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Portugal - 1830 historical flags

Last modified: 1999-09-10 by jorge candeias
Keywords: portugal | kingdom of portugal | reino de portugal | royal standard | coat of arms | jack | naval jack | crown |
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The two designs of the portuguese 1830 flag

[1830 flag of Portugal - Version with unequal fields]
by António Martins

[1830 flag of Portugal - Version with equal fields]
by António Martins

Where both these flags used, was the flag altered around the turn of the century, or again, is one incorrect?

James Dignan, 26 September 1996

I think that one is a flag and the other is an ensign (I read this) but I have seen an image of the Portuguese ensign that is red with the shield.

Jaume Ollé

My 19th century flag charts show it both ways. The majority show the vertical division in the center, but the ones that I have more faith in show it offset towards the hoist. There is no discernable difference according to dates: from the 1850's to the 1910's, there is this confusion.

I have two actual examples of Portugese flags of this period. The small, cheaply printed cotton stick flag has the division in the center, whilst the large sewn flag has it offset towards the hoist.

I happen to have a duplicate copy of Preble's 1872 book "Origin and Progress of the Flag of the United States of America With an Introductory Account of the Symbols, Standards, Banners, and Flags of Ancient and Modern Nations" here in my office. In the text Preble says "The ensign is half pale blue and white, vertical and similarly charged, the blue next to the staff." This implies the blue and white are equal. But the illustration shows the vertical division and arms offset towards the hoist! Here in a single, reputable publication, you have both versions given. I suspect that the version with the arms offset towards the hoist is correct: the "centered" version is probably just a poor interpretation of the design.

Nick Artimovich, 26 September 1996

The old flag of the kingdom of Portugal was blue and white with a shield and equal vertical stripes for use on land (1830-1911), and unequal stripes (the blue 1/3, the white 2/3) for use at sea (1830-1911). I have access to a great number of Portuguese flags including 99% of the municipal flags (all with the same pattern: quartered or "gyronnied" with different colours, with the shield in the center for official use, and without the shield for civil use).

Jaume Ollé

The flag of the Kingdom of Portugal (Reino de Portugal), adopted in 1830 and replaced in 1910 by the present one had proportions 2:3, vertically divided blue on the hoist (1:3) and white (2:3) on the fly. The royal coat of arms was like the republican one but with no armillary sphere and with a crown above. The bottom of the shield, however, is not round like the republican flag and in pre 1820 flags but like a horizontal "{" (I dont know the proper heraldic term).

António Martins, 7 November 1996

Some days ago I found a 1908 book (see [coe08]) with a lot of info about portuguese flags. I'll squeeze it for every useful detail -- here's the first:

I and others have said that the naval flag of Portugal between 1830 and 1910 was similar to the national flag, being the blue field 1/3 instead of 1/2. That's not exactly true: In fact, the national jack (in portuguese "jack nacional" or "jaco nacional", a strange usage of the english word, showing the british influence on Portugal by that time -- in "normal" language it is called "pavilhão") was in that period very similar to the current.

Two decretes of 18 October 1830 (issued by the Liberal Government of Dom Pedro exiled in Terceira Island, Azores -- Junta Governativa da Ilha Terceira) prescribes the national flag diferently, however: The Navy Department (Repartição da Marinha) says the blue field should be 1/3, and the Army Department (Repartição da Guerra) says it should be 1/2.

This is explained by this book's author, Trindade Coelho, by that the flags hoisted abord ships wear off a lot in the fly part, while regimental and other army flags are square and seldom free flying. He adds that "The national portuguese flag, as used aboard war and merchant ships, and also in fortresses and State buildings, is 1/3 blue and 1/2 white." After this I don't know very well how to classify the usage of these flags any more...

The blue and white, based on the doubtful coat of arms of (the first) King Afonso Henriques, were the colors of the national cockade (laço nacional) since 21 August 1821.

António Martins, 21 September 1997

Royal standard of Queen D. Maria II

[Royal standard - Queen Maria II]
by António Martins

Naval jack 1830-1910

[1830 jack]
by António Martins

The 1830 naval jack of Portugal was a white square bordered blue (1/8) with the national coat of arms in the center. It's usage, I suppose, was , i.e., used in military ships hoisted in the rear mast.

António Martins, 21 September 1997

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