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The Flag of the Azores

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The Flag of The Azores

The Azorean Flag

Português: Bandeira dos Açores
English: Azores flag.

The nine stars represent the nine islands which are: Sao Miguel, Sao Jorge, Terceira, Santa Maria, Graciosa, Faial, Pico, Flores, and Corvo.

The bird represents the Goshawk which the word Azores derived from.

The shield represents the lesser arm of Portugal, of which the Azores is an autonomous region.

The Flag of the Azores (Portuguese: Bandeira dos Açores) is the regional flag of the Autonomous Region of the Azores. It is a rectangular bicolour with a field unevenly divided into blue on the hoist, and white on the fly. Adopted in 1979 by the regional government of the Azores, it is based on the traditional colours and symbols of Portuguese flags used prior to the revolution of 1910.

Construction

The flag is constructed in the same form as the flag of Portugal equal to 1 1⁄2 times its width, or an aspect ratio of 2:3.

The background is vertically divided into two colours: blue on the hoist side, and white on the fly.

The colour division is made in a way that blue spans 2⁄5 of the length and the remaining 3⁄5 are filled by white (ratio 2-3).

Positioned over the border of these two bands are nine five-sided stars in an semi-circular arch over a stylized golden goshawk, with its wings extended to the end of the stars.

Background

The Azorean colours have their beginning in the royalist history of the Portuguese nation, first presented in the coat of arms of Henry, Count of Portugal.

During the height of the Portuguese Civil War, in the early 19th century, the Azores served as an important Liberal stronghold, with the prominent Duke of Terceira struggling against the absolutists led by Dom Miguel. The colours of the flag were thus adopted from the Portuguese liberal flag, as to demonstrate the Azores’ important role in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Portugal. The Azorean flag therefore came as an adaption of the flag used from 1830 until 1910, when the monarchy was abolished.

Even in the post-Carnation Revolution, some groups, such as the Azores Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação dos Açores or FLA) began adopting symbols that were comparable to the traditional blue-and-white. The current flag of the Azores was mostly based on the flag first employed by the FLA, a right-wing independence movement that appeared after the Carnation Revolution, out of the fear of Portugal becoming a Soviet puppet-state. According to the organisation, blue and white stood for Portuguese classical liberalism, as opposed to the “totalitarian socialist forces” that would dominate the country in the mid-1970s.

Symbolism

Blue and white have always been the traditional colours used by the Portuguese nation.

The name of the archipelago comes from the Portuguese word açor, meaning goshawk, because it was supposed to be a common bird at the time of the discovery. However these birds never existed on the islands, they actually were a local subspecies of the buzzard (Buteo buteo), that was erroneously identified as goshawks by the first explorers. The Portuguese arms is present in the top left corner of the flag.

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