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Laguna, Santa Catarina (Brazil)

Last modified: 2021-12-11 by ian macdonald
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[Flag of 
Laguna, SC (Brazil)] image by Ivan Sache, 4 November 2021

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The municipality of Laguna (44,982 inhabitants in 2016; 33,640 ha) is located 120 km south of Florianópolis.

Laguna was founded on 29 July 1676 by the pioneer Domingos de Brito Peixoto, as Santo Antônio dos Anjos de Laguna; the founder erected a small chapel but the area remained hardly populated for the next decades.
According to historian Antônio Carlos Marega, Laguna was actually settled in two steps. Colonists coming from the Azores settled the coastal area around 1740, in search of fish and fertile soil. In the second half of the 19th century, "continental" Portuguese boosted the town's economic development and founded the lineages that would subsequently rule the town.
The municipality of Laguna was established by Provincial Law no. 239 promulgated on 15 April 1847.

Once Santa Catarina's 4th most populated municipality and a main coal-exporting port, Laguna declined after the Second World War due to the establishment of the port of Imbituba and failed attempts of industrialization; the inauguration of road BR-101 and of the Cabeçuda bridge moved the economical center of south Laguna to other places, for instance, Tubarão.

Laguna was the capital of the short-lived separatist Catarinense / Julian Republic, established during the Ragamuffin War after the imperial troops had regained control of the ports and rivers of Rio Grande do Sul. The rebels, led by David Canabarro and Teixeira Nunes and supported by Giuseppe Garibaldi, seized the town, where the Municipal Chamber proclaimed the secessionist republic on 29 July 1839.
On 4 November 1839, a naval battle was fought in Imbituba between the rebels and the imperial troops. On 9 November, pushed by Canabarro, Garibaldi attacked the neighboring town of Imaruí; the episode is known as the Sack of Imaruí, since the rebelled soldiers, suffering from cold and hunger, robbed clothes and food from the town's inhabitants.
On 15 November 1839, the rebels were defeated during this naval battle of Barra de Laguna and had to evacuate Laguna.

Laguna is the proud birth town of Anna Maria de Jesus Ribeiro (1821-1849), subsequently Anita Garibaldi. Anna, aged 18, met the famous Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, aged 32, on 20 July 1839 in Laguna.
Anita fought in the first line during the naval battle of Imbituba fought on 4 November. In January 1840, Anita was captured in Curitibanos, near river Marombas. Colonel Alburquerque allowed her to survey the battlefield to find Garibaldi's body; convinced that he had not been killed, Anita escaped and joined Garibaldi withdrawing to Mostardas, Rio Grande do Sul. When the town was attacked by the imperial troops in September 1840, Garibaldi left; Anita followed him, riding a horse and holding in her arms her newborn son. In 1841, they move to Uruguay to defend, along with Italian immigrants, the country invaded by the Argentine dictator Juan Manuel Rosas. Giuseppe and Anita married on 26 March 1842.
Anita moved to Italy in 1848 with her four children to support the campaign for Italian unification. She stayed at her mother-in-law house in Nice. Giuseppe Garibaldi and 60 "red shirts" from Uruguay offered in June their support to Charles-Albert, the king of Piedmont-Sardinia he had attempted to overthrow in 1834 and who had sentenced him to death. Anita joined her husband in Florence and Rieti, returning to Nice only because of an illness. In June 1849, while expecting her fifth child, she crossed the territory under Austrian control to join the troops of Garibaldi that defended the Roman Republic besieged by the French.
After the surrender of Rome, Garibaldi headed to Venice to carry on the fight. Anita followed him, dressed like a man. On 1 August, they boarded on a boat in Cesenatica, chased by an Austrian fleet. They eventually landed on a desert beach; two days later, Anita died, probably from malaria, in a farm located in the village of Mandriole, near Ravenna. Chased by the Austrians, Giuseppe could not attend Anita's funeral.
Giuseppe and Anita's elder son, Domenico Menotti Garibaldi (1840-1903) was a main pusher of the Italian unification; with his brother Ricciotti, he was part of the Expedition of the Thousand (indeed 1,089 soldiers), which conquered the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and completed the Italian unification.

Laguna was proclaimed the National Capital of Fishing Dolphins by Federal Law No. 13,816 promulgated in 2015. Half of the resident dolphin population (25 out of 50 individuals) have developed a cooperative fishing system with human fiwhers, encircling mullet schools and giving to fishers a signal for net throwing. While the dolphin species (Tursiops truncatus, the common bottlenose dolphin) is present all along the Brazilian coasts, cooperative behavior has not been observed elsewhere than in Laguna.
Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2021

Description of the Flag

The flag of Laguna was originally prescribed by Municipal Law No. 1 promulgated on 17 March 1971.

Article 1.
§1. The flag shall have the following characteristics.
Dimensions 2.00 m x 1.40 m, in three horizontal stripes, the upper, green of 0.50 m in width, the central, of 0.40 m in width, white, and the lower, yellow, of 0.50 m in width. On the central stripe in a semi-circular pattern the motto "Ad Meridiul Brasilian Duxi".
Leis Municipais database

The flag was modified by Municipal Law No. 33 promulgated on 2 September 1975.

