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Father of the Nation

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The Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a person considered the driving force behind the establishment of a country, state, or nation. Pater Patriae (plural Patres Patriae), also seen as Parens Patriae, was a Roman honorific meaning the "Father of the Fatherland", bestowed by the Senate on heroes, and later on emperors. In monarchies, the monarch is often considered the "father/mother of the nation" or as a patriarch to guide his family. This concept is expressed in the divine right of kings espoused in some monarchies, while in others it is codified into constitutional law.

In Spain, the monarch is considered the personification and embodiment, the symbol of unity and permanence of the nation. In Thailand, the monarch is given the same recognition, and any person who expresses disrespect toward the reigning monarch faces severe criminal penalties.

Many dictators bestow titles upon themselves, which rarely survive the end of their regime. Gnassingbé Eyadéma of Togo's titles included "father of the nation", "older brother", and "Guide of the People".[1] Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire's included "Father of the nation", "the Guide", "the Messiah", "the Leopard", "the Sun-President", and "the Cock who Jumps on Anything That Moves".[2] In postcolonial Africa, "father of the nation" was a title used by many leaders both to refer to their role in the independence movement as a source of legitimacy, and to use paternalist symbolism as a source of continued popularity.[3] On Joseph Stalin's seventieth birthday in 1949, he was bestowed with the title "Father of Nations" for his establishment of "people's democracies" in countries occupied by the USSR after World War II.[4]

The title "Father of the Nation" is sometimes politically contested. The 1972 Constitution of Bangladesh declared Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to be "father of the nation".[5] A motion in the Parliament of Slovakia to proclaim controversial pre-war leader Andrej Hlinka "father of the nation" barely failed in September 2007.[6]


The following people are still often called the "Father" or "Mother" of their respective nations.

