The Latvian national flag ranks among the oldest flags in the world having being used way back in the 13th Century. It was used by the independent Latvia nation from the year 1918 up until 1940 when the Soviet Union occupied Latvia. The soviet rule suppressed the use of the Latvian flag. It had been officially adopted back in the year 1922 and was again re-adopted on the 27th February 1990 when Latvia regained independence. The flag itself has two colors namely; red-white-red. The red color on the Latvian national flag symbolizes the Latvian’s readiness to shed blood from their hearts for their freedom as well as their strong willingness to defend their country’s liberty.
The Latvian flag was mentioned for the first time in the chapters of Rhymed Chronicle of Livonia. It is in this chronicle that there is historical evidence that places this flag among the world’s oldest flags. History has it that there was a battle that happened in around 1279, where some ancient tribes of Latvian origin from Cesis, a city found in northern area of Latvia, went for war. During the war they bore a red flag that had a white stripe in the middle.
Legend has it that there was a chief of a certain Latvian tribe that was mortally wounded and a white sheet was used to wrap his body. The parts that his body was laying on remained white but the edges of the white sheet were stained by his blood. When the tribe went for the next battle, they used the bloodstained white sheet as their flag. The legend affirms that during this battle, the Latvian warriors emerged victorious as they were able to drive their enemy away. It is since then that the Latvians began using these two colors for their flag.
The current Latvian flag design was approved in the month of May 1917, during an Art Promotion Association meeting. There were several proposals but the design of red-white-red flag with a color ratio of 2:1:2, designed by Ansis Cirulis, was accepted. The Latvian flag and the country’s coat of arms were affirmed in their present format vide a special parliamentary decree of the Republic of Latvia which was passed on 15th June 1921.
The color of this flag is referred to as Carmine red or Latvian red with a white horizontal stripe. This red color is a dark shade as it results from a mixture of purple and brown colors. The flag and the national colors can be used as an ornament as long as proper respect is guaranteed.