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Anime and Manga
- Bleach provides both a heroic and villainous example.
- Shigekuni Yamamoto founded the shinigami training academy two thousand years ago. A thousand years after this, during the first war with the Quincies, he created the Gotei 13 and served as its captain-commander for the next thousand years. Initially, it was known as the Divisions, gaining its modern name some time later.
- Yhwach is The Emperor of the Vandenreich and the progenitor of the Quincies. His blood flows through the veins of all those with Quincy heritage and is therefore the source of both their power and their organisation.
- Rudolf in Legend of Galactic Heroes. Reinhard von Lohengramm counts too since he conquered the Free Planet Alliance and established New Empire.
- The First Hokage, who 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 Fairy Tail, Emperor Spriggan is the founder and ruler of the Albareth Empire. He's The Dreaded in Ishgar despite their near total lack of knowledge concerning him such as his true identity as the Black Mage Zeref since he conquered an entire continent and united its mage guilds into a military superpower.
- In 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 Simon Bolivar, aka El Libertador.
- In Tintin: King Ottokar's 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.
- Shakara: The former Shakara Federation was founded by Cinnibar Brenaka, the commander of the Order of Avengers. A warrior who was Made a Slave and became a gladiator, he was committed to establishing order and justice throughout the universe after witnessing the evil and corruption that plagued other worlds firsthand.
- 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.
- Sheev Palpatine founded the Galactic Empire of Star Wars.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- Elendil for Gondor and Arnor.
- Elros Tar-Minyatur 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.
- The Reynard Cycle: The Kingdom of Aquilia was named after a legendary hero with the same name. Calvaria was founded by the first member of its State Sec, Vanargand No-Father.
- Queen Eleanor in Septimus Heap.
- Vorkosigan Saga:
- Dorca the Just has a claim to being the founder of Barrayar; 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.
- Murderess features King Roythebrune, who founded the human kingdom of Ciaró in the parallel world of Greywall’d. However, he’s only mentioned in one narrative poem in the book.
- The Arcia Chronicles feature Vol—a legendary founder of the first human kingdom. In the time frame of the series, his original realm is long gone, but nearly all ruling dynasties of Kertiana trace their lineage to Vol in one way or another. Being a "Voling" (Vol's descendant) is a huge deal in matters of throne succession.
- The Dresden Files
- Merlin, the Arthurian one, is the founder of the White Council, the general collection of the strongest mages in the world. He wrote down the Seven Laws of Magic, which must be followed or violators will be killed. He was the student of Odin. To this day he remains so honored the head of the Council now inherits the title of Merlin.
- Vlad Trepes, aka Dracula, is the Founder of the Black Court of vampires. He made them as a means to impress his father, a monster bound in human form, but the end result is considered a failure.
- Kukulcan, the Red King of the Red Court vampires. He is an ancient beast from some thousands of years ago whose human form is a short guy maybe 5'6". He and his top vampires take up the name and titles of Mayan gods and rule much of Central and South America. It is from him all other Red Court vampires come from. And because of this when Harry Dresden uses a blood-line curse on the King's great-grandsire, it travels back up to him and pretty much every other Red Court vampire in existence, and kills them.
Live Action TV
- Kahless the Unforgettable for the Klingon Empire.
- Jonathan Archer is regarded by future historians as the founder of the United Federation of Planets.
- 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.
- The 100 has Becca Bromheda, the first Commander of the Grounders. Despite having occurred less than a century in the past, much about how she came to rule is shrouded in myth for the Grounders.
- Galifar I for the Kingdom of Galifar in Eberron. Before him was Karrn the Conqueror, founder of Karrnath, the kingdom that Galifar nearly a millennium later would use as the base for his conquest of Khorvaire and founding of Galifar, and the only one of the Five Nations of Galifar to keep its pre-Galifar namenote .
- 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.
- Eldanesh, Lord of the Eldar.
- Commander Farsight, creator of the Farsight Enclaves.
