Order of Lacplesis
Overview
 
The Order of Lāčplēsis, the first and the highest Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

n military award, was established in 1919 on the initiative of the Commander of Latvian Army, during the Latvian War of Independence, Jānis Balodis
Janis Balodis
Jānis Balodis was an army officer and politician who was a principal figure in the foundation and government of independent Latvia. He was commander in chief of the army and navy during the Latvian war of independence and later was a cabinet member and vice president...

. The Lāčplēsis Order is awarded in the first, second and third class. Initially, a holder of the order had to be a recipient of the third class before being promoted to a higher class. It was named after the Latvian epic hero, Lāčplēsis
Lacplesis
Lāčplēsis is an epic poem by Andrejs Pumpurs, a Latvian poet, who wrote it between 1872-1887 based on local legends. Lāčplēsis is regarded as the Latvian national epic.-Synopsis:...

.
Encyclopedia
The Order of Lāčplēsis, the first and the highest Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

n military award, was established in 1919 on the initiative of the Commander of Latvian Army, during the Latvian War of Independence, Jānis Balodis
Janis Balodis
Jānis Balodis was an army officer and politician who was a principal figure in the foundation and government of independent Latvia. He was commander in chief of the army and navy during the Latvian war of independence and later was a cabinet member and vice president...

. The Lāčplēsis Order is awarded in the first, second and third class. Initially, a holder of the order had to be a recipient of the third class before being promoted to a higher class. It was named after the Latvian epic hero, Lāčplēsis
Lacplesis
Lāčplēsis is an epic poem by Andrejs Pumpurs, a Latvian poet, who wrote it between 1872-1887 based on local legends. Lāčplēsis is regarded as the Latvian national epic.-Synopsis:...

. As a young man, Lāčplēsis kills a bear with his bare hands and thus the order is also known as the Order of the Bearslayer.

Description

The medal of the Lāčplēsis Military Order is a white enameled Thunder and Fire Cross (Latvian left facing swastika
Swastika
The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

) with red and golden edging. In the centre of the obverse there is a medallion with picture of the folk hero Lāčplēsis wrestling with a bear. On the reverse side there is the date 11 November 1919, the date when the Latvian Army expelled the troops of Pavel Bermondt-Avalov from Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

. With the date is also engraved motto of the order "Par Latviju" (For Latvia). Edges of the cross were engraved with initials H.B., the trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 of silversmith Hermanis Banks. The emblem of the order was designed by J. Līberts. The holders received also a diploma, designed by Rihards Zariņš, with a brief description of their achievements.

History

The first award ceremony took place on the Esplanade Square in Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

 on 11 November 1920, with President Jānis Čakste
Janis Cakste
Jānis Čakste was a Latvian politician and lawyer who served as the first head of independent Latvian state as the Chairman of Tautas Padome , the Speaker of the Constitutional Assembly , and as the first President of Latvia .- Youth :Čakste was born in the...

 personally presenting the decorations to the seven highest-ranking commanders of the Latvian Army, General Pēteris Radziņš, Colonels Mārtiņš Peniķis, Krišjānis Berķis
Krišjanis Berkis
Krišjānis Berķis was a Latvian general. Rising to prominence as an officer of the Latvian Riflemen in World War I, he was later one of Prime Minister Kārlis Ulmanis' principal conspirators in the coup d'état of May 15, 1934...

, Jūlijs Jansons and Jānis Apinis and Lieutenant Colonels Oskars Dankers
Oskars Dankers
Oskars Dankers was a Latvian general. He participated in World War I and in the Latvian War of Independence. He was a recipient of the Order of Lāčplēsis, 2nd and 3rd class. During the occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany, Dankers cooperated with the Nazis.- Biography :He was born in Lielauce...

 and Jānis Puriņš.

Between 1919 and 1928 the first class was conferred on 11 persons. The second class was awarded to 61 persons (18 Latvians and 43 foreigners. The third class was conferred on 2072 persons (1600 soldiers of the Latvian army, 202 former Latvian riflemen
Latvian Riflemen
This article is about Latvian military formations in World War I and Russian Civil War. For Red Army military formations in World War II see Latvian Riflemen Soviet Divisions....

 and 271 foreigners). Among the recipients are 136 Estonians
Estonians
Estonians are a Finnic people closely related to the Finns and inhabiting, primarily, the country of Estonia. They speak a Finnic language known as Estonian...

, 11 Lithuanians
Lithuanians
Lithuanians are the Baltic ethnic group native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,765,600 people. Another million or more make up the Lithuanian diaspora, largely found in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Russia, United Kingdom and Ireland. Their native language...

, 47 Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, 15 Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, 9 Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, 4 Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and 3 Belarusians
Belarusians
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

. Three women Valija Vesčūnas-Jansone, Līna Canka-Freidenfelde, and Elza Ziglevica were holders of the third class of the decoration.

The Military Order of Lāčplēsis was also awarded to the foreigners, both common soldiers and high ranking generals and political leaders. Among them were the Commander of the Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

n Army General Johan Laidoner
Johan Laidoner
Johan Laidoner was a seminal figure of Estonian history between the world wars. His highest position was Commander-in-chief of the Estonian Army in 1918–1920, 1924–1925, and 1934–1940.-Education:Laidoner was born in Viiratsi , Governorate of Livonia, then part of the Russian Empire...

, Polish Marshall Józef Piłsudski, Edward Rydz-Śmigły, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
Victor Emmanuel III was a member of the House of Savoy and King of Italy . In addition, he claimed the crowns of Ethiopia and Albania and claimed the titles Emperor of Ethiopia and King of Albania , which were unrecognised by the Great Powers...

, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, King Albert I of Belgium
Albert I of Belgium
Albert I reigned as King of the Belgians from 1909 until 1934.-Early life:Born Albert Léopold Clément Marie Meinrad in Brussels, he was the fifth child and second son of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, and his wife, Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen...

, and French Marshal
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

 Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch , GCB, OM, DSO was a French soldier, war hero, military theorist, and writer credited with possessing "the most original and subtle mind in the French army" in the early 20th century. He served as general in the French army during World War I and was made Marshal of France in its...

.

The fortress of Verdun
Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February – 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France...

, was also awarded the Lāčplēsis Military Order for the heroism of it defenders during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

Order of Lāčplēsis classes
Order of Lāčplēsis First Class Order of Lāčplēsis 2nd Class Order of Lāčplēsis 3rd Class


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK