The first ruler of a country. The person who founded the nation/empire/kingdom. The Pater Patriae. Sometimes, the actual founder of a kingdom is Shrouded in Myth
(for example, Real Life
China and Rome). Often this person is regarded as a larger-than-life figure, one against whom modern rulers cannot hope to measure up. It's not rare for this figure's name to have become the name of the country, or the title of its ruler in general.
Often seen as a statue of Our Founder
. A common theme includes having the figure turn out to be a Broken Pedestal
, where it turns out he was not so great as people made him out to be
Might likely also be a conqueror
or the leader of a Migration
. Or perhaps a Rebel Leader
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Anime and Manga
- Bleach provides both a heroic and villainous example.
- Shigekuni Yamamoto was the Captain-Commander. He founded the Shino Academy, led the divisions in their original incarnation and formed the Gotei 13.
- Yhwach is The Emperor of the Vandenreich and the progenitor of the Quincies.
- Rudolf in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Reinhard von Lohengramm counts too since he conquered the Free Planet Alliance and established New Empire.
- The 1st Hokage in Naruto. He founded Konoha and arguably the whole system of the hidden ninja villages.
- There's also Madara Uchiha, the co-founder. Suffice it to say, they didn't get along.
- In The Adventures of Tintin there are a few:
- In Tintin The Broken Ear, there is a statue to General Olivaro, the "Liberator of San Theodoros", an obvious analogue to Simón Bolívar aka El Libertador.
- In Tintin King Ottokars Sceptre, there is Muskar I, the 12th-century founder of the kingdom of Syldavia, and 14th-century king Ottokar IV, the "true founder", without whose sceptre no king may reign.
- Marshal Kûrvi-Tasch is portrayed according to this trope in Bordurian propaganda, most notably in Tintin The Calculus Affair.
- Cornelius Coot is the founder of Donald Duck's hometown of Duckburg. In one story Scrooge McDuck and the Maharajah of Howduyustan compete at erecting ever-bigger statues to his memory.
- In Star Wars: Legacy: Jagged Fel is this to the Fel Empire.
- In The Chronicles of Utopia Volume II the protagonist Prometheus founds a new Empire based on reason and enlightenment after deposing the Mad Overking who had previously ruled the land.
- A Brief History of Equestria:
- The Celestine Junta was (supposedly) founded by twins Celest and Silus in much the same way as Romulus and Remus.
- Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Unicorns was forged by then Grand Archduke Æthelric the Stern of Two Dozen Sons, forcing the lesser Lords to swear fealty to him to prevent open war amongst all the other Unicorn rulers.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- Elendil for Gondor and Arnor.
- Elros for Númenor.
- Eorl the Young for Rohan.
- In The Silmarillion each of the chiefs of the three tribes of the Edain can be counted as this. Durin is the founder of Moria. And so on.
- Faykan Corrino I for the Old Empire of Dune.
- The Kingdom of Valdemar from the Heralds of Valdemar series, was founded by, you guessed it, some guy named Baron Valdemar, a refugee (along with a good chunk of his Barony) from the Eastern Empire. He founded the titular Heralds as well, as a way to avoid Sketchy Successors: the Monarch must be a Herald, and only the worthy are Chosen.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew: Frank the cab driver becomes Narnia's first king, codifying that Narnia will only flourish when a Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve is on the throne.
- Gaius Primus from Codex Alera.
- The Bible:
- Saul is the first king (Broken Pedestal version) of Israel, but ruled centuries after the nation's founding by God using the prophet Moses (to separate the nation from Egypt) and the military commander Joshua (to conquer the land for the nation to occupy).
- Babylon was founded by a hunter named Nimrod.
- Most of the Middle Eastern powers who antagonized Israel were founded by Abraham's sons.
- Edom was founded by Jacob's brother Esau.
- Kungas in the Belisarius Series refounds the Kushan Empire, after spending his life soldiering.
- Hazel-rah in Watership Down.
- Queen Eleanor in Septimus Heap.
- The various realms of Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire have these, most of whom are legendary:
- Bran the Builder for the North.
- Lann the Clever for the Westlands.
- The Winged Knight for the Vale of Arryn.
- The Grey King for the Iron Isles.
- Durran and Elenei for the Storm Lands.
- Mors Martell and Nymeria the Warrior Queen for Dorne.
- Garth Greenhand for the Reach.
- Aegon the Conquerer and his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya for Westeros as a whole.
