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Brazil Flag: Story, Colors, and Meaning of the Stars

Brazil flag is not only beautiful, but it also is one of the most recognizable ones no matter where you go.

The Brazilian flag is one of the most significant symbols of Brazilian culture.

As someone who was born and raised in the country, I can safely say I don’t know a single person in Brazil who is not proud of such beauty as you probably are of your country’s flag too.

Brazil flag colors are bright and contrast nicely with each other, but it isn’t easy to reproduce.

Among the world’s most difficult flags to draw, the characteristic blue and yellow flag is a symbol of the Brazilian proud.

And to help you understand the Brazil flag meaning, our most significant symbol, I have to talk about more than just the colors of Brazil. I have to talk about the country’s history.

History is essential to understand its meaning and design, including the stars on it. Still, I promise to keep this post straightforward.

Besides the flag of Brazil, I’ll also show you the very first flag of the country, Brazil state flags, and the flag of Brazil’s capital, Brasília.

Please let me know in the comments below which one you think it’s prettiest of all flags in this post. I’m curious!

What does the Brazil flag look like?

The Brazilian flag is made up of a green rectangle-shaped base, overlaid with a yellow rhombus and a blue circle in the middle.

The blue circle depicts a starry sky spanned by a curved descending white stripe with our national motto “Ordem e Progresso” in green letters.

“Ordem e Progresso” means “order and progress” in English.

Brazil flag
Brazil flag image

Brazil national flag: the story behind the flag

The first Brazil flag was created during the Empire of Brazil.

Only a few days after the country’s independence from Portugal, which took place on September 7, 1822, the first Brazilian flag was created and presented to the country.

Namely, on September 18, 1822, the creation of the Brazilian flag below was sanctioned by a decree of Don Pedro I, who at the time hadn’t been proclaimed emperor yet.

Don Pedro I himself chose the colors of the flag, and its design was the work of the French painter Jean-Baptiste Debret.

First flag of Brazil, the Empire
Brazil flag picture – the very first flag of Brazil

While creating the first Brazil flag, the French painter said to feel inspired by the flags used during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Period.

That flag had a green rectangle-shaped base, also overlaid with a yellow rhombus, but the rhombus was bigger than the shape on the current flag of Brazil.

Debret also designed the Imperial Coat of Arms featured inside the rhombus at the time.

Brazil flag: A new flag for a new country

Years later, on November 15, 1889, Brazil finally put an end to its years of monarchy and became a republic.

At the time, many symbols were replaced to reflect the republic, including the Brazil flag.

Four days after the proclamation of the republic, the country officially adopted a new flag replacing the Imperial one.

Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, our temporary first president of Brazil, signed a decree officializing that the colors of the old flag should be maintained.

Regardless of the form of government, these colors symbolize the continuity and integrity of Brazil among other nations.

However, other changes were made to the new flag of Brazil:

  • The yellow rhombus was redimensioned.
  • The Imperial Coat of Arms was replaced by the blue circle.
  • In the middle of the circle, the national motto was added to a white stripe.
  • White stars were added to the blue circle.

The designers of the new flag were Raimundo Teixeira Mendes, Miguel Lemos, Manuel Pereira Reis, e Décio Vilares.

Dimensions of the flag of Brazil
The exact position of the stars

Brazil flag: The meaning behind the colors

As kids, many people in Brazil learn that the colors of our flag symbolize the abundant flora, gold, and the blue skies in our country.

Although that explanation is cute, it isn’t accurate.

The Brazil flag colors were inspired by significant events in Portuguese history.

Don Pedro I, the Emperor of Brazil, was not only Portuguese but also the son of a Portuguese king, which clearly shows where he was coming from.

The green

The green in the Brazilian flag comes from the Coat of Arms of the House of Braganza.

Emperor Pedro I belonged to the Braganza dynasty.

The yellow

The yellow represents the House of Habsburg and the Coat of Arms of Portugal.

For reference, Empress Maria Leopoldina, Don Pedro’s wife, belonged to the Habsburg dynasty.

The blue

The blue color in the flag is perhaps the most Brazilian color of all. That’s because the blue circle illustrates the starry night in Rio de Janeiro on the night of November 15, 1889, when the Proclamation of the Republic took place.

On that day, Brazil was utterly free of the Portuguese ruling.

Brazil flag: Exact colors

SchemeGreenYellowBlueWhite
CMYK100-0-62-380-12-100-0100-66-0-53255-255-255
Hex triplet#009c3b#ffdf00#002776#ffffff
Pantone354 2XYellow280White
RGB0-156-59255-223-00-39-1180-0-0-0

The meaning behind the stars in the Brazilian flag

As said, the blue circle depicts the starry night in Rio de Janeiro on the night of November 15, 1889, when the Proclamation of the Republic took place.

Editor’s note: November 15 is a national Brazilian holiday.