Name Nation Title (native) Title (translation) Notes
Ahmad Shah Durrani  Afghanistan Ahmad Shah Baba Ahmad Shah the Father[7][8][9] Founder of the Afghan Durrani Empire
Mohammad Zahir Shah Last and longest-reigning king of Afghanistan (1933–1973)[10]
Ismail Kemal  Albania Babai Kombit Father of the Nation Led the Albanian national movement against the Ottoman Empire
V. C. Bird  Antigua and Barbuda Father of the Nation First prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda
José de San Martín  Argentina
Peru Peru
Padre de la Patria /
Fundador de la República y Protector del Perú[11]
Father of the Fatherland /
Founder of the Republic and Protector of Peru
Primary leader of the Argentine War of Independence and the Spanish American wars of independence in southern South America
María Remedios del Valle  Argentina Madre de la Patria Mother of the Homeland Important officer in the Argentine Army during the War of Independence, referred to as the "Mother of the Homeland" since her lifetime. In 1829, the Chamber of Representatives of the province of Buenos Aires named her "Mother of the Homeland" and granted her the position of sergeant major.[12][13]
Hayk (Հայկ)  Armenia Nahapet (Նահապետ) Head of the Family
Legendary founder of the Armenian nation
Sir Henry Parkes, GCMG  Australia Father of Federation Gave the Tenterfield Oration, which is believed to be pivotal in the process of the Federation of Australia.
Sir Lynden Pindling  The Bahamas Father of the Nation Leader at independence in 1973.[14]
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman  Bangladesh Jatir Janak (জাতির জনক)
Bangabandhu (বঙ্গবন্ধু)
Father of the Nation
Friend of Bengal
Founder of Bangladesh, leader during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
Errol Barrow  Barbados Father of Independence The third and final premier of Barbados, serving from 1961 to 1966, who lead Barbados to independence from the British Empire in 1966. He became the first prime minister and served three terms (1966–76, 1986–87) dying in office of illness during his third.
Konstanty Kalinowski  Belarus Stvaralnik bielaruskaha narodu (Стваральнік беларускага народу) Creator of the Belarusian Nation Used among other titles. Military and political leader during the January Uprising.[15][16] Usage opposed by those who view Kalinowski's nationality as Polish, rather than Belarusian.[17]
George Cadle Price  Belize Father of the Nation Former Chief Minister, Premier and two-term Prime Minister before retiring in 1997.[18][19]
Seretse Khama  Botswana Father of Independence Leader of the independence movement and first President of Botswana. Creator of democracy in Botswana
Dom Pedro I, Maria Leopoldina of Austria and José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva  Brazil Pai da Nação e Patriarca da Independência Father of the Nation and Patriarch of Independence Founder and the first Emperor of Brazil (1822) during the independence of Brazil. Maria Leopoldina was the first Empress of Brazil. Bonifácio was the advisor of Pedro I.
Omar Ali Saifuddien III  Brunei Architect of Modern Brunei. Builder of the Modern Nation and Father of Independence 28th Sultan of Brunei and First Minister of Defence (1914–1986).
Thomas Sankara  Burkina Faso Father of The Nation and Hero of Burkina Faso First president of Burkina Faso. Renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso and writer of the national anthem, Ditanyè.
Asparuh  Bulgaria Kanasubigi (Кан) Founder and first ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire.
Norodom Sihanouk  Cambodia សម្តេចឪ (Sâmdéch Âu) King Father Secured independence from France.
John A. Macdonald and the other Fathers of Confederation  Canada Father of Confederation
Pères de la Confédération
Father of Confederation The 36 Canadian politicians who negotiated Canadian Confederation
Bernardo O'Higgins  Chile Padre de la patria Father of the fatherland Principal leader of the Chilean War of Independence.
Sun Yat-sen  Republic of China 國父 (Guófù) Father of the Nation Sun played an instrumental role in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty during the Xinhai Revolution. The Nationalist government decreed the title in 1940.[20] Sun is more widely known in the People's Republic of China as the "Forerunner of the Revolution".[21]
José María Castro Madriz  Costa Rica Fundador de la República Founder of the Republic First President of the Republic of Costa Rica.[22]
