Last modified: 2021-08-25 by rob raeside
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"Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos" (UNMSM) is the oldest
university in the Americas ("Decana de América"), originating in
"Universidad de Lima", founded on 12 May 1551 by Letters Patented
signed in Valladolid by King of Spain Charles V. Inaugurated on 2
January 1553, it started with the two Faculties of Theology and Arts;
three more Faculties were subsequently created: Law (1571), Canon Law
(1571), and Medicine (1634). The University was renamed "Universidad
de San Marcos" in 1574.
In the 19th-20th centuries, several new Faculties were created, most
of them being short-lived and merged together to form bigger entities;
in 1969, only the three Faculties of Literature and Humanities, Law,
and Medicine remained. The creation of 17 new faculties was approved,
in 1983, their number being 20 today.
Among the alumni of UNMSM are the three most famous Peruvian writers,
the poet César Vallejo (1892-1938), the novelist Alfredo Bryce
Echenique (b. 1939) and the novelist Mario Varga Llosa (b. 1936, Nobel
Prize in Literature 2010).
Source: http://www.unmsm.edu.pe/ - Official website
The flag of UNMSM is white with the coat of arms of the University in
The flag can be seen on images of the ceremony of flag hoisting at the Faculty of Odontology, together with the flag of Peru and the flag of the Odontology Faculty (see below)
https://picasaweb.google.com/109706742705761720188/IZAMIENTODEBANDERA21JULIO2011 - Picasa album, 21 July 2011
The coat of arms of UNMSM is made of an oval shield divided per pale
and grafted in base. The three fields are outlined in gold.
The first quarter shows on a white background Evangelist St. Mark clad
with a brown tunic and a red cloak, sitting and writing, with a foot
on a yellow lion. Above the saint are the golden initials "S.M." [San
The second quarter shows on a sky blue background in base the blue
waves of the ocean from which emerge two silver columns each with a
golden capital, in Corinthian style, tied by a red scroll charged with
"PLUS ULTRA" in golden letters. Above the columns are three golden
crowns ensigned with a yellow radiant sun shaped like a windrose.
The base of the shield shows on a sky blue background a yellow lime
fruit with a green stem and small green leaves.The shield is surrounded by a golden ring charged with the Latin
writing "ACADEMIA S. MARCI VRBIS REGVM IN PERV" [St. Mark Academy of
the Royal Town in Peru] in black letters.
The whole is surrounded by an elaborate orle, from which hang two golden tassels shaped like grapes. The shield is surmounted with the face of a cherub and a laurel wreath. From the cherub's mouth emerge two silver cornucopias, one of each side, filled with products of the soil and laurel branches.
This coat of arms was adopted in 1574, replacing an older coat of arms quite similar in design. The early coat of arms of the University shows dexter the Virgin of the Rosary, the patron saint of the Dominican Fathers, sinister a sun over the waves of the ocean, and in base a lime fruit. The 1578 "Constitutions" say: "in base is a design based on the Royal arms with the pomegranate, replaced here with a lime". The arms are canting, a lime being in Spanish "lima" [but the name of the town comes from a local word and has nothing to do with lime]. The shield is described as crowned with the "laureled face" of an angel or cherub, mentioned in all subsequent "Constitutions", including the "Consolidated Constitutions" released in 1624 in Madrid.
A sealed document dated 1604 shows St. Mark and the two columns but lacks the "laureled face". The shield is represented with lateral ornaments on an engraving by Juan de Noort shown on the frontispiece of Pedro J. Bermúdez de la Torre's "Oración informativa", published in 1699. The coat of arms is also engraved in stone in the chapel of the Virgin of Antigua, where the graduation ceremonies take place, and in the cathedral of Lima, as decided in 1795 by Director of the University, C. Montaño.
The three crowns and the windrose also appear on the coat of arms of Lima.
The blog "El Reportero de la Historia" reported in February 2008 a
movement to "create" a flag of UNMSM, called by the blog's author "an
attempt against history and tradition". It also reports the use in a
public ceremony of a "so-called flag", of unknown origin, made of
three vertical stripes, sky blue, white and sky blue with the
University coat of arms in the middle.
