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Most nation-states have anthems, defined as "a song, as of praise, devotion, or patriotism"; most anthems are either marches or hymns in style. A hymn can become a national anthem by a provision in the state's constitution, by a law enacted by its legislature, or simply by tradition. A royal anthem is a patriotic song similar to a national anthem, but it specifically praises or prays for a monarch or royal dynasty. Such anthems are usually performed at public appearances by the monarch or during other events of royal importance. Some states use the royal anthem as the national anthem, such as the anthem of Jordan.
There are multiple claimants to the position of oldest national anthem. Among the national anthems, the first to be composed was the Dutch national anthem the "Wilhelmus", which was written between 1568 and 1572. This has both Dutch and English language versions and is unusual in being an acrostic in both languages. The Japanese anthem, "Kimigayo", employs the oldest lyrics of any national anthem, taking its words from the "Kokin Wakashū", which was first published in 905, yet these words were not set to music until 1880. The first anthem to be officially adopted as such was the Spanish anthem "Marcha Real", in 1770; its origins remain unclear, being suggested to have sixteenth century Venetian origins, or even to have been composed by king Frederick the Great himself; it is also one of the few national anthems that has never had official lyrics. Anthems became increasingly popular among European states in the 18th century. For example, the British national anthem "God Save the Queen" was first performed under the title "God Save the King" in 1745. The French anthem "La Marseillaise" was written half a century later in 1792, and adopted in 1795.
National anthems are usually written in the most common language of the state, whether de facto or official. States with multiple national languages may offer several versions of their anthem. For instance, Switzerland's national anthem has different lyrics for each of the country's four official languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansh. One of New Zealand's two national anthems is commonly sung with the first verse in Māori ("Aotearoa") and the second in English ("God Defend New Zealand"). The tune is the same but the lyrics have different meanings. South Africa's national anthem is unique in that it is two different songs put together with five of the country's eleven official languages being used, in which each language comprises a stanza.
National anthems of UN member states and observer states
Only United Nations member states and observer states are included in this table. National anthems of sovereign states which are not UN members or observers are listed in a separate table below. An English translation of the title is provided in parentheses where appropriate.
Anthems of other states and territories
This table includes anthems of de facto sovereign states which are not members or observers of the United Nations. Many of them have received little or no recognition from the international community; some are widely considered to be part of one of the countries listed above.
|Territory||Territorial anthem||Date adopted||Lyricist||Officially known as||Composer||Audio|
|1992||Genady Alamiya||"State Anthem of the Republic of Abkhazia"||Valera Çkaduwa||"Aiaaira"|
|Artsakh||"Azat u ankakh Artsakh"
("Free and independent Artsakh")
|1992||Vardan Hakobyan||"Unofficial State Anthem of the Republic of Artsakh"||Armen Nasibyan||"Azat u anakh Artsakh"|
|Kosovo||"Europe"||2008||No lyrics||"State Anthem of the Republic of Kosovo"||Mendi Mengjiqi||"Europe"|
|Northern Cyprus||"İstiklâl Marşı"
|1921||Mehmet Akif Ersoy||"The Turkish Cypriot State Anthem"||Zeki Üngör||"İstiklâl Marşı"|
|Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic||"Yā Banīy As-Saharā"
("O Sons of the Sahara")
|1979||unknown||"Western Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republican Anthem"||unknown||—|
|Somaliland||"Samo ku waar"||1991||Hassan Sheikh Mumin||"Somaliland"||Hassan Sheikh Mumin|
|South Ossetia||"Respublikæ Hussar Irystony Paddzahadon Gimn"
("National Anthem of South Ossetia")
|1995||Totraz Kokaev||"Respwlikæ Hwßar İrisânı Pađzahadân Ģimń"||Felix Alborov|
|Taiwan||"San Min Chu-i"
("Three Principles of the People")[note 16]
|1937 (de facto)
1943 (de jure)
|Sun Yat-sen||"National Anthem of the Republic of China"[note 17]||Ch'eng Mao-yün||"San Min Chu I"|
|Transnistria||"My slavim tebia, Pridnestrovie"
("We glorify you, Pridnestrovie")
|1992||Boris Parmenov, Vitaly Pishenko, Nicholas Bozhko||"Mı slavim tebia Prîdnestrâviē"||Boris Alexandrov||"My slavim tebia"|
National anthems by key
|A major||Equatorial Guinea, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan|
|A minor||Bulgaria, Japan, Kenya, Tajikistan|
|A♭ major||Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Eswatini, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Rwanda, San Marino, Trinidad and Tobago|
|B♭ major||Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuvalu, United States, Vanuatu, Vietnam|
|C major||Angola, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Dominica, East Timor, Ethiopia, Gambia, Jordan, North Korea, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Uruguay, Yemen|
|C♯ major||Cape Verde, Pakistan|
|D major||Bahamas, Bahrain, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Seychelles, Sudan|
|D minor||Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan|
|D♭ major||Haiti, Norway|
|E major||Bhutan, Ecuador, Iceland, Libya|
|E minor||Iraq, Israel, Romania|
|E♭ major||Afghanistan, Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Mauritania, Palau, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, South Sudan, Suriname|
|F major||Armenia, Belarus, Belize, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Laos, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Syria, Tanzania, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Vatican City, Venezuela, Western Sahara|
|F♯ major||Ivory Coast, Uganda|
|G major||Albania, Andorra, Barbados, China, France, Indonesia, Iran, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Mali, Monaco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe|
|G minor||Cambodia, Nepal, Slovakia, Turkey|
|Any key or
|Brazil, Central African Republic, Georgia, Honduras, Italy, Montenegro, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa|
- Anthem of Europe
- Anthems of the autonomous communities of Spain
- List of anthems of non-sovereign countries, regions and territories
- List of historical national anthems
- List of U.S. state songs
- Olympic Hymn
- Royal anthem
- Earth anthem
- "God Save the Queen" is the royal anthem of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu, and one of New Zealand's two national anthems.
