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Amazonas (Brazil)

Last modified: 2003-09-13 by joe mcmillan
Keywords: amazonas | brazil | stars: 26 | star (white) | canton |
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[Flag of Amazonas (Brazil)] 5:7 by Joseph McMillan
Adopted 4 August 1897; original design restored 14 January 1982

See also:

Flag of the State of Amazonas

The 25 stars represent the number of the municipalities existing on 4 August 1897, signifying the historical moment of the departure of the military forces of Amazonas to fight at Canudos. A bigger star represents the municipality of Manaus (capital of Amazonas).
Zeljko Heimer, 13 March 1996

The Amazonas flag was adopted on 14 January 1982. The white symbolizes hope and the red represents difficulties overcome.
Jaume Ollé, 28 June 1996

At the site of the state public library, I've found Law No. 1513 of 14 January 1982, from which the following is extracted:

Art. 5 - The flag of the State of Amazonas shall be composed of the colors blue, white, and red, and shall be rectangular in shape.
Art. 7 - The construction of the state flag shall follow the following rules and forms of the model annexed hereto:
I - The calculation of the dimensions is based on the width [hoist], dividing it into 15 (fifteen) equal parts. Each of these parts shall be considered one measure or module.
II - The length [fly] shall be twenty-one (21) modules.
III - The blue rectangle located in the upper left corner of the flag will have a length of nine modules and a width of five modules.
IV – The flag [field] comprises three horizontal stripes in the colors red and white, the two white stripes flanking the red stripe.
V – The stripes will have a width of five modules each and a length equal to that of the flag, with the exception of the first stripe, whose length will be reduced by the length of the blue rectangle.
VI - On the blue rectangle there will be twenty-five (25) silver stars [prata--shown as white], symbolizing the number of municipalities existing on 4 August 1897 and signifying the historic moment when the military forces of Amazonas embarked to fight in Canudos [a late 19th century popular uprising in Bahia and Pernambuco led by a religious teacher named Antônio Vicente Mendes Maciel, known as Antônio Conselheiro].
VII - The stars will have two sizes, known as the first and second magnitude
VIII - On the center of the blue rectangle will be the star of the first magnitude, representative of the municipality of Manaus, the diameter of which will be equal to the width of the central module of the blue rectangle. The other municipalities will be represented by stars of the second magnitude, arranged in horizontal lines in four rows along the lines where modules 1, 2, and 4 meet [actually the lines joining modules 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4, and 4 and 5], contained within the rectangle, according to the following arrangement: the first row will have 8 (eight) stars; the second will have 4 (four) stars; the third will have 4 (four) stars; and the fourth will have 8 (eight) stars, equidistant one from the other proportional to the interior of the blue rectangle in the following order of municipalities, from left to right: Borba, Silves, Barcelos, Maués, Tefé, Parintins, Itacoatiara, Coari, Codajás, Manicoré, Barreirinha, São Paulo de Olivença, Urucará, Humaitá, Boa Vista, Moura, Fonte Boa, Lábrea, São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Canutama, Manacapuru, Urucurituba, Carauari, and São Felipe do Juruá.

The governor's implementing decree, decree no. 6189 of 10 March 1982, goes on to say that "according to historians, the Amazonense flag has its origin in the patriotic deed of the woman who created and offered it to the 1st Amazonas Military Police Battalion, on the 4th of August 1897, when that unit departed for combat at Canudos" and that the present flag "conforms perfectly to the historic trophy of Canudos, inspired by the symbolism of the French Revolution."
Joseph McMillan, 2 July 2002

Arthur Luponi, in "The Flags of the States of Brazil: Amazonas," Flag Bulletin IX:129-133 (Fall 1970), notes that the flag is said to have been invented by Colonel José Cardoso Ramalho Júnior, the vice-governor at the time. Interestingly, Clóvis Ribeiro (1933) makes no mention of this flag, and in fact asserts that Amazonas had not adopted a state flag. It is possible that he lacked information on the issue, or that the flag was only in de facto use, or that it fell into disuse at some point between 1897 and 1933. Luponi gives the symbolism of the colors as white for the Amazon and Rio Negro and red for the state itself.
Joseph McMillan, 20 August 2002

Earlier Arrangements of Stars

26-Star Flag, ca. 1930

Images of state flags illustrated on 1930s-era cards provided with bars of Eucalol soap confirm usage of the basic design of the current flag in the 1930s. The image has 26 stars (eight in the top row, seven in the bottom, and five on each side of the large central star) instead of the 27 used on post-1946 flags.
Falko Schmidt and Joseph McMillan, 5 February 2003

