National personification

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Britannia arm-in-arm with Uncle Sam symbolizes the British-American alliance in World War I.
An early example of National personification in a gospel book dated 990: Sclavinia, Germania, Gallia, and Roma, bringing offerings to Emperor Otto III.
1909 cartoon in Puck shows (clockwise) US, Germany, Britain, France and Japan engaged in naval race in a "no limit" game.

A national personification is an anthropomorphism of a nation or its people. It may appear in editorial cartoons and propaganda.

Some early personifications in the Western world tended to be national manifestations of the majestic wisdom and war goddess Minerva/Athena, and often took the Latin name of the ancient Roman province. Examples of this type include Britannia, Germania, Hibernia, Helvetia and Polonia. Examples of personifications of the Goddess of Liberty include Marianne, the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World), and many examples of United States coinage. Another ancient model was Roma, a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state, and who was revived in the 20th Century as the personification of Mussolini's "New Roman Empire". Examples of representations of the everyman or citizenry in addition to the nation itself are Deutscher Michel, John Bull and Uncle Sam.[1]

Personifications by country or territory[edit]

Country Image Personification
 Albania Mother Albania Tirana 2.JPG Mother Albania (Nëna Shqipëria)
 Argentina 20060128 - Mausoleo del General San Martín en la Catedral de Buenos Aires.jpg Effigy of the Republic/Liberty/Progress/Fatherland, Gaucho, Martín Fierro
 Armenia Arm-3897-65 amyak end K 2.jpg Mother Armenia (Mayr Hayastan; lit. "Mother Hayastan")
 Australia LBM-Lindsay.jpg Little Boy from Manly, Boxing kangaroo
 Austria Wien 01 Austriabrunnen 07.jpg Austria
 Bangladesh Bangamata (lit. Mother Bengal); Bengal tiger.[2]

Joy Bangla (Bengali: জয় বাংলা; meaning "Victory to Bengal") was the slogan and war cry of the Mukti Bahini that fought for the independence of Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.[3]

 Belgium La-Belgique-couronnant-ses-enfants-illustres-Jamar-1854.tif La Belgique or Belgica. The country is also commonly represented by a lion, historically known as Leo Belgicus.
 Brazil Rodrigues-republica-mab.jpg Efígie da República; the Bandeirante (only in São Paulo State); the Candango (in Brasília); the Gaúcho (in Rio Grande do Sul)
 Bulgaria Georgi-Danchov-Svobodna-Bulgaria.jpg Mother Bulgaria
 Cambodia Preah Thong and Neang Neak
 Canada Statue Dollard des Ormeaux, parc Lafontaine, Montréal 2005-08-29.jpg Mountie[disputed ], Johnny Canuck, Le Vieux de '37 (French Canada), Adam Dollard des Ormeaux (used during the two World Wars as a military example), Mother Canada (at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial)
 Chile Roto chileno.jpg El Roto, El Huaso, La Carmela, Doña Juanita (an average Chilean woman from the countryside), Moya (a common surname used as N.N.)
 China and  Taiwan Jade Emperor. Ming Dynasty.jpg Jade Emperor, Chinese dragon, Mao Zedong (in Mainland China), Sun Yat-sen (in Taiwan)
 Czech Republic Vaclav Maly -The National Museum in Prague 048.jpg Čechie, Czech Vašek, double-tailed Czech lion, Svejk.
 Denmark Holger danske.jpg Holger Danske, Mor Danmark
 Dominican Republic Conchoprimo.jpeg Conchoprimo
 Egypt Nahdet Misr.jpg Mother of the World (Om El Donia)
 El Salvador SalvadorDelMundo.jpg Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo
 Europe Enlèvement d'Europe by Nöel-Nicolas Coypel (detail).jpg Europa or Europa regina
 Finland SuomiNeito.png Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito)
 France Marianne - symbol of French Republic.jpg Marianne, Jean Crapaud
 Georgia Saint George - Carlo Crivelli.jpg Georgia: Saint George, "Mother of a Georgian" (Kartvlis Deda)
 Germany Image Germania (painting).jpg Germany: Germania, Arminius (Hermann der Cherusker), Deutscher Michel

Bavaria: Bavaria, Berlin: Berolina, Brunswick: Brunonia, Franconia: Franconia, Hamburg: Hammonia, Prussia: Borussia, Palatinate: Palatia, Saxony: Saxonia

 Greece Theodoros Vryzakis, Grateful Hellas (1858).jpg Hellas
 Haiti Czestochowska.jpg Ezili Dantor, Katrin (based on the real life Haitian hero, Catherine Flon)
 Hungary Hungária nőalak Aradon.jpg The Lady of Hungaria
 Iceland Arnason-front.jpg The Lady of the Mountains (Fjallkonan)
 India Bharat matha.jpg Bharat Mata ("Mother India")
 Indonesia Statue of Goddess or Queen at Monas.JPG Ibu Pertiwi
 Iran Illustrerad Verldshistoria band I Ill 058.jpg Cyrus the Great, Lion and Sun
 Ireland Edmund Dwyer Gray Hibernia.png Ériu, Banba, Fódla, Kathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia, Scotia,[4] Granuaile, The Old Woman of Beare[5], Grace O'Malley[6][7]