- "My Belarusy" was originally adopted by the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
- "Lijepa naša domovino" was originally adopted by the Socialist Republic of Croatia.
- "Hymn to Liberty" is the national anthem of both Cyprus and Greece.
- By the power of the Constitution of Cyprus, the Turkish national anthem "İstiklâl Marşı" was used when a Turkish Cypriot representative was present. The practice lasted up to 1963.
- Originally adopted by Czechoslovakia as a part of its hymn in 1918 (together with Slovak "Nad Tatrou sa blýska"), and latter in 1993 by the Czech Republic (already without the Slovak part).
- "Kong Christian stod ved højen mast" ("King Christian stood by the lofty mast") is the second national anthem of Denmark.
- This refers to "God Defend New Zealand", not "God Save the Queen".
- Until the early 20th century, "Sønner av Norge" was the most recognised national anthem of Norway. Also "Norges Skaal" and "Mitt lille land" have at times been described as national anthems. Norway's royal anthem is "Kongesangen".
- Norway has no official national anthem. The song was first performed in 1864, but only gradually came to replace the older national anthem "Sønner av Norge" as de facto national anthem
- Also known by its incipit: "Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, kiedy my żyjemy" ("Poland Is Not Yet Lost, So long as we still live").
- "Zdravljica" was originally adopted by the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. Only the seventh stanza of the song is used as the national anthem.
- The "National Anthem of South Africa" is a hybrid of "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("God Bless Africa") and "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika"
("The Call of South Africa").
- Sweden's royal anthem is "Kungssången".
- Thailand's royal anthem is "Phleng Sansoen Phra Barami".
- "National Banner Song" is used as the alternate state anthem for Taiwan at international sporting events such as the Olympic Games and World Baseball Classic.
- The official state name of Taiwan is the "Republic of China".
- Also known as "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" ("Unity and justice and freedom"); only the third stanza of the song is the official national anthem.
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- "Lost for words". The Economist. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- "'Bird's Nest' Ballads: Olympic National Anthems". NPR. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "God Save the King". 15. The Gentleman's Magazine. October 1745: 552. Cite journal requires
- "La Marseillaise". Fordham University. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- "Facts and figures". Government of Switzerland. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
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- "List of Member States". United Nations. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
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- "Bosnia Anthem Gets Lyrics After 10 Years", Bosnia Insight, February 23, 2009.
- Udenrigsministeriet (6 August 2001). "Instruks for Udenrigstjenesten". Retsinformation. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Elementary schools face new mandate: Patriotism, 'Kimigayo'". The Japan Times Online. Kyodo News. 2008-03-29. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "Archived copy" 国旗及び国歌に関する法律 (法律第百二十七号） (in Japanese). Government of Japan. 1999-08-13. Archived from the original on 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2011-08-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Datenbank-europa.de". Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- Christine Zuchora-Walske (2008). Nepal in Pictures. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 69. ISBN 0-8225-8578-2. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- "Nepali Cabinet Approves New National Anthem". People's Daily. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- Martell, Peter (2011-01-11). "A Song for South Sudan: Writing a New National Anthem". BBC News. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- Declared official "Honor March" by Charles III in 1770, abolished 1820-1823,adopted as official anthem under Isabel II (r. 1833–1868), co-official during 1873-1874 and again abolished 1931-1939. Re-introduced in 1939.
- royal anthem in a number of Commonwealth realms, including the United Kingdom, but no official status as national anthem.
- "Kosovo Approves Anthem with No Lyrics". Balkan Insight. 2008-06-11. Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
Most of the parliamentary groups said they listened to all three shortlisted proposals but opted for the composition called ‘Europe’ by Mehdi Mengjiqi, which has no lyrics as it would respect the multi-ethnic nature of Kosovo.
- NationalAnthems.us makes it easy to find information about world anthems, and promotes the exchange of information about anthems.
- National anthems of the world, performed by the United States Navy Band