Ante Starčević  Croatia Otac domovine Father of the Homeland His diverse activities and works laid the foundations for the modern Croatian state.[23]
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes  Cuba Padre de la Patria Father of the Fatherland[24] Leader of the first Cuban independence movement which fought the Ten Years' War.
Archbishop Makarios III  Cyprus Εθνάρχης Leader of the Nation First and longest President of Cyprus, leader of Greek Cypriot nationalist movement during Cypriot intercommunal violence
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor  Czech Republic Otec vlasti Father of the Homeland King of Bohemia. Title coined by the rector of the Charles University of Prague at the emperor's funeral.[25]
František Palacký Otec národa Father of the Nation Politician and historian, influential in Czech National Revival movement.[25] Whereas vlast "homeland" included all inhabitants, národ "nation" comprised only Czech people.[26]
Tomáš Masaryk Tatíček /
Prezident Osvoboditel
Father of the Fatherland / President Liberator First President of Czechoslovakia, helped negotiate establishment of Czechoslovakia with the Allies of World War I.[25][27]
Juan Pablo Duarte  Dominican Republic Padre de la patria Father of the Fatherland Defeated Haiti during Dominican War of Independence.
Ilia Chavchavadze  Georgia უგვირგვინო მეფე / ერის მამა The Crownless King / Father of the Nation
Members of the Parlamentarischer Rat  Germany Väter und Mütter des Grundgesetzes Fathers and mothers of the Basic Law Drafted the Basic Law, the constitution of (then West) Germany
Kwame Nkrumah  Ghana Osagyefo Father of the nation First president and prime minister of Ghana during decolonization, the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to achieve full independence.
Alexander the Great  Greece Πατέρας των Ελλήνων Father of the Greeks Founder of the Macedonian Empire responsible for spreading Greek culture during the Hellenistic period.
Cheddi Jagan  Guyana Father of the Nation President of Guyana from 1992 to 1997.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines  Haiti Père de la patrie Father of the Fatherland Primary leader of the Haitian Revolution.
Dionisio de Herrera  Honduras First Head of State of Honduras within the Federal Republic of Central America
Árpád  Hungary Honalapító Founder of the Homeland Second Grand Prince of the Hungarians, leader of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian basin.
Mahatma Gandhi  India राष्ट्रपिता (Rashtrapita)
Bapu (Father)
Father of the Nation[28][29] Leader of the Indian independence movement from British Raj.
Mohammad Hatta
 Indonesia Bapak Bangsa
Sang Proklamator
Father(s) of the Nation
The Proclamators
Main leaders of the Indonesian National Revolution, wrote and signed the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence, as well as served as the first President and Vice President of Indonesia, respectively.
Cyrus the Great  Iran (Persia) Shahanshah King of Kings The founder of the first Persian Empire
David Ben-Gurion  Israel Israel's founding father[30] Father of the Nation formally proclaimed the establishment of Israel and served as its first prime minister.
Camillo Benso
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Mazzini
Vittorio Emanuele II di Savoia
 Italy Padre della Patria Father of the Fatherland Authors of Italian unification[31][32][33]
Emperor Jimmu  Japan 神武天皇 (Jinmu Ten-noh) Legendary first Emperor of Japan
Kerei Khan and Janibek Khan  Kazakhstan Негізін қалаушылар (Negızın qalauşylar) Founders Founders and first rulers of the Kazakh Khanate, who led the Kazakh War of Independence against the Uzbek Khanate and established the first independent Kazakh state.[34]
Members of the Alash Kazakh intellectuals who took part in the national liberation movement and formed the Alash Orda provisional government during the Russian Revolution.
Jomo Kenyatta  Kenya Baba wa Taifa Father of the Nation/Freedom Fighter First President of Kenya from 1963 to his death in 1978 who helped create the Kenyan Constitution.
Ibrahim Rugova  Kosovo Ati i Kombit Father of the Nation First president of the First Republic of Kosovo. President of Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metochia under UN after the Kosovo War.
Jonas Basanavičius  Lithuania Tautos patriarchas Patriarch of the Nation Various cultural activities during the Lithuanian National Revival.[35]
Tunku Abdul Rahman  Malaysia Bapa Kemerdekaan

