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Republic of Latvia

Republic of Latvia

Latvia in Brief

Flag of Latvia
Flag of Latvia

Latvian: Latvija
Lithuanian: Latvija
Estonian: Lati
German: Lettland
French: Lettonie
Spanish: Letonia
Russian: Латвия
Swedish: Lettland
Chinese: 拉脫維亞
Japanese: ラトビア
Arabic: لاتفيا

The Coat of Arms
The Coat of Arms

COUNTRY CODE: LV
CALLING CODE: +371
INTERNET TLD: .LV (.EU)
TIME ZONE: EET (UTC+2) EEST (UTC+3)
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: Metric

The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18, 1918. It has been continuously recognised as a sovereign state since 1920 despite occupations and rule by the Soviet Union (1940-1941, 1945-1991) and Nazi Germany (1941-1945). On August 21, 1991 Latvia declared the restoration of its de facto independence, re-established international diplomatic ties, and joined the United Nations. Latvia joined the WTO in 1998 and in 2004 became a member of the European Union and NATO.

The name “Latvija” comes from the ancient Latgallians, one of four Indo-European Baltic tribes, who along with Couronians, Selonians and Semigallians formed the ethnic core of today’s Latvian people.

For more information about Latvian history visit http://www.latvia.lv/library/history-latvia-timeline

The Coat of Arms

Latvia’s coat of arms combines the traditional heraldic symbols of Latvian statehood and national identity – three stars, the sun, the sea and oak leaves. Latvia’s historical districts of Kurzeme and Zemgale are represented by a red lion, while Vidzeme and Latgale are depicted by a silver griffin.

For more information about Latvian symbols visit http://www.latvia.lv/library/national-symbols-latvia

The Flag

The crimson-white-crimson flag of Latvia is one of the oldest in the world and dates back to a battle near Cesis in the 13th century. According to one legend, it originated from a white sheet used to carry a mortally wounded Latvian tribal chief from the battlefield. Soaked with his blood on two sides, his soldiers hoisted the warrior’s sheet as a banner as it led them to victory.

For more information about Latvian symbols visit http://www.latvia.lv/library/national-symbols-latvia

National Holiday

November 18, the date of the proclamation of Latvia’s independence in 1918.

Text: © The Latvian Institute, 2012