The effigy is a representation of a young woman wearing a crown of bay leaves in Roman style. It is present in allegoric paintings and sculptures displayed in government buildings throughout Brazil, and engraved on Brazilian real coins and banknotes. It was first used as a pro-Republican icon in the 19th century, inspired by France's Marianne. After the proclamation of the Republic in 1889, it became an important symbol of the newly formed Republic.
The Efígie da República was adopted as a Portuguese State official symbol after the 5 October 1910 revolution, when the Republic substituted the Monarchy in Portugal. Before that, it was used as a political symbol by the Portuguese republicans. Later, the sculpture of Simões de Almeida, representing the Busto da República (Bust of the Republic), became the standard for official use. A reproduction of the Bust of the Republic had to be present, in prominence, in all public buildings and was also present, as an effigy, in the escudo coins. It was considered, by the new republican regime, as a national symbol of Portugal, like the national coat of arms or the national flag.
Although the original intention was for the Efígie da República to become considered as the personification of the own Portuguese Nation, it never gained popularity in that role. Usually it remains seen only as the personification of the republican regimen, and not as a national symbol. While frequently used in the first half of the 20th century, its use today is rare.