Flag of Latvia

The national flag of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas karogs) was used by independent Latvia from 1918 until the country was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. Its use was suppressed during Soviet rule. Shortly before regaining its independence, Latvia re-adopted on 27 February 1990 the same red-white-red flag.

Though officially adopted in 1923, the Latvian flag was in use as early as the 13th century. The red colour is sometimes described as symbolizing the readiness of the Latvians to give the blood from their hearts for freedom and their willingness to defend their liberty. An alternative interpretation, according to one legend, is that a Latvian leader was wounded in battle, and the edges of the white sheet in which he was wrapped were stained by his blood. The white stripe may stand for the sheet that wrapped him. This story is similar to the legend of the origins of the flag of Austria.

Flag of Latvia
UseCivil and state flag, civil ensign
Adopted18 November 1918
Restored on 27 February 1990
DesignA carmine field bisected by a narrow white stripe (one-fifth the width of the flag)
Naval Ensign of Latvia
Variant flag of Latvia
UseNaval ensign
DesignWhite field with cross voided in the colors of the State Flag (the width of the arms of the cross is 1/5 of the flag width).
Naval Jack of Latvia
Naval jack of Latvia. Ratio: 2:3


Stamps of Latvia, 2010-18
Stamp commemorating the centenary of the Latvian flag, with Ansis Cīrulis holding his design.

The red-white-red Latvian flag (German: die Banier der Letten) is first mentioned in the medieval Rhymed Chronicle of Livonia (Livländische Reimchronik),[1] which covers the period from 1180 to 1343, and is thus among the oldest flags in the world. The chronicle tells of a battle that took place around 1279, in which ancient Latvian tribes from Cēsis, a city in the northern part of modern-day Latvia, went to war, bearing a red flag with a white stripe.[2]

Legend recounts the story of the mortally wounded chief of a Latvian tribe who was wrapped in a white sheet. The part of the sheet on which he was lying remained white, but the two edges were stained in his blood. During the next battle the bloodstained sheet was used as a flag. According to the legend this time the Latvian warriors were successful and drove the enemy away. Ever since then Latvian tribes have used these colours.

Based on the aforementioned historical record, the present day flag design was adapted by artist Ansis Cīrulis in May 1917. The Latvian national flag, together with the national coat of arms was affirmed in this format by a special parliamentary decree of the Republic of Latvia passed on 15 June 1921.


During the period of occupation by the Soviet Union (and briefly by Nazi Germany), the red-white-red Latvian flag was rendered useless from 1940-1941 and 1944-1991. Any production and public display of the nationalist Latvian flag was considered anti-state crime and punishable by law. The first flag of Soviet Latvia was a red flag with the gold hammer and sickle in the top-left corner, with the Latin characters LPSR (Latvijas Padomju Sociālistiskā Republika) above them in gold in a serif font. In 1953, the final version of the flag was adopted. It depicts the Soviet flag with six 1/3 blue wavy bands representing the sea on the bottom.


Under the influence of Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika initiatives, the flag of independent Latvia was restored on 15 February 1990,[3] one and a half years before the formal recognition of Latvian independence.

Colours and proportions

Per Latvian law The Latvian national flag is carmine red with white horizontal stripe. (Latvian: tumši sarkana (karmin))[4] The colour on the flag is sometimes referred to as Latvian red. The red colour of the Latvian flag is a particularly dark shade, which is composed of brown and purple. The flag's colour proportions are 2:1:2 (the upper and lower red bands each being twice as wide as the central white band), and the ratio of the height of the flag to its width is fixed at 1:2.

Flag of Latvia structure
Structure of the flag.
Flag colors
White Red Red (Fabric)
Pantone White 1807 C 19-1629 TPX or 19-1629 TC
RGB Red = 255
Green = 255
Blue = 255
Red = 158
Green = 27
Blue = 52
Hex = #9E1B34
Red = 119
Green = 53
Blue = 61
Hex = #77353D
CMYK Cyan = 0%
Magenta = 0%
Yellow = 0%
Black = 0%
Cyan = 25%
Magenta = 100%
Yellow = 77%
Black = 20%
Cyan = 37%
Magenta = 83%
Yellow = 63%
Black = 36%

Display of the flag

Flag of Latvia photo

Latvian law states that the flag and national colours can be displayed and used as an ornament if proper respect to the flag is guaranteed. Destruction, disrespectful treatment or incorrect display of the flag is punishable by law.

The flag shall be placed at least 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) above the ground and properly secured to the flagstaff. The flagstaff shall be longer than the longest side of the flag, straight, painted white, and preferably made of wood. The finial at the tip of the flagstaff shall be wider than the flagstaff. Where the flag is not displayed continuously, it shall be raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset. If flown for a festival or funeral, it shall be raised before and lowered after the end of the occasion.

