Latvian Flag and Coat of Arms

I thought I would introduce you to some of the symbols of Latvia. One of the most significant national symbols is the Latvian flag. The flag dates back to the 13th century. It is a red flag with a white center. This flag counts among the world’s oldest flags. The current design of the Latvian flag came about in May 1917 and was created by Latvian artist Ansis Cirulis. The red color in the flag was tinted in a special dark red tone which has become known as “Latvian Red”. The two red stripes and middle white stripe have specific proportions which are 2: 1: 2: but the length and width of the flag are proportioned 2: 1. The Latvian flag along with the coat of arms was approved by the Constitutional Assembly and adopted on June 15, 1921.

Another significant symbol of Latvia is its coat of arms. The coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia was created after the proclamation of independence.  The national Latvian state is symbolized by the sun found at the top of the coat of arms shield. During WW I the image of the sun was made up of seventeen stars, symbolizing 17 Latvian-inhabited circles. The three stars above the national coat of arms incorporated the historic districts that make up Latvia – Kurzeme – Zemgale, Vidzeme, and Latgale.  Cultural and historical districts are also characterized by an ancient heraldic image that dates back to the 16th century.

Kurzeme and Zemgale are symbolized by the red lion. The lion in the former emblem of the Duchy of Courland dates back to 1569. Vidzeme and Latgale are symbolized by the legendary winged silver beast that has the head of an eagle or a griffin. This symbol was created in 1566 when the present regions of Vidzeme and Latgale were under the control of the Polish-Lithuanian state. The Latvian national coat of arms was designed by Latvian artist Rihards Zarins.


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