The blog reproduces a public letter sent on 30 January 2008, to the Director of the University by three Professors, Miguel Maticorena Estrada (founder of the Department of History of the University in 1993), Vicente Ugarte del Pino (former President of the Supreme Court of Peru) and Rafael Jaeger Requejo (Professor at the Faculty of Law). The authors of the letter explain why there is no need to create a new flag.
The "flag" ("bandera") used by the university is indeed its "standard" ("estandarte"), more than four-centuries old. The word "bandera" does not appear either in ancient documents or in the "Constitutions" of the University. "Constitutions" 224, from 1581, prescribe that the doctoral students shall raise "the standard ('estandarte') of the University with the Royal arms on one part and the arms of the student on the other part, painted on taffeta". Diego de León Pinelo mentions in a book dated 1648 the "University flag" ("bandera'), which must indeed have been the standard. Resolution No. 10,288 signed on 10 September 1951 by Director Dr. Pedro Dulante commissioned Dr. Jiménez Borja, Dean of the Faculty of Literature, to design "a new flag" ("bandera"), to be used in the next University Olympics. It was proposed to replace the "less visible and anaesthetic old flag" with a new institutional flag described as follows: "A white rectangle charged with the coat of arms of the University surmounted with 10 stars, each of a different colour and representing one of the 10 Faculties composing the university". The colors of the faculties are:
- Law: Green
- Medicine: Purple
- Literature: Pink
- Sciences: Sky blue
- Economic Sciences: Red
- Pharmacy and Biochemistry: Blue
- Odontology: Lilacs (see below, 5.)
- Education: Cedar
- Chemistry: Yellow
- Veterinary Medicine: Red currant (see below).
The proposal was rejected by Dr. Luís A. Eguiguren and the Commission in charge of writing the history of the University. The authors of the letter conclude that there is no need to create a new symbol for the University, arguing that the four-centuries old standard simply needs to be promoted as the institutional flag of the University.
Oddly enough, the rejected flag proposal seems to have been manufactured. It can be seen on photos taken on 10 June 2011 during the graduation ceremony at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences (see below)
Source: http://veterinaria.unmsm.edu.pe/foto_graduacion_LXXIII_2011/index.html (Photo No. 4)
image by Ivan Sache, 31 July 2011
The teaching of Odontology officially started in Peru on 23 July 1868
with the creation of the Odontology Section of the San Fernando
University, transformed in 1920 in the Odontology Institute, itself
replaced in 1931 by the Odontology School. The Odontology Faculty was
eventually created on 29 October 1943 by Law No. 98,938.
Source: http://odontologia-unmsm.edu.pe/ - Official website
The flag of the Odontology Faculty is lilac (the Faculty color, see above) with the coat of arms of the Faculty in the middle. It can be seen on images of the ceremony of flag hoisting at the Faculty of Odontology, together with the flag of Peru and the flag of the University.
The emblem of the Faculty shows on a lilac background a caduceus (with brown staff and snakes and white wings), the whole surrounded by a brown elaborate orle charged with the black writings "FACULDAD DE ODONTOLOGIA" and "UNMSM".
Source: https://picasaweb.google.com/109706742705761720188/IZAMIENTODEBANDERA21JULIO2011 - Picasa album, 21 July 2011
The Veterinary Medicine Faculty was founded in 1946
Source: http://veterinaria.unmsm.edu.pe/index.htm - Official website
The flag of the Veterinary Medicine Faculty is red currant (the Faculty color, see above, 4.) with the seal of the Faculty in the middle. It can be seen on images of the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Faculty. The emblem of the Faculty is a white disk charged with a green Rod of Asclepius itself charged with a red "V", thus forming a kind of rebus for "Veterinary Medicine". The disk is surrounded by a yellow ring charged with the red writings "FACULDAD DE MEDICINA VETERINARIA" and "UNMSM".
Source: http://veterinaria.unmsm.edu.pe/foto_lunes_4_2011/index.html (Photo No. 14)
Ivan Sache, 31 July 2011