- 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.
- With the Carlemagne dlc rulers of duke and king rank can now create a custom kingdom or empire respectively, if powerful and prestigeous enough. These titles will copy your primary titles name and coat of arms and will take on a similar color. This means that if you name your primary title after your ruler or his dynasty, your custom kingdom/empire will forever keep this name.
- King Calenhad Theirin for the kingdom of Ferelden in Dragon Age.
- 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 and Joshua Graham are 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.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic IV, the main characters of each campaign except for Elwin becomes the founder and ruler of their own kingdom. Tawni Balfour unites the various Chaos-aligned peoples to become Pirate Queen of the Seas. Emilia Nighthaven became the founder of Great Arcan when various refugees flocked to her after she became the first person to voice her frustration at their refugee status. Waerjak, taking the lessons of his mentor and foster father the Immortal Hero Tarnum to heart, unites what remains of the Barbarian tribes to rebuild the Barbarian Kingdom. Gauldoth Half-dead becomes the founder and ruler of Nekross, an unusual kingdom that balances Life and Death where humans, Kreegans, and the undead live together in relative harmony. Sir Lysander is the founder of Palaedra, a small kingdom formed by refugees from Erathia, though he only becomes its official king after he discovers that he is a Gryphonheart by blood. Elwin on the other hand "merely" becomes the first true king of the Elven kingdom of Aranorn after the civil war in his campaign.
- Knights of Buena Vista is a Campaign Comic covering Frozen. Although that movie doesn't state how old Arendelle is, in the first strip of the comic it's made clear that Mary and Adriana founded the kingdom with their player characters. After they die in a Total Party Kill, those two play their characters' daughters, Elsa and Anna.
- 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.
- 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 in South America. 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. 16th century warlord Oda Nobunaga is widely seen as the man who laid the foundations for the Edo period, a time where Japan would enjoy nearly three centuries of peace and cultural and economic growth at the expense of technological develpoment and foreign relations.
- Kim Yushin united the three Korean kingdoms of Baekje, Goguryeo and Silla.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, of which traditionaly focuses on Gustav Vasa; what with the date of his coronation (6 June 1523) being the date of the Swedish National Day. Historians and now civilians thanks to a extremely popular book-series remindning people that Sweden existed during the Medieval times, Birger Jarl has been gaining ground as the founder of Sweden.
"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)
- 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"
"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.
- Harald Bluetooth not only united Denmark, he also made it Christian and Conquered Norway, as he famously put it on a Runestone in Jellinge, Denmark.
- 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 (aside from being the ancestor of Hungary's first and longest-ruling dynasty); and St. Stephen (aka Szent Istvan), the first Christian king of Hungary.
- There is also Bela IV, referred to as "the second founder of the state" due to his activities at rebuilding and fortifying the country after it was sacked by Mongols in 1241, as well as (temporarily) restoring royal authority after his father Andrew II was forced to make compromises with the barons in Hungary's oldest surviving constitutional document.
- 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
- Italy has the duo of Victor Emmanuel II and Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour. Victor Emmanuel II was King of Sardinia, the country that, under his reign, conquered most of the rest of the Italian peninsula and became the Kingdom of Italy, and the Count of Cavour was the Magnificent Bastard that made it possible (and in fact in the long run Italy would have been much better had he not died right after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy).
- Italy also has Alcide De Gasperi, Enrico De Nicola and Umberto II. De Gasperi was the Acting Head of State in the few weeks between the proclamation of the Republic and the election of the first president, De Nicola was said first President of the Republic, and Umberto II, last king of Italy, deserves honorable mention for accepting the results of the constitutional referendum that deposed him and not using the many irregularities (there were allegations of frauds, it was known that both leftist extremists and fascists had made pressures on known monarchists, and the government had jumped the gun and proclaimed the Republic before the results were confirmed) to try and stay in power, and in fact personally prevented the start of a civil war between Republicans and Monarchists.