The Portuguese discovered Azores in 1427 and eventually in 1431 it became an official Portuguese colony. There was no specific Azores flag during this time, however the symbol of the goshawk was popular because when the first explorers visited the archipelago of the Azores they thought the common buzzards indigenous to the region were northern goshawks.
A version of the modern flag was first seen In 1975 when the Azores Liberation Front formed to try and bring a forced independence to Azores. They chose the bicolour of the Portuguese flag that was used between 1830 and 1910 with the Portuguese liberals formed a government on the Azorean island of Terceira. Rather than include the Portuguese coat of arms, the Azores Liberation Front chose a goshawk with falling five-pointed stars.
After the Carnation Revolution, Autonomy was granted from Portugal in 1976 and a flag for Azores was adopted in 1979. It is very similar to that of the liberation front, the blue and white bicolour has a golden goshawk with nine five-pointed stars in a semicircle above and in the canon there is the Portuguese shield.
The Coat of Arms of Azores
The Coat of Arms of Azores features a silver shield with a red bordure featuring nine golden stars. In the centre of the shield is a blue eagle with red tongue, beak and feet.
At either side of the shield are two chained bullocks holding flagpoles with flags bearing Christian symbols. Above the shield is a gold helmet with another blue eagle on top; attached to the eagle are nine gold, five-pointed stars.
Below the shield is a gold banner that reads “Rather Die Free Than In Peace Be Subjugated.”
Portuguese Municipalities in Azores
There are 19 Portuguese municipalities in the 9 islands that come under Azores. Each has its own flag with coat of arms at the centre with 15 of the 19 flags featuring an Azorean goshawk. Here are some examples of those Municipal flags.