Monday, April 5, 2010

#176 Portugal...Thanks Nuno!

The 0.30c stamp is from 2007 Flags of Portugal issue showing flag of Azores,which is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal.

The Azores is a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,500 km (930 mi) from Lisbon and about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from the east coast of North America.

The name of the archipelago comes from the Portuguese word açor, meaning goshawk, because it was supposed to be a common bird at the time of the discovery. However these birds never existed on the islands, they actually were a local subspecies of the buzzard (Buteo buteo), that was erroneously identified as goshawks by the first explorers. The eagle on the flag is intended to be the celebration of that historical mistake. The nine stars stand for the nine islands of the archipelago, while the Portuguese lesser arms are present in the top left corner of the flag.

Blue and white have always been the traditional colours of the Portuguese Nation, first present in the coat of arms of Henry, Count of Portugal. During the height of the Portuguese Civil War, in the early 19th century, the Azores served as an important Liberal stronghold, with the prominent Duke of Terceira struggling against the absolutists led by Dom Miguel. The colours of the flag were thus adopted from the Portuguese liberal flag, as to demonstrate the Azores' important role in the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in Portugal.

It should be relevant to remark that the current flag of the Azores was mostly based on the flag first employed by the Azores Liberation Front, a right-wing independentist movement which appeared after the Carnation Revolution, out of the fear of Portugal becoming a Soviet puppet-state. According to the organisation, blue and white stood for Portuguese classical liberalism, as opposed to the "totalitarian socialist forces" that would dominate the country in the mid-70's.

The 0.47c stamp is from 2009 School Post issue.

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