Flamingo dreamin'

I visited Mary's Corner of the World and read some of her posts. A few pics of flamingos in Las Vegas got my attention.

I remembered a story I heard as a child, a popular belief preserved by Abraham Valdelomar in his story, published in 1917, about San Martín's Dream.

Who's that guy and what did he dream about?

José de San Martín
was, along with Simón Bolívar and other patriots, the liberator of Peru and other South American countries from Spain. He declared Peru's independance on July 28th, 1821 holding a flag he created (1820) for the new born nation.

Peru's first flag

This first flag had two diagonal lines joining opposite corners, dividing the flag into four fields. The top and bottom ones were white, the other two were red. There was an oval-shaped laurel crown at the center, inside of which there was the sun rising behind mountains by the sea.

Although the exact origin of the flag is not certain, the literary tradition wrote by Valdelomar, tells that San Martín, having arrived to the coast of southern Pisco, sat down in the shade of a palm tree to rest. He had a dream about the nation that needed a new flag, when he opened his eyes, the first sight was a group of parihuanas (red and white flamingos) flying over him. He thought that was a sign and inspired by their colours created the first flag for free Peru.

Some historians of the early Peruvian Republic, such as Leguía y Martínez and Pareja Paz Soldán, give a different explanation saying that San Martín took the red from the flag of Chile and the white from the flag of Argentina, in recognition of the origin of the men in the liberating army.

I'd rather stick to the dream version ;) ... It's cool to think that our first flag was inspired by a bird and that even though it changed over time, the colours remain.

Peru's current flag


Mary C said...

Hi again, Mel -- Thanks so much for mentioning my blog. I'm so glad that the flamingos from my Las Vegas trip inspired you to write this post. I'm with you and would rather stick with the dream version as to how the Peruvian flag was created. Thanks so much for the history lesson.

RuthieJ said...

That's a neat story about your national flag (I like the dream version better also)

Mel said...

Hi Mary and ruthiej!
Yes, dream version rocks! hahaha
Thanks for visiting!

dguzman said...

Cool--you live in Peru! Is is cold where you live, or is it more tropical? You could probably get some pretty good birds around there, no?

Thanks for coming by my blog, and I'll bookmark yours!

Sherry at the Zoo said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I love this story about the flag. Thanks for sharing it!

Randomlycute said...

that's cool! flamencos are really cool birds! I would've never known about the flag, that's awsome!

Mary said...


I also think it's unique that Peru's first flag was inspired by a bird. Thanks for the history. Flamingos. I've only seen them in Florida - once. Tee-hee. Very exotic, I think.


beckie said...

Mel, what an interesting post! I will be sure to visit often. You have wonderful pictures and stories!

beckie said...

ps. check out the bird on my post today.

beckie said...

ps. check out the bird on my post today.

Mel said...

Hi dguzman, sherry, randomlycute, mary and beckie!

dguzman, I live in Lima, the capital, which is pretty much a desert by the coast, we have no rain or snow, so, even though it can get cold and grey, the weather is not that bad :)

sherry, loved your blog! will visit more often ;)

randomlycute, how cool is your name!!! yes, is a story not everyone knows, although some school teachers try to pass it on!

Mary, I saw them in Florida too, 5 years ago while visiting a friend, not seen 'wild' ones yet (aka not a part of a tourist attraction)

Beckie! WOW! (just saw the post!)