The flag of Sergipe is based on a design of José Rodrigues Bastos Coelho, and is called the "Sergipano." It was designed around the end of the nineteenth Century and adopted officially on 19 October 1920. The first design was modified with respect to number of stars and their arrangement in the blue rectangle by a decree of 30 October 1951. Initially the stars represented the rivers of the state, but after the 1951 decree they represented the municipalities. A decree of 3 December 1952 reestablished the original design, in which the stars represent the state's river estuaries: Aracaju (or Sergipe), São Francisco, Real (or Estância), Vassa Barris (or São Cristovão), and Japaratuba.
As a factory owner and businessman, Coelho felt the need for a decoration to his vessels that would identify the state they came from. He therefore created the flag that was later made official by law no. 795 of 19th October 1920. The current law is no. 458 of 3 December 1952. The flag has the colors of the national flag. Jens Pattke, 27 December 2001, translated by Jorge Candeias"At the end of the 19th century, the Sergipean businessman and industrialist José Rodrigues Bastos Coelho, needing a distinctive mark for his ships to identify the state from which they sailed, designed a flag for this purpose. The flag, consisting of a rectangle with four stripes--alternating green and yellow--and a blue rectangle in the upper left portion with four white five-pointed stars--came to be known in the ports frequented by Bastos Coelho's ships, as the "Sergipean flag." The colors used were the national colors and the stars represented four river estuaries of the state, perhaps those most transited by the designer. This flag, with the addition of a large star in the center of the others to represent the actual number of Sergipean estuaries, was made official by law no. 795 of 19 October 1920. On 24 October 1920 the official flag of Sergipe was hoisted for the first time on the front of the Government Palace, taking its place beside the national flag."
The official state government site, www.governo.se.gov.br, identifies the five rivers represented by the stars as the Sergipe, Vaza-Barris, São Francisco, Poxim, and Cotinguiba.