Flag of Portugal
|Design||A vertically striped bicolour of green and red, with the lesser coat of arms of Portugal centred over the colour boundary |
On June 30, 1911, less than a year after the downfall of the constitutional monarchy, this design was officially adopted for the new national flag, after selection by a special commission whose members included Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, João Chagas and Abel Botelho.
The current flag design represents a dramatic change in the evolution of the Portuguese standard, which had always been closely associated with the royal arms, blue and white. Since the country's foundation, the national flag developed from the blue cross-on-white armorial square banner of King Afonso I to the liberal monarchy's arms over a blue-and-white rectangle. In between, major changes associated with determinant political events contributed to its evolution into the current design. 
The explanation for the green and red colours that make up the background field arose during the Estado Novo period, the nationalist authoritarian regime that held power from 1933 to 1974. It claims that the green represented the hope of the Portuguese people, while the red represented the blood of those who died serving the nation. Sources believe these noble meanings are far from the truth and are nothing more than propaganda, to provide an honourable justification to their choice.
The armillary sphere was an important astronomical and navigational instrument for the Portuguese sailors who ventured into unknown seas during the Age of Discoveries.
The Portuguese shield rests over the armillary sphere. Except during the reign of Afonso I, it is present in every single historical flag, in one form or another. It is the prime Portuguese symbol as well as one of the oldest, with the first elements of today's shield appearing during the reign of Sancho I.