Bapa Malaysia

Father of Independence

Father of Malaysia

The first Prime Minister of Malaysia. A prince from the Kedah Sultanate, the Cambridge-educated Tunku led the negotiated independence of Federation of Malaya from the British Empire in 1957. Later formed Malaysia through the union of Peninsular Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak in 1963.
Muhammad Fareed Didi  Maldives Founder of modern Maldives and last sultan of Maldives.
Giorgio Borġ Olivier  Malta Missier Malta Indipendenti Father of Independent Malta First post-independence Prime Minister of Malta between 1950–1955 and 1962–1971.
Dom Mintoff Missier Malta Repubblika,

Missier Malta Hielsa

Father of Republican Malta,

Father of Free Malta

A Maltese statesman and leading politician. He twice served as Prime Minister of Malta (from 1955 to 1958, and from 1974 to 1984) as the Leader of the Labour Party, a position he held from 1949 to 1984. In 1974, with him as Prime Minister, Malta negotiated a series of constitutional reforms leading to the establishment of the Maltese Republic and the removal of the British monarch as head of state. In 1979, the last Royal Navy ships left Malta, marking the country's transformation into a fully independent nation. Mintoff is also credited with the establishment of the Maltese welfare state and the socialist-style nationalisation and collectivisation of various key industries.
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam  Mauritius Father of the Nation[36] First post-independence Prime Minister, in 1968.
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla  Mexico Padre de la patria mexicana[37] Father of the Mexican Nation[38] First revolutionary leader in the Mexican War of Independence.
Genghis Khan  Mongolia Монголчуудын эцэг Father of the Mongols, Founding Father of Mongolia[39] After unifying the many nomadic tribes of northeastern Asian steppe peoples, Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire and became the first Great Khan and Emperor. He eventually led a conquest of the majority of Eurasia, and his unified homeland would become Mongolia.
Mohammed V  Morocco أب الوطن المغربي / ⵉⴱⴱⴰ ⵏ ⵜⴰⵎⵜⵜⵉ ⴰⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱⵉ Father of the Moroccan Nation[40] King of Morocco during its independence in 1956, seen by most Moroccans as Father of the Nation.[41]
Aung San  Myanmar နိုင်ငံ‌တော်၏ဖခင်၊
Father of Nation,[42][43]
Father of Independence,
Father of Tatmadaw (Burmese Army)
He was the founder of Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) and he was the 5th Prime Minister of Burma in British Era from 1946 to 1947. He was instrumental in Myanmar's struggle for independence from British rule, but he was assassinated just six months before his goal was realized.
Sam Nujoma  Namibia Founding Father of the Namibian Nation Primary leader of SWAPO during the South African Border War and first President of Namibia, 1990–2005; title conferred by Act of Parliament in 2005.[44]
Prithvi Narayan Shah    Nepal श्री ५ बडामहाराजधिराज पृथ्वी नारायण शाह Father of the Nation King of Nepal during the Unification of Nepal.
William the Silent  Netherlands Vader des Vaderlands Father of the Fatherland Leader of the successful Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Empire, which led to the Dutch Republic, the first independent Dutch state.[45]
Diriangén[46]  Nicaragua Padre de la Patria Nicaragüense Father of the Nicaraguan Fatherland Native Nicaraguan tribal leader
Nnamdi Azikiwe  Nigeria Father of Nigerian Nationalism First president of Nigeria when it became a republic on 1 October 1963, and was the last governor general of Nigeria.
Krste Misirkov  North Macedonia Татко на нацијата Father of the Nation Prominent linguist, writer and activist.
Einar Gerhardsen  Norway Landsfaderen Father of the Nation First post–World War II prime minister of Norway.[47]
Muhammad Ali Jinnah  Pakistan Baba-e-Qaum[48]/Quaid-e-Azam[49] Father of the Nation/Great Leader Led the Pakistan Movement and served as first governor-general of Pakistan.
Yasser Arafat  Palestine The Father of Palestine[50] Father of the Nation Led the Palestinian liberation movement and served as president of the State of Palestine from 1994 to 2004.
Sir Michael Somare  Papua New Guinea Papa Blo Kantri[51] Father of the Nation Leader at independence in 1975; also known as "the chief" and "the old man".[52]
Emilio Aguinaldo  Philippines Kauna-unahang Pangulo ng Pilipinas First President of the Philippines Military Leader of the Philippine Revolution and the First President of the Philippines through the 1899 Malolos Congress, which oversaw the promulgation of the Malolos Constitution. His birthday, 22 March 1869, is celebrated as Emilio Aguinaldo Day.
Andrés Bonifacio Amá ng Himagsikan Father of the Revolution Political Leader of the Philippine Revolution, which saw armed resistance against the Spanish Empire. His birthday, 30 November 1863, is a national holiday.