 Israel PikiWiki Israel 5668 cartoon museu in holon.jpg Srulik
 Italy Reggio calabria monumento all'italia.jpg Italia Turrita
 Japan Amaterasu cave crop.jpg Amaterasu, Emperor Jimmu, Emperor Meiji, Kiji
 Jordan Abu Mahjoob
 Kenya Wanjiku
Korea ( North Korea and  South Korea) Portrait of Dangun.jpg Dangun, Ungnyeo, Korean Tiger, Yangban, Chollima, Kim Il-Sung (North Korea only)
 Kyrgyzstan Manas Monument in Bishkek.jpg Manas
 Lebanon Abu Abed
 Macedonia Mother Macedonia[8][9]
 Malaysia TuahNatlHistoryMuseumKL.jpg Hang Tuah, Harimau Malaya
 Malta Malta 1922 One Pound.jpg Melita
 Mexico Alegoría de la Patria Mexicana 1.jpg Alegoría de la Patria Mexicana (es), Our Lady of Guadalupe, La China Poblana
 Morocco BarbaryLionB1898bw.jpg Barbary Lion
 Montenegro Vlah Church 2.jpg Fairy of Lovćen, Mother Montenegro
 Netherlands Element uit de vlag van de marine van de Bataafse Republiek.svg Dutch Maiden, Dutch Republic Lion
 New Zealand 1901 Universal Postage 1 penny red.JPG Kiwi, Zealandia, southern man (for the South Island)
 Norway Norges Grundlov 1814 Frihed Lighed Broderskab, 1914.jpg Mother Norway [no], stereotyp. Ola Nordmann & Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
 Palestine Handala
 Peru The chalán, La Madre Patria
RizalParkIntramurosGolfClubjf8588 13.JPG
Juan dela Cruz, María Clara, Ináng Bayan, Filipinas, Philippine eagle
 Poland Quincunx Polonia.jpg Polonia, Polandball
 Portugal Zepovinho.jpg Zé Povinho, Eu nacional (National Self), Republic effigy, Guardian Angel of Portugal
 Romania Gheorghe Tattarescu - 11 februarie 1866 Romania Moderna.jpg România
 Russia RossiiaLaveretsky.jpg Mother Russia/Mother Motherland, Russian bear
 Serbia Kosovo Maiden, Uroš Predić, 1919.jpg Mother Serbia, Kosovo Maiden
 Singapore Singapore Mini Merlion.JPG Merlion
 Slovakia Wladyslaw Skoczylas - Janosik.jpg Jánošík
 Slovenia Kranjski Janez ("John from Carniola", an average man from Slovenia's central region), Peter Klepec
 Spain Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid) 03b.jpg Hispania
 Suriname Mama Sranan Sculpture.JPG Mama Sranan (Mother Suriname), a 1965 sculpture by Jozeph Klas in the center of Paramaribo, of a mother figure holding five children representing Suriname's ethnic groups in her arms.[10]
 Sweden Moder svea berga.JPG Mother Svea
  Switzerland Zweifranken (cropped).jpg Helvetia
 Thailand Pra Siamdevadhiraj.png Phra Siam Devadhiraj (พระสยามเทวาธิราช "The guardian angel of Siam"), Thailand
 Ukraine Cossack Mamay 1890.jpg Cossack Mamay
 United Kingdom Britannia-Statue.jpg Britannia (United Kingdom), John Bull (England), The Lion and the Unicorn (England and Scotland), Dame Wales (Wales), Welsh dragon (Wales)
 United States Unclesamwantyou.jpg Uncle Sam (government personification), Statue of Liberty as Lady Liberty, Columbia, Johnny Rebel (The South, obsolete), Billy Yank (The North, obsolete), Brother Jonathan (New England, obsolete)
 Vietnam The Four Immortals

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eric Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870-1914," in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, 1983), 263-307.
  2. ^ "NATIONAL SYMBOLS". Bangladesh Tourism Board. Bangladesh: Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism.
  3. ^ Ahmed, Salahuddin (2004). Bangladesh: Past and Present. APH Publishing. p. 310. ISBN 8176484695. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  4. ^ O'Clery, M. (2003) Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters as translated into English
  5. ^ O'Rourke Murphy, M. & MacKillop, J. (2006). An Irish Literature Reader: Poetry, Prose, Drama.
  6. ^ Hardiman, James (1831). Irish Minstrelsy; or Bardic Remains of Ireland, Volume 2. p. 140.

    Her name has been frequently used by our Bards, to designate Ireland. Hence our Countrymen have been often called “Sons of old Grana Weal.”

  7. ^ "Granuaile". Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  8. ^ "A Manifesto from the Provisional Government of Macedonia". 1881. Our mother Macedonia became now as a widow, lonely and deserted by her sons. She does not fly the banner of the victorious Macedonian army
  9. ^ Bulgarian graphic representation of Bulgaria, East Rumelia and Macedonia
  10. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Lionel Gossman. "Making of a Romantic Icon: The Religious Context of Friedrich Overbeck's 'Italia und Germania.'" American Philosophical Society, 2007. ISBN 0-87169-975-3. [1]

External links[edit]