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Thursday, 18 August 2016

National Anthem

The first national anthem to be composed was the Dutch national anthem "Wilhelmus" (William), which was written between 1568 and 1572.

There is an acrostic secreted in "Wilhelmus". The first letters of its fifteen stanzas spell WILLEM VAN NASSOV. This was one of the hereditary titles of William of Orange (William the Silent), who introduced himself in the poem to the Dutch people.

Early version of the Wilhelmus as preserved in a manuscript from 1617

The first anthem to be officially adopted as such was the Spanish anthem "Marcha Real" in 1770.

The French anthem "La Marseillaise" was written soon after in 1792 and adopted in 1795.

The first performance of "O Canada," the song that would become the national anthem of Canada, took place in Quebec City, Quebec in 1880, during a Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day banquet.

Francis Scott Key's poem about the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships in 1814, was later set to music and became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"The Star Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889 and the White House in 1916. It became the United States' national anthem on March 4, 1931.


In the United States, it is against the law to use "The Star Spangled Banner" as dance music in Massachusetts.

Algerian nationalist poet Moufdi Zakaria penned the words to his country's national anthem in prison in April 1955. Since he did not have access to paper or writing instruments while incarcerated in Barberousse Prison, Zakaria reportedly wrote the lyrics with his own blood on the walls of his jail cell.

The New Zealand national anthem "God Defend New Zealand" is traditionally sung with the first verse in Māori and the second in English.

South Africa's national anthem is unique in that five of the eleven official languages are used in the same anthem, in which each language comprises a stanza.

The tune for "God Save the Queen" has been used in many countries as a national anthem. Apart from several German states, many of which were linked to Great Britain by marriage, Liechtenstein and Switzerland also used the same the same melody. Switzerland changed to a different tune in the 1960s. Liechtenstein still uses the same one for their national anthem, Oben am jungen Rhein ("Up above the Young Rhine"). In the United States, the melody is used for the patriotic song "My Country, 'Tis of Thee".

Publication of an early version in The Gentleman's Magazine, 15 October 1745

Mexican Racing driver Pedro Rodríguez always traveled with a Mexican flag and a record of the national anthem, because when he won the 1967 South African Grand Prix the organizers did not have the Mexican anthem, and instead played the Mexican hat dance.

Between 1996 and 2001, Afghanistan had no national anthem because the Taliban had banned music altogether.

The national anthem of Greece has 158 verses.

The Spanish national anthem has no words. It has no official lyrics because they could not find an agreement on which ones to use.

Other countries with wordless national anthems include Bosnia, San Marino and Kosovo.


The London Philharmonic Orchestra recorded 205 national anthems ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. After completing the 50-hour recording marathon, conductor Philip Sheppard said: "I’ll be perfectly happy not to hear another anthem for a long time."

Source Daily Mail

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