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Brazilian Navy

Marinha do Brasil

Last modified: 2010-11-26 by ian macdonald
Keywords: navy | cruzeiro | jack | pennant | commissioning pennant | warship pennant | standard | anchor | stars: 21 (white) |
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[Brazilian National Flag and Ensign] by Joseph McMillan

See also:

National Ensign

Pavilhão Nacional

The Brazilian Navy flies the regular national flag as its ensign.


Bandeira do Cruzeiro

[Brazilian Jack] 3:4 image by Ivan Sache

The Brazilian jack is known as the Cruzeiro flag: 21 white stars on a dark blue field - a horizontal row of 13 and a vertical column of 9, orthogonally displayed (therefore with one star in common, so that total is 13+9-1=21).
Ivan Sache, 1 July 1998

Proportions 3:4. The famous Brazilian Cruzeiro is of importance as it is the basis for a whole set of Brazilian naval flags. It seems to me that the number of stars is maintained on 21 even if the number of the states has changed over the years, and that sporadic reports of a different number are erroneous unless some further evidence is shown. Those reports that agree with the number of stars as 21 seem to all agree in the their distribution--4 above and 4 below the central star and 6 on each side.
Željko Heimer, 23 March 2001

Twenty-seven stars have been introduced by law of 11 May 1992 into the national flag, but the jack goes on unchanged, according to a letter dated 19 November 1992 from the Brazilian attaché in Paris.
Armand Noel du Payrat, 23 March 2001

I note that in the Ceremonial code of the Brazilian Navy (MB Cerimonial) this flag is consistently referred to as a Bandeira do Cruzeiro and not by whatever the generic Portuguese word is for "jack." I even found a US Foreign Broadcast Information Service lexicon of Portuguese military terminology at that actually translates bandeira do cruzeiro as "jack."
Joseph McMillan, 23 March 2001

According to Clóvis Ribeiro, the Cruzeiro flag was originally adopted by decree 544 of 18 December 1847. The original version had 18 white stars on an azul celeste field (although remember that azul celeste in Brazil is often darker than the sky-blue color of the same name elsewhere). The stars symbolized the 18 provinces of the empire at the time, while the cross arrangement symbolized the original name given to Brazil by the early Portuguese explorers, Santa Cruz, meaning "Holy Cross." Additional stars were added in 1890 and 1900, so that by 1900 the flag had 20 stars, 10 vertically and 10 horizontally with a blank space at the center of the cross.
Joseph McMillan, 20 October 2002

Ceremonial code of the Brazilian Navy (MB Cerimonial) Art. A-2 Bandeira do Cruzeiro describes the jack:
"A Bandeira do Cruzeiro tem cor azul-marinho, forma retangular, metade do número de panos da Bandeira Nacional que for hasteada, dividida em quatro quadriláteros iguais por uma série de estrelas brancas, uma posicionada no centro e as demais igualmente espaçadas entre si, contando-se com a do centro treze no sentido do comprimento e nove no da largura, totalizando 21 estrelas (Fig. 15)."
which translated means:
"Art A-2. Cruzeiro Flag [Cruzeiro is short for "Cruzeiro do Sul," or "Southern Cross"] The Cruzeiro flag is navy blue, rectangular in shape, half the size of the national flag with which it is hoisted, divided into four equal quadrilaterals by a series of white stars, one positioned in the center and the others equally spaced from one another, with 13, counting the center one, in the direction of the fly and nine [in the direction] of the hoist, totaling 21 stars (Fig. 15)."
Joseph McMillan, 4 May 2005

There are apparently no regulations with information regarding the size of the stars, and that they are (presumably based on a photo of the flag in use) smaller on the jack than on the command flags based upon it. Different artists put the stars at 4 out of a hoist width of 90, or slightly larger 1/20 (3 out of a hoist width of 60).
Christopher Southworth, 5 May 2005

Command (Commissioning) Pennant

Flâmula de Comando

Brazilian Warship Pennantby Željko Heimer

Source: Album des Pavillons, 2000

Long triangular navy blue pennant with 21 stars in line, offset to the hoist. Ratio is not indicated, but from the image in Album 2000 it appears to be about 1:24. The MB Cerimonial also pictures another pennant called "Command Pennant," which is of the same basic design but much shorter (about 1:7). What the functional difference is between the two similar blue pennants I don't know.
Željko Heimer, 24 March 2001

MB Cerimonial is distinguishing between the masthead pennant at the end of a commission (flâmula de fim de commisão) and the simple commissioning pennant (flâmula de comando). The regulation spells out that the former is used only on the ship's last voyage before decommissioning. It is equivalent to the British "paying off pennant" or the American "homeward bound pennant."
Joseph McMillan, 24 March 2001

The "General Ordinance for Brazilian Navy Flags," approved by Decree of 6 February 1942, describes the "command pennant" as having as many white stars as the states of Brazil, the stars covering half the length of the pennant. The ordinance gives the dimensions of command pennants as 5 x 100 cm, 7 x 50 [sic; probably 150] cm, 13 x 300 cm, 17 x 400 cm, and 20 x 500 cm. The distance between the stars equals 1/4 of the hoist at the head of the pennant. The stars are sized to be circumscribed by an imaginary circle occupying 2/3 of the width of the flag at the location of each star, so that the stars diminish in size as they go from hoist to fly. According to the ordinance, this pennant could be flown on a merchant ship commanded by a naval officer.
Joseph McMillan, , 22 April 2001

According to the law, article 2-3-3 (
"The end of commission streamer is hoisted from the top of the main mast in the ships attached to the Brazilian Navy, replacing the command streamer, in the end of a commission with length equal or larger than six months, when the ship begins the arrival to the final port of the commission, and is removed at the following sunset."
Jorge Candeias, 26 June 2008

Standard of the Brazilian Navy

Estandarte da Marinha

Standard of the Brazilian Navy by Joseph McMillan

The parade standard of the Brazilian Navy, mentioned but not described in the Navy Ceremonial Manual, is silver-gray with the Navy badge on the center, a navy blue roundel with an upright anchor and the name of the service in gold, all surrounded by a gold rope and ensigned with a naval crown. The flag is edged all around with dark blue cord. A blue and white cockade and streamers, inscribed with the name of the service, are attached below the spearhead finial. The staff is painted blue with a silver spiral stripe.
Source: Photograph in the book, Fuzileiros Navais: Brazil's Amphibious Warriors (Rio de Janeiro, 1997).
Joseph McMillan, 11 March 2003

Naval Aircraft Marking

Naval Aircraft Marking (Brazil)by Željko Heimer

Source: Album des Pavillons, 2000

Concentric rings of green, yellow, and navy blue. The note to the figure in Album 2000 explains that a white anchor is painted near the roundel, and that the fin flash of green and yellow vertical bars is sometimes fimbriated with blue.
Željko Heimer, 25 March 2001