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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.

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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.


Examples:

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    Anime & 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.
  • 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.
  • Rudolf in Legend of Galactic Heroes. Reinhard von Lohengramm counts too since he conquered the Free Planet Alliance and established New Empire.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Agnika Kaieru, the founder of Gjallarhorn, is revered as a legend for his role in stopping the Calamity War.
  • Naruto: Konoha was founded by the First Hokage, Hashirama Senju, and his childhood friend Madara Uchiha. However, because of various disputes, Madara left and became Hashirama's rival, eventually ending up trying to destroy everything they built, forcing Hashirama to put him down. He was effectively Unpersoned afterwards; the only known evidence that he had anything to do with the village is a statue built in the Valley of the End, commemorating his final battle with Hashirama.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: Legacy: Jagged Fel is this to the Fel Empire.
  • Tintin has 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 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.
  • The Krypton Chronicles: In Ancient Krypton, Erok united the different barbarian tribes who populated the continent of Urrika through conquest, become the first King of Urrika and created the first Kryptonian legal system. He's also the founder of the House of El.
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    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • Child of the Storm: Frey is honored as the First King of Asgard. There were kings before him, but that was when the Asgardians were still mere mortals; Frey was the first ruler they had after ascending en mass to godhood upon the creation of Yggdrasil.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: Sheev Palpatine founded the Galactic Empire.

    Literature 
  • Arcia Chronicles features Vol, the 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 Beast Player: Jeh was the founder of the Divine Kingdom of Lyoza, making her the first Yojeh.
  • The Belgariad:
    • When the ancient nation of Aloria was divided in accordance with The Prophecy, the old king and sons each created a new kingdom from the territory: Dras Bull-Neck founded Drasnia and its unrivaled intelligence network, Algar Fleet-Foot organized nomadic tribes in the grasslands of Algaria, Riva Iron-Grip built a Citadel City on a remote island to guard a Cosmic Keystone, and King Cherek Bear-Shoulders was left with a navy and the rocky peninsula that bears his name.
    • Polgara the Sorceress engineered the founding of a kingdom from a duchy she was granted. During her centuries as its Benevolent Mage Ruler, she developed a code of laws and public infrastructure that encouraged it to govern itself, then slowly withdrew from public life. Finally, she encouraged nearby nations to acknowledge it as the independent nation of Sendaria and let her legendary role as Duchess slip into history.
  • Belisarius Series: Kungas refounds the Kushan Empire after spending his life soldiering.
  • Children of the Red King: While King Tikomen doesn't seem to have ruled a physical nation or it is long gone, he otherwise hits all the notes. His ten children each inherited one of his supernatural powers and went on to form the lion's share of the modern supernatural community.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: In 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.
  • Discworld
    • Pyramids: Subverted 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 fled prosecution for selling third-rate camels.
    • Interesting Times: One-Sun-Mirror, the first Emperor of the Agatean Empire, 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.
  • 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.
  • Dune: Faykan Corrino I](born Faykan Butler) for the Old Empire. For non-government but still key entities, the Spacing Guild was founded by Norma Cenva, the first Navigator (who is still alive tends of thousands of years later), the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood was founded by Reverend Mother Raquella Berto-Anirul (an Atreides by blood), the Suk Medical School was founded by Dr. Mohandas Suk (Raquella's husband), and the Mentat School was founded by Headmaster Gilbertus Albans.
  • Heimskringla: Harald Finehair (or Fairhair of Hairfair, depending on your translation) for Norway, based on the real-life first king of Norway.
  • Heralds of Valdemar : The Kingdom of Valdemar 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.
  • 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.
  • The Interdependency gives us Prophet-Emperox Rachela I, who not only established the Holy Empire of the Interdependent States and Mercantile Guilds, but also the Church of the Interdependency, of which she's (as stated on her title) the prophet. The religion is an Interfaith Smoothie, focusing less on the nature of the supreme being/force/deity and more on proper behavior. Since Rachela, all emperox have come from her House Wu with gender not being a factor.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Elendil for Gondor and Arnor.
