National personification

Britannia arm-in-arm with Uncle Sam symbolizes the British-American alliance in World War I.

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, 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]

Personifications by country or territory

Country Image Personification
 Albania Mother Albania (Nëna Shqipëria)
 Argentina Effigy of the Republic/Liberty/Progress/Fatherland, Gaucho, Martín Fierro
 Armenia Mother Armenia (Mayr Hayastan; lit. "Mother Hayastan")
 Australia Little Boy from Manly
 Bangladesh Mother Bengal (also known as Bangla Maa); 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 or Belgica. The country is also commonly represented by a lion, historically known as 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, 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 El Roto, El Huaso, La Carmela, Doña Juanita (an average Chilean woman from the countryside), Moya (a common surname used as N.N.)
 Czech Republic Čechie, Czech Vašek, double-tailed Czech lion, Svejk.
 Denmark Holger Danske
 Dominican Republic Conchoprimo
 Egypt Mother of the World (Om El Donia)
 El Salvador Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo
 Europe Europa or Europa regina
 Finland Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito)
 France Marianne
 Georgia Georgia: Saint George, "Mother of a Georgian" (Kartvlis Deda)
 Germany 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 Athena, "Greece" by Delacroix
 Haiti Ezili Dantor
 Hungary The Lady of Hungaria
 Iceland The Lady of the Mountains (Fjallkonan)
 India Bharat Mata ("Mother India"), earlier the goddess 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 slogans used in India.
 Indonesia Ibu Pertiwi
 Iran Cyrus the Great
 Ireland Ériu, Banba, Fódla, Kathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia, Scotia,[4] Granuaile, The Old Woman of Beare[5]
 Israel Srulik
 Italy Italia Turrita
 Jordan Abu Mahjoob
 Korea Dangun, Ungnyeo, Korean Tiger, Yangban
 Macedonia Mother Macedonia[6][7]
 Malaysia Hang Tuah, Harimau Malaya
 Malta Melita
 Mexico Alegoría de la Patria Mexicana (es), Our Lady of Guadalupe, La China Poblana
 Morocco Barbary Lion
 Netherlands Dutch Maiden, Dutch Republic Lion
 New Zealand Kiwi, Zealandia, southern man (for the South Island)
 Norway Mother Norway, stereotyp. Ola Nordmann & Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
 Palestine Handala
 Peru The chalán, La Madre Patria
 Philippines Juan dela Cruz, Ináng Bayan, Filipinas, Philippine eagle
 Poland Polonia
 Portugal Zé Povinho, Eu nacional (National Self), Republic effigy, Guardian Angel of Portugal
 Romania România
 Russia Mother Russia/Mother Motherland
 Scotland Caledonia, Jock Tamson, Scotia, Cailleach
 Serbia Mother Serbia, Kosovo Maiden,
 Slovakia Jánošík
 Slovenia Kranjski Janez ("John from Carniola", an average man from Slovenia's central region), Peter Klepec
 Spain Hispania
 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.[8]
 Sweden Mother Svea
  Switzerland Helvetia
 Ukraine Cossack Mamay
 United Kingdom Britannia, John Bull
 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
 Wales Dame Wales, Deffroad Cymru, the Awakening of Wales

See also

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.


  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. "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
  7. Bulgarian graphic representation of Bulgaria, East Rumelia and Macedonia
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