Latvia is a pretty small nation (only just over 2 million people) in northeastern Europe that doesn’t attract much attention on the global stage. Nonetheless, it is an amazing country, full of warm people, delicious food, great stories and sites, and a long, colorful history. Here are some interesting facts to help you get to know this Baltic country better.
That Old Flag
The Latvian flag, those gorgeous, deep red stripes sandwiching a white one, is actually one of the oldest flags in history. Well, of course there were flags for thousands of years before this one, but the Latvian flag is one of the oldest which is still in use today. There are written references to the flag from way back in the 13th century, and the shade of red used in the flag is so distinct that some people have referred to it as “Latvian red.”
The red-white-red of the Latvian flag was first mentioned (at least this is as far as historians have discovered) in the Rhymed Chronicle of Livonia, a chronicle written in the 1300’s detailing the history of modern day Estonia and Latvia from the 12th century to that point. One Latvian legend that attempts to explain the meaning behind the colors of the flag states that a Latvian leader was wounded in battle, and the white sheet that wrapped his wound soon had his blood covering it, save for a strip in the middle. This story seems similar to an Austrian legend regarding their flag – a flag that is almost exactly the same as the Latvian one.
Source: Latvian Consulate in New York