Thursday, February 25, 2010

Republic of Latvia

The National Flag of Latvia

Latvia uses a flag in the colours of red and white. The first documented use of these colours to represent the Latvian region was back in 1280. When a Local Chief lies mortally wounded on a blanket. The legend says that the edges of the blanket are soaked in his blood, whilst the area he is lying, remains pure white. The banner is then used in the next battle, leading the Latvian forces to victory.

It was popularised in 1870 by students at the University of Tartu as a symbol for Latvia, and formally adopted in 1918 with the declaration of independence of Latvia following the collapse of the Russian Empire. Latvia then remained independent until the beginning of WWII, when the Soviet Union invaded, at the same time as Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany. 

Latvia was subsequently annexed by the Soviet Union, and the new flag of the Latvian SSR was the standard Soviet flag, with the hammer and sickle, and a series of blue and white stripes forming waves along the bottom of the flag.

However, during the period of Glasnost under Gorbachev, the old Latvian flag began to emerge once more, formally being adopted as the national flag in Latvia in 1990. However, Russia tried to overthrow the Latvian government, only for Latvia to gain complete independence in 1991, and the complete withdrawal of Russian troops in 1994.

With the withdrawal of the Russian troops, the new Latvian nation needed new flags, and introduced a new Naval Jack. Using the red/white/red of the flag, the Naval Jack lays it out in a pattern very much like the Union Jack of Great Britain!

Latvia has been caught by various conflicts with Russia, but since then, Latvia has turned its economy almost completely towards Europe, and away from Russia!

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