EVOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL FLAG

King Afonso Henriques (1143-1185)
According to tradition, during the first struggles for the independence of Portugal, King Afonso Henriques is said to have used a white shield bearing a blue cross, like his father, Count Henrique, whose coat of arms was a cross on a silver field.

King Sancho I (1185-1211),
King Afonso II (1211-1223), King Sancho III (1223-1248)
At that time the royal coat of arms was five small blue escutcheons arrayed in a cross on a silver field, with the lateral ones placed horizontally and pointing to the centre. Each escutcheon was dotted with a large, indeterminate number of silver bezants. There are many theories about the origin and symbolism of these escutcheons: according to the two best-known ones, the escutcheons allude either to the five wounds which King Afonso Henriques suffered at the Battle of Ourique, or the five wounds of Christ's crucifixion.

King Afonso III (1248-1279),
King Dinis (1279-1325), King Afonso IV (1325-1357), King Pedro (1357-1367), King Fernando (1367-1383)
Under King Afonso III a red bordure was added to the kingdom's coat of arms. The bordure was dotted with an indeterminate number of golden castles - a symbol that was chosen in memory of the king's grandfather, King Alfonso III of Castile. The trend towards fixed numbers, which was a common tendency in heraldry, led to a stabilisation of the number of bezants on the escutcheons, which became fixed at a total of five in a two-one-two pattern.

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King João I (1385-1432),
King Duarte (1433-1438), King Afonso V (1438-1481)
During this period the royal coat of arms was silver, with five blue escutcheons arrayed in a cross, with the lateral ones placed horizontally and pointing to the centre. The number of bezants on each escutcheon was definitively fixed at five, placed in a saltire pattern. The first known references to the escutcheons as "quinas" date from this time. The coat of arms also had a red bordure set with golden castles, and around it, the flowery green points of the Order of Avis.

King João II (1481-1495)
King João II had the fleur-de-lys cross removed from the royal coat of arms and the lateralquinaschanged from the horizontal to the vertical. The red bordure continued to be charged with golden castles, although they tended to number seven or eight on the flags that were used at the time.

King João I (1385-1432),
King Duarte (1433-1438), King Afonso V (1438-1481)
During this period the royal coat of arms was silver, with five blue escutcheons arrayed in a cross, with the lateral ones placed horizontally and pointing to the centre. The number of bezants on each escutcheon was definitively fixed at five, placed in a saltire pattern. The first known references to the escutcheons as "quinas" date from this time. The coat of arms also had a red bordure set with golden castles, and around it, the flowery green points of the Order of Avis.

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King Sebastião (1557-1578),
King Henrique (1578-1580), Filipe I (1580-1598), Filipe II (1598-1621, Filipe III (1621-1640)
At the end of the reign of King Sebastião, the crown above the shield was replaced by a closed royal crown. The flags of the time initially bore closed crowns with either one or three visible arches. Later, this was changed to five visible arches, which were retained until the end of the monarchy. The addition of the closed crown was linked to a strengthening of royal power. During the Philippine Dynasty (which also ruled the Spanish monarchy), the Portuguese shield was not changed, given that the two monarchies' coats of arms were always kept separate.

King João IV (1640-1656),
King Afonso VI (1656-1683), King Pedro II (1683-1706), King João V (1706-1750), King José (1750-1777), Queen Maria I (1777-1816), King Pedro IV (1826), the Regencies (1826-1828), King Miguel I (1828-1834)
When João IV was acclaimed king, the white flag with the national shield surmounted by the closed, visible five-arched royal crown was the symbol of the Restoration. Although no significant changes were made to the flag during this period, in the reign of King João V the shield was altered to reflect a fantasy of the taste of the day, with the lower rim ending in a counter-curved point, and a red or purple beret was added to the crown.

King João VI (1816-1826)
During the reign of King João VI a golden armillary sphere on a blue field, which symbolised the Kingdom of Brazil, was placed behind the shield and surmounted by a closed royal crown. After the king's death, the armillary sphere was removed from the coat of arms and the royal symbol returned to its previous form, some of the versions of which employed an elliptical shield with the vertical as the longer axis.

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Queen Maria II (1834-1853),
Regency (1853-1855), King Pedro V (1855-1861), King Luís (1861-1889), King Carlos (1889-1908), King Manuel II (1908-1910)
The decree appointing Dona Maria II Regent, which was issued on 18 October 1830, ordered that the National Flag be divided vertically into blue and white, with the blue on the hoist side and the Royal Coat of Arms in the centre, half resting on each of the colours.

The Republican Regime (since 1910)
Following the creation of the republican regime, the National Flag became vertically divided into two fundamental colours - dark green and scarlet, with the green on the hoist side. The colour boundary is superimposed by the shield bearing the national coat of arms, rimmed in white and resting on the Manueline armillary sphere in yellow and highlighted in black.

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