In 1789 some Portuguese colonials were co-conspirators involved in the Inconfidencia Mineira which was a Brazilian independence movement. When this movement came to light and the ring leaders were arrested, a Lieutenant Tomas Corte-Real gathered together all those that wanted to flee Brazil. They hired some mercenaries (funded buy a rich Goldmine owner called Francisco Barreto) to help them cross South America. They headed to a port called Antofagasta. Once there they hired 3 ships to take them to a new land.
During the journey a storm battered the ships for 3 days, the Santa Maria, Captained by Jose Sarcide, broke up and sank. The Sao Jorge captained by Louis Aguilar and the Merchant Ship, The Charlotte captained by John Charles made Land just 50 miles east of what is now New Zealand.
The Island seemed uninhabited. It was covered in meadows and seemed similar to an English county, as pointed out by Captain Charles. They decided to name the Island after the English and Portuguese patron saint, St. George or Sao Jorge in Portuguese.
Below shows the development of Sao Jorges national coat of arms and their flag