Following the creation of the Republic, a decree of the National Constituent Assembly dated 19 June 1911 approved a new national flag, which replaced the previous one.

The republican national flag is vertically divided into two colours - dark green and red - with the green on the hoist or flagstaff side. In the centre, superimposed on the colour boundary, is the national coat of arms rimmed in white, over the armillary sphere in yellow and highlighted in black.

The length of the flag is one-and-a-half times the height of the hoist. Two fifths of the total length is green, and the remaining three fifths is red. The emblem occupies half the height and is placed equidistant from the upper and lower borders.

The choice of the colours and the design of the flag were not consensual and gave rise to heated arguments and several other proposals. The Government appointed a Commission to consider the matter, and it was able to explain the choice in a way that won the day.

The Commission said that in its view, the white represents "a beautiful fraternal colour, into which all the others merge, a colour of simplicity and sincerity, harmony and peace", and on it, "dotted with thequinas(five symbolic shields) (...), are waged the first hard battles for Portuguese nationality (...). Then it is the same white colour which, highlighted with enthusiasm and faith by the red cross of Christ, marks the epic cycle of our maritime discoveries".

The red in the flag "must be there as one of the fundamental colours, because it is the combative, hot, virile colourpar excellence. It is the colour of conquest and laughter. A singing, ardent, joyful colour (...). It reminds us of blood and incites us to victory".

The explanation for the green - for which there was no historical tradition in Portugal - was that during the preparations for the revolt of 31 January 1891, the colour green appeared at the "decisive moment at which, under the inflamed reverberation of the revolutionary flag, the Portuguese people caused the redeeming flash of dawn to burst forth".

The armillary sphere, which had already been adopted as the personal emblem of King Manuel I and since then had always been present among the emblems of the nation, enshrines the "epic Portuguese maritime poetic adventure (...), that culminating, essential deed of our collective life".

Above the armillary sphere, the Commission felt that it was appropriate to place the white inescutcheon with the fivequinas, symbolising the "human miracle of positive bravery, tenacity, diplomacy and daring that managed to weave the first links in the social and political affirmation of Portuguese nationality".

Finally, the Commission was of the view that "the white shield with thequinasshould be surrounded by a wide crimson bordure bearing seven castles", inasmuch as the latter are one of the "most energetic" symbols of our "integrity and national independence".

a bandeira nacional


Get in touch