inhabited by various indigenous peoples, Pernambuco was first settled by the Portuguese
in the 16th century. The French under the french admiral Bertrand d'Ornesan
tried to establish a French trading post at Pernambuco in 1531.
The arms of Duarte Coelho Pereira,
the first owner of Pernambuco
(1534-1554) and son of Gonçalo Coelho
Arms: Or, a lion passant Gules, a chief
Argent, five five-pointed stars Gules, and a base Vert a latin cross Sable;
and a bordure Azure, five castles Argent.
a helmet to the dexter lambrequined Or and Gules, the lion of the arms.
arms are derived from the arms of Coelho which were: Or, a lion Azure,
langued Gules, within a bordure Azure, five rabbits Argent and the lion of
the arms issuant as a crest.
did not bear these arms because he was a bastard.
directed military actions against the French-allied Caetés Indians and upon their defeat in 1537
established a settlement at the site of a former Marin Indian village,
henceforth known as Olinda, as well as another village at Igarassu.
him Pernambuco was ruled by a large number of Governors
of Pernambuco (1534—1822) of which seven members of the Albuquerque
familiy held the office in the 16th and 17th century. The arms of this
ancient Portuguese family were:
Gules, five fleurs de lis 2, 1 and 2, Or.
A wing Sable, charged with the fleurs-de-lis of the arms.
1630 Recife was captured by the Dutch at war with king Philip III of Spain,
the possessor of the Portuese colonies in America. The Dutch established the
colony of Nieuw
Holland which, under the governorship of John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen,
soon comprised all of north-eastern South America from the Rio Tocantins to
the Rio Real.
reconquered Recife in 1654 and Olinda regained its status of political
center. Recife remained the commercial / port city. When the Dutch were gone,
however, the threat of the now unified quilombo of Palmares remained. In spite
of a treaty negotiated in 1678 with its ruler a war between the two remained. Zumbi who became ruler following the peace treaty and later
repudiated it, fought the Portuguese government until 1694 when soldiers
brought from the south eventually defeated him.
the restoration of Portuguese rule in Pernambuco the use of the royal arms of
Portugal was resumed:
Royal arms of Portugal supported by two angels
On a map of the province of Pernambuco by Andrea Antonio Oraci, Rome,
1710 the Mascate War took
place in Pernambuco. This conflict set the mascates (traveling
salesman) from Recife against the establishment hosted in Olinda and led by
the Senhores de Engenho (owners of the sugar mills, literally: sugar
was the scene of the most important rebellions and insurrections in Brazilian
history, especially in the 19th century.
was the year of the Pernambucan Revolution,
a republican separatist movement which resulted in the creation of the Republic
of Pernambuco. The main cause of the revolution was dissatisfaction with
the colonial administration. The republic was declared on 7 March 1817. After
military intervention, the secession ended on 20 May 1817. The current flag of Pernambuco
is actually the flag of that Republic.
general layout of the flag used by the revolutionaries still endures today,
as the flag of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco. The first flag was formed
from the requirement for a flag to replace the Portuguese flag that had been hauled
down from the Recife fort after the provisional government took control of
the city. The government originally considered hoisting the French tricolor,
but instead appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Father João
Ribeiro Pessoa to develop a design. The design was copied in watercolor by
the Rio de Janeiro artist Antônio Álvares - a painting that still existed
when Ribeiro was writing in the 1930s - essentially the same as the modern
state flag with the field dark blue over white, a single star above the
rainbow. The flags were produced by the tailor José Barbosa, who was also a
captain in the militia. The first flag was publicly blessed by the dean of
the Recife cathedral on 21 March 1817. The original drawing is preserved in
the National Library of Rio de
Janeiro and was published in the Anais Pernambucanos of Pereira da Costa. 
a reaction to the Emperor Dom Pedro I dissolution of the Constituent
Assembly, the was set up on 2 July 1824.
The Confederation was another separatist movement which comprised the
provinces of Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, and Ceará. On 29
November 1824, the Confederated forces capitulated to the Imperial army.
About the flag and the arms of the confederation Clovis Ribeiro
“On 24 November 1824 the Presidential Office of the province of
Bahia presented a design of the flag
of the Confederation of Equador to the Court of Rio de Janeiro, captured by
the Imperial forces fighting the republic in Pernambuco. Of the arms on the flag a drawing was made
for the court by the Captain of Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Francisco Paes
Barreto, later marquess of Recife. This drawing was a copy of the one send to
France to be engraved on the arms and objects of the republic. The drawings,
according to Mello Maraes, were immediately presented to Emperor Dom Pedro I,
and came into the hands of José Maria Besquó, later marquess of Cantagallo
but its later fate is not known.
