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São Francisco do Sul, Santa Catarina (Brazil)

Last modified: 2021-12-11 by ian macdonald
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Flag of São Francisco do Sul, SC (Brazil) image by Ivan Sache, 7 November 2021

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The municipality of São Francisco do Sul (52,721 inhabitants in 2019; 49,372 ha) is located 200 km north of Florianópolis.

Ivan Sache, 7 November 2021

Description of the Flag

The flag is from
Dov Gutterman, 23 January 2002

The coat of arms was designed by the historian Dr. Affonso de Escragnolle Taunay. It shows a Portuguese ship from the 1500s with all sails set, representing the arrival of the explorers and their taking possession of the coast for o domínio das quinas (Portugal). The five escutcheons along the chief represent those who explored and settled the area. First, the arms of Álvaro Nuñes Cabeza de Vaca, who arrived at this area in 1540; the fleur-de-lis also refers to Norman Frenchmen from Honfleur who visited the bay in 1504. Second, the Sanábria family, recalling a Spanish attempt to settle the area in 1549, with the bishop's crosier representing the first illustrious person to be born in the area, Fernando de Trejo y Sanábria, born in 1554 and later Bishop of Tucumán in Argentina. Third (and largest) the arms of Pero Lopes de Souza, the first donatary of Santa Catarina, chartered as such by King D. João III. Fourth, the arms of the Fernandes family quartering those of the Andrades, among the first to receive charters to bring settlers. And fifth, Rodrigues quartering Pires. On the mural crown is an escutcheon showing the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (the municipality's namesake). The supporters are a Paulista bandeirante and a Spanish conquistador. The shield is flanked by branches of manioc and rice. The motto is In littore pro Brasilia vigil, (On the shore on watch for Brazil). São Francisco do Sul was traditionally the last outpost of Brazil on the border with Spanish-controlled territory.
Joseph McMillan,18 March 2002

The coat of arms of São Francisco do Sul was originally prescribed by Municipal Law No. 288 promulgated on 24 November 1928.

Portuguese rounded-off shield surmounted by a mural crown proper to towns. As the main charge, a Portuguese royal vessel all sails displayed, recording the arrival in majestic Babitonga and in the magnificent port of São Francisco of the fleets that explored the Brazilian coasts and took possession of Brazil for the Kingdom of Portugal.
In chief, five escutcheons recalling the foundation of São Francsico. In the center, bigger, the arms of Pedro Lopes de Souza, first grantee of Santa Catarina by John III, as lord of the lands of Sant'Anna. The first escutcheon recalls the first stay in São Francisco, in 1540, of the famous adelantado Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, whose family arms are reproduced. This escutcheon is also a reference to the stay in São Francisco, or nearby, in 1504, of the French from Honfleur, de Paulmier de Gonneville and the "Espoir", the fleur-de-lis being taken from the arms of Honfleur. The second escutcheon features the arms of the Sanabria lineage, recording the Spanish attempt of settlement of São Francisco by Diego de Sanabria in 1547, ordered by Charles V and ended in a disaster. The staff featured on the escutcheon evokes the first famous native from São Francisco and Santa Catarina, Hernando de Trejo y Sanabria, born in 1554 in São Francisco, bishop of Tucumán and founder of the University of Córdoba in Argentina. The fourth escutcheon features, in the first quarter, the four scallops of the Fernandes family; it records António Fernandes, the original settler, who was granted a domain "to settle the town founded by his country in São Francisco do Sul, where stands a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Grace", which is São Francisco's first legal document. In the second quarter, the bend engulfed by snakes of the Andrade family, evoking the foundation of the town by Manoel Lourenço de Andrade. The saltires with fleur-de-lis, of the Pires family, recall Rafael Pires Pardinho, the honest magistrate who reorganized the legal and administrative affairs of the town in the early 18th century.
On the mural crown, above the central gate, another escutcheon features the wounds of St. Francis of Assisi and a hands' halo, the attribute of the town's patron saint, Our Lady of Grace.
The shield supported dexter by a pioneer wearing his typical jacket, evoking the São Paulo pioneers who eventually established the town; sinister by a Spanish conquistador wearing a complete armour, based on a model of the Madrid Royal Arsenal, recalling the Spanish attempts of colonizing Santa Catarina.
The scroll, with cassava and sugarcane plants, is inscribed the motto "In Littore Pro Brasila Vigil ("Sum" implied), meaning "I am watching the coasts for Brazil", highlighting São Francisco as the ultimate post on the coast and the advanced guard of Brazil.

These arms were offered to the municipality of São Francsico do Sul by Afonso d'Escragnolle Taunay (1876-1958). Known as "the São Paulo historian" for his numerous contributions, the monumental "História geral das bandeiras paulistas" (11 volumes, 1924-1950) and "História do café no Brasil" (15 volumes, 1939-1943), Afonso de Taunay was born in Nostra Senhora de Desterro (today, Florianópolis) from Viscount de Taunay (1843-1899), then President of the Santa Catarina province. He designed the arms of several municipalities in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Bania, and of four Santa Catarina municipalities: Blumenau, Joinville, Laguna and São Francisco do Sul.

The new Constitution promulgated on 10 November 1937 in the aftermath of the 1930 Revolution abolished the coat of arms of the Brazilian states and municipalities. The next Constitution, promulgated in September 1946 re-established them. Oddly enough, São Francisco kept using the arms designed by Afonso de Taunay and officially re-adopted them only in 1967, by Municipal Law No. 405 promulgated on 23 September.
Edison Mueller. 1986. Afonso de Tunay e a heráldica municipal catarinense. ÁGORA: Arquivologia Em Debate, 2(3), 22–26
Edison Mueller. 1986. Afonso de Tunay e a heráldica municipal catarinense. Conclusão do numéro anterior. ÁGORA: Arquivologia Em Debate, 2(4), 10-23


Ivan Sache, 7 November 2021