If the flag is flown from a flagpole in mourning, it shall be raised to half-staff. If fixed to a flagstaff, a black ribbon whose width is ​120 the width of the flag shall be secured to the flagstaff above the flag; the ribbon shall be of sufficient length to span the width of the flag.

Flag days

Flag of Latvian SSR
Flag of the Latvian SSR (1953–1990)
  • 25 March (in mourning) — In memory of victims of communist genocide
  • 1 May — Constitution Day, Labour Day
  • 4 May — Restoration of Independence (1990)
  • 14 June (in mourning) — In memory of victims of communist genocide
  • 17 June (in mourning) — Beginning of the Soviet occupation in Latvia
  • 4 July (in mourning) — In memory of victims of the Holocaust (See: The Holocaust in Latvia)
  • 11 November — Lāčplēsis Day
  • 18 November — Independence Day (1918)
  • First Sunday in December (in mourning) — In memory of victims of communist genocide

Official standards

Flag of the President of Latvia
Presidential Standard of Latvia

Presidential Standard of Latvia

Latvian presidential standard at the presidential chancellery
Latvian presidential standard at the presidential chancellery, House of the Blackheads.

The Standard of the President is white with the rectangular cross in the colour proportions of the national flag. In the centre of the cross covering the interruption of the colours of the national flag there is the Coat of Arms of Latvia. The height of the Coat of Arms is ​13 of the width of the Standard, the centre of the sun depicted on the shield of the Coat of Arms is in the centre of the Standard. The proportion between the width of the national colours and that of the Standard is 1:5. The proportion between the length and width of the Standard is 3:2.

Flag of the Prime Minister of Latvia
Standard of the Prime Minister of Latvia

Standard of the Prime Minister of Latvia

The Standard of the Prime Minister of Latvia is white with the symmetric cross in the colour proportions of the national flag. In top left canton of the flag the Coat of Arms is placed. The height of coat of arms is ​56 of the height of canton, sun of coat of arms is in centre of canton. The proportion between the width of the national colours and that of the Banner is 1:5. The proportion between the length and width of the Banner is 3:2.

Standard of the Speaker of the Saeima

The Standard of the Speaker of the Saeima is white with the symmetric cross in the colour proportions of the national flag. In top right canton of the flag the Coat of Arms is placed. The height of the coat of arms is ​56 of the height of the canton; the sun of coat of arms is in the centre of the canton. The proportion between the width of the national colours and that of the Banner is 1:5. The proportion between the length and width of the Banner is 3:2.

Standard of the Minister of Defence of Latvia

Flag of the Minister of Defence of Latvia
The Standard of the Minister of Defence of Latvia

The Flag of the Minister of Defence of Latvia is white with the symmetric cross in the colour proportions of the national flag. In top left canton of the flag the soldier insignia is placed. The height of insignia is ​35 of the height of canton. The proportion between the width of the national colours and that of the Banner is 1:5. The proportion between the length and width of the Banner is 3:2.

See also


  1. ^ Livlädische Reimchronik Archived 2014-12-15 at the Wayback Machine: die quâmen hovelîchen dar / mit einer banier rôtgevar,/ daß was mit wîße durch gesniten/ hûte nâch wendischen siten./ Wenden ist ein burc genant,/ von den die banier wart bekant,/ und ist in Letten lant gelegen,/ dâ die vrowen rîtens pflegen/ nâch den siten, als die man./ vor wâr ich ûch daß sagen kan,/ die banier der Letten ist. (09223-09233)
  2. ^ Volker Preuß. "National Flagge des Lettland" (in German). Retrieved 2003-04-27.
  3. ^ Dzintra Stelpe (2009). Lielā Latvijas Enciklopēdija (in Latvian). Riga: Zvaigzne ABC. p. 263. ISBN 9789984408095. OCLC 644036298.
  4. ^ Latvijas valsts karogs ir karmīnsarkans ar baltu horizontālu svītru. (The Latvian national flag is carmine red with white horizontal stripes.)"Latvijas valsts karoga likums (The Latvian flag law)" (in Latvian). The Saeima (legislature) of Latvia. 17 November 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010.

External links

Coat of arms of Latvia

Coat of arms of Republic of Latvia was officially adopted by the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia on July 15, 1921 and was in official use from August 19, 1921. It was created using new national symbols and older heraldic elements from Polish Livonia and Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. Thus the coat of arms combines symbols of Latvian national statehood, as well as symbols of its ancient historical districts. The Latvian national coat of arms was designed by the Latvian artist Rihards Zariņš.

Dievs, svētī Latviju!

Dievs, svētī Latviju! (Latvian pronunciation: [diɛu̯s svɛːtiː ˈlatviju]; "God Bless Latvia!") is the national anthem of Latvia. The words and music were written by Kārlis Baumanis (Baumaņu Kārlis, 1835–1905).

