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Portuguese republican flags (1910ies)

Last modified: 2014-12-04 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: disc (green) | centro democratico federal | 15 de novembro | c.p.o. | justiça e liberdade | 1910 | carboneria | carbonária |
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Portuguese Carbonerians / Carbonária

The republican revolution of 1910 (and previous attempts and demonstrations) was largely inspired by a radical republican secret society called Carbonária (akin to the Masonry), inspired in an older Italian organization of the same name. These called themselves the charcoal-makers (carbonari), who were free to go out of town to the forests get their wood… and conspire at will away from the landlord’s spys — hence the alias The Forest Masons (Maçonaria Forestal). Being Saint John the patron of charcoal-makers, red and green was also their colour, both of genuine charcoal-makers guild and of the later secret society, and later the colour of Portuguese radical republicans…
António Martins-Tuválkin, 19 Feb 1998

I didn’t know the Carbonari existed outside of Italy. The Carbonari flag was horizontal stripes of blue (top), red and black, representing the burning charcoal.
Dave Martucci, 22 Feb 1998

Portuguese Carbonarians (namely Associação 31 de Janeiro, in Oporto) used a red flag with a green circle and some lettering. I was told these are based on (charcoal maker’s patron) St. John.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 3 Mar 1998

Federal Democratic Center «November 15th» / Centro Democrático Federal «15 de Novembro»

CDF flag
image by Jorge Candeias and Jaume Ollé, 26 Feb 2005

The flag of the Centro Democrático Federal «15 de Novembro»; approx. 1:2 red field with green disc, on it "15 / DE / NOVEMBRO", red, in three lines, and arched above, in larger green letters, "CENTRO DEMOCRATICO FEDERAL" (no accent mark).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 Mar 2000

This is an important flag for the history of the current portuguese national flag.
The Centro Democrático Federal 15 de Novembro (Democratic Federal Center November 15) is a political gathering of republicans in Oporto in the late XIX century, whose members were especially active during the republican uprising in that city in January 31, 1891.
More information about the center and the influence of its flag in the portuguese national flag can be found in the following excerpt of an article by Nuno Severiano Teixeira on the origin of the portuguese symbols that can be found at the website of the portuguese Presidency, at . (My comments between square brackets).
"[...] there is no confirmation that the green and red in the republican flag comes from these predecessors [previous portuguese flags with those colours]. The most direct predecessor has to be found much later, in the end of the XIX century: the flag of the republican uprising in Oporto in January 31, 1891.
The flag flown from the Oporto city hall in the morning of January 31, 1891, symbol of the republican uprising, was, indeed, red and green. Totally red with a green circle in the center, to which were added the inscriptions referring to the republican center to whome it belonged - the Centro Democrático Federal 15 de Novembro.
This flag, known by the rebels as the red flag [...] is, in its symbolic essence, the flag of the revolutionary and popular tradition. Firstly the symbol of the Cartism in England, it would be later flown in Paris during the revolution of 1848 and the Commune of 1870.
To the red background of democratic and trade union traditions are added various insignia and inscriptions, characteristic of the political clubs they belonged to. That's the origin of the vast majority of the flags of the republican centers, like that of the Centro Republicano Federal 15 de Novembro.
What is certain is that the first flag for the Republic that was flown in Portugal was red and green. When the Oporto revolution failed, the verde-rubra [green-red - an expression that later became a nickname for the portuguese national flag] flag becomes, to the republicans, the fundamental mark, the symbol of the Republic, for the moment vanquished but never giving up and which, after twenty years of struggle would triumph, after a sequence of actions prepared by the Republican Party.
That's all there is to it. The flag is red, with a green disc in the center containing the inscription “15 / DE / NOVEMBRO”, in red capitals, and an arc above the disc containing the rest of the club's name: “CENTRO DEMOCRÁTICO FEDERAL”, in yellow capitals.
Jorge Candeias, 19 Feb 2005


CPO flag
image by José Manuel Erbez, 14 Mar 2000

Flag shown in the cover of the book La revolución Portuguesa (The Portuguese revolution), by J. Brissa, edited in Barcelona in 1910.
Santiago Dotor, 14 Mar 2000

I have no idea about the green triangle on this flag from Brissa’s book. All other differences (wording and ratio) seem to be variants of a popular design. "C.P.O." might mean "Centro Popular Operário" (Worker’s People’s Center).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 15 Mar 2000 and Dec 2001

CPO flag image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 29 June 2009

This banner was presented in 1910 to a foreign newspaper as being the new Portuguese national flag. The reconstruction is based on a fragment of a photo published in the Argentine "La Nación".
António Martins-Tuválkin, 29 June 2009