The Best Flag in the World?

I have a thing for Flags. I do.

Not even I can really explain why this is, but there is something about how some countries flags are just a perfect expression of everything that the country stands for – a simple design that just encapsulates all the preconceptions I have of what that place is like.

There are so many awesome flags, but there is one in particular which I am fascinated by, and that is the Brazilian flag.

The first time I went to Brazil, a barman on the island of Fernando de Noronha (who admittedly was almost as drunk as I was on the drinks I was buying both of us) told me about what it means. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I genuinely hope it is. He explained to me:

– The green is for the jungle, the yellow is for the sand and the sun, the blue is the world, and the colour represents the sky and sea

– The equator runs through Brazil, and is represented here by the sash across the middle of the globe

– There are 27 stars on the flag, one for each state in Brazil

– There is only one state which is fully above the equator, and so only one star appears above the equator (though some of the more cynical Brazillians, especially those from Sao Paulo state, would have you think that its because only one state (i.e. theirs) contributes to the nations GDP)

– The arrangement of the stars is the night sky above Rio de Janeiro on Brazillian Independence day. It is therefore one of only five flags in the world that shows the Southern Cross (those being the flags of Australia and New Zealand as well as Samoa and PNG).

– The words on the sash (Ordem e Progresso) obviously mean Order and Progress, and if the (by this stage increasingly drunk) barman is to be believed, were at one stage going to be augmented with the words “e Amor” to more accurately reflect the true dispositions of most Brazillians.

You have to admit, that’s pretty cool. I’d love to hear if someone else’s flag has a cooler story…

Copyright 2010 Caspar Schlickum

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Categories: Design


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3 Comments on “The Best Flag in the World?”

  1. May 7, 2010 at 4:37 am #

    Loved the post!
    Well, the barman mixed real info with drunkard reverie. The “official” explanation says the green is for the forests, the yellow is for the abundant gold found in the country, the blue is the sky and white is for peace. The number of stars evolves according to the number of states (26 + federal district at this point, but there is a movement to create one or more states). The isolated star – I never heard any theory about that. I think the flag was conceived by people from Rio – I doubt they would give São Paulo the whole upper flag! But, as a paulista, I love the explanation and will investigate it for a future post. And, finally, about “Ordem, Progresso e Amor”- Brazilian Republicans were very influenced by French Positivists, whose motto was…Order, Progress and Love. I think Love simple couldn’t fit such a small space…

  2. Amanda
    May 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Love it! Beautiful, whether it be reverie, folklore, or facts a la caiparinha (or 10…)

  3. May 27, 2010 at 2:08 am #

    that IS a good flag, after reading that little spiel. now i want to go and research more national flags…

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