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The Jesuits

Principality and Empire

Republica Rio-Grandense

Estado do Rio Grande do Sul



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The first Spaniards to reach the region that is nowadays Paraguay, Northwestern Argentina and Rio Grande do Sul, were Jesuit priests who settled there with the idea of converting the indigenous population to Catholicism. To that end, they founded villages known in Castilian as misiones or reducciones, and in Portuguese as missões or reduções, populated by Guarani Indians.

In the early 17th century, the Jesuits founded missions to the East of the Uruguay river, in the Northwest of modern Rio Grande do Sul.

The Missões were destroyed by slave-preying bandeirantes, between 1636 and 1638; however, in 1687, the Jesuits were back to the region, having (re)founded seven reductions - the Sete Povos das Missões. The region remained under Spanish sovereignty, though in practice the Jesuits operated quite independently, up to the late 17th century. Finally the Jesuits were expelled from South America in 1756.

In 1738 the territory (which included the present state of Santa Catarina) became the Capitania d'el Rei and was made a dependency of Rio de Janeiro. In 1760 the captaincy of Rio Grande de São Pedro was created with the town of Rio Grande as its capital. For military convenience the district of Santa Catarina was separated from that new captaincy. Territorial disputes between Spain and Portugal led to the occupation by the Spaniards of the town of Rio Grande and neighbouring districts from 1763 to 1776. The capture of Rio Grande in 1763 caused the removal of the seat of government to Viamão at the head of Lagoa dos Patos; in 1773 Porto dos Cazaes, renamed Porto Alegre, became the capital.

When they reverted to the Portuguese in 1776, the Santo Ildefonso Treaty of 1777 granted the coastal region to Portugal, and the Missões to Spain.

On 19 September 1807 Rio Grande de São Pedro was elevated to the category of a “capitania-geral” by the Portuguese, with the designation of “São Pedro do Rio Grande do Sul”, independent of Rio de Janeiro, and with Santa Catarina as a dependency. In 1812 Rio Grande and Santa Catarina were organized into two distinct administrative divisions, the latter becoming an independent province on 28 February 1821 when the Empire of Brazil was organized.


The República do Piratini or República Rio-Grandense 11.09.1836 - 01.03.1845

Unwillingness of the Imperial Government to take protectionist measures against the import of products from Rio de la Plata led to political demands of greater autonomy by the landowners of Rio Grande, and ideas of a federal relationship towards the rest of Brazil were put forth. These escalated into the full Farroupilha rebellion on 20 September 1835. An independent state was proclaimed on 11 September 1836 by Antônio de Souza Netto. The new state was called the República do Piratini (after its ephemeral capital Piratini) and later the Republica Rio-Grandense. Bento Gonçalves da Silva became its first president.

In 1842, the Empire assigned a new Provincial governor and military commander, Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, later Duke of Caxias. The inability of the rebels to secure contact with the world through a seaport, the dwindling economy of the Province, combined with Caxias’ superior capabilities as a military commander, led to the fall, in 1843, of the important rebel strongholds of Caçapava, Bagé, and Alegrete.

As a result the Republic was dissolved on 1 March 1845 and reintegrated into the Brazilian Empire.




The Jesuits




From the beginning of their colonisation of the South American territories the Jesuits were subordinated to all these Spanisg Governmental institutions.

Their emblem consisted of a sun radiant charged with the cypher IHS and the three nails of the cross of Christ below

Sometimes this emblem was placed on a shield:


The arms of the Societas Jesu

From: Joseph, Padre S.J: Historia Natvral e Moral de las Indias. Sevilla, 1590. frontispiece.


The Brazilian Principality and the Empire.



In the time of Portuguese Rule the emblems of Portugal and the Principality of Brazil were valid in Rio Grande.These were replaced by the emblems of the Brazilian Empire from 1821 until 1889 with the exeption of the time when the República Rio-Grandense was founded on its territory.


República Rio-Grandense

11.09.1836 - 01.03.1845


The first emblem of the Republica Rio-Grandense is on a Peso coin dated 1835.


Bronze peso coin of the Republica Rio-Grandense, 1835

Showing a sword upright crested with a phrygian cap and held by two clasped hands[1]


The achievement of the Republica Rio-Grandense was probably adopted in 1836, soon after the proclamation of the Republic on 11 September 1836. The achievement was:


Arms: Argent, a diamond shaped shield, tierced per fess Vert, Or and Gules, an escutcheon Argent, a sword per pale crested with a phrygian cap Gules and surrounded by a crown of laurel; between two pillars crested with globes and standing on a base wavy of three tops Vert; and a bordure Argent bearing the legend: REPUBLICA RIO GRANDENSE 20 DE SPTEMBRO DE 1835.

