After the installation
of the republican regime, a decree of the National Constitutional Assembly,
dated June 19, 1911, published in the Government Gazette Nr. 141 of the
same year, approved the National Flag which replaced the Flag of the Constitutional
Monarchy. This decree had appropriate regulations, published in the Government
Gazette Nr. 150 (decree of June 30).
The National Flag is divided vertically in two basic colors, dark-green and scarlet, with the green on the hanging side. In the center, at the union of the two colors, is the national heraldic shield, edged with white and set on the manueline ringed sphere, in yellow and highlighted with black.
The width of the flag is one-and-a-half times the height. The division between the two basic colors should be made so that two-fifths of the total width are green and the remaining three-fifths are red. The central emblem occupies half the height of the flag, and is placed equidistant from the top and bottom edges.
The choice of the colors and the composition of the flag was not pacific, giving rise to heated controversies and the presentation of various proposals.
The explanation given in the Report presented by the Commission nominated by the Government prevailed; this report, which wasn?t always correct in heraldic terms, tried to express this National Symbol in eminently patriotic terms.
As the Commission saw it, white represented "a beautiful fraternal color, in which all other colors are blended, a singular color, of harmony and peace,, and on it, spattered by the shields (...) are the wounds of the first fierce battles for the Portuguese nationality. Then there is the same color white, enlivened by the enthusiasm and faith in the red cross of Christ, signaling the epic cycle of our maritime discoveries."
The red, the Commission said, "should figure as one of the basic colors because it is a combative color, hot, virile, par excellence. It is the color of conquest and of the smile. A singing color, burning, happy (...). It recalls blood and incites victory."
As for the green, the color of hope, the Commission had difficulty justifying its inclusion in the Flag. In truth, it was a color without any historical tradition, and they sought to explain it by linking it to the preparation and occurrence of the Revolt of January 31, 1891, in which green had figured in "the decisive moment in which, under the inflamed reverberation of the revolutionary flag, the Portuguese people sparked the redemptive flash of the dawn." Once the colors were defined, the Commission turned its attention to determining which were the most representative symbols of the Nation for use on the flag.
The ringed sphere, which had been adopted as the personal emblem of D. Manuel I and which had been since then always present in the national symbolism, represented the "Portuguese maritime epoch, a zenith point, essential to our collective life."
On the ringed sphere, the Commission decided to set the white escutcheon with the shields, thereby perpetuating and consecrating "the human miracle of bravery, tenacity, diplomacy and audacity that was able to bring together the first links of social and political affirmation of the Portuguese nationality."
Finally, the Commission thought "the white escutcheon with the shields should be surrounded by a wide crimson strip, with seven castles," as it considered these "one of the most energetic symbols of national integrity and independence."
The National Flag, symbol of the sovereign Republic, of
Portugal?s independence, unity and integrity, is the one adopted by the
Republic installed by the October 5 Revolution of 1910.
Public Relations Department of the Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Armed Forces
In "Blue-white to green-ruby, the symbolism of the National Flag", by Nuno Severiano Teixeira