We have written extensively here at SNN about the Golden Circle concept of a greater Caribbean culture which developed in the colonial period and stretched from the Upper South down through the Caribbean into northern Brazil. The societies of this vast region were Classical in nature rather than Progressive and their economies were based upon agriculture and free trade rather than industry and finance. It was the dream of many Southern nationalists in the first half of the nineteenth century to unite this region into a single confederation which could stand against the emerging power of the Progressive, industrial Northern United States. We have see how Southern nationalists formed organisations to promote the Golden Circle concept and (in the face of Northern and US opposition) attempted private military operations to make that dream a reality. We have seen the ruinous effect of Progressive, egalitarian and democratic ideals upon the region, destroying the prosperity and civilisation in many areas of the greater Caribbean (including inflicting poverty and destruction here in the South). We have even studied the symbolism of the Golden Circle concept and seen how it survives to this day in some parts of the South. This last subject is what we will look at today.
The flag which Southern nationalist leader Robert Barnwell Rhett proposed for the Confederate States of America was based upon Golden Circle symbolism. Rhett’s flag was never adopted by the Confederacy and conservatives rather than Southern nationalists governed the short-lived independent South. Even so, it is interesting to note that Brazil and nearby countries on the Atlantic coast of South America adopted symbols which in one way or another incorporated the Golden Circle. Before we take a look at Brazil though, let’s look across the Atlantic to its mother country, Portugal. As we have seen in our study of the origin of Southern culture and identity, Portugal built the first plantation society in the Atlantic on the island of Madeira. The Portuguese then spread the plantation system to the Gulf of Guinea, built trading posts along the African coast and began using African slave labour in their sugar plantations. Later, it was the Portuguese in Brazil who more fully developed the plantation model which was spread throughout the Caribbean and on up into the Lower South. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the Portuguese in the development of cultural and economic model upon which the entire Golden Circle region was built. Portugal is in many respects the mother country of the Golden Circle. Therefore, it is interesting to note that Portugal today has a Golden Circle around its shield as the focus of its flag. The flag of the former monarchy did not have this symbol. The Empire of Brazil (1847-1889), which invited Confederates refugees to re-settle in Brazil, had a Golden Circle in the centre of its flag surrounded by two more circles on a golden background. The current flag of Brazil has a blue globe in the centre on a golden background, forming, quite obviously, a Golden Circle. The national seal of Brazil today has perhaps the most explicit Golden Circle symbolism of all. The two nearby Spanish-speaking and largely Western-populated countries of Uruguay (which seceded from Brazil) and Argentina also have the Golden Circle on their flags; it appears in the centre of Argentina’s flag and in the upper-right corner of Uruguay’s flag.
Perhaps all of this means nothing. It could merely be a coincidence. If so, it is an interesting coincidence though, given the origins and history of the Golden Circle that we have been studying.
Also see: More Golden Circle symbolism