    • Elros Tar-Minyatur for Númenor.
    • Eorl the Young for Rohan.
  • In Magic 2.0, Brit is the builder of Atlantis. However, since all time travelers are, effectively, immortal, Brit is still present as one of the rulers of the city. Two of them, in fact. To distinguish them, they are called Brit the Elder and Brit the Younger, and neither of them likes the other. In fact, from Brit the Younger's viewpoint, she hasn't built Atlantis yet. She is destined to do that in several decades by going back into the past, becoming Brit the Elder.
  • 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 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.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror: The Dawnists view Dayless the Conqueror like this, complete with the over-the-top imagery and hero-worship. To everyone else, he's both The Dreaded and the gold standard for evil and misrule.
  • 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.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has enough of them to warrant a dedicated character page.
  • Victoria: The Confederation effectively has two. Governor John Adams was the first head of state of the independent Confederation, and is remembered as a great leader in war who is celebrated in various ways (for example, a supercarrier is named for him). However, William Kraft is widely considered the real founder of the nation. Kraft was one of Adams's lieutenants in the war for independence, then ruled for several decades after succeeding him,note  consolidated and secured the new state, and established Retroculture as its national ideology. By the end of the story, he is the object of a veritable Cult of Personality.
  • 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.
  • The Young Ancients: Cordes, first king of Noram. Besides forming a vast empire and giving rise to the nobility he is famous for destroying a stealth bomber with his magical powers. A feat no one has since managed in his fantasy kingdom.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Andromeda:
    • Dylan Hunt is the founder of the new Systems Commonwealth.
    • The Templars were founded by Admiral Constanza Stark (Dylan's former superior). Over the centuries, her soldiers found a way to copy her consciousness into the body of a loyal follower, so each commander was, in essence, the same person. The latest (and final) instance is named Constantine Stark.
    • Dr. Paul Museveni is not only the creator of the Nietzschean Human Subspecies, but he also founded the Museveni Pride. His son/creation Drago Museveni then split off and founded the Drago Pride, which eventually merged with the Kazov Pride and became one of the dominant powers in the three galaxies.
  • 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. Except not really, as they were were actully founded by a native Gallifreyan Shobogan explorer and Mad Scientist known as Tecteun, who along with an immortal being — possibly the only one of her kind — a refugee from another universe that was found abandoned beneath a large vortex who subsequently became known as "The Timeless Child". After discovering the genes that gave the child the ability to regenerate and splicing them into herself, Tecteun shared the secret with a few of her closest friends and used it to elevate them to the ruling elite of their species, creating the first Time Lords with her/himself as it's first Lord President while "The Timeless Child", was indicated to have lived countless lives that have since been wiped from her memory before eventually becoming the First Doctor that we are all familiar with.
  • Game of Thrones: 300 years before the series, Aegon I Targaryen — known as Aegon the Conqueror — and his sister-wives conquered and unified six of the Seven Kingdoms with the aid of dragons. Accepting and rewarding all who surrendered, they founded King's Landing and the Kingsguard, forged the Iron Throne, and are fondly remembered for the most part. Aegon's Landing even marks a Year Zero in the chronology of Westeros.
  • Star Trek:
    • 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.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: Jonathan Archer is regarded by future historians as the founder of the United Federation of Planets.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The shapeshifters who established the Dominion are literally referred to as the Founders most of the time.
  • Northern Exposure: The town of Cicely celebrates a Founders' Day in honor of its founders Cicely and Gwendolyn.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • 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.
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    Tabletop Games 
  • Eberron: Galifar I for the Kingdom of Galifar. 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 .
  • Traveller: Cleon Zhunastu is founder of the Third Imperium.
  • Warhammer:
    • Sigmar, the deified founder of the Empire. Magnus the Pious effectively reunited it much later, uniting the Empire after nearly a millennium of increasing fragmentation and disunity. The Empire was little more than a geographical area and a fading idea in people's minds when Magnus took the throne, and he was the chief person responsible for uniting it into a cohesive nation once again.
