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The National Anthem of Latvia

Another great symbol of Latvia is the national anthem. In Latvian, it is “Dievs Sveti Latviju” or “God Bless Latvia”. The Latvian composer and author of the text is Karlis Baumanis better known as Baumanis Karlis.

The national anthem was created in the second half of the 19th century when Latvian people began witnessing a process of national awakening. It was Baumanis who was the first Latvian composer to include the country’s name Latvia in the text of the anthem. At that time Latvia was a totally new concept that arose in the minds of workers backing the national awakening. However, the Latvian nation was not yet ready to embrace the dream of creating an independent state separate from the Russian Empire.

While things were still on shaky ground the Russian authorities banned the use of the word Latvia from the title and text of the song and had the word replaced with Baltia for the Baltics. The song was first sung at the First Latvian Song Festival in June 1918 and sung for the first time as the national anthem on November 18, 1918, during the proclamation act of the Republic of Latvia and in June 1920 it was finally officially approved as a national anthem.

Came the summer of 1940 as the winds of war began blowing and the symbols of Latvia – the flag, coat of arms and anthem were banned under the occupation of the U.S.S.R. These official symbols were reinstated on February 15, 1990.

I have included an instrumental of the anthem:

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    • You know, it’s funny that way, Doc. For many years while I was in Riga, Latvia my late husband and I went to the US Embassy Fourth of July picnic and they played both the Star Spangled Banner and the Latvian Anthem and I always got teary-eyed and choked up during the Star Spangled Banner

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