National personification

A national personification is an anthropomorphic personification of a nation or its people. It may appear in political cartoons and propaganda. As a personification it cannot be a real person, of the Father of the Nation type, or one from ancient history who is believed to have been real.

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

Country Image Personification Animal used for the same purpose
 Albania Mother Albania (Nëna Shqipëria)
The Americas Personification of the Americas
 Argentina Effigy of the Republic/Liberty/Progress/Fatherland, Gaucho
 Armenia Mother Armenia (Mayr Hayastan; lit. "Mother Hayastan")
 Australia Little Boy from Manly Boxing kangaroo
 Bangladesh Bangamata (lit. Mother Bengal);

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.[2]

Bengal tiger.[3]
 Belgium La Belgique or Belgica. Leo Belgicus
 Brazil Efígie da República; the Bandeirante (only in São Paulo State); the Candango (in Brasília); the Gaúcho (in Rio Grande do Sul)
 Bulgaria Mother Bulgaria
 Cambodia Preah Thong and Neang Neak
 Canada Mountie,[4] Johnny Canuck,[5] Le Vieux de '37 (French Canada), Canada Bereft also known as Mother Canada (at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial) Canadian beaver
 Chile 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 Chinese dragon
 Czech Republic Čechie, Czech Vašek, Svejk. double-tailed Czech lion
 Denmark Holger Danske, Mor Danmark
 Dominican Republic Conchoprimo
 Egypt Mother of the World (Om El Donia)
 El Salvador Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo
 Europe Europa or Europa regina Zeus as a white bull
 Finland Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito)
 France Marianne Gallic rooster
 Georgia Georgia: "Mother of a Georgian" (Kartvlis Deda)
 Germany Germany: Germania, Deutscher Michel

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

 Greece Hellas
 Haiti Ezili Dantor, Katrin (based on the real life Haitian hero, Catherine Flon)
 Hungary The Lady of Hungaria
 Iceland The Lady of the Mountains (Fjallkonan)
 India Bharat Mata ("Mother India"), Rama Indian tiger, Indian elephant
 Indonesia Ibu Pertiwi Garuda Pancasila
 Ireland Ériu, Banba, Fódla, Kathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia, The Old Woman of Beare[6]
 Israel Srulik
 Italy Italia Turrita, Roma (under Mussolini)
 Japan Samurai, Emperor Jimmu Green Pheasant, Koi
 Kenya Wanjiku
Korea ( North Korea and  South Korea) Dangun, Ungnyeo, Yangban Korean Tiger, Chollima
 Kyrgyzstan Manas
 Malaysia Pak Belang. Malay for "Uncle Stripes" in the form of Malayan Tiger, used to represent courage and bravery.[7] Malayan tiger
 Malta Melita
 Mexico Alegoría de la Patria Mexicana (es), La China Poblana Golden eagle
 Morocco Barbary Lion
 Montenegro Fairy of Lovćen, Mother Montenegro
 Netherlands Dutch Maiden Dutch Republic Lion
 New Zealand Zealandia[8] Kiwi
 North Macedonia Mother Macedonia[9][10]
 Norway Mother Norway, stereotyp. Ola Nordmann & Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
 Palestine Handala
 Peru The chalán, La Madre Patria
 Philippines Ináng Bayan, Filipinas, Juan dela Cruz
 Poland Polonia, Polandball (online political cartoons) White eagle
 Portugal Zé Povinho, Eu nacional (National Self), Republic effigy, Guardian Angel of Portugal
 Romania România
 Russia Mother Russia/Mother Motherland Russian bear
 Serbia Mother Serbia, Kosovo Maiden
 Singapore Merlion
 Slovakia Jánošík
 Slovenia Kranjski Janez ("John from Carniola", an average man from Slovenia's central region), Peter Klepec
 Spain Hispania
 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Matha
 Suriname 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.[11]
 Sweden Mother Svea, Svenne Svensson
  Switzerland Helvetia
 Thailand Siam Devadhiraj (พระสยามเทวาธิราช "The guardian angel of Siam"), Thailand White elephant
 Ukraine Cossack Mamay
 United Kingdom Britannia (United Kingdom), John Bull (England), Dame Wales (Wales) The Lion and the Unicorn (England and Scotland), Welsh dragon (Wales)
 United States Uncle Sam (government personification), Lady Liberty, Columbia, Johnny Rebel (The South, obsolete), Billy Yank (The North, obsolete), Brother Jonathan (New England, obsolete) Bald Eagle, Timber rattlesnake (American Revolution, obsolete)
 Uruguay Personification of Uruguay
 Vietnam The Four Immortals

See also


  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.
  4. McGill, Robert (2017). War Is Here: The Vietnam War and Canadian Literature. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 37. ISBN 9780773551589. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  5. Barber, Katherine (2007). Only in Canada You Say: A Treasury of Canadian Language. Oxford University Press Canada. p. 70. ISBN 9780195427073.
  6. O'Rourke Murphy, M. & MacKillop, J. (2006). An Irish Literature Reader: Poetry, Prose, Drama.
  7. Minahan, James B. (2009). The Complete Guide to National Symbols and Emblems. Greenwood. p. 101. ISBN 978-0313344961.
  9. "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)
  10. Bulgarian graphic representation of Bulgaria, East Rumelia and North Macedonia

Further reading

  • 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.
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