The official flag of Portugal features a vertical green stripe situated on the hoist side which takes up one third of the flag’s total area. The other two thirds are solid red in color. The nation’s lesser coat of arms, made up of an armillary sphere (otherwise known as a celestial sphere) and a Portuguese shield are set in the center of the flag directly on top of the border between the two principal colors. Portugal’s flag was adopted on June 30, 1911. The flag is known as both Bandeira das Quinas (Flag of the Five Escutcheons) as well as Bandeira Verde-Rubra; a reference to its green and red colors.

What Do the Flag's Colors and Symbols Mean?

The green on the flag is representative of Portuguese explorer King Henry the Navigator while the red shield is a reference to the revolutions that took place within Portugal during the 1800s. The shield also represents the country’s rich naval history and Portugal’s expanding influence during the time of King Alfonso Henriques. This esteemed military figure is also the reason behind the five blue shields depicted inside the larger armillary shield. These symbols refer to the five kings that Henriques defeated during Portugal’s Ourique battle. The larger white shield depicts Henriques armor.

Who Designed the Flag?

Portugal’s flag was designed by a group of native dignitaries including Columbano (a painter), Afonso Palla and Ladislau Pereira (veterans of the 1910 revolution), João Chagas (a journalist) and Abel Botelho (a writer). Following the abolition of Portugal’s monarchy the National Constituent Assembly along with the government appointed a commission with the aim of designing the country’s new official flag.

What Have Historical Versions of the Flag Looked Like?

Throughout its history, Portugal has been represented by a number of different flags. The first such version appeared around 1095 and consisted of a design symbolizing Count Henry of Burgundy. It featured a simple blue cross set against a white background. In later years heraldry designs were added. After that the flag’s red border was replaced by a royal shield. In 1830 the design was changed once again and featured a background consisting of equal parts blue and white.

This page was last modified on February 7th, 2018