Flag of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

The flag of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic flag shows a yellow hammer and sickle and outlined star on a red field above rippling water at the bottom, and was adopted by the (former) Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic on January 17, 1953.

Flags of Europe

This is a list of international, national and subnational flags used in Europe.

Flags of the Soviet Republics

The Flags of the Soviet Socialist Republics were all defaced versions of the flag of the Soviet Union, which featured a golden hammer and sickle, (the only exception being the Georgian SSR, which used a red hammer and sickle), and a gold-bordered red star on a red field.

Gallery of sovereign state flags

This gallery of sovereign state flags shows the flags of sovereign states that appear on the list of sovereign states. For other flags, please see flags of active autonomist and secessionist movements, flags of formerly independent states, and gallery of flags of dependent territories. Each flag is depicted as if the flagpole is positioned on the left of the flag, except for those of Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia which are depicted with the hoist to the right.

Latvia at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships

Latvia competed at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, China between July 16 and 31, 2011.

Latvia at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships

Latvia competed at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Spain from 19 July to 4 August 2013.

Latvia at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships

Latvia competed at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia from 24 July to 9 August 2015.

Latvia at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships

Latvia competed at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary from 14 July to 30 July.

Latvia national cricket team

The Latvia Cricket Team is a fledgling team which represents the nation of Latvia in International Cricket competitions. They are not officially endorsed by the International Cricket Council and are therefore not entitled to participate in ICC Official events. However, they do have an application to the European Cricket Council pending, which should see them granted Affiliate Status in the near future.

Cricket began in Latvia in 1998 when the British Embassy in Riga decided to host a game. The Latvian Cricket Federation was formed in 2001 and now organises a regular club competition. The LCF is working with the European Cricket Council to encourage more Latvians to participate in the sport.

Latvia played Welsh village cricket team Carmel & District Cricket Club in 2007 in Riga where they lost by three wickets.

Latvian Mercantile Marine during World War II

The part of the Latvian fleet that fought for the Allies in World War II under the flag of Latvia consisted of eight freighters: Abagra, Ciltvaira, Regent, Everasma, Everalda, Everelza, Ķegums, and Everagra. Only Everagra and Ķegums survived the war.After the USSR occupied Latvia on June 17, 1940, and the country was annexed to the Soviet Union, the Soviet authorities issued orders for Latvian merchant navy ships to return home. Some of the ships obeyed and their crews were deported to Gulag labor camps. The eight ships denied the order.

The town of Nags Head, North Carolina, USA, has a street named after Ciltvaira, which was the first Latvian ship sunk by Germans. It was torpedoed by German submarine U-123 in nearby coastal waters on 19 January 1942. The same year five more ships were sunk: the Everasma on February 28, the Abagra on May 6, the Regent on June 14, the Everalda on June 29, the Everelza on August 13. The Everagra was torpedoed on July 8, 1943, but survived and served until 1957. Ķegums served until 1948.

List of flags of Latvia

The following is a list of flags of Latvia.


Maroon ( mə-ROON,) is a dark reddish purple or dark brownish red color that takes its name from the French word marron, or burgurdy.The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as "a brownish crimson or claret color."In the RGB model used to create colors on computer screens and televisions, maroon is created by turning down the brightness of pure red to about one half. Maroon is the complement of blue.

National symbols of Latvia

Symbols of Latvia are items or symbols that have symbolic meaning to, or represent, Latvia. These symbols are seen in official capacities, such as flags, coats of arms, postage stamps, and currency, and in URLs. They appear less formally as recurring themes in literature, art and folk art, heraldry, monuments, clothing, personal decoration, and as the names of parks, bridges, streets, and clubs. The less formal manifestations may be classified as national emblems.

During the occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union and briefly by Nazi Germany during World War II, the anthem, coat of arms and flag were prohibited from display and the Soviet versions of the flag, coat of arms and the anthem were used during its rule as a Soviet republic. All national symbols of Latvia were reinstated in 1990 before Latvia restored its independence a year later which are considered the continuation of the Latvian state before its occupation in 1940. The public display of the Nazi swastika and the Soviet hammer and sickle along with other symbols associated with them are now banned in Latvia in 2014.

Outline of Latvia

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Latvia:

Latvia – sovereign country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Latvia is bordered to the north by Estonia (343 km), to the south by Lithuania (588 km), and to the east both by Belarus (141 km) and the Russian Federation (276 km). Across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden. The territory of Latvia covers 64,589 km² and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate.

