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São Paulo, São Paulo State (Brazil)

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by
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[São Paulo, SP (Brazil)]by Joseph McMillan

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About the Flag of São Paulo (City)

Source: the official prefecture website.
Joseph McMillan,13 March 2002

The flag is the red cross of the Portuguese Order of Christ on a white field, set toward the hoist Scandinavian style. On the center of the cross, inside a red ring, is the city coat of arms, which depicts an armored arm holding a white banner with the cross of the Order of Christ. The shield is flanked by coffee branches. I take it that the COA refers to the bandeirantes, pioneers who carried the Portuguese flag into the interior from São Paulo. The motto on the scroll is Non ducor, duco, which (if I understand the Portuguese translation properly) means "I am not led, I lead."
Joseph McMillan, 6 February 2001

Interesting that the city named for Saint Paul does not carry any allusion to his emblem, traditionally a sword (usually a medieval broadsword, reflecting the time when modern heraldry began).
Al Kirsch, 6 February 2001

The sword is part of the coat of arms of São Paulo State (São Paulo city is the state capital) and can be seen at the state government website.
Marcius Orlandi, 4 April 2003

Although modern representations of the crosses of the Order of Christ in flags tend to have equal arms (see the flag of Madeira), and even in old portolanos and chronicles of the voyages of Portuguese ships these crosses appear very often with equal arms, there are numerous cases, including in modern heraldry, of unequally armed crosses of Christ. It is very likely that the design of the flag was influenced in the Scandinavian design, but calling it a "Scandinavian cross" is not correct.
Jorge Candeias,, 6 February 2001

A good example of a vertical use of the same cross is the flag of the Kingdom of Portugal at the time Brazil was first colonized.
Gunter Zibell, 6 February 2001

The São Paulo city flag was created in 1987 by Lauro Ribeiro Escobar. The coat of arms was first designed in 1917. In an interview given by the designer, the cross of the Order of Christ is adopted to pay homage to both the Portuguese influence and the Jesuit fathers. The former flag of the city, adopted in 1958 (on the suggestion of the entrepreneur Caio de Alcántara Machado), presented only the coat of arms on a white field. In my opinion is not likely that the coat of arms refers to the bandeirantes, since there is clearly an suit of armor depicted there and bandeirantes didn't wear it. It look more like a crusader.
Gunter Zibell, 6 February 2001

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