Latvia Political system
Latvia is a parliamentary democracy. At the head of the state is a president
who is elected by parliament every four years. Re-election is only possible one
more time. The parliament is a unicameral system, the Saeima, with 100 members,
which is elected for four years.
According to Digopaul.com,
the official name of the country is:
|Republic of Latvia, Latvijas Republika
The national anthem of a country is usually a piece of music underlaid with a
text, which is intended to express the state, life or national feeling of a
country. It is mostly played on particularly festive occasions, such as state
visits, special holidays or to honor politicians, business leaders, etc.
National anthem of the respective winning country for performance. The
introduction of the national anthems in most European countries goes back to the
late 18th and early 19th centuries. The numerous former colonies that had become
independent usually performed their national anthems,
The composer Kärlis Baumann was the first musician to use the term Latviju (=
Latvia) in the second half of the 19th century. At that time, no one thought of
creating a state that was independent of the Russian Empire. Today's national
anthem was heard for the first time during the first song festival in Riga in
1873. As a Latvian anthem, the song was sung on November 18, 1918 when the
Republic of Latvia was proclaimed and officially confirmed as the national
anthem on June 17, 1920.
After the occupation by the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940 and during the
period of Nazi rule and the new Soviet occupation, the national flag, the state
coat of arms and the national anthem were banned. Only after independence did
the anthem become Latvia's national anthem again on February 15, 1990.
In Latvian it is
|Dievs, sveti Latviju!
Dievs, sveti Latviju,
Mus' dargo teviju,
Sveti jel Latviju,
Ak, sveti jel to!Kur latviju meitas zied,
Kur latviju deli dzied,
Laid mums tur laime died,
And in the English translation
|Bless you God's hand
Bless the hand of God,
Latvia you homeland,
bleed and prosper!
Glue our sons to
you, our daughters bless
you, pledge our luck to you,
Based on flag descriptions by
Countryaah.com, the first written evidence of the Latvian flag in the colors red-white-red
comes from the 2nd half of the 13th century. At that time, tribes from the
region of what is now Latvia went to war under a similar flag against Estonian
tribes. This makes the Latvian national flag one of the oldest in the world. The
design of the flag comes from the artist Ansis Cirulis from
1917. Together with the national coat of arms, the Latvian national flag was
confirmed by the Kettish parliament on June 15, 1921. Before the occupation by
the USSR, the flag was used from 1918 to 1940, after that between 1940 and 1990
only by exillettes in the West. After independence, the flag was reaffirmed by
parliament on February 27, 1990.
The ratio of the widths of the red and white stripes is 2: 1: 2. This means
that the red stripes are twice as wide as the white stripe.
Latvia: Known People
- Karlis Baumanis (1835-1905)
composer and poet. He composed the Latvian national anthem in 1870.
- Eduard Erdmann (1896-1958)
piano player and composer.
rock and pop band from Riga.
- Mariss Jansons (born 1943)
internationally renowned conductor.
- Gidon Markowitsch Kremer (born 1947)
internationally known violinist.
- Janis Ivanovs (1906-1983)
- Peteris Vasks (born 1946)
composer. He has been awarded the Latvian Grand Music Prize three times.
- Elina Garanca (born 1976)
Politicians and rulers
- Indulis Emsis (born 1952)
biologist, Green politician and former Prime Minister of Latvia.
- Vaira Vike-Freiberga (born 1937)
She has been President of Latvia since 1999.
Writer and poet
- Rainis (Janis Pliekšans, 1865 - 1929)
Eminent Latvian writer, cultural worker, politician, with a number of books
of poetry and plays. Rainis has been nominated as "Person of the 20th
Century in Latvia".
- Andrejs Pumpurs(1841-1902)
- Zenta Mauriņa (1897 -1978)
Zenta Mauriņa was a Latvian writer and philosopher.
Her father was a Latvian doctor and her mother a German-born pianist from
Saint Petersburg. Having developed polio at the age of five, she had to
spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. In 1946 she fled the Soviets via
Germany to Uppsala in Sweden, where she lived until 1966. Afterwards she
lived in Bad Krozingen near Freiburg im Breisgau.
Her works describe the fate of Latvia in the 20th century between freedom
and oppression. In 1996 a stamp with her portrait was issued in Latvia in
- Imants Bleidelis (born 1975)
- Michail Tal (1936-1992)
- Mikhail Nikolajewitsch, Baryschnikow (born 1948)
dancer and ballet director
- Sergejs Žoltoks (1972-2004)
professional hockey player. Žoltoks was the center of the Nashville
Predators. He was active in professional hockey in the USA and Canada for
- Alexei Shirov (born 1972)
chess player. He achieved the title of chess grandmaster in 1990.
- Janis Lusis (born 1939)
athlete. He won all three Olympic medals.
Theologians and philosophers
- August Bielenstein(1826 - 1907)
pastor and linguist.
- Henry Stolow (1901-1971)
stamp dealer. He emigrated to the USA with his brother in 1936. There they
founded the company J. and H. Stolow, Wholesale Stamp Dealers, 475 Fifth
Ave, New York 17, NY, which existed until the 1970s.