Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Latvian National Anthem on Stamp

Dievs, svētī Latviju! (God Bless Latvia) is the national anthem of Latvia. The words and music were written by Kārlis Baumanis (Baumaņu Kārlis, 1834–1904), in 1873. Baumanis, a teacher, was part of the Young Latvian nationalist movement. It has been speculated that Baumanis may have borrowed part of the lyrics from a popular song which was sung to tune of God Save the Queen, modified them and set them to music of his own. Baumanis's lyrics were different from the modern ones: he used the term "Baltics" synonymously and interchangeably with "Latvia" and "Latvians", so "Latvia" was actually mentioned only at the beginning of the first verse. Later the term "Latvia" was removed and replaced with "Baltics" to avoid a ban on the song. This has led to the misapprehension that the term "Latvia" was not part of the song until 1920, when it was chosen as national anthem and the word "Baltics" was replaced with "Latvia".

The stamp above featuring the Latvian anthem lyrics and composer, Karlis Baumanis was issued on 2010, the 100th Anniversary of the Republic of Latvia.