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A homeland is the concept of the place where a cultural, national, or racial identity had formed. The definition can also mean simply one's country of birth. When used as a
proper noun A proper noun is a noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (lingu ...
, the Homeland, as well as its equivalents in other languages, often has
ethnic nationalist Ethnic nationalism, also known as ethnonationalism, is a form of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that holds that the nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in t ...
connotations. A homeland may also be referred to as a ''fatherland'', a ''motherland'', or a ''mother country'', depending on the culture and language of the nationality in question.


Motherland refers to a ''mother country'', i.e. the place in which somebody grew up or had lived for a long enough period that somebody has formed their own cultural identity, the place that one's ancestors lived for generations, or the place that somebody regards as home, or a
Metropole The metropole (from the Greek ''metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international conne ...

in contrast to its colonies. People often refer to
Mother Russia The personification of Russia is traditionally feminine and most commonly maternal since medieval times. Most common terms for national personification of Russia are: *Mother Russia (russian: Матушка Россия, Romanization of Russian, ...
as a personification of the Russian nation. The
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

is also considered as a motherland which is derived from the word "''Inang Bayan''" which means "Motherland". Within the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
, many natives in the colonies came to think of
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...

as the mother country of one, large nation.
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

is often personified as
Bharat Mata Bhārat Mātā ( Mother India in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has even ...

Bharat Mata
(Mother India). The French commonly refer to France as "la mère patrie";
Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and ...
countries that were former Spanish colonies commonly referred to
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

as "''la Madre Patria''". Romans and the subjects of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

as the motherland (''patria'' or ''terrarum parens'') of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, in contrast to
Roman provinces The Roman provinces (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to ...
Turks Turk or Turks may refer to: Communities and ethnic groups * Turkish people, or the Turks, a Turkic ethnic group and nation * Turkish citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Turkey * Turkic peoples, a collection of ethnic groups who speak Turkic l ...
refer to
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

as "ana vatan" (lit: mother homeland.)


Fatherland is the nation of one's "fathers", "
forefathers An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessaril ...
" or
ancestor An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessaril ...

s. The word can also mean the country of nationality, the country in which somebody grew up, the country that somebody's ancestors lived in for generations, or the country that somebody regards as home, depending on how the individual uses it. It can be viewed as a
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
concept, in so far as it is evocative of emotions related to family ties and links them to national identity and patriotism. It can be compared to motherland and homeland, and some languages will use more than one of these terms. The national anthem of the Netherlands between 1815 and 1932, "Wien Neêrlands Bloed", makes extensive use of the parallel Dutch word, as does the current Dutch national anthem, Wilhelmus, Het Wilhelmus. The Ancient Greek ''patris'', fatherland, led to ''patrios'', ''of our fathers'' and thence to the Latin ''patriota'' and Old French ''patriote'', meaning compatriot; from these the English word patriotism is derived. The related Ancient Rome, Ancient Roman word ''Patria'' led to similar forms in modern Romance languages. "Fatherland" was first encountered by the vast majority of citizens in countries that did not themselves use it during World War II, when it was featured in news reports associated with Nazi Germany. German government propaganda used its appeal to nationalism when making references to Germany and the state. It was used in ''Mein Kampf'', and on a sign in a German concentration camp, also signed, Adolf Hitler. The term fatherland (''Vaterland'') is used throughout German-speaking Europe, as well as in Dutch. National history is usually called ''vaderlandse geschiedenis'' in Dutch. Another use of the Dutch word is well known from the national anthem, Het Wilhelmus. In German, the word became more prominent in the 19th century. It appears in numerous patriotic songs and poems, such as Hoffmann's song ''Lied der Deutschen'' which became the national anthem in 1922. Because of the use of ''Vaterland'' in Nazi-German war propaganda, the term "Fatherland" in English has become associated with domestic British and American anti-Nazi propaganda during World War II. This is not the case in Germany itself, where the word remains used in the usual patriotic contexts. Terms equating "Fatherland" in other Germanic languages: * Afrikaans: ''Vaderland'' * Danish: ''fædreland'' * Dutch: ''vaderland'' * West Frisian: ''heitelân'' * German: ''Vaterland'' (as in the national anthem Deutschlandlied, Das Lied der Deutschen) * Icelandic: ''föðurland'' * Norwegian: ''fedreland'' * Scots: * Swedish: ''fäderneslandet'' (besides the more common ''fosterlandet'') A corresponding term is often used in Slavic languages, in: * Russian language, Russian ''otechestvo'' (отечество) or ''otchizna'' (отчизна) * Polish language, Polish ''ojczyzna'' in common language literally meaning "fatherland", ''ziemia ojców'' literally meaning "land of fathers", sometimes used in the phrase ''ziemia ojców naszych'' literally meaning "land of our fathers" (besides rarer name ''macierz'' "motherland") * Czech language, Czech ''otčina'' (although the normal Czech term for "homeland" is ''vlast'') * Ukrainian language, Ukrainian ''batʹkivshchyna'' (батьківщина) or ''vitchyzna'' (вітчизна). * Serbian language, Serbian ''otadžbina'' (отаџбина) meaning "fatherland", ''domovina'' (домовина) meaning "homeland", ''dedovina'' (дедовина) meaning "grandfatherland" or "land of grandfathers" * Croatian language, Croatian ''domovina'' (homeland) * Bulgarian language, Bulgarian татковина (''tatkovina'') as well as ''otechestvo'' (Отечество) * Macedonian language, Macedonian татковина (''tatkovina'')

