“Colourful, cheerful and full of energy” is how you would describe Brazil and the Brazilian Flag. Like the country, the distinguished colours of Brazil’s flag make it one of the most recognisable national flags in the world.
The Brazilian flag is a unique national design based on astronomical knowledge. The design depicts the starry sky at a particular moment in history. It also recalls the origins of the modern Brazilian country. At the same time, the flag responds to the territorial changes of the native country and evolves with it.
Before giving you the ultimate guide to Brazil, let’s find the story behind the unique flag of Brazil first.
The Brazilian Flag History
The official version of the flag’s colours dates back to 1822, when Brazilian lands were liberated from the political influence of Portugal. In 1822, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves, collapsed. The leader of Brazil, King Pedro I, opposed the emerging monarchy’s submission to Portugal and declared Brazil’s independence from the kingdom.
The future emperor ordered the first imperial flag to be erected with the image of an astronomical sphere, the cross of Christ, and the royal crown framed by tobacco and coffee branches. Around the image was a sphere of blue with 19 stars—the number of regions of the empire’s lands at the time. When power passed to Pedro II, the number of stars on the coat of arms changed to 20 due to the appearance of a new region.
In 1889, the emperor and his system were abolished. Brazil became a republic, and on the same day, the flag was changed. The national symbol in its familiar form was set up in 1889. It was a gold-coloured diamond on a green cloth decorated with astronomical signs—the celestial globe and the stars.
The first version of the flag had 21 stars, the number of regions that made up the republic at the time. It wasn’t until 1992 that the current version of the flag with 27 stars was announced.
What Does the Brazilian Flag Mean?
Everyone has wondered at least once in their life what the stars and colours of the Brazilian flag mean, so let’s break it down.
Some argue that green symbolises Brazil’s vast forests, while yellow represents gold and wealth. As for the blue circle in the centre, it represents a clear sky, and the stars and white equator symbolise peace.
Others argue that green is the heraldic colour of the monarchical house of Braganza, whose descendant Dom Pedro I became the first emperor of independent Brazil, and yellow is the colour of his wife, Archduchess Maria Leopoldina of the Habsburg-Lorraine family. Now on to the blue ball, which looks like a globe but has stars; each star represents a Brazilian state.
The stars are arranged on the flag as they were in the sky at 8:30 a.m. on 15 November 1889, the day the new flag was adopted.
Best Cities and Towns to Visit in Brazil
Brazil is one of the most sought-after places for tourists. It has astonishing natural beauty, beaches with golden sand, and clear ocean water; the country has so much to offer its visitors. To help you know more about Brazil, here are the best cities and towns that you should stop by while in the country.
Rio de Janeiro is a Tourist’s Dream
Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant city with religious landmarks, symbols of Christianity, and the delightful beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
The biggest attraction of the city is, of course, the carnival. There are no words to describe the beauty of the carnival; it’s a colourful spectacle with samba dancers everywhere. No more spectacular event takes place anywhere else in the world.
The city gets into a partying mode for five days, celebrating and dancing. Many tourists try to get to Rio de Janeiro during the festive season. However, note that hotels and services increase in price during this busy period.
Visiting the attractions of the metropolis will take several days. The first place worth a visit is Mount Corcovado, home to the famous Monument of Christ the Redeemer, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Another must-see is Mount Pan di Azúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) which offers excellent views of islands in the ocean, beaches, and the statue of Christ. The metropolis also has many museums and palaces, which can take a day to explore.
Anyone visiting Rio should visit the city’s beaches; the most popular ones are Leblon, Ipanema, and Copacabana.
Finally, New Year’s Eve is the most unforgettable event of the year in Rio de Janeiro. Locals traditionally dress all in white and make flower offerings to the goddess of the sea, Iemanja.
The event takes place on Copacabana beach, and the Christmas tree is set up on a special platform in the middle of the lake. At midnight, numerous fireworks set off in the sky, and the show lasts for 20 minutes. Afterwards, there is a carnival and a disco too.
São Paulo: A Bustling and Populous Metropolis
South America’s largest city is one of the most crowded and populated places. It is home to many different nationalities, including Arabs, Japanese, Indians, and Africans.
São Paulo is famous for its rivers and mountains. Running through the metropolis is the Tiete River, which used to be the local population’s source of water. Unfortunately, today the water in the river is not drinkable, and the local authorities have implemented numerous programmes to clean up the water in the Tiete.