Supporters: A trophy of a spear, four rifles, four national flags and two cannon in saltire all proper, the flags being of three bends green, red and yellow.

Motto: LIBERDADE IGUALDADE HUMANIDADE. (Liberty, Equality, Humanity) [2]


A device called a coat of arms is described in the decree of 12 November 1836 about the flag of the Republic. The decree reads:


“Occupando já na grande familia das nações no logar, que lhe compete, o Estado Rio Grandense, e convindo que ella tenha um escudo de armas, o presidente da Republica decreta:

O escudo de armas do Estado Rio Grandense será de ora em diante da fórma de um quadrado dividido pelas tres côres, assim dispostas: a parte superior, junto á haste, verde, é formada por um triangulo isoceles, cuja hypothenusa será parallela á diagonal do quadrado; o centro escarlate, formado por um hexagono, determinado pela hypothenusa do primeiro triangulo, e o de outro igual e symetricamente disposto, côr de oiro que formará a parte superior.

Domingos José de Almeida, ministro e secretario de Estado dos Negocios do interior, assim o tenha entendido e faça executar com os despachos necessarios

(a) José Gomes de Vasconcellos Jardim

(a) Domingos José de Almeida[3]


Which, in fact is an intricate descripion of the national flag of the Republic. Some ancient representations of the achievement show what achievement was adopted in fact.


Achievement of the Republica Rio-Grandense, probably from the time of the republic (1836-1845)

(Coll. Museu Julio de Castilhos, Porto Alegre)


In this version the stars are five-pointed and a horse, a sheep and a bull are added in base. As a crest there is the Eye of Providence which did not return in younger versions. Above it is a trumpeting angel on the clouds announcing ?

On the compartment we see the symbols of navigation and commerce, a cornucopia for prosperity, a plant of cotton and grapes of vine.


Estado do Rio Grande do Sul


The achievement of the Republica Piratiny or the Republica Rio-Grandense was adopted as the achievement of the State of Rio Grande do Sul by Constitution of the State of 1891, Art. VI. The design shows some differences with the design illustrated above. The achievement is now:


Detail of a cloth showing the achievement of Rio Grande do Sul,

Probably end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century  (Coll. Museu Julio de Castilhos, Porto Alegre)


Arms: Argent, a diamond tierced per fess Vert, Gules and Or, in chief a six-pointed star Or and in base a six-pointed star Gules; and a rectangular escutcheon Argent, a sword per pale crested with a phrygian cap and surrounded by a crown of laurel; between two pillars crested with a globe Or, standing on hills Vert; and a bordure Argent bearing the legend: REPUBLICA RIO GRANDENSE / 20 SEPTEMBRO 1835.

Crest: A trumpeting angel hovering above the clouds

Supporters: A trident, two spears, two rifles and four national flags in saltire and in base a trumpet and a cannon per fess, the cannon charged with two swords in saltire.

Motto: LIBERDADE IGUALDADE HUMANIDADE on a yellow-white-red ribbon.


Clothes showing the achievement of Rio Grande do Sul,

Probably end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century  (Coll. Museu Julio de Castilhos, Porto Alegre)


Somewhat later the trumpeting angel was omitted.

In 1934 the achievement was abandoned and replaced by the National Emblem of Brazil. After WW II however the emblems of the states were restored.


Arms of the the State of Rio Grande do Sul (?)

Ministério do Interior

(Acervo do Museu Julio de Castilhos, Porto Alegre)  [4]


A picture from this time, probably a project, shows the achievement still further simplified by omitting the bordure with the legend referring to the rebellious republic of 1835.

Also, the diamond tierced per fess is changed into a diamond  all Vert charged with a rectangular escutceon Or (the colors of the Brazilian flag) and the two stars are replaced by two suns radiant.


The present achievement was adopted by Lei estadual nº 5.213, de 5 de Janeiro de 1966. revised by Lei estadual n° 12.072, de 22 de abril  de 2004. It is:


Arms: Argent, a diamond shaped shield Vert, charged with a five-pointed stars Or, one in chief and one in base and an escutcheon Argent, a sword per pale crested with a phrygian cap Gules and surrounded by a crown of laurel; between two pillars crested with globes and standing on a base wavy of three tops Vert; and a bordure Azure bearing the legend: REPUBLICA RIO GRANDENSE / 20 DE SPTEMBRO DE 1835.

Supporters: A trophy of a spear, four rifles, four national flags and two cannon in saltire all proper, the flags being of three bends sinister green, red and yellow.

Motto: LIBERDADE IGUALDADE HUMANIDADE. (Liberty, Equality, Humanity)


ð See illustration in the head of this essay.


