The modern flag of Brazil was officially adopted on November 19, 1889; however, the current version was adopted on May 12, 1992. The flag is rectangular shaped and has a green background with a large yellow rhombus in the center. In the center of the rhombus is a blue circle containing 27 white five-pointed stars representing various constellations. The blue circle also contains a white banner with the Brazilian national motto, Ordem e Progresso (Order and Progress), written in green capital letters.
Professor Raimundo Teixeira Mendes, President of the Positivist Apostolate of Brazil, designed the Brazilian flag, along with Miguel Lemos and Manuel Pereira Reis.
The green and yellow colors of the Brazilian flag symbolize the Royal House of Braganca, ruled by Emperor Pedro I, and the Royal House of Habsburg, ruled by Empress Leopoldina. Emperor Pedro himself, however, attributed the green color for spring and the yellow color for the precious gold metal. The blue circle in the center of the flag, along with its constellations, represent the early morning sky over Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889, the day Brazil declared independence. Like the United States flag, the stars also used to represent each Brazilian state; however, Brazil also includes a star for its federal district, Sigma Octantis.
The constellations in the flag represent groupings of neighboring states as follows.
- Crux Australis represents Southeastern Brazil: Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, and also the northeastern state Bahai.
- Scorpius represents Northeastern Brazil: Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grade de Norte, Ceará, Maranhao, and Piauí.
- Triangulum Australe represents Southern Brazil: Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, and Santa Catarina.
- There are four lone stars representing Amazonas, Pará, Coiás, and the Brazilian Federal District.
- Hydra’s two stars represent Mato Grosso do Sul and Acre.
- Canis Major represents the Northern states of the Amazon: Rondônia, Tocantins, Roraima, and Amapá, and also Mato Grosso.
The Brazilian national motto, Ordem e Progresso, comes from Auguste Comte’s positivistic motto: L’amour pour principe et l’ordre pour base; le progres pour but (Love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal). Several members of the military coup that helped Brazil gain independence were followers of Comte and advocated for the motto’s inclusion on the flag.