Flamengo was founded on November 15, 1895, by a group constituted of 14 sportsmen. The club was originally created as a rowing club (Englishmen’s influence) to confront Botafogo, which was founded three years earlier and also became a soccer team after having started as a rowing club in Rio de Janeiro.
Each one of the 14 founders contributed with 400 thousand “réis” (Brazilian currency of that time) to buy a whaler called “Pherusa”, which was wrecked on its first trip, almost transforming into tragedy its maiden and sole journey. Other 500 thousand “réis” were used to buy another whaler called “Scyra”… This whaler was registered to participate in regatta contests in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay.
Soccer came to Flamengo only 16 years after rowing, when a group of dissidents of Fluminense, led by the Junior Official of the Brazilian Navy Alberto Borgerth moved from “Laranjeiras” (Fluminense football field) for the old house #22 of Russel Street, the first Flamengo headquarters, also called “Republic of Peace and Love”. It was 1911, but the official participation of Flamengo’s football in Rio’s League would happen only on the 3rd of May 1912, when Flamengo squad crushed Mangueira by 16-2 in the football field of America.
The colors red and black chosen for the football – which after all would turn into the standard colors of Flamengo – have a simple explanation. Red was in homage to Flamingo birds, while black was taken from the emblem of crossed rows with anchor that existed in the former golden and yellow Flamengo first flag. These colors, from the Rowing Dept. were quickly substituted because they could not resist to the damage caused by both the sun and salt of Guanabara Bay waters.
With its soccer, Flamengo won – among other important domestic & international trophies - 30 State Championships (including this year’s one against Botafogo), 18 Guanabara Trophy (First Round of Rio de Janeiro State Premiere League), 2 Brazil Cups (1990 & 2006), 5 National Championships (1980, 1982, 1983, 1987 & 1992), 1 Libertadores da America (the Continent’s most important championship – 1981) and the most important one – the 1981 World Interclubs Championship in Japan, in a thrilling 90-minute final against Liverpool (UK), when the team composed of Zico, Leandro, Nunes, Tita, Adílio, Raul and other magic players just needed 45 minutes to finalize the then-European champion by 3-0.
Rowing Dept. has also a magnificent history: since 1962, Flamengo was the State Champion 33 times and Brazil’s champion 18 times.
Basketball is not different, with a straight series of State Championships from 1951 to 1960. During the 1955 basketball finals, when Flamengo won over Sirio e Libanes by 45-44 in the final seconds that the club’s President Gilberto Cardoso had a fatal heart collapse at Maracanazinho Gymnasium. It is worth remembering that Flamengo recently conquered its first National Championship of Basketball, incontestably winning a team of the Brazilian capital in a 5-game-playoff series by 3-0.
Definitely, once and for all, the passion for red & black colors came to stay among the Brazilians and, also, overseas.
Forever, MENGOOOOOOO !!!