10.1.3.3 Table Character Set and Collation

Every table has a table character set and a table collation. The CREATE TABLE and ALTER TABLE statements have optional clauses for specifying the table character set and collation:

CREATE TABLE tbl_name (column_list)
    [[DEFAULT] CHARACTER SET charset_name]
    [COLLATE collation_name]]

ALTER TABLE tbl_name
    [[DEFAULT] CHARACTER SET charset_name]
    [COLLATE collation_name]

Example:

CREATE TABLE t1 ( ... )
CHARACTER SET latin1 COLLATE latin1_danish_ci;

MySQL chooses the table character set and collation in the following manner:

The table character set and collation are used as default values for column definitions if the column character set and collation are not specified in individual column definitions. The table character set and collation are MySQL extensions; there are no such things in standard SQL.