Other groups that refer to their native country as a "fatherland"

Groups with languages that refer to their native country as a "fatherland" include: * the Arabs as '''arḍ al-'abā''' ("land of the fathers") * the Armenians as (''Hayreniq'') * the Albanians as ''Atdhe'' * the Amhara people, Amhara as (''Abat Ager'') * the Austrians as ''Vaterland'' * the Rakhine people, Arakaneses as (အဖရခိုင်ပြည်) * the Azerbaijanis as ''vətən'' (from Arabic) * the Belarusians as (''Baćkaŭščyna'') * the Chechens as "Daimokh" * the Estonians as ''isamaa'' (as in the national anthem Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm) * the Finns as ''isänmaa'' * the French people, French, as ''La patrie'' * the Flemings as ''Vaderland'' * the Georgians as ''Samshoblo'' (სამშობლო - "[land] of parents") or ''Mamuli'' (მამული) * the Ancient Greeks as πατρίς ''patris'' * the Greeks as πατρίδα * the Irish people, Irish as ''Athartha'' * the Kazakhs as ''atameken'' * the Kyrgyz people, Kyrgyz as ''ata meken'' * the Latvians as tēvzeme * the Liechtensteiners as ''Vaterland'' * the Lithuanians as ''tėvynė'' * the Nigerians as ''fatherland'' * the Oromo people, Oromo as ''Biyya Abaa'' * the Pakistanis as ''Vatan'' (madar-e-watan means motherland. Not fatherland) * the Somali people, Somali as ''Dhulka Abaa'', land of the father * the Swiss people, Swiss as ''Vaterland'' (as in the national anthem Swiss Psalm) * the Thai people, Thais as ''pituphum'' (ปิตุภูมิ), the word is adapted from ''Sanskrit'' * the Tibetans as (''pha yul'') * the Welsh people, Welsh as , 'the ancient land of my fathers'

Romance languages

In Romance languages, a common way to refer to one's home country is ''Patria/Pátria/Patrie'' which has the same connotation as ''Fatherland'', that is, the nation of our parents/fathers (From the Latin, Pater, father). As ''patria'' has feminine gender, it is usually used in expressions related to one's mother, as in Italian ''la Madrepatria'', Spanish ''la Madre Patria'' or Portuguese ''a Pátria Mãe'' (Mother Fatherland). Examples include: * the Esperantists as ''patrio'', ''patrolando'' or ''patrujo'' * Aragonese language, Aragonese, Asturian language, Asturian, Franco-Provençal language, Franco-Provençal, Galician language, Galician, Italian language, Italian, Spanish language, Spanish (in its many dialects): ''Patria'' * Catalan language, Catalan: ''Pàtria'' * Occitan language, Occitans: ''Patrìo'' * French language, French: ''Patrie'' * Romanian language, Romanian: ''Patrie'' * Portuguese language, Portuguese: ''Pátria''

