The clear sky brightened the night in correlation with the vivid expectations of the people. After nearly 400 years of colonial rule, the purposeful, multicultural population finally shook off the chains of Portuguese oppression and set the stage for the long-awaited Republic of Brazil. Freedom came to them in the early hours of November 15, 1889, and the brilliance of the heavens on that date is forever represented by the deep blue celestial orb on their national flag. In the imagination of designer Raimundo Teixeira Mendes and his colleagues, each star that illuminated the darkness at that fateful hour shone in honor of a soon-to-be established state. They positioned the stunning blue globe at the center of the banner and arranged its 21 stars within the frame of the constellations.
Across the blue circle lies a white equatorial belt with the nation’s motto written on it. “Ordem E Progresso” translates to English as “Order and Progress”, a message that accentuates the hopeful perspective of patriotic Brazilians. Since the country is rich with forests and naturally-occurring minerals, the flag’s background colors are green and yellow. The blue orb is situated in the middle of a golden rhombus to recognize Brazil’s vast gold reserves and other valuable resources. The rhombus, in turn, is placed at the midpoint of a solid green base that represents the region’s seemingly endless woodlands.
After this flag of independence replaced the banner of the overthrown Second Empire, a period of national instability ensued. The Brazilian state eventually emerged as an established republic in spite of many unforeseen challenges. By the end of the 20th century, six additional federated units had been formed, and the flag needed an update. The blue globe gained six white stars on May 12, 1992 for a total of 27 to acknowledge the current states along with the Federal District.
Although the modern flag of Brazil bears some resemblance to the old design from Portugal’s Second Empire, it serves as a reminder of the nation’s evolution as an independent democracy. The green field and yellow rhombus were originally borrowed from the banner of oppression, but the central image symbolizes the unity of multiple states under one free, self-reliant government. The outmoded emblem of the imperial coat of arms no longer appears on the national banner nor in the hearts of Brazilian citizens.