The metropolis is filled with metal and glass skyscrapers, and there are a number of preserved architectural structures, old churches, and historical museums that you should add to your itinerary.
Blumenau: Ocoberfest in Latin America
Germans founded Blumenau in the 19th century, and a large part of the current population is made up of German descendants. There are also many descendants of Italians whose ancestors lived in the vicinity of Blumenau. All this has left its mark on the city’s appearance, architecture and culture.
German culture is reflected in the old buildings with Alpine architecture, the inhabitants’ traditional half-timbered houses, crafts, art, traditions, and gastronomy.
In the centre of Blumenau, there are colonial buildings and flowering gardens. Also, the historical buildings in the city are carefully preserved and restored. While in Blumenau, you must stop by Vila Germanica, a stylised town with shops, cafés, and restaurants.
Blumenau also hosts the Oktoberfest of Blumenau, which is a beer festival of German traditions—speaking of beer! There’s plenty of it in Blumenau; there are restaurants in town where you can sample the different types of beer while snacking on Bavarian sausages! Blumenau is a very quiet and pleasant place; it is a great destination for those who like to relax in peace.
Paraty: The Smallest Colonial Town in the Country
Paraty/Parati was founded in the 17th century by the Portuguese invaders. The city’s name means “river of fish” in old Tupi, the language that was spoken in Brazil in ancient times. Paraty was formerly a gold mining area and the central port for precious metal exports.
Today, Paraty is a popular tourist destination and one of Brazil’s smallest colonial cities. It is a sort of open-air museum with cosy streets, gorgeous houses with tiled roofs, and ancient churches. There are many sandy beaches and islands to explore in the coastal areas as well.
Ouro Preto: An Attractive Tourist Town
Founded in the 17th century, Ouro Preto was a significant centre of the Brazilian Gold Rush during the Portuguese colonisation time. “Gold rush” means discovering and mining gold in the area. Due to its mountainous terrain, the city has very steep cobbled streets.
When the gold reserves dried up, the town was deserted and forgotten until the 1950s. On the plus side, this helped preserve the local colonial architecture. Today, the city is a popular tourist destination with many churches, bridges, and fountains, but the gold-digging era can still be felt in the city.
Thanks to its outstanding Baroque architecture, Ouro Preto was the first city in Brazil to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A must-visit location in the city is Tiradentes Square, where you will find the monument of the independence fighter Tiradentes. Other attractions you shouldn’t miss are: the former town hall, the Governor’s Palace, and the courthouse, which are not far from the square.
Brasília: UNESCO Heritage of Humanity
The country’s capital is situated in the heart of Brazil, and it has a surprisingly unusual layout. If you look at Brasília from above, it looks like a flying jet plane. There is so much to admire in the city, especially the extraordinary and unique architecture, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Campo Grande: The City of Natural Attractions
Campo Grande is one of the most developed cities in the country. Most city residents are migrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, the Arab countries, and Japan.
The main attraction is the Parque dos Poderes, and nearby is the Palacio de Cultura, home to the work of some of the most famous local artists. Also, one of the largest natural history and native culture museums in the country, the Museu das Culturas Dom Bosco, is located in Campo Grande.
The historic part of the city is fascinating with its neoclassical Pensão Pimentel and Solar de Bais facades. Additionally, many tourists visit the nearby villages, where they can see the local village life and buy fresh produce carefully grown by the villagers.
Travellers who love beaches will be captivated by the resort town of Buzios. There are twenty-three beaches to suit all tastes and a nearby fishing village with colourful boats.
Among the must-visit beaches in Buzios are Geriba, Praia de Tucuns, Azeda Beach, Praia do Canto, João Fernandes Beach, and Brava Beach. Regardless of your choice, you are guaranteed to have fun at the beach.
Pelourinho is the historic centre of El Salvador, which was the country’s first colonial capital. It is one of the oldest cities on the whole continent, as it was founded in 1549. The city used to be the place where enslaved people were punished.
Today, the city welcomes its tourists with an old district that is filled with pastel-coloured houses and music. Pelourinho is an excellent backdrop for Instagram-worthy photos.
The beautiful island of Ilha Grande was once a leper colony, and then it became a high-security prison. The prison closed in 1994 and is now a secluded spot for a quiet holiday. The beaches on the island are out of this world, so make sure to bring your swimming suit while visiting Ilha Grande!
Boasting an interesting flag and breathtaking cities, Brazil is one of those countries that has what it takes to make it to the bucket list of every traveller! There is no shortage of fun things to do or hidden gems to explore in Brazil.
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