At the time, the astronomer Manuel Pereira Reis was invited to draw the position of the stars for the new flag.

Each star on the flag of Brazil represents a Brazilian state and the capital, Brasília. There 26 states in total; therefore, the Brazil flag has 27 stars.

Stars on Brazil Flag

The precise positions of the 27 stars on the globe make the Brazilian flag one of the most complicated national flags to construct.

Each star in a constellation was designated to a specific state based on its location in the Brazilian territory—north, south, etc.

For instance, the “central” states of Brazil, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia are represented by the Crux constellation right in the middle of the flag.

All stars have the same shape with five points. However, they differ in size, there are five distinct sizes.

Brazilian StatesStars
AcreGamma Hydrae
Mato Grosso do SulAlpha Hydrae
AmazonasProcyon (Alpha) Canis Minor
ParáSpica (Alpha) Virginis
MaranhãoBeta Scorpii
PiauíAntares (Alpha) Scorpii
CearáEpsilon Scorpii
Rio Grande do NorteLambda Scorpii
ParaíbaKappa Scorpii
PernambucoMu Scorpii
AlagoasTheta Scorpii
SergipeIota Scorpii
BahiaGamma Crucis
Espírito SantoEpsilon Crucis
Rio de JaneiroBeta Crucis
São PauloAlpha Crucis
Minas GeraisDelta Crucis
ParanáGamma Trianguli Australis
Santa CatarinaBeta Trianguli Australis
Rio Grande do SulAlpha Trianguli Australis
GoiásCanopus Argo Navis
Mato GrossoSirius Canis Major
AmapáBeta Canis Major
RondôniaGamma Canis Major
RoraimaDelta Canis Major
TocantinsEpsilon Canis Major
Brasília (DC)Polaris Australis

Brazilian states colored by constellations

Brazil map states constellation
States are colored by constellation

Fun facts about the flag of Brazil

The upper, lone star isn’t Brazil’s capital

Unlike popular belief, the lone star in the top half of the circle isn’t the capital, Brasília, but Pará. 

At the time, Pará was the northernmost state in the country. Later, Amapá and Roraima were created.

A senator from Rio de Janeiro asked for a change in the law to switch both stars, therefore, leaving Brazil’s capital alone at the upper part of the flag. The change hasn’t been approved yet.

New stars

Brazil flag was changed in 1992 to add four stars representing the new states of the republic, Amapá, Roraima, Rondônia, and Tocantins.

Another Brazil fun fact is that the law imposes the flag should always be up-to-date. That means if a Brazilian state is created or abolished, the stars on the flag should reflect that.

Flags of the 26 Brazilian states

Here are the flags of all Brazilian states and the capital, Brasília:

Brasília flag (DC)

Brasilia Brazil Capital Flag

Acre flag

Acre Brazil State Flag

Alagoas flag

Alagoas Brazil State Flag

Amapá flag

Amapa Brazil State Flag

Amazonas flag

Amazonas Brazil State Flag

Bahia flag

Bahia Brazil State Flag

Ceará flag

Ceara Brazil State Flag

Espírito Santo flag

Espirito Santo Brazil State Flag

Goiás flag

Goias Brazil State Flag

Maranhão flag

Maranhao Brazil State Flag

Mato Grosso flag

Mato Grosso Brazil State Flag

Mato Grosso do Sul flag

Mato Grosso do Sul Brazil State Flag

Minas Gerais flag

Minas Gerais Brazil State Flag

Pará flag

Para Brazil State Flag

Paraíba flag

Paraiba Brazil State Flag

Paraná flag

Parana Brazil State Flag

Pernambuco flag

Pernambuco Brazil State Flag

Piauí flag

Piaui Brazil State Flag

Rio de Janeiro flag

Rio de Janeiro Brazil State Flag

Rio Grande do Norte flag

Rio Grande do Norte Brazil State Flag

Rio Grande do Sul flag

Rio Grande do Sul Brazil State Flag

Rondônia flag

Rondonia Brazil State Flag

Roraima flag

Roraima Brazil State Flag

Santa Catarina flag

Santa Catarina Brazil State Flag

São Paulo flag

Sao Paulo Brazil State Flag

Sergipe flag

Sergipe Brazil State Flag

Tocantins flag

Tocantins Brazil State Flag

Final words on the flag of Brazil

I showed you the Brazilian flags over time and how history shaped our most valuable symbol.

Although our country is relatively new, it has a fascinating past, which is a story we tell the world every time we wave our flag.

Now that you know all about the Brazilian flag and the flags of the Brazilian states, find out more about this “charismatic land” with my articles about Brazil.

I hope you enjoyed it. Please let me know in the comments what is your favorite state flag. I’m curious!

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Kelder

Wednesday 9th of September 2020

What an amazing post! Congratulations!

Bruna

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Hi Kelder, glad you like it! Thanks for your comment!