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Belém, Pará (Brazil)
Last modified: 2002-10-26 by joe mcmillan
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by Joseph McMillan
About the Flag
The flag is the municipal coat of arms on a blue field. The colors differ somewhat in other
renderings of the coat of arms, but these are the colors shown in the photograph of the flag
shown at www.belemvivo.com.br. The photo also
shows the quarterings and the shield itself edged in black, while other renderings show the edging in gold.
Joseph McMillan, 7 July 2002
About the Coat of Arms
The coat of arms of Belém was created early in the 17th century when the capitão-mor
(military commander) of the Captaincy of Grão-Pará, Bento Maciel Parente, along with Pedro Teixeira,
Ayres Chichorro, and the Baron de Abreu, decided to adopt a coat of arms to place on the Forte do Castelo.
The coat of arms is divided quarterly:
Source: "Nosso Pará", nº 1 - Série "HISTÓRIA", p. 7, transcribed at
the Brazilian Senate website.
- First, blue, with two arms holding cornucopiae, and a scroll inscribed
Vereat Aeternum-Tutius Latente [Eternal spring--securely hidden]. This motto alludes to the
Amazon and Tocantins Rivers, which hid their beauties from the eyes of the explorers.
- Second, silver with a radiant sun and a scroll inscribed Rectior cum retrogradus
[Seen straight in hindsight]. This quarter recalls the moment when Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco
founded the city; the moment of the foundation was preceded by a beautiful dawn.
- Third, blue with a silver tower, symbolizing the founder, Castelo Branco, whose name means "white
tower." The motto in this quarter is Nequaquam minima est (It is not the least),
an allusion to Bethlehem of Judaea, after which the city is named--Belém is Portuguese for Bethlehem.
(The reference is to Matthew 2:6, "thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the
princes of Judah.")
- Fourth, an ox and mule on a riverbank--presumably the banks of the Amazon--symbolizing the fertility
and natural potential of the Amazonian region for industry and commerce.
Joseph McMillan, 8 July 2002