Unity makes strength

"Unity makes strength" (Bulgarian: Съединението прави силата; West Frisian: Iendracht makket macht; Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht, pronounced [ˈeːndrɑxt maːkt mɑxt] (listen); French: L'union fait la force) is a motto that has been used by various states and entities throughout history. It is used by Bulgaria and Haiti on their coats of arms and is the national motto of Belgium, Bolivia, and Bulgaria. Until 2000, it was the national motto of South Africa.

The motto was originally used by the Dutch Republic. It was derived from the Latin phrase concordia res parvae crescunt ("small things flourish by concord"), used in the Bellum Iugurthinum of Roman Republican writer Sallust.[1]

The similar moral of the Aesopic fable "The Old Man and his Sons" has been rendered in various related ways: "All power is weak unless united" (1668),[2] "Unity makes strength, strife wastes" (1685),[3] "Strength lies in union" (1867),[4] "Strength is in unity" (1887),[5] "Unity is strength" (title), "Union gives strength" (moral) (1894),[6] "Union is strength" (1912),[7] "In unity is strength" (1919);[8] although older versions are more specific: "Brotherly love is the greatest good in life and often lifts the humble higher" (2nd century),[9] "Just as concord supplies potency in human affairs, so a quarrelsome life deprives people of their strength" (16th century).[10]

Nederland gouden dukaat 1729 VOC scheepswrak Vliegend Hert
Netherlands, gold ducat (1729) with the motto concordia res parvae crescent on the obverse, found in the Dutch East India Company (VOC) shipwreck 't Vliegend Hert



The motto was used by Belgium after its Revolution of 1830, initially only in its French form "L'union fait la force". Only when Dutch was made equal in status to French did the Belgian state also take "Eendracht maakt macht" as its motto, sometimes with the variant "Eenheid baart macht". In 1830, this unity was identified with the unification of Belgium's nine provinces, whose nine provincial coats of arms are represented on the national arms, and the new country's unification of its liberal progressives and Catholic conservatives. Indeed, it was launched in 1827–1828 by newspapers published in Liège, which allied liberals and Catholics in the unionism which brought about the revolution and which then dominated Belgian politics until the founding of the Liberal Party in 1846. Although the motto is often used in Belgicist or unitarist circles (as a call to Flemings and Walloons, natives of Brussels and German speakers, all to maintain Belgium's unity), this is a historical misinterpretation; the motto is a unionist – not a unitarist – slogan. Its German version is "Einigkeit macht stark". Flemings sometimes parody the motto by chanting it as "L'union fait la farce" ("Union makes a farce") or "L'oignon fait la farce" ("The onion makes the filling"), trivialising it as a cooking recipe.


Coat of arms of Bulgaria
"Unity makes strength" (Съединението прави силата), the motto on the coat of arms of Bulgaria

Following the Bulgarian unification and after Ferdinand of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha took over the throne of the Principality of Bulgaria, the country adopted Belgium's motto of L'union fait la force (Bulgarian: Съединението прави силата). After the king was deposed, it was the country's motto until 1948. After the fall of the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the end of Communist rule in the 1990s, the parties debated what should be the country's new coat of arms, deciding on a modified version of its former royal coat of arms. However, the Bulgarian motto also represents the last words of khan Kubrat, the founder of Old Great Bulgaria in 632 AD, and is likely rooted much earlier in Bulgarian symbolics than in other European states.[11]


At the second national convention of Acadians in 1884, "L'union fait la force" was chosen as the national motto of Acadia and appeared in the coat of arms of Société nationale de l'Acadie in 1995.[12]


Dzala ertobashia (Georgian: ძალა ერთობაშია, "strength is in unity") is the official motto of Georgia.


The phrase is first recorded in Homer as "Strength in Unity" (Greek: "Ἡ ἰσχύς ἐν τῇ ἐνώσει").


Coat of arms of Haiti
Current coat of arms of Haiti

One of the oldest uses of the term written in the French language, is known since 1807, on Haiti's national coat of arms bearing the motto, "L'union fait la force". Although, it should not be confused with the national motto of Haiti, which according to the Constitution of Haiti is "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."[13][14]


An early design of the coat of arms for the Federation of Malaya (present day Peninsular Malaysia) in used between 1948 and 1963 adopted a variation of the motto, "Unity is Strength", rendered in both English and Jawi. Following the admission of three more states into the federation in 1963, the English motto of the arms was replaced by a rough Malay translation, Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu (literally "Unity Improves Quality"), while the Jawi motto remained unchanged.