- Dorca the Just has a claim to being the founder of Barrayar in Vorkosigan Saga; although he wasn't the first Emperor, it was divided by warring nobles before him. Aral while not the founder of Barrayar was a great reformer and in a way the founder of the modern Barrayar. Also he not only helped remake Barrayar's laws but commanded the conquest of Komarr and the survey of Sergyar making him the founder of the multi-world Barrayaran Imperium. Leo Graf would be the founder of Quaddie Space.
- Harald Finehair (or Fairhair of Hairfair, depending on your translation) for Norway in Heimskringla.
- Subverted in Pyramids, when Pteppic meets up with the dreaded and revered founder of Djelibeybi, who fled persecution to establish a new empire in the valley of the Djel ... and discovers he's a grubby little con artist who'd fled prosecution for selling camels so old and decrepit, he'd had to equip them with plaster teeth.
- One-Sun-Mirror, the first Emperor of the Agatean Empire in Interesting Times, who may or may not be the preincarnation of Cohen the Barbarian.
- The unnamed Romulus and Remus Expies who founded Ankh-Morpork. Also, arguably, Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes, who killed the last king of Ankh-Morpork and ushered in a new age of, er, being oppressed by people who at least didn't claim the gods had given them the right to do it.
- In "Honor Harrington" Roger Winton serves as this for the Star Kingdom of Manticore, having previously served as Chief Administrator of the colony and having the good sense and foresight to invest money so that the colonists wouldn't be bankrupt. Given that the series takes places in the future where humanity has colonized the stars and there are varied and assorted governments, a few of these types have emerged. Two of the prime examples are Gustav Anderman, mercenary and founder of the Andermani Empire who believed he was the reincarnation of Frederick the Great; and Austin Grayson, founder of the planet which bears his name and chief saint of the religion he founded there.
Live Action TV
- Kahless the Unforgettable for the Klingon Empire.
- Surak, the philosopher on whose teachings Vulcan society is based, and Gint, the author of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, hold similar status in their respective cultures.
- The shapeshifters who established The Dominion are literally referred to as the Founders most of the time.
- Doctor Who has Rassilon and Omega as the long dead founders of Time Lord society. It seems every second Time Lord artifact is the Something of Rassilon, or the Floggle-Toggle of Omega. The Expanded Universe adds another mysterious founder simply called The Other.
- Dylan Hunt in Andromeda is the founder of the new Systems Commonwealth.
- In Northern Exposure the town of Cicely celebrates a Founders' Day in honor of its founders Cicely and Gwendolyn.
- Galifar I for the Kingdom of Galifar in Eberron.
- Sigmar from Warhammer, founder of the Empire.
- Gilles Le Bretton founded the kingdom of Brettonia.
- The Elves were unified by Aenaerion the Defender and Caledor Dragontamer.
- The Dark Elves were created and still ruled by the Witch-King Malekith.
- Settra the Imperishable founded Khemri.
- The Emperor from Warhammer 40,000.
- Lorgar from the same universe for the Chaos Legions. As well as Horus, to a much greater extent.
- Cleon Zhunastu is founder of the Third Imperium in Traveller.
- Happens frequently in the Crusader Kings games, as some royal titles start the game unclaimed, and characters who meet the right prerequisites can claim them, creating the kingdoms.
- King Calenhad Theirin for the kingdom of Ferelden in Dragon Age: Origins.
- Emperor Kordillus Drakon I for the Orlesian Empire.
- Archon Darinius for the Tevinter Imperium
- Ashkari Koslun for the Qunari
- Tiber Septim for the Tamrielic Empire in The Elder Scrolls. The Empire holds that he got deified as Talos for this.
- Reman I for the Reman empire, a precursor to the Septim Empire.
- Saint Alessia the Slave Queen for the First Cyrodilic Empire, precursor to the Reman empire.
- Indoril Nerevar for Morrowind. The Tribunal rule in his name, though they may in fact have secretly killed him, depending on whose history you believe. Still, Nerevar is credited as the first King, founder of the first council, and unificator of Morrowind.
- And long before most of these guys — Ysgramor, for conquering the Elves and establishing the first kingdom of Men in Tamriel; Skyrim.
- Aradesh for the New California Republic of Fallout 1 and the town of Shady Sands that it developed from.
- Edward "Caesar" Sallow is this for Caesar's Legion.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword 's Zelda is likely the first Queen of Hyrule.
- Zachary Comstock in BioShock Infinite, who built Columbia and is named Father Comstock as a religious ruler.
- In World of Warcraft, Thrall founded the city of Ogrimmar, and Sylvannas created the Forsaken.
- Sir John A. MacDonald, first Prime Minister of Canada and easily the Father of Confederation that people will remember the most. Essentially founded the Dominion of Canada as he led the push for confederacy. Less commonly remembered are that Queen Victoria was the first head of state for Canada (hence why Victoria Day is a national holiday) and Viscount Charles Monck was the first Governor-General.