    • 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.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock Infinite: Zachary Comstock, who built Columbia and is named Father Comstock as a religious ruler.
  • Crusader Kings: Happens frequently, 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 for Crusader Kings II, rulers of duke and king rank can create a custom kingdom or empire respectively, if powerful and prestigeous enough. These titles copy your primary titles, name and coat of arms and 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.
  • Dragon Age:
    • King Calenhad Theirin for the kingdom of Ferelden.
    • Emperor Kordillus Drakon I for the Orlesian Empire.
    • Archon Darinius for the Tevinter Imperium.
    • Ashkari Koslun for the Qunari.
  • The Elder Scrolls has numerous examples, mainly from the rich Backstory:
    • Ysgramor created the earliest empire of men in Tamriel, after he and his 500 companions traveled to Skyrim from Atmora. They slaughtered the native Falmer and expanded into High Rock and Morrowind at the height of the empire. The Nords of Skyrim still revere him to this day, as can been seen in Skyrim.
    • Lord Indoril Nerevar is treated as this by the Dunmer (Dark Elf) people as the great unificator of Morrowind. The Tribunal rule in his name (even though they very likely may be responsible for his death) and he is revered as a saint in the Tribunal Temple. (His prophesied Reincarnation is a major plot point in Morrowind). The other person to be treated as a founder of the kingdom by the Dunmer is Veloth, the religious reformer who led the dissidents that became the Chimer and would become the Dunmer to Morrowind, and laid the foundation for their original society (and the faith that still underpins it, though modified by the Tribunal's primacy). Fittingly, Veloth and Nerevar are the only two saints of the Temple to share the status of Greater Saint with the Tribunal themselves.
    • St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen," led an uprising of Cyrodiil's native human population against their Ayleid masters with the aid of the Nordic Empire, rebel Ayleid lords, and the gods themselves. She would found the Alessian Empire, the first Empire of Men out of Cyrodiil. All recognized Cyrodiilic Emperors who have followed claim metaphysical descent from Alessia.
    • Reman Cyrodiil founded the Second Cyrodiilic Empire. According to legend, Reman was conceived in a union between the mortal petty King Hrol, the spirit of St. Alessia, Akatosh, and the land of Cyrodiil itself. He was found born atop a mountain of mud with the Amulet of Kings, long since lost, in hand. Coronated as a child, he would reunite the two halves of Cyrodiil (Colovia and Nibenay), then bring the other kingdoms of Men under his rule (High Rock and Skyrim). Later, he would defeat the Akaviri invaders and absorbed them into his fledgling proto-empire after they recognized him as "Dragonborn" and swore fealty to him. His dynasty would go on to conquer most of Tamriel, failing only to conquer the Dunmer (protected by their Physical Gods) and the Altmer (protected by their powerful magics), though they did get the Altmer to join his empire peacefully by offering a treaty with exceptionally favorable terms to the Altmer.
    • Tiber Septim founded the Third Cyrodiilic Empire, and became the first to conquer all of Tamriel. He ascended (possibly with others) to godhood after his death, becoming Talos, the Ninth Divine.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout: Aradesh for the New California Republic and the town of Shady Sands that it developed from.
    • Fallout: New Vegas: Edward "Caesar" Sallow and Joshua Graham are this for Caesar's Legion.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic:
    • In IV, the main characters of each campaign except for Elwin become the founders and rulers of their own kingdoms.
      • Tawni Balfour unites the various Chaos-aligned peoples to become Pirate Queen of the Seas.
      • Emilia Nighthaven becomes the founder of Great Arcan when various refugees flock 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 becomes 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.
    • King Rion Gryphonheart was the founder of the Kingdom of Erathia, which was built on the remains of the Empire of Bracaduun. One of his greatest achievements was the defeat of the Barbarian leader Tarnum in Combat by Champion. Unknowingly, Rion also married one of Tarnum's sisters, starting the Gryphonheart line.
  • Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is about becoming one of these—after being ousted from his throne in a coup, the child king Evan decides that, rather than try to reclaim it, he'll start a new kingdom instead.