Belgick-lion Benthien kazerne Dordrecht
Former coat of arms of the Netherlands

The motto was recorded for the first time in the Netherlands in the book Gemeene Duytsche Spreekwoorden ("Common Dutch Proverbs") in 1550, whilst the area was still within the Spanish Empire and under the rule of Charles V. After the Dutch gained independence, the new Dutch Republic took over the phrase as its motto and it appeared on several of its coins and coats of arms, usually in the original Latin form, referring to the new state's initially small territorial size. From the late 16th century onwards the start of the motto was frequently used on Dutch coinage, such as the Leicester-rijksdaalder in 1586.[15]

The French occupied the Netherlands from 1795 to 1813, first as the Batavian Republic, then the Kingdom of Holland, then as an annexed part of France itself. Early in the occupation the national motto was changed to "Gelykheid, Vryheid, Broederschap" (Equality, Liberty, Fraternity), but from 1802 to 1810 'Unity makes strength' was re-introduced. It remained in use until the institution of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands when, in 1816, it switched to the House of Orange motto 'Je maintiendrai'.

South Africa

Coat of Arms of the South African Republic - 2
'Eendragt maakt magt' as the motto on the coat of arms of the South African Republic.

On 17 January 1852, the United Kingdom, ruler of the Cape Colony, approved the independence of the South African Republic in the Sand River Convention. "Eendragt maakt magt" was the motto on the new state's shield, and in 1888 it decided it should only use high Dutch (not Afrikaans) as its only official language. Rendered in Latin, the motto of the Union of South Africa from 1910 until 1961 was "Ex Unitate Vires" ("Out of Unity, Strength"). After 1961, as the Republic of South Africa, the motto was rendered on coins in both Afrikaans (as "Eendrag maak mag") and in English (as "Unity is Strength").[16] The motto was changed in 2000 to "ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke", which is "Unity in Diversity" written in ǀXam.

United States

The motto of Brooklyn, a borough of New York City founded by Dutch settlers, is "Eendraght maeckt maght". It appears on Brooklyn's seal and flag. Additionally, it is the motto of The Collegiate School, the oldest primary and secondary school in the United States. The motto Eendragt maakt magt also appears on the badge of the police force of Holland, Michigan, combined with God zij met ons ("God be with us").

Other uses

Eendragt maakt Magt was a noble-society (Heeren-Sociëteit) founded in Rotterdam in 1830, originally based in the Kralingse Plaslaan. It originally held weekly meetings in the Den Otter coffeehouse on the corner of the Hoflaan and the Honingerdijk. On 1 May 1865, the Association of Shareholders began fundraising for a private building for the society. This coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, which was one reason the society took the motto of king William II of the Netherlands. The architect Jan Verheul designed the new building, and it opened in 1903 on the corner of the Oudedijk and Waterloostraat. In 1980, the building was demolished to make way for the Caland Line metro route. A section of its ornate art nouveau facade (with the club's name between glazed tiles and leaf patterns) was preserved and built into the nearby Voorschoterlaan station.[17]

The name was also used as the business name of the tailors "Eendracht maakt macht", who in 1910 decided to rent a building on Oranjeboomstraat in Rotterdam, as a joint workshop-office to move their office out of their home. The fine dust from the finished goods caused many to suffer from emphysema and a larger workplace named "Eendracht maakt macht" was built.

The motto was also used by Helena Blavatsky in her editorials, in response to the internal feuding which often affected the Theosophical Society.

The motto of the fascist British government in the Doctor Who serial Inferno, mainly set in an alternate world, was "Unity is Strength," based on the slogan "Union is Strength" used by Oswald Mosley's contemporary Union Movement.[18] Similarly, Norsefire, the fascist British government in the 2005 film V for Vendetta uses "Strength through Unity" (along with "Unity through Faith") as a prominent slogan.[19]

The Latin form concordia res parvae crescunt is used by various institutions: the Ateneum in Helsinki, Finland; the former mortgage society in Riga, Latvia (now the Foreign Ministry).[20]

See also

  • Skilurus, a legendary Scythian king who taught the same moral by instructing his sons to break a bundle of arrows


