National personification

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Britannia arm-in-arm with Uncle Sam symbolizes the British-American alliance in World War I.
Iudaea Capta, "Conquered Judaea", commemorative coin issued by the Roman emperor Vespasian (left) after the Jewish War
An early example of National personification in a gospel book dated 990: Sclavinia, Germania, Gallia, and Roma, bringing offerings to Emperor Otto III.
In this Allegory depicting the 1576 Pacification of Ghent by Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne, the seated women represent a short-lived unity among the embattled provinces of what would become the present-day Belgium and Netherlands
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 anthropomorphic personification of a state or the people(s) it inhabits. It may appear in political 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]

Location Image Personification Animal used for the same purpose
 Albania Mother Albania Tirana 2.JPG Mother Albania (Nëna Shqipëria)
The Americas The Four Continents (America), Johann Joachim Kaendler and assistants, Meissen Porcelain Factory, c. 1760, hard-paste porcelain - Wadsworth Atheneum - Hartford, CT - DSC05373.jpg Personification of the Americas
 Argentina La Libertad en la cima de la Piramide de Mayo.jpg Effigy of the Republic/Liberty/Progress/Fatherland, Gaucho
 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 (Personification)
 Bangladesh Bangamata (lit. Mother Bengal).[2] Bengal tiger[3]
 Belgium La-Belgique-couronnant-ses-enfants-illustres-Jamar-1854.tif La Belgique or Belgica, Manneken Pis[4][5] Brabantic Lion, Leo Belgicus
 Brazil Rodrigues-republica-mab.jpg Efígie da República; the Bandeirante (only in São Paulo State and Minas Gerais); the "Tropeiro" (in Minas Gerais); 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 Mountie,[6] Johnny Canuck,[7] Le Vieux de '37 (French Canada), Canada Bereft also known as Mother Canada (at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial). Canada was often personified as a young woman in 19th and early 20th century editorial cartoons, called simply '"Canada," "Miss Canada,'" or sometimes "Mother Canada"[8] Canadian beaver
 Chile Roto chileno.jpg El Roto, El Huaso, Doña Juanita (an average Chilean woman from the countryside)
 China and  Taiwan Jade Emperor. Ming Dynasty.jpg Jade Emperor Chinese dragon
 Colombia Juan Valdez
 Croatia Ferdo Quiqerez,Predziđe kršćanstva.jpg Mother Croatia (Mati Hrvatska)
 Czechia Vaclav Maly -The National Museum in Prague 048.jpg Čechie, Czech Vašek, Svejk. double-tailed Czech lion
 Denmark Holger danske.jpg Holger Danske, Mor Danmark
 Dominican Republic Conchoprimo.jpeg Conchoprimo
 Egypt Nahdet Misr.jpg Mother of the World (Om El Donia)
 European Union Enlèvement d'Europe by Nöel-Nicolas Coypel (detail).jpg Europa or Europa regina Zeus as a white bull
 Finland SuomiNeito.png Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito)
 France Marianne - symbol of French Republic.jpg Marianne Gallic rooster
 Georgia Mother of Georgia view.jpg Georgia: "Mother of a Georgian" (Kartlis Deda)
 Germany Image Germania (painting).jpg Germany: Germania, Deutscher Michel

Bavaria: Bavaria, Berlin: Berolina, Bremen: Brema (de), Brunswick: Brunonia (de), Franconia: Franconia (de), Frankfurt: Francofurtia (de), Hamburg: Hammonia, Prussia: Borussia (de), Palatinate: Palatia, Saxony: Saxonia (de)

Reichsadler, Bundesadler
Regional: Berliner Bär, Bavarian Lion, Marcher Eagle (Brandenburg), Prussian Eagle
 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 Mata Painting.jpg Bharat Mata ("Mother India") Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion

Indian peafowl

 Indonesia Statue of Goddess or Queen at Monas.JPG Ibu Pertiwi Garuda Pancasila
 Iran,  Afghanistan and  Tajikistan Rostam killing the White Demon.jpg Rostam[9][10][11] Lion and sun
 Ireland Edmund Dwyer Gray Hibernia.png Ériu, Banba, Fódla, Kathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia, The Old Woman of Beare[12]
 Israel P Srulik.png Srulik
 Italy Reggio calabria monumento all'italia.jpg Italia Turrita, Roma Italian wolf
 Japan Amaterasu cave crop.jpg Amaterasu, Emperor Jimmu Green Pheasant, Koi
 Kenya Wanjiku
Korea ( North Korea and  South Korea - despite mutual enmity, both states lay claim to the same historical heritage) Portrait of Dangun.jpg Dangun, Ungnyeo, Yangban Korean Tiger, Chollima
 Kyrgyzstan Manas.jpg Manas
 Latvia 1916 Zariņš Tēvuzemei Grūti Laiki.jpg Milda
 Lithuania Wytautas.gif Vytautas
Benelux Low Lands or Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg) Strada, Leo Belgicus, 1648, Cornell, CUL PJM 1011 01.jpg Leo Belgicus
 Malaysia TuahNatlHistoryMuseumKL.jpg Hang Tuah[13][14] Malayan tiger[15]
 Malta Malta 1922 One Pound.jpg Melita
 Mexico Alegoría de la Patria Mexicana 1.jpg Alegoría de la Patria Mexicana (es), La China Poblana Golden eagle
 Morocco BarbaryLionB1898bw.jpg Barbary Lion
 Montenegro Vlah Church 2.jpg Fairy of Lovćen, Mother Montenegro
 Netherlands Wapen Bataafse Republiek.svg Dutch Maiden Dutch Republic Lion, Leo Hollandicus, Leo Belgicus
 New Zealand 1901 Universal Postage 1 penny red.JPG Zealandia[16] Kiwi
 North Macedonia Mother Macedonia[17][18]
 Norway Norges Grundlov 1814 Frihed Lighed Broderskab, 1914.jpg Mother Norway [no], stereotyp. Ola Nordmann & Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
 Palestine Handara - panoramio.jpg Handala
 Peru Firme y feliz por la union - 8 Escudos (cropped).jpg Libertad also known as Madre Patria (Allegory of the Peruvian Motherland) Vicuña
RizalParkIntramurosGolfClubjf8588 13.JPG
Ináng Bayan, Filipinas, Juan dela Cruz Philippine Carabao
 Poland Quincunx Polonia.jpg Polonia White eagle
 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 Modernă
 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 Leopold Layer - Kralj Matjaž.jpg Kralj Matjaž ("King Matjaž", a legendary king in Slovenia and some other nations), Peter Klepec[citation needed]
 Spain Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid) 03b.jpg Hispania Hispanic Lion
 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Matha
 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.[19]
 Sweden Moder svea berga.JPG Mother Svea
  Switzerland Zweifranken (cropped).jpg Helvetia
 Thailand Seal of the Bank of Thailand.png Siam Devadhiraj (พระสยามเทวาธิราช "The Guardian Angel of Siam") White elephant
 Ukraine Fedir Stovbynenko - Kozak-bandyryst (1890).jpg Cossack Mamay
 United Kingdom Britannia-Statue.jpg Britannia (United Kingdom), John Bull (England), Dame Wales (Wales) The Lion and the Unicorn (England and Scotland), Bulldog (United Kingdom), Welsh dragon (Wales)
 United States Unclesamwantyou.jpg Uncle Sam (government personification), Lady Liberty, Columbia, Johnny Reb (The South, obsolete), Billy Yank (The North, obsolete), Brother Jonathan (New England, obsolete) Bald Eagle, Timber rattlesnake (American Revolution, obsolete)
 Uruguay El Altar de la Patria.png Personification of Uruguay
 Vietnam Phù điêu Quốc tổ Lạc Long Quân tại Đền Nội Bình Đà.jpg Lạc Long Quân, Âu Cơ, The Four Immortals Vietnamese Dragon, Lạc Bird

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. ^ Ahmed, Salahuddin (2004). Bangladesh: Past and Present. APH Publishing. p. 310. ISBN 8176484695. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "NATIONAL SYMBOLS". Bangladesh Tourism Board. Bangladesh: Ministry of Civil Aviation & Tourism. Archived from the original on 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2015-09-10.
  4. ^ Couvreur, Manuel; Deknop, Anne; Symons, Thérèse (2005). Manneken-Pis : Dans tous ses états. Historia Bruxellae (in French). 9. Brussels: Musées de la Ville de Bruxelles. ISBN 978-2-930423-01-2.
  5. ^ Emerson, Catherine (2015). Regarding Manneken Pis: Culture, Celebration and Conflict in Brussels. Leeds: Taylor & Francis Ltd. ISBN 978-1-909662-30-8.
  6. ^ McGill, Robert (2017). War Is Here: The Vietnam War and Canadian Literature. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 37. ISBN 9780773551589. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  7. ^ Barber, Katherine (2007). Only in Canada You Say: A Treasury of Canadian Language. Oxford University Press Canada. p. 70. ISBN 9780195427073.
  8. ^ "Library and Archives Canada". Library and Archives Canada.
  9. ^ Hassanabadi, Mahmoud. "Rostam: A Complex Puzzle: A New Approach to the Identification of the Character of Rostam in the Iranian National Epos Shāhnāme". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Dallmayr, Fred (25 August 1999). Border Crossings: Toward a Comparative Political Theory. ISBN 9780739152546.
  11. ^
  12. ^ O'Rourke Murphy, M. & MacKillop, J. (2006). An Irish Literature Reader: Poetry, Prose, Drama.
  13. ^ Liok Ee Tan (1988). The Rhetoric of Bangsa and Minzu. Monash Asia Institute. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-86746-909-7.
  14. ^ Melanie Chew (1999). The Presidential Notes: A biography of President Yusof bin Ishak. Singapore: SNP Publications. p. 78. ISBN 978-981-4032-48-3.
  15. ^ Minahan, James B. (2009). The Complete Guide to National Symbols and Emblems. Greenwood. p. 101. ISBN 978-0313344961.
  16. ^ "South African War memorial, Waimate".
  17. ^ "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 Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ Bulgarian graphic representation of Bulgaria, East Rumelia and North Macedonia
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2016-03-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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]