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Franca, São Paulo State (Brazil)

Last modified: 2012-11-04 by ian macdonald
Keywords: sao paulo | franca |
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[Franca, SP image located by Eugene Ipavec, 18 October 2006

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About the Flag of Franca

The municipality of Franca (323,307 inhabitants in 2012; 60,733 ha) is located on the border with Minas Gerais, 400 km north-east of São Paulo.

Franca originates in the parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Franca e do Rio Pardo, established on 29 August 1805 on the land known as Belo Sertão do Rio Pardo, granted in August 1804 to Hipólito Antônio Pinheiro, a miner of Caconde. The name of the parish was soon shortened to Franca, a tribute to Antônio José da Franca e Horta, Captain General and Governor of the Captaincy of São Paulo in 1802-1808. In the beginning, Franca was made of two hamlets, Bagres and Cubatão, separated by a hill, and of lands of the Santa Bárbara estate offered on 3 December 1805 by the Antunes de Almeida brothers. The first urban nucleus of Franca was designed according to a grid centered on the church built in 1809. Visiting the place in 1819, Auguste de Saint-Hilaire reported that the village included no more than 50 houses but would soon become of greater importance, the sites for new buildings having already been delimited. The town of Vila Franca del Rei was established in 1821 by King of Portugal John VI; however, it was never inaugurated because of the aspirations of Vila São Carlos de Jacui to incorporate the whole region to Minas Gerais. The parish of Franca was eventually separated from Moji Mirim, as Vila Franca do Imperador, on 28 November 1824, and inaugurated the next day.

The municipality of Franca do Imperador was established on 24 April 1856 by Provincial Law No. 21. On 30 December 1889, the Municipal Council shortened the name of the municipality to Franca. The Station Borough developed around the railway station inaugurated on 5 April 1887 by the Companhia Mogiana de Estradas de Ferro. The Station District was established on 10 July 1934 by Law no. 6,544.

Franca is known as the "national capital of men's shoemaking" and the "basketball capital". Under different names, the local club won ten times the national championship (1971, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1998, and 1999) and six times the South American Club Championship (1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1990, and 1991).

The flag is shown on the official site at This flag is a historical flag which is also shown on the above mentioned page

The first flag of Franca was adopted in 1972; the current one was adopted in 2007.

The flag of Franca is prescribed by Municipal Law No. 6,944 of 25 October 2007. The description of the flag is to be found in Appendix 1 to the Law, unfortunately given on the source. The flag is blue with a lighter blue triangle pointing down, surmounting "FRANCA" in white letters. The municipal coat of arms is placed in the base of the triangle, its base overlapping the blue field. Fourteen blue rays are issuing from the point of the triangle, partially concealed by the coat of arms.

The coat of arms of Franca is prescribed by Municipal Law of 14 April 1930, amended on 26 January 1955 by Municipal Law No. 144. The arms were proposed by the historian Affonso D'Escragnolle Taunnay and designed by the São Paulo-based artist Henrique Manza.

"A rounded-off Portuguese shield, surmounted by a mural crown symbolizing municipalities. In the middle of the crown an escutcheon charged with a half moon, recalling the patron saint of the town, Our Lady of the Conception [on the drawing, a white moon crescent is placed on the blue gate of the median tower of the crown]. First (left), red (gules) a traditional jacket ['gibão de armas'] of the São Paulo pioneers ['bandeirantes'] proper pierced by three arrows argent above a river argent with three catfishes ['bagres'] sable (black), recalling that the pioneers moving to today's Minas Gerais and Goiás called the place 'Pouso dos Bagres'. Per pale (right) also red with a lion rampant and two crowns: a Portugal Royal crown from 1818 and a Brazil imperial crown. The lion comes from the arms of Vila Franca, Portugal; the crowns recalled that France was once called Vila Franca del Rei and, subsequently, Vila Franca do Imperador. Second (in base], a field azure (blue), a fortified town argent on a terrace proper, recalling the strong resistance opposed by the inhabitants of Franca to intrusion and invasion by the neighbouring authorities of Minas Gerais. The flag raised on the rampart by an armoured arm argent is charged with the arms of the town of São Paulo on a red background. The shield supported sinister by a Captain General in formal dress, with the emblems of the Order of the Christ, recalling Antônio José de Franca e Horta, "Governor and Captain General of the Captaincy of São Paulo, member of the Order of the Christ, noble from the Royal House". The shield supported dexter by a leather-clad man, holding a blunderbuss in the hand and a pistol in his belt, recalling Anselmo Ferreira de Barcelos, the leader of the 'Anselmada', a people's revolt against the Imperial power that broke out in Franca in 1838. Below the shield two fructed branches of coffee, alluding to the main source of income and plants of 'capim mimoso', a grass [Axonopus purpusi (Mez) Chase, Purpus' carpetgrass ] emblematic of the place, which was originally known as 'Campos de Capim Mimoso'. A white scroll inscribed in red letters the town's motto 'GENTI MEAE PAULISTAE FIDELIS" (People loyal to São Paulo), recalling again the resistance to Minas Gerais."

Nine yellow stars, added to the blue field in 1955, stands for the nine volunteers from Franca killed during the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932 (aka Paulista War). The shoe and the basket ball placed below the scroll, not mentioned in the original description, may have been added in 1955, too, or even later.

Ivan Sache, 31 October 2012

Historical Flag

[Franca, SP image by Dirk Schönberger, 30 October 2012

Official website at

The former flag of Franca is prescribed by Municipal Law No. 2,132 of 17 November 1972. The flag is made of the blue and white colours; blue represents the sky over Franca while white represents peace, knowledge and harmony. The white part, placed at the hoist, ends in an half-moon; blue covers the remaining part of the flag. The white part is charged with a branch of coffee placed per bend, green with red berries, representing the agricultural production in the municipality. Above the branch is placed a brown leather fur, representing tannery and leather industry. Above the fur is placed a stylized brown clog, representing industry and, especially, shoe-making.

Ivan Sache, 31 October 2012