Flag of Brazil
|Design||A blue disc depicting a starry sky spanned by a curved band inscribed with the national motto, within a yellow rhombus, on a green field. |
The national flag of Brazil is often colloquially called the Auriverde (The Gold and Green). Brazil officially adopted this design for its national flag on November 19, 1889, replacing the flag of the Empire of Brazil. The concept was the work of Raimundo Teixeira Mendes, with the collaboration of Miguel Lemos, Manuel Pereira Reis and Décio Villares.
Upon the proclamation of the Republic, one of the civilian leaders of the movement, the lawyer Ruy Barbosa, proposed a design for the nation's new flag strongly inspired by the flag of the United States. It was flown from November 15, 1889, until November 19, 1889, when Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca (acting as provisional president of Brazil) vetoed the design, citing concerns that it looked too similar to the flag of another state.
Fonseca suggested that the flag of the new republic should resemble the old imperial flag. This was intended to underscore continuity of national unity during the transition from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. Raimundo Teixeira Mendes presented a project in which the imperial coat of arms was replaced by a blue celestial globe and the positivist motto. It was presented to Fonseca, who promptly accepted. The flag was designed by a group formed by Raimundo Teixeira Mendes, Miguel Lemos, Manuel Pereira Reis and Décio Villares.
The flag has been modified on three occasions to add additional stars intended to reflect newly created states: 1960 (22 stars), 1968 (23 stars) and 1992 (27 stars). The most recent modification was made on May 12, 1992, with the addition of four stars to the celestial globe (representing states created between 1982 and 1991), and a slight change in the stars' positions was made to match the astronomical coordinates correctly. 
The globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress). The current flag was inspired by the banner of the former Empire of Brazil (1822-1889). On the imperial flag, the green represented the House of Braganza of Pedro I, the first Emperor of Brazil, while the yellow stood for the Habsburg Family of his wife. On the modern flag the green represents the forests of the country and the yellow rhombus its mineral wealth; the blue circle and stars, which replaced the coat of arms of the original flag, depict the sky over Rio de Janeiro on the morning of 15 November 1889 - the day the Republic of Brazil was declared. The number of stars has changed with the creation of new states and has risen from an original 21 to the current 27 (one for each state and the Federal District). 
According to Professor Paulo Araújo Duarte of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, "the creators of our republican flag intended to represent the stars in the sky at Rio de Janeiro at 8:30 in the morning on 15 November 1889, the moment at which the constellation of the Southern Cross was on the meridian of Rio de Janeiro and the longer arm [of the cross] was vertical." Another article, citing "O Céu da Bandeira (The Sky of the Flag)", by J.R.V. Costa, says the exact time was actually 08:37. This last article includes the designer of the flag's explanation of his intentions regarding the stars.
According to Brazil's national act number 5,700 of 1 September 1971, the flag portrays the stars as they would be seen by an imaginary observer an infinite distance above Rio de Janeiro standing outside the firmament in which the stars are meant to be placed (i.e. as found on a celestial globe). Thus Beta Crucis appears to the right of the constellation and Delta Crucis to the left, in mirror image of the way they actually appear in the sky (and, coincidentally, the way they appear on the Brazilian coat of arms). 
The motto "Ordem e Progresso" ("Order and Progress") is inspired by Auguste Comte's motto of positivism: "L'amour pour principe et l'ordre pour base; le progrès pour but" ("Love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal").