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Empire of Brazil, 1822-1889

Império do Brasil

Last modified: 2004-01-24 by
Keywords: lozenge | coat of arms | armillary sphere | order of christ | crown (imperial) |
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[Flag of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889)]by Simon J. Frame, modified by Joseph McMillan
Basic design adopted 1 December 1822

See also :


Flag of the Empire of Brazil

The flag of 1822 was green with a yellow lozenge (like today), but with the arms in the center.
Mark Sensen, 5 December 1995

The flag for the Brazilian Empire (1822-1889) was a green field, with a large yellow rhombus that stretches itself to the edges of the flag (unlike the current Brazilian flag). Inside the rhombus lies the Brazilian Empire´s coat of arms. This coat of arms is similarly shaped to the Portuguese one (we may remember that the Brazilian Empire was ruled by the Portuguese royal dynasty that fled from Portugal during the Napoleonic invasions, but its badge is green. It shows a blue circular band, with 20 stars. Inside this blue circular band, we see the earth´s globe and, over it, a Cross of the Order of Christ (again, very typical of Portuguese iconography). Above the coat of arms, we see the crown of the Empire (worn by Emperors Pedro I and II), of which I have seen at least four different renditions (either in history books, web pages, and flag books). Around the coat of arms, we see coffee and tobacco branches.
Guillermo Tell Aveledo,10 February 2001

According to William Crampton, The World of Flags: A Pictorial History, on page 126, the yellow lozenge on the imperial flag did not go out to the edges of the flag but left green all around it, just as the present day flag of Brazil does. This image has the lozenge right out to the edges. What is right?
Elias Granquist,8 February 2001

The flag of the Brazilian Kingdom and the Brazilian Empire had the lozenge touching the edges. But that happened accidently, as nearly no manufacturer had read the description of the flag, which spoke of a green parallelogram, and therein a golden rhomboid (parallelogramo verde e nelle inscripto um quadrilátero rhomboidal côr de ouro). Old flags in museums are all of the same pattern with parallelogram to the edges. So William Crampton showed the de jure flag which was never in use. But even more complicated: as far as I know the decree of 1 December 1822 to introduce an imperial crown was not followed or not enforced. Clóvis Ribeiro shows the "imperial flag" with a king's crown and writes that the emperor himself had flags sent to São Paulo on 6 December 1822 to give them the correct flag. Those flags bore the king's crown.
[Ed. note: See Kingdom of Brazil for an explanation of this inconsistency.]
Ralf Stelter, 8 February 2001

The French Navy's 1858 Album des Pavillons, the US Navy's 1870 and 1882 Flags of Maritime Nations, and the German Navy's 1885 Die Flaggen der Kriegs- und Handels-Marinen aller Staaten der Erde, and the 1889 edition of the British Admiralty's flag book all show this flag with an imperial-style crown, as shown in Simon Frame's image above. Furthermore, the Brazilian Senate's official website has a photo of an actual imperial flag used in the war against Paraguay, also with an imperial crown.
Joseph McMillan, 17 April 2001

The website www.piraque.org.br [no longer on line--Ed.] says that the designer of the flag was the French painter and designer Jean Baptiste Debret, who was a prominent figure in Brazilian cultural life between 1816 and 1831.
Joseph McMillan, 15 April 2001

According to the Brazilian Boy Scouts site, the lozenge on the imperial national flag, and by extension on the modern flag, was inspired by the designer's familiarity with French military colors of the period (the designer was the French painter Jean-Baptiste Debret). Many of these flags were similar to the honorary jack now used by French naval ships named after vessels of the Free French Navy in WWII-- parted vertically blue and red with a white lozenge throughout reaching the edges dividing the blue and red. This site explains the difference between the imperial and republic lozenges by noting that the imperial decree on the flag specified that the lozenge would be inscrito (inscribed) on the green field, while the republican decree specifies that it is colocado (located) on the field. It connects the celestial sphere with white band on the modern flag with the blue orb with white band atop the crown on the imperial flag.
Joseph McMillan, 17 April 2001

According to Clóvis Ribeiro, page 91, the shape of the shield on this flag varied over the years. At times different shapes were used for different purposes. The image at the top of the page shows the shape of shield used between 1849 and 1889.
Joseph McMillan, 20 August 2002

I went to the Brazilian Historical Museum today and I got confirmation about a doubt about the Imperial Flag of Brazil--whether the bottom of the crown was red or green. Until 1 December 1822 the crown in the flag was the same as on the old royal flag of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarve with the red lining. On 1 December 1822, by a personal act of Pedro I, the Brazilian emperor, the crown was replaced by the imperial one with a green lining.
André Godinho, 8 May 2003


Imperial Standard

[Imperial Standard (Brazil)]by Devereaux Cannon

Source:US Navy Bureau of Navigation, Flags of Maritime Nations (1882).

Both this source and the French Navy's 1858 Album des Pavillons show this flag with the coat of arms all in gold, the charges outlined and detailed in dark gold/green. As in the case of the national flag, the crown is imperial in style with pearls on the arches. Album des Pavillons gives the proportions as approximately 4:7.
Joseph McMillan, 17 April 2001


Imperial Coat of Arms

Imperial Coat of Arms (Brazil)by Velez Grilo

In the illustration of the Brazilian flag in the U.S. Navy's Flags of Maritime Nations (1882), there are 20 stars on the coat of arms.
Devereaux Cannon, 9 October 1999

In Crampton's World of Flags (1990), there is an old picture of the flag of the Brazilian Emperor bearing this coat of arms. The blue ring has 19 stars.
Dylan Crawfoot, 9 October 1999

On 18 September 1822, Dom Pedro I signed three decrees that were the first acts of independent Brazil. The third decree created the coat of arms and flag: "...henceforth the arms of this Kingdom of Brazil will be, on a green field, a gold armillary sphere superimposed on a cross of the Order of Christ, the sphere encircled by 19 silver stars on a blue circle; and a royal crown with diamonds set atop the shield, the sides of which will be embraced by two plants of coffee and tobacco, as emblems of its [the Kingdom's] riches, in their proper colors and tied at the bottom with the national bow-knot." Later, and without any official legal act, Emperor Dom Pedro II increased the number of stars to 20 to reflect the loss of the province of Cisplatina in 1829 and the creation of the provinces of Amazonas in 1850 and Paraná in 1853.
Source: www.piraque.org.br
Joseph McMillan, 15 April 2001

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