  1. ^ Bellum Iugurthinum, Chapter 10. Full quotation: nam concordia parvae res crescunt, discordia maxumae dilabuntur ("concord will make small things flourish, discord will destroy great things"). It also appears in Seneca the Younger's Letters to Lucilius (XCIV, 46).
  2. ^ "Toute puissance est faible, à moins que d'être unie", Jean de La Fontaine, "Le Vieillard et ses enfants" 1668
  3. ^ Pieter de la Court, "Een Boer ende seeven twistende Soonen", Sinryke Fabulen, Amsterdam, 1685, pp.599-608
  4. ^ Edward Garrett, London, 1867, pp.83-4
  5. ^ W.J. Linton, The Baby's Own Aesop, 1887.
  6. ^ Joseph Jacobs, The Fables of Aesop, 1894.
  7. ^ V.S. Vernon Jones, Aesop's Fables: A New Translation, 1912.
  8. ^ Aesop for Children, 1919
  9. ^ Babrius
  10. ^ Hieronymus Osius Fable 53
  11. ^ The Report: Emerging Bulgaria 2007. Oxford Business Group. 2007. p. 8. ISBN 9781902339672. Retrieved 9 November 2011. The motto is Saedinenieto Pravi Silata, meaning "unity makes strength", said to be the last words of Khan Kubrat, the legendary founder of Old Great Bulgaria in 632.
  12. ^ "Société nationale de l'Acadie [Civil Institution]". Reg.gg.ca. 2004-02-25. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  13. ^ "Flags of Haiti 1697-1986". Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  14. ^ "National Arms Of Haiti". Ngw.nl. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  15. ^ "EENDRAGT MAAKT MAGT. Uit J.H. Swildens Vaderlandsch A-B boek voor de Nederlansche jeugd (1781)". DBNL.nl. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  16. ^ The South African 2 Rand Gold Coin, Coininvest
  17. ^ "Societeit Eendragt maakt Magt". Engelfriet.net. 1941-09-04. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  18. ^ http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Y1PplH7uFmA/TvhQ5Uv2gSI/AAAAAAAAAhY/648DLEPr0xw/s1600/MOSLEY+SPEAKS+in+Shoreditch+1962+June+24.jpg
  19. ^ Chocano, Carina (17 March 2006). "V for Vendetta". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  20. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, "The Latvian Foreign Ministry Building through the Arches of Time (1914–2008)" [1]

External links

Media related to Unity makes strength at Wikimedia Commons


Brooklyn () is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County (which is coextensive with the borough of Manhattan).With a land area of 71 square miles (180 km2) and water area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Kings County is New York state's fourth-smallest county by land area and third-smallest by total area, though it is the second-largest among the city's five boroughs. Today, if each borough were ranked as a city, Brooklyn would rank as the third-most populous in the U.S., after Los Angeles and Chicago.

Brooklyn was an independent incorporated city (and previously an authorized village and town within the provisions of the New York State Constitution) until January 1, 1898, when, after a long political campaign and public relations battle during the 1890s, according to the new Municipal Charter of "Greater New York", Brooklyn was consolidated with the other cities, boroughs, and counties to form the modern City of New York, surrounding the Upper New York Bay with five constituent boroughs. The borough continues, however, to maintain a distinct culture. Many Brooklyn neighborhoods are ethnic enclaves. Brooklyn's official motto, displayed on the Borough seal and flag, is Eendraght Maeckt Maght, which translates from early modern Dutch as "Unity makes strength".

In the first decades of the 21st century, Brooklyn has experienced a renaissance as an avant garde destination for hipsters, with concomitant gentrification, dramatic house price increases, and a decrease in housing affordability. Since the 2010s, Brooklyn has evolved into a thriving hub of entrepreneurship and high technology startup firms, and of postmodern art and design.

Coat of arms of Belgium

The coat of arms of Belgium bears a lion or, known as Leo Belgicus (Latin for the Belgian lion), as its charge. This is in accordance with article 193 (originally 125) of the Belgian Constitution: The Belgian nation takes red, yellow and black as colours, and as state coat of arms the Belgian lion with the motto UNITY MAKES STRENGTH. A royal decree of 17 March 1837 determines the achievement to be used in the greater and the lesser version, respectively.

