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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Bull, a national personification of the United Kingdom holds the head of Napoleon I of France in an 1803 caricature by James Gillray.

A national personification is an anthropomorphization 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. Representations of the citizenry of a nation -- 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

Country Personification
 Albania Mother Albania
 Armenia Mother Armenia (Mayr Hayastan; lit. "Mother Hayastan")
 Australia Boxing kangaroo
 Brazil Efígie da República, the Candango (only in Brasília), the Bandeirante (only in São Paulo state)
 Cambodia Preah Thaong 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 Vimy Memorial)
 Czech Republic Svejk
 Chile El Roto, El Huaso, La Carmela, Doña Juanita (an average Chilean woman from the countryside)
 Denmark Holger Danske
 Dominican Republic Anacaona[citation needed]
 Egypt Mother of the World (Om El Donia)
 England John Bull
 Europe Europa
 Finland Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito)
 France Marianne, Jean Crapaud
 Germany Germany: Germania, Arminius (Hermann der Cherusker), Deutscher Michel, Eagle: Reichsadler / Eagle: Bundesadler [2]

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

 Greece Athena, "Greece" of Delacroix
 Hungary Hunor and Magor
 Iceland The Lady of the Mountains (Fjallkonan)
 Ireland Ériu, Kathleen Ni Houlihan, Hibernia
 India Bharat Mata ("Mother India"), Golden Bird ("Soney ki chiriyan", especially in Indian poetry)
 Indonesia Ibu Pertiwi
 Israel Srulik
 Italy Italia Turrita
 Japan Amaterasu Omikami, Samurai
 Korea Hong Gildong
 Kyrgyzstan Epic of Manas
 Malaysia Harimau Malaya
 Mexico Miguel Hidalgo, Adelita
 Netherlands Hans Brinker (outside the Netherlands), De Leeuw van Oranje, de Nederlandse Maagd` ("Netherlands Maiden"), (Zeeland: Zeeuws Meisje)
 New Zealand Zealandia, Southern man (for the South Island)
 Norway Ola Nordmann, Kari Nordmann, hist. Nór
 Pakistan Pak Watan is a national personification and a term of endearment for Pakistan.
 Palestinian territories Handala
 Peru The chalán, La Madre Patria
 Philippines Juan dela Cruz, Inang Bayan, Maria Clara
 Poland Polonia
 Portugal Zé Povinho, Eu nacional (National Self), Lusitania, República
 Russia Mother Russia/Mother Motherland, Russian Bear
 Scotland Jock Tamson
 Serbia Saint Sava
 South Africa Van Der Merwe
 Spain Hispania, Juan Español
 Sweden Mother Svea, Svensson
 Switzerland Helvetia
 Ukraine Cossack Mamay
 United Kingdom Britannia, John Bull, Lion and Unicorn
 United States Uncle Sam, Columbia, Bald Eagle, Brother Jonathan (obsolete), Johnny Rebel (The South, obsolete), Billy Yank (The North, obsolete)
 USSR Mother Motherland
 Venezuela Juan Bimba (obsolete)
 Wales Dame Wales, Deffroad Cymru, the Awakening of Wales


Britannia arm-in-arm with Uncle Sam symbolizes the British-American alliance in World War I.  
Germania representing Germany, from 1848.  
Bharat Mata, the personification of India as a mother goddess.  
Eugène Delacroix, Greece Expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi (1827)  
1914 poster showing Marianne, Mother Russia and Britannia.  
Italia and Germania by Friedrich Overbeck, symbolising the friendship between Germany and Italy  
French political cartoon from the late 1890s.  
Norway, Denmark and Sweden joining hands in a 19th Century poster  
Statue of Mother Svea representing Sweden on a building in Stockholm.  
World War I recruiting poster featuring John Bull.  
Brazilian Constitutionalist Revolution recruiting poster, showing a Bandeirante with the dictator of Brazil, Getúlio Vargas, in his hand.  
Zé Povinho, caricature of a Portuguese working class man of the 19th century  
In this 1806 French print, the woman with the Menorah represents the Jews being emancipated by Napoleon Bonaparte  
James Gillray's cartoon on the 1803 Peace of Amiens, features a fat and non-marital Britannia kissing "Citizen François", a perosnifiaction of Revolutionary France never used by the French themselves  
Revolutionary Romania. Painting by C. D. Rosenthal, made in Paris exile in the early 1850's  
Romania Breaking off Her Chains on the Field of Liberty. also by C. D. Rosenthal  
A later depiction of Romania as a woman in a World War I French caricature  
Uncle Sam in a U.S. Army recruitment poster used in both World War I and World War II  
The figures in this late 18th century painting by Shiba Kōkan represent Japan, China, and the West.  
Columbia, personification of the United States ( WWI patriotic poster)  
Mother Canada statue in the WWI Vimy Memorial  
Mother Motherland, pesonification of the Soviet Union, at a WWII war memorial in Volgograd (the former Stalingrad)  
Polonia (Poland), by Jan Matejko, painted after the failure of the 1863 January Uprising  

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. ^ In addition to these, a German cartoon of 1904 shows Emperor William II. representing Germany, in company with John Bull and Marianne - see image in Entente Cordiale page

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