Latvian national flag was established in times of World War I. In 1915, while forming the Latvian Riflemen battalion flags, some painters offered Red – White – Red coloured flag sketches. They draw inspiration from the old chronicles.
The Red – White – Red Latvian flag was firstly mentioned in the chapters of Ditleb von Alnpeke’s Rhymed Chronicle of Livonia (Livländische Reimchronik) written in the 13th century.
The chronicle tells about the battle that took place around 1280, in which ancient Latvian tribe Letts or Latgallians from the city Cēsis (Wenden) and surrounding vicinities went to war, bearing a red flag with a white stripe in the middle.
No Cēsīm Rīgā atnācis From Cēsis to Riga did arrive
bij brālis kāds un atvedis Knight (of Livonian Order) and with him
simt zemessargu sevim līdz, hundred local militiamen.
lai zemgaļus tie sakaut līdz. They came to fight Semigallians.
To dzirdējuši, nāca nu With red flag they came
ar sarkanu tie karogu, And there was white stripe in middle of that flag.
kam vidū balta josla bija. First time it was seen at Cēsis
To pirmo reizi ieraudzīja And now it is well known in land of Letts,
pie Cēsīm, tur tas zināms nācis where women ride horses bravely
un letu zemē plīvot sācis, and work along their men.
kur sievas braši zirgos jāj That’s true, I can say honestly
un vīriem darbos līdzās stāj. It’s a flag of Letts.
Tik tiešām to jums sacīt varu,
ko arī šajā brīdī daru,
tas letu karogs ir paties.
In 1918 this flag was officially confirmed as Latvian national flag.