A national flag puts forth a message by which a country’s citizens describe their authority, power, and unity. It's a source of pride and serves as a reminder that every country has a history of fighting for its position in the world. This truth is certainly real for the beautiful island of Madeira. FLAG OF MADEIRA (Bandeira da Madeira)
To fully appreciate Madeira's flag, a person needs first to understand its history with Portugal, the country from which Madeira has obtained autonomy. It is believed that Madeira was discovered in 1419 by Prince Henry, the Navigator's two captains, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and João Gonçalves Zarco. It was chance and not design that the captains encountered the island of Porto Santo. It was design and not chance that later moved them to the neighboring island of Madeira. Ironically, both these islands were inhabited because of the forces of nature. It was a storm that drove Teixeira and Gonçalves to Porto Santo and its rabbit outbreak that prompted them to inhabit Madeira.
Since its settlement, Madeira has been at the mercy of many outside forces, including a battle between the British Empire and Portugal, German promises and threats, the effects of Portugal’s participation in world wars, and Salazar's dictatorship. While Madeira has always yielded much from its fruitful land and its people's labors, those same people have only had a passive voice in Madeira’s fate. But just like its neighbor, the Acores, much of that changed by 1978.
Madeira has proudly flown its current flag since its adoption on July 28, 1978. The flag’s design is, in part, based on the one used by the group Frente de Libertação do Arquipélago da Madeira (Madeira Archipelago Liberation Front). According to historians, the rationale for adopting a flag with similarities to the one used by Frente de Libertação do Arquipélago da Madeira had was because using any other insignias or colors would mean nothing to Madeirans.
The colors of the Madeiran flag are blue that characterizes insularity, nobility, beauty, and serenity. It also symbolizes the blue sea surrounding the island. The gold speaks to the mildness of Madeira's climate as well as symbolizing strength, faith, wealth, purity, and constancy. The center of the flag contains The Cross of the Order of Christ, which is a symbol representing Madeira's tie to its nautical discoverers.The Cross of the Order of the Knights of Christ, with its red and white core, was used by sailing ships during the age of discovery.
All flags hold a special place in the hearts of their country's citizens. For Madeirans, their beautiful flag tells others that this is a place of unity among its people, land that is much beloved by its citizens and speaks to Madeira's history. As with all national flags, may this flag continue to provide its people with a source of pride, hope, and appreciation for all they have accomplished with their beautiful Madeira.