Riga's coat of arms of the 17th century from a coin of King Gustav II Adolf's time is featured in the centre of the coin by matting the metal to different degrees. The year 1997, numeral 10 and inscription LATU (lats) are placed beneath the motif.
An outline of Riga's fortifications in the first half of the 17th century is depicted in the centre of the coin by matting the metal to different degrees. The inscription RIGAS NOCIETINAJUMI XVII GS. (Riga's fortifications 17th century), arranged in a semicircle, is above the central motif. The inscription RIGA-800 is placed beneath the motif.
The inscriptions LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA (Republic of Latvia) and LATVIJAS BANKA (Bank of Latvia), separated by rhombic dots.
The 17th century was characterized by the rule of the Kingdom of Sweden. The first two decades of the 17th century were ruled by the Swedish-Polish war. Due to Riga's economic and strategic importance, the battle for the Baltic became the battle for Riga. In 1621 the city surrendered to King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. For the next 100 years Riga became a Swedish city, even larger and stronger than the capital of the Kingdom of Sweden, Stockholm.
Riga became one of the most modern 17th century fortresses in Europe. High ramparts with mighty bastions and a wide and deep canal encircled the city. Beside the former Livonian Order's castle, a citadel with an equally impressive rampart was built to house the Swedish garrison. Protected by the second line of fortifications, the city mushroomed. The Kingdom of Sweden granted to Riga its former privileges, and the courts and city administration remained in the City Council's hands. Riga also was granted the right to mint its own money.
In 1656 the Russian tsar Alexei Mikhailovich encircled the city with troops outnumbering Riga's defenders; however, the city's fortifications and its citizens' bravery thwarted the attack. Hunger and plague added to destruction, impeding Riga's economic growth. In recognition of the courage shown in repelling the Russian attack, King Karl X Gustav of Sweden added his crown to Riga's coat of arms in 1660.
The coin's reverse shows an outline of Riga's fortifications in the first half of the 17th century. The obverse depicts Riga's coat of arms from a coin of King Gustav II Adolf's time.