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República Portuguesa / República Pertuesa, Portuguese Republic

Last modified: 2016-03-13 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: portugal | coat of arms: escutcheons | armillary sphere | hope | sacrifice |
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image by Vítor Luís and António Martins-Tuválkin, 23 Sep 2004
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Flag and coat of arms adopted on 30 June 1911.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 30 Feb 1998

The portuguese national flag is a 2:3 rectangle divided vertically into green at the hoist (2/5 of the flag’s length) and red at the fly (3/5). Centered in this partition a coat of arms consisting on an armillary sphere charged with the traditional portuguese shield.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 4 June 1997

The portuguese constitution is extremely laconic regarding flags. The only specifically vex info there is in Article 11 (National symbols), paragraph 1. and reads (my translation):

The national flag, symbol of the soveregnty of the Republic and of Portugal’s independence, unity and integrity, is the one adopted by the Republic established by the Revolution of 5 October 1910.
And that’s it. The Portuguese constitution, by the way, has 299 articles, some of them quite long.
Jorge Candeias, 12 Mar 1999

In fact upon adoption in 1911 by the Constitutional assembly, the flag was described as, and I quote,

bi-partida verticalmente em duas côres fundamentaes, verde escuro e escarlate, ficando o verde do lado da tralha.
Wich means «vertically divided in two fundamental colours, dark green and scarlet, with the green in the hoist side.»
Jorge Candeias, 24 Nov 1998


Colour shades

Here are the Portuguese flag colours:

  • R Red (fly field)
  • V++ Green (hoist field)
  • Y Gold (castles, armilary sphere)
  • B++ Blue (escutcheons)
  • W White (besants, inner shield, the fimbriation next to the red border)
  • N Black (lining around all elements, exc. bezants and fields) [ed.]
A. S. Marques, 28 Nov 1998

My Pantone Book of Colour has a 2 + 4 digits reference plus name. With this one I would point out «Pepper green» (18-5841) as the best approximation to the 1911 booklet by the flag’s author himself [cba11] (my copy is in mint state and apparently not discoloured). Please note this was more or less the tone that one would constantly see in the early depictions of the flag.
A. S. Marques, 25 Nov 1998

The five escutcheons are in medium or dark blue, never in sky blue. This is not written anywhere, but is quite traditional.
A. S. Marques, 25 Nov 1998


Flag meant to simbolize Hope (green) + Sacrifice (red)…
A. S. Marques, 25 Nov 1998

About the symbolism, it’s a fairy tale. The green and red where adopted by the republicans without this symbolism (rather from masonic-carbonarian connections), which was added later to give the flag more “dignity”. It’s a typical case of symbolism emerging from the design.
Jorge Candeias, 27 Nov 1998


[Portugal national flag reverse] 2:3 image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 June 2008

The correct image of the reverse of the Portuguese national flag is a mirror image of the obverse , this flag being a two-dimensional object in spite of its design complexity: The ecliptic of the armillary sphere being the only non-symmetrical element of the Portuguese arms, on the obverse its upper end is on the green/hoist side and its lower end is on the red/fly side.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 10 June 2008

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