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Bahia (Brazil)

Last modified: 2004-12-29 by joe mcmillan
Keywords: bahia | brazil | triangle |
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[Flag of Bahia (Brazil)] by Zeljko Heimer

See also:

Flag of the State of Bahia

The Bahia state flag is a synthesis of libertarian ideals. The Bahian flag colors are the same as those of the flag of Bahian revolutionaries of 1798, who started the "Revolucão dos Alfaiates." The triangle recalls the symbol of the conspiracy of the people of Minas Gerais in 1789. The stripes evoke the United States flag and associate it with the U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776), which had great repercussions among the Brazilian people of the 18th century.
Zeljko Heimer, 13 March 1996

The concept for the present flag of Bahia was developed by Dr. Deocleciano Ramos, a professor of medicine, who presented it as a proposed Republican Club (Party) flag at a party congress in Salvador on 25 May 1889. It was adopted as the party flag the next day. It was hoisted in a more or less official capacity for the first time on 17 November 1889--the day Bahia recognized the republic that had been proclaimed in Rio de Janeiro two days earlier. Colonel Durval de Aguiar, commander of the police, had it hoisted on the Forte do Mar and accorded a 21-gun salute. By 1933, Clóvis Ribeiro accepted, apparently without reservation, that Ramos's design was the Bahia flag, even though it had not and has never been defined by law. Notwithstanding, as Antenor Teixeira points out in Os Símbolos na consciência cívica de um povo (Symbols in the Civic Consciousness of a People), constant use has struck "such deep roots in the consciousness of the people that the government would have no other alternative than to accept it as the representative symbol of Bahia" (quoted at the Bahia flag page of Governor Juracy Magalhães did give the flag a certain element of legal recognition in Decree no. 17628 of 11 June 1960: "The use of the flag of Bahia in military police and scholastic parades is reestablished as obligatory." The Diário Oficial of the state showed the flag in color on the cover of a special edition of 7 August 1964. However, the form of the flag has yet to be legally specified.
Sources: Bahia page at; Arthur Luponi, "The Flags of the States of Brazil: Bahia," Flag Bulletin 10:35-39 (Winter 1971)
Joseph McMillan, 21 August 2002

The question, "what do we mean when we say a flag is de facto?" arises with the flag of Bahia. Most vexillological sources describe this as a de facto flag because its form has never been spelled out by law. However, the 14 May 1967 state constitution (article 3) has the following to say about state symbols: "The symbols of the state are the flag, arms, and anthem in force on the date of promulgation of this constitution, or those that may be adopted by law." With some variation in details, it is well known what the flag referred to in this sentence looks like. So does this constitutional statement make what used to be a de facto flag a de jure one, or (since its design still hasn't been specified), is the Bahian flag still only de facto?
Joseph McMillan, 21 March 2003

In my humble opinion, it seems that it is de facto until there is another "that may be adopted by law." Isn't this slightly similar to an unofficial flag's status?
Francisco Santos, 21 March 2003

I don't know much about the flag situation in Brazil, but from a theoretical point of view, I would say that this is then now pretty much de jure. The legal definition of this flag as described above is not any worse than a number of flags that we would never call de facto, where the legislation declares something of the sort "The flag of Xyzia is as shown in attachment," where hte attachment is more or less obscure.
Zeljko Heimer, 21 March 2003

Variant Flag

Variant Flag of Bahia (Brazil) by Joseph McMillan

Arthur Luponi says, without elaboration or citation, that examples of the flag exist with a voided triangle in the canton.
Joseph McMillan, 21 August 2002

Confirmation of the existence of a flag with the triangle in the canton open in the center is in a series of cards of Brazilian state flags provided with bars of Eucalol soap in the 1930s. In addition, the first and third stripes are red; the most commonly used flags have the second and fourth stripes red.
Falko Schmidt and Joseph McMillan, 5 February 2003

19th Century Merchant Ship Pennant

19th Century Ship Distinguishing 
Flag, Bahia (Brazil)by Joseph McMillan

Some states had old maritime ensigns in the 19th century, including Bahia.
Jaume Ollé, 8 December 1999

The French Navy's Album de Pavillons of 1858 shows a set of galhardetes (normally translated pennants) flown by Brazilian merchant ships to indicate their province of origin. The galhardetes were rectangular, approximately 1:6. They were all simple geometric patterns, more or less like signal flags.
Joseph McMillan, 17 April 2001