ORDEM E PROGRESSO" translates from Portuguese as "Order and Progress" and reflects the Brazilians' desire for justice and moral behavior. It indicates the harmony and peaceful intentions of Brazil on the world stage.

Each star on the flag represents a certain territory of Brazil, including the states and the federal district. According to the flag's designer, the stars were supposed to reflect the sky over Rio de Janeiro at 8:30 am on November 15, 1889.

There are 4 single stars on the night sky map of the Brazilian flag:

  • Procyon is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor and the eighth brightest in the night sky. The constellation is designated α Canis Minoris, or its Latinized version Alpha Canis Minoris, abbreviated as α CMi. The name "Procyon" comes from the ancient Greek word "Prokyon", which translates as "before the dog", as it precedes the star Sirius (the Dog Star);
  • Canopus is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Canis Major (α Carinae) and the second brightest in the night sky;
  • Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo and one of the 20 brightest stars in the night sky. The constellation is denoted in Latin as α Virginis or Alpha Virginis;
  • Sigma Octantis is the lone star of the constellation σ Octantis. This star can be seen with the naked eye and is the closest to the South Pole, so its second name is σ Octantis, the South Pole Star.

What stars and constellations are depicted on the Brazilian flag?

In addition to single stars, the map also shows complete constellations with three, five, and eight stars:

  • Canis Major - five stars, the largest and brightest of which represents Sirius, known as the "Dog Star". The constellation is located southeast of Orion. The Big Dog, the Little Dog, and the Hounds are the dogs of Orion's hunter. There are 5 stars on the map: Sirius, Mirzam, Mulihein, Wezen, Adhara;
  • The Southern Cross (Latin Crux or Crucis) is a five-star constellation, of which the central four bright stars in a cross-shaped formation form the Southern Cross. The name "Crux" means cross in Latin. The constellation is represented by the following stars: Gacrux, Mimosa, Acrux, Ginan, Imai;
  • Hydra is the largest constellation in the southern hemisphere, consisting of two stars (Alphard, Dhanab), the larger of which is Alphard;
  • Southern Triangle (Latin Triangulum Australe): three stars of similar size, including: γ (Gamma), δ, α (Alpha). The Alpha star is known as Atria, an orange giant of the second magnitude and the brightest star in the constellation, as well as the 42nd brightest star in the night sky;
  • Scorpius - eight stars, the largest of which represents Antares. This is a zodiacal constellation located near the Milky Way. The arrangement of the stars of the constellation Scorpius on the flag is not similar to the real one, but it consists of the following stars: Antares, Graffias, Wel, Shaula, Girtab, Denebakrab, Sargas, Apollyon.

List of states with flags and stars representing them

Acre(1) - Gamma Hydrae, Mato Grosso do Sul(10) - Alpha Hydrae, Amazonas(3) - Procyon (Alpha) Canis Minor, Pará(12) - Spica (Alpha) Virginis, Maranhão(8) - Beta Scorpii, Piauí(16) - Antares (Alpha) Scorpii, Ceará(24) - Epsilon Scorpii, Rio Grande do Norte(18) - Lambda Scorpii, Paraíba(13) - Kappa Scorpii, Pernambuco(15) - Mu Scorpii, Alagoas(2) - Theta Scorpii, Sergipe(25) - Iota Scorpii, Bahia(5) - Gamma Crucis, Espírito Santo(7) - Epsilon Crucis, Rio de Janeiro(17) - Beta Crucis, São Paulo(22) - Alpha Crucis, Minas Gerais(11) - Delta Crucis, Paraná(14) - Gamma Trianguli Australis, Santa Catarina(23) - Beta Trianguli Australis, Rio Grande do Sul(19) - Alpha Trianguli Australis, Goiás(6) - Canopus Argo Navis, Mato Grosso(9) - Sirius Canis Major, Amapá(4) - Beta Canis Major, Rondônia(20) - Gamma Canis Major, Roraima(21) - Delta Canis Major, Tocantins(26) - Epsilon Canis Major, Brasília (DC)(27) - Polaris Australis.

All 27 flags of Brazilian states

The evolution of the Brazilian flag

The flag of Brazil is similar in ideology to the flag of the United States of America - in both cases, the number of stars corresponds to the number of states, federal units. The flag of the United States has been changed 27 times since its inception, starting with 13 stars and stopping at 50 when the Hawaiian Islands were included in 1959. After the proclamation of the Republic of Brazil, Rui Barbosa proposed a version of the flag largely inspired by the flag of the United States. Even the number of stripes on the flag was 13, just like on the American flag, only there it was not done by chance and the first flag had 13 stars and 13 stripes, while the Brazilian flag had 21 stars and 13 unexplained stripes.

The Brazilian flag and the US flag with 21 stars

However, the flag did not last long, it was raised only for a few days from November 15 to 19, 1889, after which the interim president of Brazil vetoed it because of its strong resemblance to the US flag. For example, the flag of the United States in the period from 1819 to 1820 during the annexation of Illinois also consisted of 21 stars and one can clearly see the similarities in the flags.

The evolution of the Brazilian flag
The Brazilian flag has not changed as often as the American flag, only 4 times. The first iteration of the 21-star flag was adopted in 1889, and the stars corresponded to the following federative units: Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Piauí, Maranhão, Ceará, Alagoas, Sergipe, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Goiás, Distrito Federal.

In 1960, a new star appeared, corresponding to the state of Guanabara. The state was named after the Bay of Guanabara, and in 1975 it was merged with the state of Rio de Janeiro. Thus, the state of Guanabara was liquidated in 1975, but the star was not removed from the flag and until 1979, for 4 years, the star did not represent any state. Only in 1979 was the star assigned to the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

In 1962, the state of Acre was created, and in 1968 a star was added to the flag. Acre is a state in western Brazil. It borders the states of Amazonas and Rondônia to the north and east, and Bolivia and Peru to the south and west. The state produces 0.2% of Brazil's GDP and has a significant rubber industry, and the state's population is only 0.42% of the total population of Brazil.

Brazilian flag with 27 stars

On May 11, 1992, the flag of Brazil took its final form, which is now more than 30 years old and consists of 27 stars. This year, 4 more stars were added in honor of the following states: Amapá, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins.

History of the flag before the establishment of the Republic of Brazil

Private nautical flags used by Portuguese merchant ships became the first symbols of Brazil. The first such flag was a flag with green and white stripes representing the national colors of Portugal. However, later this flag was no longer used on ships bound for Brazil and became the flag of merchant ships in Portugal. In 1692, a new flag with a white field with a golden armillary sphere was introduced for ships bound for Brazil. This sphere was the personal emblem of King Manuel I of Portugal and eventually became the national emblem of Portugal. In Brazil, this symbol began to be in great demand, not only on flags but also on coins and other media. As a result, the armillary sphere became the unofficial emblem of Brazil.

History of the flag before the establishment of the Republic of Brazil

In 1815, Brazil became a kingdom, and with its unification with Portugal and the Algarve, a state known as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve emerged. A new coat of arms was introduced, depicting an armillary sphere on a blue background. 

After the declaration of Brazilian independence and the coronation of Pedro I as Emperor of Brazil, a new flag of the Brazilian Empire was created, which contained the imperial coat of arms in the middle of a yellow diamond on a green background. The green and yellow colors represented the dynastic houses of Pedro I and his wife Maria Leopoldina of Austria.

On August 29, 1853, the province of Paraná was created, resulting in the appearance of the 20th star to correspond to the new territorial structure of the country.