Flag of Portugal

From Academic Kids

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Flag Ratio: 2:3

The flag of Portugal is a 2:3 green and red 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 of an armillary sphere charged with the traditional Portuguese shield. It was officially adopted on June 30, 1911, but had in fact been in use since the Republican revolution of 5 October 1910.

Meaning of the flag

The flag has a much more ambiguous meaning than the traditional one. During the Estado Novo, the nationalist authoritarian regime which lasted from 1933 until the 1974 Revolution, it was said that the green represented the woods of Portugal and the red represented the blood of those who died serving the nation. This definition of the colours is currently the commonly accepted one, however the original meaning could be much more uncertain. Some theories claim that red represents the sunrise and sunset over the Portuguese ships during the Discoveries in the 16th century and the green represents the colour of the deep sea, which were sailed firstly by Portuguese all around the world. Other less nationalists theories allege that the green and red are the traditional colours of Iberic Federalism, a Republican-Socialist ideology very common at the beginning of the century and which defended the political union of Portugal and Spain, although Portuguese people's been an independent country since 1149 and always fought for his independence, even when under Spanish control in the 17th century.

The circular design is an armillary sphere which replaced the crown in the old monarchist flag. It represented the Portuguese Colonial Empire at the time of the Revolution and the discoveries that Portugal made. The traditional Portuguese shield is present in almost every single Portuguese flag.

The five white points in the five shields in the center of the flag refer to a legend concerning the first King of Portugal, King Afonso Henriques or Afonso I. The story tells that before the Battle of Ourique (26 July 1139), King Afonso I was praying for the protection of the Portuguese people when a vision of Jesus on the cross appeared to him. King Afonso won the battle and, in gratitude, incorporated Christ's five wounds into his flag. The five shields represents the five Mourish kings defeated in the Battle of Ourique.

The castles, originally nine, are a symbol of the Portuguese victories under King Afonso III command over their enemies, relating to the nine mourish castles defeated by Portugal in 1249; it was also the symbol of the Kingdom of Algarve, the last one conquered by the Portuguese, when the definitive borders have been settled. Later, King João II reduced the number of castles in the flag down to seven.

External link

National flags
List of national flags | List of national coats of arms
de:Flagge Portugals

es:Bandera de Portugal fr:Drapeau du Portugal he:דגל פורטוגל it:Bandiera portoghese ja:ポルトガルの国旗 pl:Flaga Portugalii pt:Bandeira de Portugal ro:Steagul Portugaliei sv:Portugals flagga


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