Peruvian National Anthem

Jose de la Torre Ugarte wrote the original lyrics of the Peru national anthem. José Bernardo Alcedo composed the music to it. This song’s title “Himno Nacional del Perú” translates to “National Anthem of Peru” in English. Two alternative titles include “Marcha Nacional del Perú,” which means “National March of Peru” and “Somos Libres,” which means “We are Free.”

In 1821, Liberator General José de San Martín chose “Himno Nacional del Perú” from seven composition entries. Other submissions included works by Father Aguilar, the parishioner of the Augustine Chapel and masters Guapaya, Tena and more. Alcedo did enter this competition twice, and it was the second submission that made the cut.

The first public anthem performance took place in the Theater of Lima on September 23, the year that the contest was held. The first person to sing it was Rosa Merino, who performed verses originally written by José de la Torre Ugarte.

Anthem Revisions

Several anthem revisions took place since the song’s creation. For instance, the Peruvian Constitutional Tribunal announced that Ugarte never did write the first verse in 2005. The start of the anthem also reportedly comes across as one written in a whimpering, oppressed or defeated tone from the voice of a “humiliated Peruvian.”

The Controversial 1st Verse

Proposals to change the first verse, despite how allegedly depressing it may feel as is, remained controversial. For starters, the country prohibited rewriting of the Peru national anthem in 1913. However, the Ministry of Defense came up with a compromise in 2009.

The army would sing the “more upbeat” sixth verse instead of the first one, and this became the public standard. In other news, crowds sang the seventh stanza instead of the beginning lines after the chorus.

You can compare the original and revised first anthem verses rewritten despite constitutional ruling not to. However, the original lyrics remain intact even if only one verse is routinely used. This nation’s fight song contains a total of seven stanzas and a chorus.

The 2011 Rewrite Proposal

Once again, lobbying for rewriting the original 1921 Peru national anthem took place. Just like in previous attempts to scratch the first stanza, the lines most criticized include these words:

“For a long time, the oppressed Peruvian dragged the ominous chain," and "Condemned to cruel servitude … he quietly whimpered."

Julio César Rivera, a retired government auditor, initiated the 2011 lyric change campaigns. Rivera hoped to see three new verses added that have a positive message. For now, the country just sticks to mostly singing the happier verses of the Peru national anthem.

Peruvian National Anthem Lyrics