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According to legend, General José de San Martin saw a great number of flamingos when he arrived in Peru in 1820. Taking this as a good omen, he decided that white and red should be the colours of the Peruvian Legion that he founded to liberate Peru. The white represents peace, dignity and progress; the red symbolizes war and courage. The arms show symbols of the animal kingdom (vicuña), vegetable kingdom (cinchona tree) and mineral kingdom (a cornucopia full of gold and silver coins). The laurel wreath above the shield symbolizes the republic. The palm and laurel wreath around the shield is a symbol of peace and the will to defend the country.