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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.
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 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 territoryEdit

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
  Austria   Austria
  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") Indian tiger, Indian elephant
  Indonesia   Ibu Pertiwi Garuda Pancasila
  Iran   Rostam Lion and Sun
  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 [no], stereotyp. Ola Nordmann & Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
  Palestine Handala
  Peru The chalán, La Madre Patria
  Philippines Ináng Bayan, Filipinas
  Poland   Polonia, Polandball (online political cartoons)
  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), Statue of Liberty as Lady Liberty, Columbia, Johnny Rebel (The South, obsolete), Billy Yank (The North, obsolete), Brother Jonathan (New England, obsolete) Bald Eagle
  Uruguay   Personification of Uruguay
  Vietnam The Four Immortals

See alsoEdit


  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.
  8. ^
  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
  10. ^ Bulgarian graphic representation of Bulgaria, East Rumelia and North Macedonia
  11. ^

Further readingEdit

  • 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 linksEdit