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Former State of Guanabara (Brazil)

Last modified: 2022-10-14 by ian macdonald
Keywords: rio de janeiro | brazil | guanabara | coat of arms | arrows | saltire | phrygian cap | st. sebastian |
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[Former State of Guanabara (Brazil)] image by Jaume Ollé

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About the Flag of the Former State of Guanabara

I now have good information about the flag of the former state of Guanabara, sent to me by my friend Carlos Noronha of Vitória (Espírito Santo, Brazil). He scanned a flag of Guanabara, and I produced the image.
Jaume Ollé, 17 August 1996

Guanabara state in Brazil had the same flag as Rio de Janeiro City. The latter was published in Gaceta de Banderas #65, sourced by Michel Lupant, but I believe that image has a small mistake. In the arms of the flag of Guanabara state, there's a white star in front of the mural crown. In the arms in the flag of the City of Rio de Janeiro, this star must be suppressed (although it is shown in Gaceta).
Jaume Ollé, 24 January 2001

The municipal flag of Rio de Janeiro was adopted in the year 1908. The State of Guanabara had the same flag, supplemented with the white star on the mural crown.
Jens Pattke, 6 April 2001

This image shows the Guanabara flag with the blue and gold version of the municipal coat of arms. But the red version of the coat of arms was on the flag of the old federal district of Rio de Janeiro, which became Guanabara when the capital was moved. Why would the design of the flag shift to blue at that point? Especially considering that the modern flag of the Rio municipality, since Guanabara's merger into the consolidated state of Rio de Janeiro, is also with the red coat of arms.
Joseph McMillan, 15 October 2002

Chambers's Encyclopaedia (London, 1973), in its article "Flag," says "Guanabara--On white, a blue saltire, in the centre a red badge (1908)." 1908 is given by Ribeiro (1933) as the date of adoption of the flag shown for the old Federal District.
Joe McMillan, 8 August 2005

About the Former State of Guanabara

Since 1763, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil, and from 1808 to 1821 it was also the capital of the whole Portuguese kingdom and colonial empire. In 1831, when Emperor Pedro I (King Pedro IV of Portugal) went back to Lisbon from Brazil, the Brazilian parliament administratively separated the city of Rio de Janeiro from the rest of the Province, designating it "the neutral municipality." Even after 1889, when Brazil become a republic, Rio de Janeiro kept its unusual status, changing its designation from "neutral municipality" to "federal district."

In 1960, Brasília was inaugurated as the new capital, in a new federal district. Not knowing what to do administratively with the city of Rio, which had just lost its status as national capital, it was decided to upgrade it to the status of a state. Meanwhile, a State of Rio de Janeiro already existed--the same one from which the city had been taken in 1831. Therefore, the former Federal District became the newly created entity of Guanabara State, named after the bay on which the city lies. That Guanabara State, with barely more than the 1500 km2 of the former national capital, existed only from 1960 to 1975. In that year, the federal government and parliament passed a law that joined the existing State of Rio de Janeiro (whose capital was then the city of Niterói) with the short-lived State of Guanabara.
Guilherme Pacheco translated by António Martins, 17 August 1999