Latvia's Coat of Arms
The Grand Coat of arms of Latvia: The sun in the upper part of the coat of arms symbolizes Latvian national statehood. A stylized depiction of the sun was used as a symbol of distinction and national identity by the Imperial Russian Army's Latvian Riflemen during World War I. During the war the sun figure was fashioned with 17 rays that symbolized the 17 Latvian-inhabited districts. The three stars above the coat of arms embody the idea of the inclusion of historical districts (Vidzeme, Latgale and combined Courland-Semigalia (Kurzeme-Zemgale) into the united Latvia.
Culturally historical regions are also characterized by older heraldic figures, which already appeared in the 17th century. Courland and Semigalia (Western Latvia) are symbolized by a red lion, which appears as early as 1569 in the coat of arms of the former Duke of Courland and Semigalia. Vidzeme and Latgale (Eastern Latvia) are symbolized by the legendary winged silver creature with an eagle's head, a griffin. This symbol appeared in 1566, when the territories known today as Vidzeme and Latgale had come under Lithuanian control.
The Latvian national coat of arms was designed by the Latvian artist Rihards Zariņš.