27-Star Flag, ca. 1946-1960s

Flag of Amazonas (Brazil), ca. 1946-1960sby Zeljko Heimer

It seems to have been the original intention to have one star per municipality, with the number increasing as more municipalities were created. Most published depictions of this flag show 27 stars: one large and 26 small in rows of 8, 4, 3 (including the large one for Manaus), 4, and 8. By my reconstruction, given a starting point of 25 municipalities in 1897, the number would have reached 29 by the time President Vargas abolished all state flags and other symbols in 1937. But I have found nothing on numbers or patterns of stars between 1897 and 1937. By the time state flags were again permitted in 1946, the state had lost two municipalities to the new territories that would later become the states of Rondônia and Roraima. So when the flag was revived after 1946, it would have had the commonly shown pattern with 27 stars.
Joseph McMillan, 20 August 2002

After 1897 the flag was in general use instead of the old blue and white flag, but never was sanctioned by any law until 1970.
Jaume Ollé, 25 August 2002

Unofficial 43-star flag, 1960s-1970

Unofficial Flag of Amazonas (Brazil), 1960s-70by Joseph McMillan

Luponi also states--and remember that he is writing before the flag was officially modified by the December 1970 law--that there had been up to that time no legal modification to the flag, but that examples nevertheless were in use with the stars in rows of 9-8-9-8-9, the middle row of nine apparently including the large star for Manaus. By my count, 14 new municipalities were created in 1955-1956, bringing the total to 42. I must have missed one, but this at least puts us in the vicinity.
Joseph McMillan, 20 August 2002

44-star flag, 1970-1982

[Flag of Amazonas (Brazil), 1970-82] by António Martins

Law no. 990 of 7 September 1970 prescribed a flag with 44 stars, arrayed 12-10-1 (Manaus)-9-12.
Joseph McMillan, 20 August 2002

This law also prescribed that a new star would be added each time a new municipality was created. It would seem that in 1982, they realized that the addition of new municipalities would soon make the flag unwieldy (it would now [in 2002] be 62) and so reverted back to the original form of 1897.
Joseph McMillan, 3 July 2002

First Flag of Amazonas (pre-1897)

First Flag of Amazonas (Brazil)by Joseph McMillan

On his Historic Flags site, Jaume Ollé shows a flag described as one used unofficially by Amazonas troops going to Canudos in 1897. This flag is also shown by Luponi, citing a report in the newspaper Tico Tico. It is divided per saltire, light blue at the top and bottom and white in the hoist and fly.
Joseph McMillan, 20 August 2002

Governor's Flag of Amazonas

Governor of Amazonas (Brazil)2:3 by Joseph McMillan

This is the only governor's flag I've run across for any Brazilian state. It is from the , state library, which refers to it as the Governor's insígnia (bandeira-insígnia is the official Brazilian term for any personal flag other than the President's standard). It is used to indicate the presence of the chief of the state's executive branch at ceremonies and state government buildings. It was instituted by Law no 1512 of 14 January 1982: "The Governor's insignia will be rectangular in shape, white with the arms of the State of Amazonas in full color on the center, equidistant from the edges of the flag." The legally prescribed dimensions are 90 x 135 cm for hoisting on poles or 40 x 60 cm for display on vehicles or vessels in which the governor is a passenger. The arms of the state are inscribed in an imaginary ellipse 70 x 60 cm on the larger size flag and 30 x 25 cm on the smaller. Both sides are exactly the same; they are not mirror-imaged.

The coat of arms on the governor's flag was adopted by Decree 204 of 24 November 1897 signed by our acting governor Ramalho Júnior, and published on 26 November. Its use is regulated by Decree 10534 of 16 September 1987, which also established a standard pattern for depiction of the arms. The wavy gold charge on the elliptical shield represents the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões to form the Amazon. On the blue field representing the sky is a star symbolizing peace and progress. Above the junction of the rivers the Phrygian cap stands for the loyalty of Amazonas to the Republic. On the green field, representing the forest, two arrows and two quills are interlaced and crossed, representing modern civilization. Around the shield is an iron chain supporting an anchor (for river navigation) and beneath the shield a scroll with the dates 22 June 1832 (when Amazonas achieved its provincial independence) and 21 November 1889 (when it adhered to the new Republic). Above the shield are the rising sun and the Amazonian eagle, symbolizing grandeur and strength. On the right side of the shield are emblems of industry and on the left of commerce and agriculture.
Joseph McMillan, 20 August 2002