The section of the law about the achievement reads:





Gabineta de Consultoria Legislativa


LEI Nº 5.213, DE 5 DE JANEIRO DE 1966

(atualizada até a Lei nº 12.072, de 22 de abril de 2004)


Dispõe sobre a forma e a apresentação dos símbolos do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul e dá outras providências.





Secção IV

Das Armas


Art. 8º - As Armas do Estado são as da histórica República Rio-Grandense, com as seguintes especificações (Anexo nº 4):

http://www.al.rs.gov.br/legiscomp 2


I - Escudo oval: Em campo de prata:

a) um quadrilátero de prata com um sabre de ouro, em pala, sustentando na ponta um barrete frígio, de vermelho, entre dois ramos floridos de fumo e erva-mate, de sua cor, que se cruzam sob o punho do sabre;

b) inscrito num losango, com duas estrelas de cinco pontas de ouro colocadas nos ângulos superior e inferior;

c) ladeado por duas colunas jônicas compostas com capitel e três anéis no terço inferior de fuste liso, de ouro, encimadas por uma bala de canhão antigo, de preto, assentes sobre

d) um campo ondulado, de verde em ponta.

II - Uma bordadura de azul, perfilada de preto, carregada com a inscrição REPÚBLICA RIO-GRANDENSE e a data 20 DE SETEMBRO DE 1835, de ouro, separadas por duas estrelas de cinco pontas, também de ouro, contendo o descrito no inciso I;

III - O escudo está sobreposto a

a) quatro bandeiras tricolores (verde, vermelho e amarelo) entre-cruzadas duas a duas com hastes rematadas de flor de lis invertida, de ouro. As duas bandeiras dos extremos estão decoradas com uma faixa vermelha com bordas de ouro, atada junto à ponta flor de lisada;

b) uma lança de cavalaria, de vermelho, rematada por uma flor de lis invertida, de ouro, entre

c) quatro fuzis armados de baionetas de ouro, e na base do conjunto

d) dois tubos-canhão, de negro, entrecruzados, semi-encobertos pelas bandeiras;

IV - Um listel de prata com a legenda: LIBERDADE IGUALDADE HUMANIDADE, de negro, completando o brasão de Armas.



Armed Forces





The State of Rio Grande do Sul is the territory of the 3rd Military Region.

Its headquarters are in Porto Alegre.


The arms are derived from the arms of the family De Sousa Prado.


Brigada Militar



The achievement of the Military Police is:


Arms: Or, a bayonet per pale Gules, charged with an oval shield of the arms of rio Grande do Sul, the bordure Azure, five five-pointed stars Argent; and surrounded by a branch of cotton and a branch of tea; and a bordure Gules, five billets in chief and ten five pointed stars Or.

Crest: A centaur proper and a five-pointed star radiant of five rays pointing downwards Gules.

Garland: Branches of oak

Motto: 18 DE NOVEMBRO DE 1837.


The parts of the achievement are explained as follows:


·           Bayonet: Justice and Disciplin

·           5 Silver Stars on the bordure: 1 Comand, 2 Companies Infantry, 2 Companies Cavalry

·           Branches of tobacco and  tea: The traditional wealth of Rio Grande do Sul

·           10 golden stars: The main campaigns: 1865: War of Paraguay; 1874: Campaign against Mucker; 1893: Federal Revolution; 1923: Assista Revolution; 1924-1925: Paulista and Colina Prestas Revolution; 1926: Rebellions of Bagé, São Gabriel and Santo Maria; 1927: Rebellions of Erexin and Santa Bárbara; 1930 Revolution; 1932: Constitutional Revolution.

·           Five billets: Five commanders: Col. Claudino Nunez Pereira; Col. João de Deus Canabarro Cunha; Col.  Affonso Emilio Massot; Col. Fabricio de Oliveira Pilar; Col. Appáricio Gonçalves Borges.

·           The Centaur: Vigilance, Wisdom, Autority, Bravery and Protection.

·           Red star: State of Rio Grande do Sul

·           Five rays: Five designations: Força Policial - Corpo Policial - Guarda Civica - Brigada Policial - Brigada Militar.

·           Branches of oak:  Force and Longevity

·           Legend: The date of the foundation of the corps






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© Hubert de Vries 2011-12-13


[1] Clericus, Ludwig: Außereuropäische Wappen. In: Der Deutsche Herold, 1879, p 124 Taf. XII.

[2] After a description by Alfredo de Carvalho: Brazões do Brasil Republicano, no “Almanach de Pernambuco”, 1904, pag. 13 (in: Ribeiro. Clovis: Brazoes e Bandeiras do Brazil. Editoria Sao Paolo. Sao Paolo, 1933. Pp. 145-146).

[3] Ribeiro, op. cit.

[4] No information about the four pictures from the Museo Julio de Castilho could be obtained.

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