Monday, June 1, 2009

The Latvian National Anthem

"Dievs, Sveti Latviju!" was originally written while Latvia was still a part of Russia. (This was the first song ever written to include the word "Latvia" in the lyrics). The composition of the song was a direct act of defiance against the Russians, who did not encourage national sentiments. Because of the Russians forbidding the use of the word "Latvia" in the song, it was replaced with the word "Baltics". The song was first performed publicly in 1873 at a singing festival, and first performed as a national anthem upon Latvian independence in 1918. It was officially confirmed as the anthem in 1920.

During the time that Latvia was part of the Soviet Union, the song was again forbidden, but upon leaving the U. S. S. R. in 1990, the anthem was again restored as the national anthem of Latvia.

Kārlis Baumanis, the composer and writer of the Latvian national anthem, was born on the 11th of May, 1835 in Viļķene (Wilkenhof). He created the Latvian national anthem "God bless Latvia" in 1870. He lived and worked in Limbaži (Lemsal) as a teacher and a journalist. Kārlis Baumanis died on 10th of January, 1905 in Limbaži at the age of 69.