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Riga - Historical Flags (Latvia)

Last modified: 2014-05-31 by zoltán horváth
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1270 Flag


image by Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999

In 1270 Riga get "Hamburg rights" and flag with white cross in middle (background undefined). In XIII-XIV cc Riga have merchant flag - black with white cross.
Gvido Pētersons , 16 June 1999


14th Century Flag


image by Phil Nelson, 20 Febuary 2000

Znamierowski: The World Encyclopedia of Flags [zna00], shows several interesting flags of the port cities of northern Europe.  These are derived from gonfalons, originally red in color.  The flags, in a banner form, were flown from the stern of the vessels, the mast carrying the gonfalon of the colors. Here is the flag of Riga, in the 14th century .
Phil Nelson, 20 Febuary 2000


1582 Flag


image by Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999

After 1582, the merchant flag of Riga was white with red Coat of Arms.
Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999

The cover of [sie63] shows what the book describes as approximately a quarter of a flagchart, one of many to roll of the, mostly Dutch, presses for the use of seafarers: "Tableau des Pavillons que la Plupart des Nations arborent a` la Mer. Faitau de'po^t des cartes et plans de la marine pour le service des vaisseaux du Roy par ordre de M. de Machault, Garde de se'aux de France. Par le Sr. Bellin Inge'nieur de la marine. 1756." [beL56]
On the 2nd row from the bottom there is "Pavillon de Riga en Livonie" - A white flag with a town-gate in red, detailed in black, wit two gold tips. Above the building two crossed keys in grey, bits upward and outward, about as wide as the central gate building; above those, nearly touching, a small latin cross in grey, not quite half as high as the keys are long. Standing (or sitting) in the gateway an undeterminable creature white, outlined in black. [Half the creature's height is face with eyes, so either it's a head-feet, standing, or its a monster sitting/laying under the gate with little more than its head visible, the latter seems more plausbile.] The town-gate is the usual image: Two towers, with 5 windows each placed 2,1,2, slightly wider feet and eaves, steeples slightly sharper than equilateral (in this case with golden tips). Wider central building with in the upper half a window on either side, reaching nearly as high as the eaves of the towers, with on top of that a lightly overhanging obtuse gable. The gate as wide as the central building, except for the stones of the arc, which makes not quite as wide as the towers, and half as high as the building, arc from the ground up and completely open, with the background showing inside it merging with the background below it.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 4 January 2001

At J.W Norie - J.S. Hobbs: Flaggen aller seefahrenden Nationen, 1971[ nor71] (original print 1848):
99 Riga - A bit likethe above, but the charge is closer to the hoist, there is no monster, the gate is open at the foot, as in the text below the image, and the person colouring in the image apparently thought keys and cross were part of the building and coloured upward to make it all the same red blur.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001


Middle of 17th Century Flag


image by Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999

In middle of XVII century, Riga had Swedish merchant flag with CoA on red field.
Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999

At J.W Norie - J.S. Hobbs: Flaggen aller seefahrenden Nationen, 1971[ nor71] (original print 1848):
100 Riga - As above, except the cross is centered, there's no cross in the arms and the blue is lighter.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 November 2001


1673 Flag


image by Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999

In 1673 a new flag for Riga was approved: blue and white. It was existed untill the middle of XIX C. and between 1920-1940
Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999


Flags According to Steenbergen Book (1862)


image by Jaume Ollé, 30 April 2003

No. 513 - Riga.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 30 April 2003


image by Jaume Ollé, 5 September 2003

No. 938 - Riga.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 5 September 2003


image by Jaume Ollé, 5 September 2003

No. 939 - Riga.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 5 September 2003


image by Jaume Ollé, 16 November 2003

Addition No. 435a - Riga.
Source: [stb62]
Jaume Ollé, 16 November 2003


Hanseatic Flags According to Paschke


image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 October 2007

It is a plain white flag with a red gate.
Source : Poster entitled: "Die geschichtliche Entwicklung der als deutsche Nationalflaggen auf See gefahrenen und von den seefahrenden Nationen anerkannten deutschen Kriegs- und Handelsflaggen" (The historical evolution of those German national flags used on ships and recognized as German war flags or merchant flags by the naval nations), edited by Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum Bremerhaven, 1981, based on an original version of Kapitan zur See a.D. Karl Schultz, all flags on the poster are painted by E. Paschke.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 October 2007

 

[Riga since 1295] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 28 Nov 2005

Riga since 1295: A plain black pennant with a single white cross shifted to the hoist.
Source : Poster entitled: "Die geschichtliche Entwicklung der als deutsche Nationalflaggen auf See gefahrenen und von den seefahrenden Nationen anerkannten deutschen Kriegs- und Handelsflaggen" (The historical evolution of those German national flags used on ships and recognized as German war flags or merchant flags by the naval nations), edited by Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum Bremerhaven, 1981, based on an original version of Kapitan zur See a.D. Karl Schultz, all flags on the poster are painted by E. Paschke.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 28 November 2005


Middle of 19th Century Flag


image by Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999

From the middle of XIX century untill 1917 Riga had a blue-red-white tricolour.
Gvido Pētersons, 16 June 1999


Soviet Riga


obverse
image by Antonio Martins and Antonio Gutiérrez, 6 September 2003


reverse
image by Antonio Martins and Antonio Gutiérrez, 6 September 2003

Riga flag under soviet occupation till 1988.
Source:
Enciklopedija RIGA 1988 in latvian.
Guy Babonneau, 12 March 2001

The said flag is rather a pendon, fixed to a wodden pole (suited for carrying, apparently) with five ribbons and with a golden fringe in the fly; height to width ratio is approx. 11:16; there is a golden vertical criss-cross ornament along the fly on both sides.
The reverse says indeed «Ri_gas pilse_ta / gorod Riga», which means "city of Riga" in Latvian ("_" is a macron over the preceding letter) and Russian (in cyrillic letters, of course) in golden fantasy capitals, bellow a depiction of the lavtian RSS emblem; the obverse says «VISU ZEMJU PROLETA_RIES~I, SAVIENOJIETIES!», which means "Workers of the Wold, unite!" in Latvian (with macron and hacheck) above the black and white iconic image of Lenin's face (incl. golden laurel branch).
Now, I have some doubts about this being the pre-1988 flag of Riga: Note that this is a ceremonial banner, suited for indoor or parade display; that the only reference to the city is on the reverse (the "not-main" side); and that there is a vacant space at the bottom of the obverse - a space suitable for additions like «Production prize 1976 awarded to the glorious 12th brigade of Riga Saw Mill in the name of V. I. Lysenko» or something like that.
Moreover, all known soviet territorial flags other than SSR's and ASSR's have been always unofficial - I think that this one is not even that.
I remark also that this flag is apparent scarlat (alyi~) and not purpure (krapovyi~), comparing the background with the relevant parts of the emblem - it was just photographed too darkly.
Note also that the emble is depicted in a <su-lv.html#coa> third variant: The star is plain yellow and only slightly dense (or nothing at all), and the sun is solid yellow, not transparent.
Antonio Martins, 6 September 2003