  • In Ravenmark, the Empire of Estellion was founded by a priest named Phaestus, who objected to the feudal and corrupt Kingdom of Carsis's hereditary stratification, preaching meritocracy. Phaestus and Feronia, a peasant girl with powerful wind magic, lead a rebellion against the Carsis nobles and exile them to the impassable Cardani swamps. Phaestus then becomes the first ruler of the new Empire, henceforth known as Emperor Phaestus Corvius, with Feronia as his Empress. Meritocracy continues to be the Empire's core belief, and any commoner can earn life peerage (called Ravenhood) for him/herself and his/her children (but not grandchildren) through decades of loyal service (either military or administrative). Any family that manages to retain Ravenhood for 10 unbroken generations (very rare) becomes a noble House. In the sequel, Usun Motare, the first game's Dragon becomes the first leader of a new nation called the Varishah Federation. His people see him as a symbol of resistance to the Empire, having been previously subjugated by it.
  • In World of Warcraft, Thrall founded the city of Ogrimmar, and Sylvannas created the Forsaken.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Avatar Kyoshi was the founder and namesake of Kyoshi Island. "Avatar Day" reveals that she literally separated a peninsula from the Earth Kingdom using Earthbending to form the island.
    • According to a legend, the city of Omashu was built by a woman wanted to honor her dead lover, who was killed during a war between their respective villages. Her name was Oma and his name was Shu.
    • After the Hundred Year War, Aang and Zuko work together to convert a series of Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom to an independent, multi-ethnic country where everyone from the four nations can mingle together. The country is named the United Republic of Nations and its capital, at Sokka's insistence, is christened as Republic City. The three of them later have statues in their likeness built in the city.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Dale Dimm, founder of Dimmsdale. Many townspeople believed he was a myth, until Timmy went back through time and met him in person.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: King Grover, as revealed in "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone", was the first king of the city-state of Griffonstone, who joined together the divided and squabbling griffons of his time and formed them into a powerful and united kingdom.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Jebediah Springfield fills this same kind of concept for Springfield town (heroic figure, founder of the place).
    • Cousin-marrying Shelbyville Manhattan was similarly the founder of Springfield's rival city (Shelbyville... not Manhattan).

    Real Life 
  • 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, or perhaps Cornish - in any case, more properly described as British, i.e. Celtic, not English. His enemies are frequently identified in the British legends as Saeson, or Saxons, or in other words, Englishmen (the word is derived from the Saxons' cousins, the Angles; Wales, Cornwall and a few other places were remnants of the Celtic British realms after the Anglo-Saxon conquest). 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.
    • And according to medieval pseudohistory/legend Arthur was not even the first king of Britain, instead that's Brutus of Troy who supposedly lent his name to Britain. Arthur is just the most famous legendary British king (and he wasn't even called a king at first).
    • Alfred himself was not the first king of a united England, as in all the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, but rather his grandson Aethelstan. But he surely laid the groundwork for it.
    • William The Conqueror turned England from a Scandinavian to a western European country.
  • 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.
  • 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 sometimes seen as a precursor for the European Union (as the last political entity that unified Western Europe). The union of the founding member States of the EU (West Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy) correspond roughly to the Carolingian Empire. Incidentely, the European Commission is housed in the Charlemagne Building.
  • Egypt has three:
    • Ancient Egypt had the Pharaoh Menes/Narmer, 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.
  • 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 development and foreign relations.
  • 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.)
  • 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. This is likely, not true, the office of president was created after the first US government was deemed a dismal failure and was mostly designed as a check on the powers of Congress and was originally meant to have very little powers of its own other than to oppose and carry out the will of Congress. It is only thanks to power-creep and a very open-ended interpretation of the constitution that the office has accrued as much power as it has.
    • 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.
  • Germany had three.
    • 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).
  • Harald Bluetoothnote  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. Árpád, 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 István), the first Christian king of Hungary. There is also Béla 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.
  • Iran has a number of these:
    • The first and most celebrated is Cyrus the Great, who founded the very first Persian state, The Achaemenid Empire, in 550 BCE.
