The Latvian flag consists of three horizontal stripes whose colors are maroon and white. The white stripe, which sits in the flag’s center, is only half the size of the two maroon stripes. The Latvian flag is beautiful in its simplicity.
Many people believe the reddish maroon color of the Latvian flag to represent the readiness of the Latvian people to shed blood in order to defend their freedom and liberty. Others believe the colors of the flag to be taken from an incident in which a Latvian leader was wounded. When his men wrapped him up in a sheet, its edges became stained by his blood. However, this story is oddly similar to one concerning the origins of the flag of Austria.
The Latvian flag in its current form was first used from 1918 to 1940, when the country became occupied by the Soviet Union. After regaining its independence on February 27, 1990, the Latvian flag was once again hoisted high for all to see.
However, red-and-white Latvian flags have been around at least since the 13th century, and historical evidence places the Latvian flag among the oldest in the world today. This evidence consists in large part of a chronicle of a battle that took place somewhere around 1280 between several Latvian tribes. It was during the battle that the aforementioned Latvian leader was wounded and afterwards wrapped in a white sheet.
It was this historical chronicle that lead Latvian artist Ansis Cīrulis to design the current Latvian flag, which, along with the Latvian coat of arms, was adopted by the Latvian Government on June 15, 1921. As anyone can tell from looking at the Latvian flag, this Ansis Cīrulis was a brilliant man, which is why Latvians everywhere continue to remember him with warmth in their hearts.