Coat of arms of Bulgaria

The coat of arms of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Герб на България, [ɡɛrp nɐ bɐɫˈɡarijɐ]) consists of a crowned golden lion rampant over a dark red shield; above the shield is the Bulgarian historical crown. The shield is supported by two crowned golden lions rampant; below the shield there is compartment in the shape of oak twigs and white bands with the national motto "Unity makes strength" inscribed on them.

Coat of arms of Haiti

The coat of arms of Haiti was originally introduced in 1807, and has appeared in its current form since 1986.

It shows six draped flags of the country, three on each side, which are located before a palm tree and cannons on a green lawn. On the lawn various items are found, such as a drum, bugles, long guns, and ship anchors. Above the palm tree, there is a Phrygian cap placed as a symbol of freedom. On the lawn between the drum and the ribbon there were supposed to be two pieces of chain with a broken link symbolizing the broken chain of slavery.The ribbon bears the motto: French: L'Union fait la force ("Unity Makes Strength"), which is also the motto of several other countries. This should not be confused with the national motto of Haiti, which according to the Constitution of Haiti is "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."

The oldest use of a symbol for Haiti is known since 1807. The symbol shows several national flags, with two cannons and palm trees. The symbol indicates the battle for independence of the republic. The motto, in French, means 'Strength through unity'. The use of the symbol was interrupted twice; once was during the period of Henri I. The then president Henri Christophe declared himself as the Emperor of Haiti and adopted a Royal Coat of Arms. On the yellow shield of the arm there was a phoenix rising from its flames with five-pointed stars around it, and the motto Je renais de mes cendres (I will rise in my ashes) inscribed on a ribbon outlining the shield. Two royally crowned lions supported both sides of the shield, and the motto Dieu ma cause et mon épée (God, my cause and my sword) was placed on another ribbon at the bottom. In 1814 Henri I slightly changed his Royal Arm, the lions were removed and the motto was changed to a Latin one: Ex cineribus nascitur (Reborn from the ashes). Another change occurred in 1849, when President General Faustin Soulouque crowned himself as Emperor Faustin I. He adopted new Imperial arms, showing two cannons and a French imperial eagle. Two lions were again used as supporters and the whole was placed in a purple mantle, with a motto similar to the one Henri I used: Dieu, ma patrie et mon épée (God, my country and my sword). The emperor was forced to leave the country in 1859, and the old symbol was later restored. Ever since the composition has been the same, but the colors and items have changed somewhat.The coat of arms is on the national flag of Haiti, but not on its civil flag.

Duvalier dynasty

The Duvalier dynasty (French: Dynastie des Duvalier) was an authoritarian family dictatorship in Haiti that lasted almost twenty-nine years, from 1957 until 1986, spanning the rule of the father and son pair François Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier.

Kingdom of Holland

The Kingdom of Holland (Dutch: Koninkrijk Holland, French: Royaume de Hollande) was set up by Napoléon Bonaparte as a puppet kingdom for his third brother, Louis Bonaparte, in order to better control the Netherlands. The name of the leading province, Holland, was now taken for the whole country. In 1807 Prussian East Frisia and Jever were added to the kingdom but in 1809, after a British invasion, Holland had to surrender all territories south of the river Rhine to France.

Also in 1809, Dutch forces fighting on the French side participated in defeating the anti-Bonapartist German rebellion led by Ferdinand von Schill, at the Battle of Stralsund.

King Louis did not perform to Napoleon's expectations — he tried to serve Dutch interests instead of his brother's — and the kingdom was dissolved in 1810 after which the Netherlands were annexed by France until 1813. The Kingdom of Holland covered the area of the present-day Netherlands, with the exception of Limburg, and parts of Zeeland, which were French territory, and with the addition of East Frisia, in present-day Germany.

It was the first formal monarchy in the Netherlands since 1581.

L'Union fait la force (game show)

"L'union fait la force" is also the French-language version of the national mottos of Haiti, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Acadia.L'Union fait la force (literally Unity Makes Strength or Strength Through Unity) is a French language game show airing weekdays on Ici Radio-Canada Télé. It is hosted by Patrice L'Écuyer.

The content of the show are primarily "quizzes" that pertain to words in the French language. The quizzes range from everything from guessing words (in which the vowels are removed) all the way up to Pictionary-style games.