- George Washington, the first president of the United States. In fact, when the other founding fathers were designing the new governmental system, the office of president was specifically based upon the kind of leader that Washington was. So he was the first president, and the office of president was based on him.
- You can also count the first pioneer leaders to any given state. William Penn for Pennsylvania, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young for Utah, and so on.
- England is an interesting case. The very real Alfred The Great tends to get the credit as the historical founder of a kingdom of England, but has been comprehensively overshadowed by King Arthur, who may go one beyond being Shrouded in Myth by just being, well, mythical. Alfred has been written about by historians; Arthur has been the central character of more poems, novels and Hollywood films than you can shake a stick at.
- What's really funny is that by modern standards, King Arthur was not English but Welsh. Also, his enemies are frequently identified in the Welsh legends as Saeson, or Saxons, or in other words, Englishmen. The Welsh for their part tend to put more emphasis on Owain Glyndwr, who was more "Occupiers Out of Our Country" than Founder of the Nation, although Arthur is still quite important in Welsh legends.
- William the Conqueror turned England from a Scandinavian to a western European country.
- Simon Bolivar is this for several countries. One of them, Bolivia, is named for the man.
- The legendary twins Romulus, and to a lesser extent Remus, according to Roman legend, were this for Rome. Lucius Junius Brutus was also widely revered for founding the Republic by kicking out the last King.
- The founder of Scotland is probably Kenneth McAlpin, who was the first king of the Scots and the Picts, the two peoples who inhabited the country in those days.
- That being said, Scotsmen tend to think of Robert the Bruce as being the real founder - or, perhaps, re-founder - of the country. (Historically, William Wallace was seen as the "John the Baptist" to Bruce; nowadays, i.e. since Braveheart, people tend to think of them as the two co-founders of the nation.)
- Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, whose conquests ended the era of warring states and started the idea of a unified Chinese state. Modern China also has Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and founder of the Republic of China, who is revered in both the mainland and Taiwan. The People's Republic also venerates Mao Zedong as their specific founder, while the Republic honors Chiang Kai-shek. Each claims that their founder was the one who really followed Sun Yat-sen's example.
- Emperor Jimmu, the first emperor of Japan. Whether Jimmu was a person or a mythological figure is uncertain. The first emperor of Japan whose reign can be verified and assigned real dates is the 29th on the official list, Emperor Kinmei.
- Lycurgus of Sparta, the Ur Example of Drill Sergeants Nasty. Guess which trope he invented?
- Most Greek cities had their own founding myths. Theseus might count for Athens, but a more historical example was Solon the Lawgiver. One version among Athenians was that Athens topped them all because it was never founded. It was there eternally.
- Egypt has three:
- Ancient Egypt had the Pharaoh Menes, who united Upper and Lower Egypt and founded the first dynasty.
- Modern Egypt has Muhammad Ali Pasha, an Albanian general who declared Egypt's independence from The Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century and started attempting to modernize the state and economy.
- Modern Egypt also has Gamal Abdel Nasser, who overthrew Muhammad Ali's (by then corrupt) line and founded the Egyptian republic, and also went to great lengths to modernize the country.
- Iran has a number of these, but the most celebrated is Cyrus The Great.
- William the Silent, leader of the Dutch rebelion against Spanish rule.
- Poland has Mieszko I, who converted the Polans to Christianity and turned the tribes into a state. However, his son Bolesław Chrobry("The Brave") was the first crowned king of Poland.
- Russia is so often bloodily reformed into unrecognizable shapes that it has many.
- Prince Rurik is considered the founder of the pagan Kievan Rus.
- Prince Vladimir the Saint converted the Eastern Slavs to Christianity and started Kievan Rus proper.
- Ivan III the Great created the Muscovite Tsardom.
- Peter the Great created the Russian Empire.
- Vladimir Lenin created the Soviet Union.
- Boris Yeltsin started The New Russia, much to the chagrin of many Russians.
- Khan Asparukh for the First Bulgarian Empire since 681 AD. The founder of Old Great Bulgaria (an ancient Bulgar kingdom which dissolved after the death of Asparukh's father) is Shrouded in Myth and is believed by some to have been Attila the Hun.
- The brothers Asen and Peter are regarded as founders of the Second Bulgarian Empire after they led an uprising to liberate the nation from Byzantine conquest.
- Not having participated in the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire and having been appointed Prince by way of an agreement between the Great Powers, Alexander Batenberg is not considered founder of the Third Bulgarian Kingrom, despite being its first monarch.