Article 1.
§1. The flag shall have the following characteristics.
Dimensions 2.00 m x 1.40 m, in three horizontal stripes, the upper, green of 0.50 m in width, the central, of 0.40 m in width, white, and the lower, yellow, of 0.50 m in width. On the central stripe on the two sides of the flag are featured the official arms of the municipality approved by Resolution No. 44 issued on 14 May 1932.
Leis Municipais database

The description was rephrased and detailed by Municipal Law No. 18 promulgated on 2 June 1977.

Article 1.
§1. The flag of the municipality of Laguna shall have the following specifications and dimensions.
Dimensions: 11 units in length on 8 units in width.
Specifications: Three horizontal stripes, the upper, green, the central, white, and the lower, yellow.
Center: Coat of arms, 2.2 units from the lower horizontal edge to the scroll and 2.2 units from the central tower. The supporters, dexter and sinister, 3.5 units from the vertical edges.
Leis Municipais database

Whatever the text say, flags in actual use have the central whita stripe slightly wider than the two other ones.


The coat of arms of Laguna is prescribed by Resolution No. 44 promulgated on 14 May 1932.

The arms of the municipality of Laguna shall be composed a rounded-off Portuguese shield, tierced per fess and surmounted by the mural crown proper to municipalities.
In the chief third, on a blue field, two white angels ["anjoas"] on blue water holding a medallion featuring an image of St. Anthony, which makes the arms canting - for Santo Antônio dos Anjos de Laguna.
In the central third, on a red field, the old Portuguese heraldic attributes of names Brito, Magalhães and Bandeira, that is, a tower for Brito, a cross flory for Magalhães, and a golden banner ["bandeira"] charged with a blue lion for Bandeira. This recalls the audacious pioneers who founded the nucleus of Laguna: Domingos de Brito Peixoto and his sons, Francisco de Brito Peixoto and Sebastião de Brito Peixoto, and his son, João de Magalhães, and the noted role played by Laguna-born Rafael Pinto Bandeira in the incorporation of Rio Grande do Sul to Brazil.
In the lower third, the coat of arms of the Julian Republic with the motto "Libertade, Igualdade, Humanidade" (Liberry, Equality, Humanity) adopted by the "Ragamuffins".
As supporters, dexter a São Paulo pioneer clad with the traditional hunting jacket, and sinister a soldier from the glorious Santa Catarinense Barriga-Verdes (Green Bellies) regiment. On the scroll the motto recalling the contribution of Laguna to national expansion, "AD MERIDIEM BRASILIAM DUXI" (Latin, I raised Brazil in the south).

These arms were offered to the municipality of Laguna by Afonso d'Escragnolle Taunay (1876-1958). Known as "the São Paulo historian" for his numerous contributions, the monumental "História geral das bandeiras paulistas" (11 volumes, 1924-1950) and "História do café no Brasil" (15 volumes, 1939-1943), Afonso de Taunay was born in Nostra Senhora de Desterro (today, Florianópolis) from Viscount de Taunay (1843-1899), then President of the Santa Catarina province. He designed the arms of several municipalities in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Bania, and of four Santa Catarina municipalities: Blumenau, Joinville, Laguna and São Francisco do Sul.
Afonso de Taunay explained the design of the arms of Laguna in an article published in 1936 in "Anais do Museo Paulista".
"The 'canting arms' of the town recall the acts of the great pioneers, founders of Laguna and conquerors of Rio Grande do Sul and the significant episode of the Julian Republic, proclaimed by the Riograndense Ragamuffins in June 1839. This caused on 15 November 1839 a bloody fighting during which the imperial land and naval forces, led by Captain of the Sea and of War Mariath and Brigadier Gama Lobo, defeated David Canabarro and Garibaldi's Ragamuffins, suppressing the local republican government led by Colonel Neves and Vica Cordeiro.
For the design of the shield, we relied on the excellent iconographical collections of our illustrious peers, the Boiteux brothers, scholars and passionate defenders of the Santa Catarina traditionalism. Admiral Henrique Boiteux, author of the ultimate monograph on the Julian Republic, forwarded us a reproduction of the separatist coat of arms. Commander Lucas A. Boiteux offered a unique reproduction of the uniform of the Green Bellies, which had been drawn after an actual uniform. The image of St. Anthony carried by the angels is based on the statue of the saint brought to Laguna by the first colonists."

The coats of arms designed by Afonso de Taunay were far from being compliant with norms of heraldry. In articles published in 1931 and 1932 in the Journal de Commércio (Rio de Janeiro), the historian admitted that he really enjoyed designing arms but that his heraldic knowledge was extremely limited and that he would not care increasing it. His designs often include too many quarters and escutcheons arbitrarily arranged, break the tincture rule and use inappropriate outer ornaments. The blazons use inappropriate or erroneous heraldic terms, mix heraldic description and symbolic meaning; it was also pointed out that the description of family arms is sometimes incomplete or fanciful.

The new Constitution promulgated on 10 November 1937 in the aftermath of the 1930 Revolution abolished the coat of arms of the Brazilian states and municipalities. The next Constitution, promulgated in September 1946 re-established them. Oddly enough, Laguna kept using the arms designed by Afonso de Taunay and officially re-adopted them only in 1971 by the aforementioned Law No. 1 that prescribes the flag.

Article 2.
The coat of arms shall be the one adopted by Resolution No. 44 issued on 14 May 1932.
Edison Mueller. 1986. Afonso de Tunay e a heráldica municipal catarinense. Conclusão do numéro anterior. ÁGORA: Arquivologia Em Debate, 2(4), 10-23

Ivan Sache, 4 November 2021