Brazil Symbols

Thanks to its fascinating mix of cultural origins, Brazil has an understandably vast repertoire of national symbols and icons. The familiar green and yellow of its flag show up throughout its iconography, but new symbols and icons are added regularly. Here are just a few such symbols to illustrate this.

As a Portuguese territory, Brazil had no flag of its own, as Portugal just flew its own flag in its territories. Brazil gained its first flag as a kingdom, and then, when it became an empire, gained a flag similar to the current one but with the imperial coat of arms in the center as opposed to the current symbol. The green and yellow were meant to represent the union of the houses of Braganza and Hapsburg. Finally, in 1889 the flag was updated to its modern form when Brazil became a republic, the imperial colors kept to ease the transition. The stars on the flag, arranged according to the stars above Rio de Janeiro on November 15th, 1889, represent the 27 federated units of Brazil. The motto, meaning Order and Progress, is adapted from a longer positivist quote by Auguste Comte, translating best as "Love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal."

The coat of arms of Brazil, designed at roughly the same time as the modern flag, has a unique design for a coat of arms, bearing no shield and having unusual secondary elements as well. The central emblem is the Southern Cross on a pale blue field, surrounded by 27 stars in a ring, then again encased in a single larger star in green, yellow, and red. Flanking the central emblem on the left is a coffee branch, and on the right there's a tobacco branch. Beneath everything else is a blue ribbon giving the full name of the Republic of the Brazil and the date of its founding. Overall, the coat of arms is as beautiful as it is unique, representing an unusual and lovely deviation from the standard format of a coat of arms.

The personification of Brazil, the Efigie da Republica, is also tied to republicanism and revolution. Depicting a young woman wearing a crown of bay leaves, it was first used in the 19th century as an early icon of the idea of the republic. When the republic was at last founded, it became an important symbol to the new government, and is now featured on Brazil's currency and in its art. Portugal, interestingly enough, also adopted its use during its own transition into republicanism.

Brazil's symbols are clear and striking symbols of its dedication to republicanism and its connections to both the past and the future. Celebrating freedom, independence, and more, the symbols are truly beautiful and inspiring ones.