The national flag of Latvia contains a deep red (carmine) field with a narrow white stripe across the middle of the field. The width of the white band is one-fifth the width of the entire flag.
The deep red color of Latvia’s national flag is also described as “Latvian red” and is one of the darker shades of red and contains purple and brown.
The red color symbolizes the blood that has been shed in the past for their freedom and the readiness to continue to defend that freedom and independence of their country at all costs.
A legend is also associated with the choice of colors for the flag. According to legend, a Latvia leader was wounded while fighting a battle. His body was wrapped in a white sheet which became stained by his blood. The white of the flag might represent the sheet that wrapped the wounded leader.
The national flag of Latvia was used by independent Latvia from 1918 until the country was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. The use of the flag was banned during Soviet rule. On February 27, 1990, before the country regained its independence, the Latvian government re-adopted the traditional red-white-red flag. Latvia regained independence from the Soviet Union on August 21, 1991.
The flag of Latvia was designed by Latvia-Russian painter, Ansis Cirulis. The country is bordered by Estonia in the north, Lithuania in the south, Russia in the east, and Belarus in the southeast.
The Latvian flag is reported to date back to a military unit in 1279, which would make it one of the oldest national flags in the world.