The republican flag according to A.S. de Mello Moraes was as follows:
“A sky blue field with a yellow quartered shield in the middle, surrounded
by a stalk of sugar-cane and a branch of cotton. On the shield was a white
ring on which was written RELIGIÃO -
INDEPENDENCIA - UNIÃO - LIBERDADE, the words separated by four scarlet branches.
The disc was divided into two equal parts by a white fess. Its color was dark
blue and it had a scarlet cross fleurdelisé with two white stars below the
extremities of the arms, and two other ones below the fesse and in base nine
stars in a semi-circle.
On the upper part of the shield rose a scarlat sleeve from which
came a hand in the centre of which an Eye of Providence was drawn, encircled
by six white stars. The hand pointed to a white scroll on which the word “CONFEDERAÇÃO” was seen.
When the councillor
Pedro de Alcantara Bellegarde
presented “a model of the flag used by the rebels of the Confederation
of Equador” to the Istituto Historico Brasileiro in 1861, together with the
note with the description of Mello Moraes, he wrote the following about a
difference between the first and the second version: ‘The note says that on a
sky-blue background of the flag was a quartered shield of “light yellow”, the
drawing shows a square shield of the color indicated in the note. But nor
from the design nor from the rest of the note can be understood that the
shield is quartered, that is divided in four parts. Thus we have to say “a
square shield” and have to draw it conform the original.’
The drawing was certainly one of the two of the president of Bahia
send to the court by Francisco Paes Barreto mentioned before. With these data
at his disposal Alfredo de Carvalho made a coloured drawing of the “Bandeira
da Confederação do Equador” which was published in the ‘Revista do Nosso
Instituto Pernambucano’ n° 58 of 1903.” 
After all the achievement was:
Arms: Or, a disc Argent, inscribed with the words LIBERDADE - INDEPENDENCIA - UNIÃO - RELIGIÃO in orle, separated by two sticks in saltire
Gules; charged with another disc Azure, a fesse Argent charged with a latin
cross bottony Gules, between four five-pointed stars, two in chief and two in
base of the fesse, and nine five pointed stars in orle in base Argent.
Crest: An arm issuant vested Gules, the hand, charged with the Eye of
Providence proper, pointing at a scroll with the motto CONFEDERAÇÃO, and surrounded by six five-pointed
Garland: A stalk of sugar-cane and a branch of cotton.
ð See ilustration
in the head of this section.
1848 the brief liberal republican Praieira revolt took place in Pernambuco. It
was Brazil's response to the European year of failed liberal revolutions. Deodoro da Fonseca,
the marshal who crushed the revolt, much later overthrew Emperor Pedro II,
and served as the first president of the Brazilian republic.
the time of the Empire the imperial arms were used in Pernambuco. Coats of arms
were permitted to the states after the proclamation of the Republic in 1889.
arms of Pernambuco were adopted by Law n° 75 of 21 May 1895.They are:
shield charged with an oval showing a lighthouse and a fortress on a pier and
the Atlantic coast and a sun in the distance.
A lion couchant guardant proper
Garland: A stalk of sugar-cane and a branch of cotton tied with a blue and white
ribbon inscribed with the dates 1710, 1817, 1824 and 1889.
O Congresso Legislativo do Estado de
Art. 1.° - O escudo que deve servir como sello do
Estado de Pernambuco para authenticar os actos officiaes, conterá uma faixa
estreita, ellipitca, ornada de tantas estrellas quantos foram os municipios
do Estado e cercado o desenho ao extremo norte do Recife, que confronta a
Capita com o fraol e o fortim da barra, destacando-se ao longe a cidade de
Olinda e á direita o sol erguendo-se sobre o oceano. Encimando o escudo
ver-se-á o leão em repouso, á esquerda e aos lados a canna de assucar e o
algodoeiro em flôr, enlaçados, na extremidade inferior, por uma fita azul e
branca, tendo as datas 1710, 1817, 1824 e 1889.
Art. 2° - Revogam-se as disposições em contrario.-
Camara dos Deputados do Estado de Pernambuco, 21 de maio de 1895.
(a) José Marcellino da Rosa e Silva, presidente
Palacio do Governo do Estado de Pernambuco, em 25 de maio de 1895.
(a) Alexandre José Barbosa Lima
The dates are important dates in the history of Pernambuco:
1710: Mascate War, 1817: Pernambucan Revolution, 1824: Confederation of
Equador and 1889: Proclamation of the Republic of Brazil
arms were abandoned in 1934 but readopted in 1946. This last version in
modern rendering lacking the Atlantic coast, the shield barry Argent and
ðSee illustration in the head
of this essay.
Pernambuco is a
part of the together with the states of Rio Grande do
Norte, Paraíba and Alagoas.
Seat of the
command: Recife (PE).
© Hubert de Vries 2011-12-01