- Turkey had the original Osman, founder of the Ottoman dynasty, as well as Mehmed II (The Conqueror) who conquered Constantinople and established the Ottoman state as it would exist for the next five centuries. Most modern Turks, however, consider their founder to be Mostafa Kemal Attaturk, who led the Turks to defeat the Allied Powers at Gallipoli, then did so again to drive Allied occupiers out after the Treaty of Versailles divided Turkey between Britain, France, Italy, Armenia, and Greece. He then radically redefined the Turkish state, crafting a rigidly secular nation-state in place of the Ottoman Empire.
- Charlemagne, founder of the Holy Roman Empire, and the ancestor of half the population of Western Europe.
- He is also seen as a father of France and of (Western) Europe, although the French also see Clovis, the first Christian king of the Merovingian dynasty as founder of the kingdom.
- The French always see Clovis as the founder of the kingdom. Charlemagne is only talked about so much as it involves somehow Europe and Germany, but in historiography he's primarily a king of the Franks (who managed to also be emperor).
- Shaka Zulu united various Nguni tribes and nations into the Zulu Kingdom, founding the Zulu as a nation in the early 1800s.
- King Moshoeshoe of the Sotho, meanwhile, united many Sotho-Tswana peoples to defend against the Zulus and Afrikaners, forming Lesotho, one of the only African nations never to be conquered by colonial powers.
- Germany had 3.
- Otto the Great re-founded the German-only Holy Roman Empire (the First Reich).
- The Prussian "Iron Chancellor" Otto von Bismarck founded the German Empire (the Second Reich).
- Adolf Hitler (the Third Reich)
- Norway has Harald Fairhair, who according to the sagas conquered Norway after a woman named Gyda told him she would not marry him unless he did so. The reality is probably less romantic.
- Sweden has 3 examples, none of which really counts.
- Erik Segersäll (roughly "the Victorious"), a 10th century Viking who was, if not the first, at least the earliest known, king to rule over all 3 of Sweden's historical Lands.
- Birger Magnusson of Bjälbo, who served as Jarl (Think Prime Minister) for first his brother-in-law King Erik and then his own son King Valdermar. His reforms and legislations turned Sweden from a loose collection of feuding clans into a Fedual Monarchy ruled by law. Known foremost as Birger Jarl since they had to retire the title as it had become to attached to his person.
- To elaborate: Before Birger, any and all accusations could be waved away if you could A) Swear Yourself Free: Find seven people that swore that you were innocent. Their testimony could only be over-ruled if the opposing side found seven people that swore that their guy wasn't a liar. And that would go on until one party ran out of men. B) Buy Yourself Free: Pay the fine, since all crimes had a monetary value attached to it. or C) Threaten Yourself Free: Scream that the person accusing you has insulted your honor and demand to prove your honor in single combat (saying "You take that back, or I will KILL YOU!!!").
- Then Birger came up with the idea of "THE FOUR PEACES"
"Women's Peace" (You are not allowed to kidnap a high-born woman and then forcibly marry her in order to become her husband and then claim her inheritance)
"Church's Peace" (You can't kill a person while they are speaking in church [The Public Forum of Birger's day] or while they are on their way to or from church)
"Home's Peace" (You are not allowed to break into another person's home) and
"Public Square's Peace" (Same as Church only in the Market Place, The other Public Forum of the times).
Any person who has broken these Peaces has forsaken the right to swear or buy or threaten themself free from the crime since they have made a crime against something that is known as THE STATE, not an individual, and the State will haunt them until they are caught.
- Gustav Vasa, who broke Sweden free from the Kalmar Union and managed to (by way of ruthless efficiency, pragmatic backstabbery and lots and lots of micromanagement) hammer the economically, politically and culturally retarded realm into a modern nation.
- Hungary has two. Arpad, the 9th century prince who led the Magyar tribes as they founded the Hungarian kingdom details of whose life are shrouded in myths; and St. Stephen (aka Szent Istvan), the first Christian king of Hungary.
- In social science this process is called ethnogenesis. One common theory is that ethnicities tend to start when a successful bandit attracts a lot of followers eager for booty until there is a large enough group to reproduce themselves. In other words most tropers ancestors were probably thieves. Doesn't that make you feel good.
- Genghis Khan
- Not a country, but Jebediah Springfield of The Simpsons? It's not a nation, but he fills the same kind of concept (heroic figure, founder of the place).
- Cousin-marrying Shelbyville Manhattan for Springfield's rival city (Shelbyville… not Manhattan).
- Dale Dimm, founder of Dimmsdale from The Fairly Oddparents.