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In 1279, long before it became the national flag of Latvia, the red-white-red banner was used by the home guard of Cesis. It was revived in 1870 by a group of Latvian university students in Estonia and used in 1873 at a national song festival in Riga. During World War I these colours became popular and were used by Latvian units of the Russian army, by boy scouts and by civil organizations. In 1917 prominent Latvian artists agreed that the shade of red should be crimson and that the width of the white stripe should be one-fifth of the flag's width. Use of the flag was forbidden under the Soviet occupation, which started on 17 June 1940. On 29 September 1988 its use as a civil flag was legalized and in 1990 it again became the national flag.