Created in 1820, it is said that the colours of the Peruvian flag- red and white- occurred to general San Martin during the liberation campaign, when watching a flight of “parihuanas”, a variety of flamingo with red wings and white breasts, after awaking from a siesta in the desert of Paracas. The flag comprised a rectangular of linen divided by two diagonals into four fields, white at the top and bottom and red on the sides. Since this pattern presented some inconvenience, in March 1922 it was decided to take the form of three horizontal stripes, the top and bottom ones red and the middle white, but since this new flag could be confused with the Spanish one, in May 1922 the stripes were changed to vertical ones, the two outside ones being red and the centre one white.
The Coat of Arms
A Congressional law passed by Simon Bolivar in 1825 consecrated the Coat of Arms of Peru. This consists of three fields: sky blue to the upper left, with a vicuña looking inwards; white to the upper right with a chinchona tree, and red in the horizontal lower field, with a golden cornucopia spilling out gold coins. These symbols represent the natural wealth of Peru. On the top, like a crest, is a civic crown of oak seen from the side. On both sides of the Coat of Arms are a flag and a standard.
The National Anthem
Once the Protectorate was established after the country’s independence, General Jose de San Martin called a contest to establish the national anthem as a symbol of sovereignty. The winning piece was written by Jose Bernardo Alcedo (music) and Jose de la Torre Ugarte (words). The anthem was sung for the first time in the Principal Theatre of Lima on the night of September 24, 1821, by Rosa Merino de Arenas, and was adopted as Peru’s National Anthem on April 15, 1822.