Latvia declared de facto independence on November 18, 1918 but it wasn't until January 26, 1921 that the Entente powers responsible for drawing up Europe's post-war borders approved the new country's existence de jure in international law.
Achieving international recognition represented the completion of a very complicated process of building a Latvian state. In the period between the world wars, 26 January was a national holiday celebrated in individual Latvian families and wider society.
On 26 January, Rīga Castle will be hosting a festive event devoted to the centenary of Latvia’s de jure recognition with participation of senior officials of state and government. Live streaming in Latvian and English will be available on the LSM portal starting at 14.00.
Video greetings on the centenary of Latvia’s international recognition from senior officials of the former Entente countries will be screened during the event. It will also be possible to watch a series of videos produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to commemorate the historic anniversary, and a video on the story behind Latvia’s international recognition.
As previously reported by LSM, the Bank of Latvia (Latvijas Banka) is releasing a limited edition 2 euro commemorative coin dedicated to the 100th anniversary of de jure recognition, and the postal service of Latvia (Latvijas Pasts) has produced a stamp and a first day cover dedicated to the anniversary.
Paying tribute to Latvian diplomats and their efforts to secure recognition of their country on 26 January 1921, a “De jure Room” has been unveiled at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On 24 January, as is customary, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will lay flowers on the graves of Latvia's first President, Jānis Čakste, and Foreign Minister Zigfrīds Anna Meierovics at Meža Kapi (the Forest Ceremony) in Rīga.
On 26 January itself, resident ambassadors to Latvia will sign the Foreign Ministry’s Guest Book. Each ambassador will walk away with a gift – a commemorative stamp on its first day cover and the coin commemorating the centenary of Latvia’s de jure recognition. The flags of the five Entente states – Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan – will be flown in front of Rīga Castle.
In addition, the Foreign Ministry has announced a video competition for youth on what a 21st century diplomat should be like. The authors of the best videos will have an online conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and receive prizes.
On the occasion of the anniversary, a brochure titled De jure 100 has been compiled and will be available online in Latvian, English and French.