MySQL default character set and collation is set to latin1 & latin1_swedish_ci, however most application these days requiring UTF-8, you can always specifying the character set and collation manually using CREATE DATABASE statement

CREATE DATABASE dbname CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;

You can also specify character settings at server startup –character-set-server and –collation-server options, or include these lines in configuration file.