When did national anthems originate?

Today every country of the world has own national anthem. National anthems are sung or played on special occasions by almost all the countries of the world. They are patriotic songs sung as a mark of honour to the countries concerned. These are sung to inspire patriotic feelings in people.

There is no authentic record as to how and when national anthems originated. It is believed that the ‘Kim Gao’ song sung in Japan in the ninth century was the first national anthem of the world. ‘God save the Queen’ was considered as the national anthem of Britain in 1825, although it had been popular as a patriotic song and used on the occasions of royal ceremonies since the mid 18th century.

The national anthem of the United States of America was written during 1814. Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, was aboard one of the British ships that attacked ‘Fort McHenry’. All through the night, Key watched the attack. When at dawn he saw the American flag still flying over the fort, he was overwhelmed by patriotic feelings. He immediately wrote a line on an envelope which later formed part of the national anthem of America.

Japan and Jordan have the shortest national anthems in the world – each of four lines only.

Our national anthem was written by Rabindra Nath Tagore. This was sung for the first time at the Calcutta session of the All India Congress in December 1911. On 24 January 1950 ‘Jan Gan Man Adhinayak’ was adopted as the national anthem of India. ‘Vande Mataram’ – a patriotic song written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was also given status almost similar to that of the national anthem. Today, all the countries of the world have their own national anthems.