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national personification is an anthropomorphism of a nation or its people; it can appear in both 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, and many examples of United States coinage. Examples of representations of the everyman or citizenry—rather than of the nation itself—are Deutscher Michel and John Bull. [1 ]
A national personification is not the same as a
national animal, although in some cartoons the national animal rather than the human personification is used to represent a country.
Personifications by country or territory [ edit ]
Mother Albania ( Nëna Shqipëria)
Giant sable antelope ( palanca-negra)
Effigy of the Republic/Liberty/Progress/Fatherland, Gaucho, Martín Fierro
Mother Armenia ( Mayr Hayastan; lit. "Mother Hayastan")
Little Boy from Manly
Austria (personification) and the federal eagle
Mother Bengal (also known as Bangla Maa)
La Belgique or Belgica
; the Efígie da República (only in Bandeirante São Paulo State); the Candango (in Brasília); the Gaúcho (in Rio Grande do Sul)
Preah Thong and Neang Neak
Mountie, 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 Vimy Memorial)
Roto, El Huaso, La Carmela, Doña Juanita (an average Chilean woman from the countryside), Moya (a common surname used as N.N.)
Chinese dragon, Chinese phoenix, panda, little white rabbit ( eg in Year Hare Affair)
Čechie, Czech Vašek, Double-tailed Czech lion, Svejk.
Mother of the World (
Om El Donia)
Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo
Europa or Europa regina
Finnish Maiden ( Suomi-neito)
Marianne, Gallic rooster
Saint George, "Mother of a Georgian" ( Kartvlis Deda)
Germania, Arminius (Hermann der Cherusker), Deutscher Michel
Bavaria, Berlin: Berolina, Brunswick: Brunonia, Franconia: Franconia, Hamburg: Hammonia, Prussia: Borussia, Palatinate: Palatia, Saxony: Saxonia
Athena, " Greece" by Delacroix
Lady of the Mountains ( Fjallkonan)
("Mother India"), earlier the goddess Bharat Mata Durga. Also the Tiger or the Indian Elephant is used to personify the nation. But strictly speaking of National Personification, the figure of Bharat Mata as a Goddess, wearing a white or saffron sari, holding the National flag, and having a Lion as her Vahana is the most widely popular Personification. The battle cry, "Bharat Mata ki Jai" (Victory for Mother India) is used by the Indian Army and is one of the most popular patriotic slogan used in India.
Cyrus the Great
Ériu, Banba, Fódla, Kathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia, Scotia, [2 ] Granuaile, The Old Woman of Beare [3 ]
King David, Srulik
Mother Macedonia [4 ] [5 ]
Charro, La China Poblana, el Pelado, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Tonatiuh
de Nederlandse Maagd ` ("The Dutch Maiden"), De Leeuw van Oranje, Hans Brinker (outside the Netherlands), ( Zeeland: Zeeuws Meisje)
Brother Jonathan, Puritan, Pine tree.
Kiwi, Zealandia, Southern man (for the South Island)
Mother Norway, Ola Nordmann, Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
Mumlikat-e-Khudadad ('God-given State')
La Madre Patria
Juan dela Cruz, Ináng Bayan/Filipinas, Luzviminda
, Zé Povinho (National Self), Eu nacional Lusitania (Ancient Roman Province consisting of what is mainly Portugal now), Republic effigy, Rooster of Barcelos, Guardian Angel of Portugal
Mother Russia/ Mother Motherland, Rus, Russian Bear, Ivan Grozny
Caledonia, Jock Tamson, Scotia, Cailleach
Mother Serbia, Kosovo Maiden,
Kranjski Janez ("John from Carniola", an average man from Slovenia's central region), Peter Klepec
Cossack Mamay, Rus
Britannia, John Bull, Lion, Bulldog
Uncle Sam (government personification), Statue of Liberty as Lady Liberty, Columbia, Johnny Rebel ( The South, obsolete), Billy Yank ( The North, obsolete), Bald eagle
Dame Wales, , Deffroad Cymru, the Awakening of Wales Welsh Dragon
Gallery [ edit ]
Freedom for France, freedom for the French
Norway, Denmark and Sweden joining hands in a 19th Century poster
World War I recruiting poster featuring
's cartoon on the 1803
Peace of Amiens
, features a fat and non-martial Britannia kissing "Citizen François", a personifiaction of Revolutionary France
Romania Breaking off Her Chains on the Field of Liberty, also by C. D. Rosenthal
A later depiction of Romania as a helpless woman threatened by the brutal Germany in a World War I French caricature
The figures in this late 18th century painting by
represent Japan, China, and the West.
17th century map by
Frederik de Wit
showing mythological Europa as the continent's personification
"Mrs. Britannia" and her daughter "Miss Canada" discussing "
"(the US) in an 1886 political cartoon.
Albanian caricature from 1913 shows
as a woman defending herself from beasts representing neighboring countries seeking at the time to divide Albania's territory between them:
(snake), saying: "Get away from me! Bloodsucking beasts!"
The woman on the right, holding out a letter of thanks to the enthroned
(from the 1735 edition of Swift's works).
Bavaria, an early 19th-century statue made when
was a fully sovereign Kingdom with a considerable national pride
Political cartoon depicting the tangled web of European alliances in the 1870's, with France being conspicuously isolated.
caricature commenting on the 1921
Peace of Riga
, Russian Bolsheviks (right) and Nationalist Poles (left) are dividing the territory of Belarus.
In a 1897 political cartoon,
lays claim to
and warns off the figures representing Japan, Britain and France.
was perceived as a personification of the city of
and more broadly, the
In this cartoon of "Canada's debut at the Council of Nations", the young Canada is under the tutelage of the motherly
extends welcoming hands, surrounded by figures representing other major nations.
See also [ edit ]
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. 
References [ edit ]
^ Eric Hobsbawm, "Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870-1914," in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge, 1983), 263-307.
^ O'Clery, M. (2003) Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters as translated into English
^ O'Rourke Murphy, M. & MacKillop, J. (2006). An Irish Literature Reader: Poetry, Prose, Drama.
^ "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
^ Bulgarian graphic representation of Bulgaria, East Rumelia and Macedonia
External links [ edit ]