José Rizal Pambansáng Bayani National Hero Colloquially known as the "National Hero". Rizal's works and writings–which helped start the Philippine Revolution–are part of the national curriculum as mandated by Republic Act No. 1425. The anniversary of his 30 December 1896 execution by the Spanish colonial government is a national holiday.[53]
Ignacy Daszyński, Roman Dmowski, Wojciech Korfanty, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Józef Piłsudski, Wincenty Witos  Poland Ojcowie Niepodległości, Ojcowie Polski Odrodzonej Fathers of Independence, Fathers of Reborn Poland After World War I six fathers of independence jointly took advantage of the favorable conditions and led to the birth of the Second Polish Republic.[54]
Mieszko I Twórca państwa polskiego Founder of the Polish state Mieszko I united slavic tribes of Poland, baptized the country and became the first historical ruler of Poland.
D. Afonso Henriques  Portugal Fundador da Nação Father of the Nation
a.k.a. The Conqueror
Founder and first King of Portugal (1139), recognized by the Holy See in 1179.
Peter I of Russia  Russia Отец Отечества (Otets Otechestva) Father of the Fatherland Was granted the title in 1721 by the Governing Senate, along with "Emperor of Russia" and "The Great".[55]
El-Ouali Mustapha Sayed  Western Sahara Father of the Nation Leader of the Polisario Front, First President of the SADR. Fought against Spanish colonial army & against the invasion of the Moroccan and Mauritanian armies in the Western Sahara conflict.
Sir John Compton  Saint Lucia Father of the Nation Prime Minister at independence in 1979. Also known as "Daddy Compton".[56]
Saint Marinus  San Marino Founder of a chapel and monastery in central Italy, in 301 (traditional date: 3 September). From this initial community the state of San Marino later grew.[57]
Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia  Saudi Arabia والد الأمة (Waalid Al Ummah)/ المؤسس (Al-Moa'sis) Father of the Nation/ The Founder Unified the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula and established the modern Saudi state. He descended from the noble House of Saud, the dynasty which had ruled most of Arabia in the 18th century. His son King Salman is the current head of state of Saudi Arabia. Five other older sons – Saud, Faisal, Khalid, Fahd and Abdullah – served as former heads of state.
Donald Dewar  Scotland Father of the Nation First First Minister of Scotland following the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.[58]
Dobrica Ćosić  Serbia Отац нације[59][60] Father of the Nation Yugoslav and Serbian politician, writer, and political theorist.
Karađorđe and Miloš the Great Отац нације[61][62] Father of the Nation Leaders of the First and Second Serbian Uprising during the Serbian Revolution.
Saint Sava Отац отаџбине[63] Father of the Fatherland Founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Lee Kuan Yew  Singapore Father of Singapore First Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, governing for over 30 years. Leading figure throughout Singapore's time as a part of Malaysia and its later independence.
Primož Trubar  Slovenia Oče naroda Father of the Nation A consolidator of Slovene and the author of the first Slovene printed book.
Mohammed Abdullah Hassan  Somalia Father of the fatherland The emir of Dervish and Diiriye Guure.[64]
Nelson Mandela  South Africa Tata wethu Father of the Nation Primary leader of internal resistance to apartheid as chairman of the African National Congress, and President of post-apartheid South Africa.[65]
Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella)  Spain Reyes Católicos de los reinos de Castilla y Aragón Catholic Monarchs of the Kingdoms of Castille and Aragon The unifiers of Spain. They unified the territories of Castille, Aragon and Al-Andalus, all the territories of the Iberian Peninsula, except Portugal. During their reign America was discovered and started the Spanish Empire.
Don Stephen Senanayake  Sri Lanka ජාතියේ පියා (Jathiyay Piya) Father of the Nation First Prime Minister, from 1947 to 1952.[66]
Johan Ferrier  Suriname Vader des Vaderlands Father of the Nation First president after the independence of the country in 1975 (the term Vader des Vaderlands has its roots in the Netherlands).
Gustav I of Sweden  Sweden Landsfader Father of the Nation Broke Sweden from Danish rule under Christian II.
Per Albin Hansson[citation needed] Landsfader Father of the Nation Prime Minister 1932–1946 and founder of The People's Home.
Julius Nyerere  Tanzania Baba wa Taifa Father of the Nation First President of Tanzania.[67]
Henry Alcazar, Victor Bryan, Tubal Uriah Butler, Rudranath Capildeo, Simbhoonath Capildeo, Arthur Andrew Cipriani, Albert Gomes, Solomon Hochoy, A. P. T. James, Audrey Jeffers, Ranjit Kumar, Emmanuel Mzumbo Lazare, Chanka Maharaj, Bhadase Sagan Maraj, Quintin O'Connor, Michael Pocock, Adrian Cola Rienzi (Krishna Deonarine), Alfred Richards, Harold Robinson, Timothy Roodal, Lionel Seukeran, Ashford Sinanan, Mitra Sinanan, Sarran Teelucksingh, Louis de Verteuil, Gerald Wight, Eric Williams, Hugh Wooding[68]  Trinidad and Tobago Moulders of the Nation[68] They helped shape the country's future as an independent nation and laid the foundation of democracy.[68]