    • Ardashir I, who founded the Sassanid Empire, the first Persian state since the fall of the Achaemenids (its predecessor, the Parthians, had a, well, Parthian ruling dynasty) and the last before the Arab invasion.
    • Ismail I, founder of the Safavid Empire, the greatest native Persian empire since Persia's conversion to Islam. Notably, he changed Iran's official religion to Shia Islam, which had major repercussions to this day.
    • Reza Shah, founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, is this to modern Iran. His legacy is controversial, however; neither his modernizing policies nor forceful integration of the population were as successful as Atatürk's were to Turkey, and he was woefully reliant on European powers, culminating with his dethronement by the British and Soviets during World War II.
    • Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is the first Supreme Leader of post-revolutionary Iran.
  • 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.
  • Kim Yushin united the three Korean kingdoms of Baekje, Goguryeo and Silla.
  • 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.
  • 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. It's more of a historical hindsight thing (since at the time he was adamant that he hadn't done anything), but nowadays, Augustus is generally viewed in this light today for The Roman Empire.
  • 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.
  • Mexico has priest Miguel Hidalgo, who gave the Cry of Dolores and rallied people to fight for Mexico's independence. He is much like the George Washington of Mexico.
  • 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. His name/epithet is said to have stemmed from him refusing to cut his hair until all of Norway was under his rule. Ironically, his territory was rather small compared to other kings at the time, but he controlled all the major port towns.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chandragupta Maurya, India's first true emperor, who united most of the Indian subcontinent under the Mauryan empire. This ended the era of the Mahajanapadas or city-states. Centuries later others would try to replicate his feat, such as Chandra Gupta I, who founded the Gupta dynasty, and Harsha Vardhana, but with limited success.
  • Russia is so often bloodily reformed into unrecognizable shapes that it has many.
  • Saudi Arabia had Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, who successfully united the Arab tribes of Najd and Hejaz in 1926. His descendants still rule the country today.note 
  • Shaka Zulu united various Nguni tribes and nations into the Zulu Kingdom, founding the Zulu as a nation in the early 1800s.
  • Simón Bolívar is this for several countries in South America. One of them, Bolivia, is named for the man.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Sweden has 3 examples, of which traditionally 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 reminding people that Sweden existed during the Medieval times, Birger Jarl has been gaining ground as the founder of Sweden.
    • 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 (1210-1266), 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 Feudal Monarchy ruled by law. Known foremost as Birger Jarl since they had to retire the title as it had become too 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).
    * In the Iberian Peninsula:
    • Pelagius of Asturias founded the Kingdom of Asturias which evolved into many succeeding Christian states that would later become Portugal and Spain.
    • Isabelle of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon are this for Spain via the dynastic union of their crowns.
    • Afonso the Conqueror founded Portugal who at this point was just a county (known as the Condado Portucalense) that became independent from their Spanish neighbors.
  • Timur the Lame established the Timurid Empire, which he envisioned as a successor state to the Mongol Empire. While he proved to be unstoppable upon his conquests, his empire rapidly declined after his death and only shrank in size as decades passed by.
  • Turkey had several:
    • The proto-founder was Alp Arslan, who defeated the Byzantine Empire in 1071 and began the Turkification of Anatolia (before then, the peninsula was mainly settled by Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, and Kurds).
    • The first ruler and namesake of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey's direct predecessor, was the semi-legendary Osman Gazi.
    • Mehmed the Conqueror, the seventh ruler, conquered Constantinople, later renamed Istanbul and became the Ottoman capital for the next five centuries, and destroyed the Byzantine Empire. He is by far the most famous Ottoman sultan. Many people erroneously credited him for expanding the empire to Europe, when in fact, it was Orhan nearly a century earlier.note 
    • Modern Turks consider their founder to be Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who led a Turkish army to defeat the Allied Powers at Gallipoli, then did so again to drive Allied occupiers out after the Treaty of Sèvres attempted to divide 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.
  • William the Silent, leader of the Dutch rebellion against Spanish rule.

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