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Belém, Pará (Brazil)

Last modified: 2011-02-18 by ian macdonald
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Belé, PA (Brazil) image by Dirk Schönberger, 9 January 2011
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About the Flag

The flag is the municipal coat of arms on a dark blue field. The colors differ somewhat in other renderings of the coat of arms, but these are the colors shown in the photograph of the flag shown at The photo also shows the quarterings and the shield itself edged in black, while other renderings show the edging in gold.
Joseph McMillan, 7 July 2002

About the Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Belém was created early in the 17th century when the capitão-mor (military commander) of the Captaincy of Grão-Pará, Bento Maciel Parente, along with Pedro Teixeira, Ayres Chichorro, and the Baron de Abreu, decided to adopt a coat of arms to place on the Forte do Castelo. The coat of arms is divided quarterly:

  1. First, blue, with two arms holding cornucopiae, and a scroll inscribed Vereat Aeternum-Tutius Latente [Eternal spring--securely hidden]. This motto alludes to the Amazon and Tocantins Rivers, which hid their beauties from the eyes of the explorers.
  2. Second, silver with a radiant sun and a scroll inscribed Rectior cum retrogradus [Seen straight in hindsight]. This quarter recalls the moment when Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco founded the city; the moment of the foundation was preceded by a beautiful dawn.
  3. Third, blue with a silver tower, symbolizing the founder, Castelo Branco, whose name means "white tower." The motto in this quarter is Nequaquam minima est (It is not the least), an allusion to Bethlehem of Judaea, after which the city is named--Belém is Portuguese for Bethlehem. (The reference is to Matthew 2:6, "thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah.")
  4. Fourth, an ox and mule on a riverbank--presumably the banks of the Amazon--symbolizing the fertility and natural potential of the Amazonian region for industry and commerce.
Source: "Nosso Pará", nº 1 - Série "HISTÓRIA", p. 7, transcribed at the Brazilian Senate website.
Joseph McMillan, 8 July 2002