Multiple references to parental forms

* the Armenians, as ''Hayrenik'' (Հայրենիք), home. The national anthem Mer Hayrenik translates as ''Our Fatherland'' *the Azerbaijanis as ''Ana vətən'' (lit. mother homeland) or ''Ata ocağı'' (lit. father's hearth) * the Bosniaks as ''Otadžbina'' (Отаџбина), although ''Domovina'' (Домовина) is sometimes used colloquially meaning ''homeland'' * the China, Chinese as ''zǔguó'' (祖国 or 祖國 (traditional chinese), "land of ancestors"), ''zǔguómǔqīn'' (祖国母亲 or 祖國母親, "ancestral land, the mother") is frequently used. * the Czechs as ''vlast'', ''power'' or (rarely) ''otčina'', fatherland * the Hungarians as ''szülőföld'' (literally: "bearing land" or "parental land") * the Indian people, Indians as मातृभूमि literally meaning "motherland" * the Jews as ''Eretz Ha'Patriarchs (Bible), Avot'' ( he, ארץ האבות) - the literal translation is "Land of the Forefathers" * the Kurds as ''warê bav û kalan'' meaning "land of the fathers and the grandfathers" * the Japanese people, Japanese as ''sokoku'' (祖国, "land of ancestors") * the Koreans as ''joguk'' (조국, Hanja: 祖國, "land of ancestors") * French language, French speakers: ''Patrie'', although they also use ''la mère patrie'', which includes the idea of motherland * the Latvians as ''tēvija'' or ''tēvzeme'' (although ''dzimtene'' – roughly translated as "place that somebody grew up" – is more neutral and used more commonly nowadays) * the Bamar people, Burmese as အမိမြေ (ami-myay) literally meaning "motherland" * the Persian people, Persians as ''Sarzamin e Pedari (Fatherland), Sarzamin e Mādari (Motherland) or Mihan (Home)'' * the Poles as ''ojczyzna'' (''ojczyzna'' is derived from ''ojciec'', Polish for father, but ''ojczyzna'' itself and ''Polska'' are Grammatical gender, feminine, so it can also be translated as motherland), also an archaism ''macierz'' "mother" is rarely used * the Russians, as ''Otechestvo'' (отечество) or ''Otchizna'' (отчизна), both words derived from ''отец'', Russian for father. ''Otechestvo'' is Grammatical gender, neuter, ''otchizna'' is Grammatical gender, feminine. * the Slovenes as ''očetnjava'', although ''domovina'' (homeland) is more common. * the Swedish people, Swedes as ''fäderneslandet'', although ''fosterlandet'' is more common (meaning the land that fostered/raised a person) * the Vietnamese people, Vietnamese as ''Tổ quốc'' (Chữ Nôm: 祖國, "land of ancestors")

Uses by country

* The Soviet Union created homelands for some minorities in the 1920s, including the Volga German ASSR and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. In the case of the Volga German ASSR, these homelands were later abolished and their inhabitants deported to either Siberia or the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Kazakh SSR. * In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security was created soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks, 11 September 2001, terrorist attacks, as a means to centralize response to various imminent threat, threats. In a June 2002 column, Republican Party (United States), Republican consultant and speechwriter Peggy Noonan expressed the hope that the George W. Bush administration, Bush administration would change the name of the department, writing that, "The name Homeland Security grates on a lot of people, understandably. ''Homeland'' isn't really an American word, it's not something we used to say or say now". * In the History of South Africa in the Apartheid Era, apartheid era in South Africa, the concept was given a different meaning. The white government had designated approximately 25% of its non-desert territory for black tribal settlement. Whites and other non-blacks were restricted from owning land or settling in those areas. After 1948 they were gradually granted an increasing level of "home-rule". From 1976 several of these regions were granted independence. Four of them were declared independent nations by South Africa, but were unrecognized as independent countries by any other nation besides each other and South Africa. The territories set aside for the African inhabitants were also known as bantustans. * In Australia, the term refers to relatively small Aboriginal settlements (referred to also as "outstations") where people with close kinship ties share lands significant to them for cultural reasons. Many such homelands are found across Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland. The homeland movement gained momentum in the 1970 and 1980s. Not all homelands are permanently occupied owing to seasonal or cultural reasons. Much of their funding and support have been withdrawn since the 2000s. * In Turkish language, Turkish, the concept of "homeland", especially in the patriotic sense, is "''ana vatan''" (lit. mother homeland), while "''baba ocağı''" (lit. father's hearth) is used to refer to one's childhood home. (Note: The Turkish word "''ocak''" has the double meaning of ''january'' and ''fireplace'', like the Spanish "''hogar''", which can mean "home" or "hearth".)

See also

* Diaspora politics * Homeland security * Mother tongue * Separatism * Secession


Further reading

''Landscape and Memory''
by Simon Schama (Random House, 1995)

External links

Nationalism and Ethnicity – A Theoretical Overview
{{Authority control Nationalism Cultural geography Ethnicity in politics