The Latvians are a Baltic people closely related to the Lithuanians, with the Latvian language sharing many similarities to Lithuanian. Today the Latvians and Lithuanians are the only surviving members of the Baltic peoples and Baltic languages of the Indo-European family. The modern name of Latvia is thought to originate from the ancient Latvian name Latvji, which may have originated from the word Latve which is a name of the river that presumably flowed through what is now eastern Latvia.Latvia is a democratic parliamentary republic and is divided into 26 districts. The capital and largest city is Riga. Latvia has been a member of the United Nations since 17 September 1991, of the European Union since 1 May 2004 and of NATO since 29 March 2004.

The First Latvian National Awakening

The First Latvian National Awakening or the First Awakening (Pirmā Atmoda) was a cultural and national revival movement between 1850 and 1880 among a group of well-educated Latvians, Jaunlatvieši (Young Latvians), who, opposed to the Baltic German dominance in Livonia and Courland Governorates, created the basis for the modern Latvian nation state. It was influenced by the European romantic nationalism movements of Young Germans and Czech National Revival. Most of their efforts were spent on educating Latvians, criticizing Germans and removing the stigma from Latvian language, traditions and culture.

The movement started after 1850 in the University of Tartu, which then was the highest place of education in Livonian Governorate and was attended by around 30 ethnic Latvian students. Krišjānis Valdemārs, a student from Courland, posted in his dorm room a note identifying himself as a Latvian, which was unheard of at the time. Very soon a group of 10-13 students grew around him; they organized “Latvian evenings”, during which they debated about the condition of German-oppressed Latvians. Juris Alunāns and Krišjānis Barons soon became leading members.They established the newspapers Mājas Viesis and Pēterburgas Avīzes. The movement initially was supported by Russian authorities, who saw it as a tool against the German-dominated Baltic provinces.

In 1868, Young Latvian Fricis Brīvzemnieks began gathering Latvian folk songs known as dainas. His work was continued by Krišjānis Barons, who in 1894 published the first book of dainas and eventually become known as Dainutēvs (the Father of Dainas).

Another literary activist was teacher Atis Kronvalds, who discovered mention of a red-white-red flag in the 13th-century Livonian Rhymed Chronicle. These colors eventually became the flag of Latvia. Kronvalds worked tirelessly on promoting education among Latvians, and modernized the Latvian language by creating many new words.

In 1868, initially as a charity organization for helping victims of Estonian crop failure, the Riga Latvian Society was established, which organized Latvian cultural life in Riga and regions. The first Latvian theatre troupe led by Ādolfs Alunāns was established here, which led to the birth of playwriting in Latvian.

In 1873, the first Latvian singing festival was held in Riga, during which most of the songs were Latvian folk songs. Of the new songs performed there, one of them, composed by Baumaņu Kārlis, later became the national anthem of Latvia. Fearing the growth of nationalism, its original name of “God, bless Latvia!” was changed by Russian censors to “God, bless the Baltics!”.

In 1888, the national epic Lāčplēsis, written by Andrejs Pumpurs, was first published.

The First Awakening was a cultural movement mostly among the well-educated classes and soon ran out of momentum as Latvian society became more mature and interested in new political and scientific ideas. Many of the leading Young Latvians died early or worked in Russia, away from their home. Latvians also experienced a wave of Russianization during which use of Latvian in schools was prohibited.

The First Awakening was followed by the Jaunā strāva (New Energy/New Current) movement, which was much more political and led to the establishment of the Social Democratic Party.


Valka (pronunciation ; German: Walk) is a town and municipality in northern Latvia, on the border with Estonia along both banks of the river Pedele.

Valka and the Estonian town Valga are twins, separated by the Estonian/Latvian border but using the slogan "One Town, Two Countries". The border dividing the Livonian town of Walk was marked out in 1920 by an international jury headed by British Colonel Stephen George Tallents. With the expansion of the Schengen Agreement and abolition of the Estonian/Latvian border in 2007, it was announced that common public bus transport would be established between Valka and Valga. Also, all border crossing-points were removed and roads and fences opened. In 2016 it was announced that due to better welfare and higher salaries in Estonia, many Valka inhabitants have registered themselves as inhabitants of Valga.

Vends (Livonia)

The Vends (Latin: wendi, Latvian: vendi) were a small tribe that lived in the 12th to 16th centuries in the area around the town of Wenden (now Cēsis) in present-day north-central Latvia.

According to Livonian Chronicle of Henry prior to their arrival in the area of Wenden in the 12th century, the Vends were settled in Ventava county (Latin: Wynda) by the Venta River near the present city of Ventspils in western Latvia. Their proximity to more numerous Finnic and Baltic tribes inclined the Vends to ally with the German crusaders, who began building a stone castle near the older Vendian wooden fortress in 1207. The castle of Wenden later became the residence of the Master of the Livonian Order. The last known record of the Vends' existence as a distinct entity dates from the sixteenth century.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.