Eric Williams Father of the Nation First and three-term Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago from 1956 to his death in 1981, first Premier of Trinidad and Tobago from 1961 to 1966, second Chief Minister of Trinidad and Tobago from 1956 to 1961, founder of the People's National Movement (PNM) and was instrumental in writing the Trinidad and Tobago constitution and gaining the country independence and republicanism from British rule.[69][70]
Habib Bourguiba  Tunisia المجاهد الاكبر(Al mujehed al akbar) The Supreme Warrior Father of the independence of Tunisia and first President of Tunisia. He led the Tunisian national movement against the French colonial empire. After Tunisian independence, he founded a modern state, built schools and hospitals and gave the Tunisian women rights that are still unique in the Arab World today.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk  Turkey Atatürk Father of the Turks (always used as a last name and not a title proper) Founder of the Republic of Turkey and first President of Turkey. He led the Turkish national movement in the Turkish War of Independence, and enacted the reforms that made Turkey a democratic nation-state. Granted in accordance with the 1934 Surname Law establishing surnames in Turkey.[71]
Bohdan Khmelnytsky  Ukraine Father of the Nation Leader of the Khmelnytsky Uprising against the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and founder of the Cossack Hetmanate, the first independent Ukrainian state.
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan  United Arab Emirates والد الأمة (Waalid Al Ummah) Father of the Nation President of the UAE for its first 33 years (1971–2004).[72][73]
George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and other Signers and Framers  United States Founding Fathers[74][75] The Signers signed the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Framers were delegates to the Constitutional Convention and took part in framing or drafting the proposed United States Constitution.
George Washington Father of his country[76][77] George Washington is particularly highlighted out of the Founding Fathers of the United States as being the "father of his country"[76][77] for his role as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, his resignation of command at the end of the war, the presidency of the Constitutional Convention and for his tenure (and voluntary retirement) as the first President of the United States.
José Gervasio Artigas  Uruguay Padre de la independencia uruguaya, Protector de los Pueblos Libres y Jefe de los orientales[78] Father of Uruguayan independence, Defender of the Free and Chief of the eastern people[79] Fought against the Spanish Royalists for independence in the Río de la Plata.
Ho Chi Minh  Vietnam Cha già dân tộc Father of the people Leader of the Viet Minh, who fought for independence from France in the First Indochina War and decisively defeated them at the bloody Battle of Dien Bien Phu, resulting in the establishment of an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the north of the country in 1954. Vietnam would eventually be united under Communist Party of Vietnam rule after his death with the Fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
Kenneth Kaunda  Zambia Tata Father of the nation First president of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. He founded the Zambian African National Congress (ANC), later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP which led to attaining independence.


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  14. ^ "The death of Jeffrey Thompson". Freeport News. The Nassau Guardian (1844) Ltd. 20 March 2008. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2009. it has been well documented that Sir Lynden Pindling was the leader of the political movement that led to the attainment of majority rule on January 10, 1967, and that he is recognized as the ৭ of the Nation — the man who was the country's leader when The Bahamas obtained its independence from the United Kingdom on July 10, 1973.
  15. ^ "Каліноўскі быў беларусам. Даказаць адваротнае немагчыма" [Kalinoŭski was Belarusian: It's impossible to claim otherwise]. Novy Chas (in Belarusian). 22 March 2021. Retrieved 11 August 2023.
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  18. ^ "Rt. Hon. George Price". CARICOM. 20 March 2008. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2009. Rt. Honourable George Cadle Price, "Father of the Nation" of Belize
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  20. ^ Yin, Xiong (2015). 至樂齋詩抄 第二部. 新華出版社. p. 181. ISBN 978-7-5166-1604-8.
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See also

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Father of the Nation
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