The game consists of two teams, made up of four competitors and supporters behind them. The team represents the organization. The teams compete for points via the abovementioned "quizzes". The team that earns the most points wins a prize of C$1,000.

Tuesday and Thursday editions of the show include a special round, La petite école ("The Little School"), in which contestants answer questions written by elementary and secondary school students, with each question pertaining to a grade level (similar to Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?).

List of Bulgarian inventors and discoverers

This is a List of Bulgarian inventors and discoverers, working locally or overseas. The list comprises people from Bulgaria and also people of predominantly Bulgarian heritage.

List of Haitian flags

This is a list of flags used in Haiti. For more information about the national flag, visit the article Flag of Haiti.

List of flag names

This is an incomplete list of the names and nicknames of flags, organized in alphabetical order by flag name. Very few flags have any truly official names, but some unofficial names are so widely used that they are accepted as a flag's universal name.

List of inscribed flags

This is a list of flags that are inscribed with written text. The flags are divided by language of the text.

Military Decoration (Belgium)

The Military Decoration (Dutch: Militaire Ereteken, French: Décoration Militaire) is a military award of the Kingdom of Belgium. It was established on December 23, 1873 and is awarded to non-commissioned officers and other ranks of the Belgian Armed Forces for loyal and uninterrupted service.

Early in the 20th century, 2 classes for the medal were created.

National symbols of Bulgaria

The national symbols of Bulgaria are the symbols that represent Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people.

Order of the Union

Not to be confused with the Order of the Union of Burma. Order of the Union was also used as the original title for the Order of the Star of Romania.The Order of the Union (Dutch: Orde van de Unie) was a chivalric order established in 1806 by Louis Bonaparte, younger brother of Napoleon I, for the Kingdom of Holland. The order was abolished in 1811 when the French Empire absorbed the Kingdom of Holland. It was succeeded by the Order of the Reunion.


Skilurus or Scylurus was the best known king of Scythia in the 2nd century BC. He was the son of a king and the father of a king, but the relation of his dynasty to the previous one is disputed. His realm included the lower reaches of the Borysthenes and Hypanis, as well as the northern part of Crimea, where his capital, Scythian Neapolis, was situated.

Skilurus ruled over the Tauri and controlled the ancient trade emporium of Pontic Olbia, where he minted coins. In order to gain advantage against Chersonesos, he allied himself with the Sarmatian tribe of Rhoxolani. In response, Chersonesos forged an alliance with Mithridates VI of Pontus. Skilurus died during a war against Mithridates, a decisive conflict for supremacy in the Pontic steppe. Soon after his death, the Scythians were defeated by Mithridates (ca. 108 BC). Either Skilurus or his son and successor Palacus were buried in a mausoleum at Scythian Neapolis; it was used from ca. 100 BC to ca. 100 AD.

Pseudo-Plutarch, in Sayings of Kings and Commanders, reports the following version of the Aesopic fable "The Old Man and his Sons": "Scilurus on his death-bed, being about to leave eighty sons surviving, offered a bundle of darts to each of them, and bade them break them. When all refused, drawing out one by one, he easily broke them; thus teaching them that, if they held together, they would continue strong, but if they fell out and were divided, they would become weak." cf. "Unity makes strength".

The Old Man and his Sons

The Old Man and his Sons, sometimes alternatively titled The Bundle of Sticks, is one of Aesop's Fables and is numbered 53 in the Perry Index. The actions described in it have been attributed to several later rulers and its political moral that there is strength in unity has been consistently commented on over the centuries.

Unionism in Belgium

In the politics of Belgium, Unionism or Union of Opposites (union des oppositions) is a Belgian political movement that existed from the 1820s to 1846. (In the present day, the term 'unionists' is sometimes used in a Belgian context to describe those who oppose the partition of Belgium, such as members of the Belgische Unie – Union Belge party.)

We're Alive, A Story of Survival

We're Alive — A Story of Survival is an audio drama, originally released in podcast form. Its story follows a large group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse in downtown Los Angeles, California.We're Alive premiered May 4, 2009 on iTunes, and concluded its fourth and last season on July 29, 2014. When in production, the We're Alive series released 3 first-run episodes a month, totalling 36 episodes a season. The compiled-season version of the show is produced by Wayland Productions, and is distributed through CD/Digital downloads by Blackstone Audio and also through the Nerdist Podcast Network.

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