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, the Homeland, as well as its equivalents in other languages, often has ethnic nationalist 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 his or her own cultural identity, the place that one's ancestors lived for generations, or the place that somebody regards as home, or a Metropole in contrast to its colonies. People often refer to Mother Russia as a personification of the Russian nation. The Philippines is also considered as a motherland which is derived from the word "''Inang Bayan''" which means “Motherland”. Within the British Empire, many natives in the colonies came to think of Britain as the mother country of one, large nation. India is often personified as Bharat Mata (Mother India). The French commonly refer to France as "la mère patrie"; Hispanic countries that were former Spanish colonies commonly referred to Spain as "''la Madre Patria''". Romans and the subjects of Rome saw Italy as the motherland (''patria'' or ''terrarum parens'') of the Roman Empire, in contrast to Roman provinces.


Fatherland is the nation of one's "fathers", "forefathers" or ancestors. 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 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, 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 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 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 ''otechestvo'' (отечество) or ''otchizna'' (отчизна) * 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 ''otčina'' (although the normal Czech term for "homeland" is ''vlast'') * Ukrainian ''batʹkivshchyna'' (батьківщина) or ''vitchyzna'' (вітчизна). * Serbian ''otadžbina'' (отаџбина) meaning "fatherland", ''domovina'' (домовина) meaning "homeland", ''dedovina'' (дедовина) meaning "grandfatherland" or "land of grandfathers" * Croatian ''domovina'' (homeland) * Bulgarian татковина (''tatkovina'') as well as ''otechestvo'' (Отечество) * 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 أرض الآباء '''arḍ al-'abā''' ("land of the fathers") * the Armenians as 'Հայրենիք' (Hayreniq) * the Albanians as ''Atdhe'' * the Amhara as ''አባት አገር'' (Abat Ager) * the Austrians as ''Vaterland'' * the Arakaneses as (အဖရခိုင်ပြည်) * the Azerbaijanis as ''vətən'' (from Arabic) * the Belarusians as ''Baćkaŭščyna'' (Бацькаўшчына) * the Chechens as "Daimokh" * the Estonians as ''isamaa'' (as in the national anthem Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm) * the Finns as ''isänmaa'' * the France, as ''La patrie'' * the Flemings as ''Vaderland'' * the Georgians as ''Samshoblo'' (სამშობლო - "andof parents") or ''Mamuli'' (მამული) * the Ancient Greeks as πατρίς ''patris'' * the Greeks as πατρίδα * the Iranians as ''mīhan'' (میهن) or ''vatan'' (وطن - Arabic loanword) * the Irish as ''Athartha'' * the Kazakhs as ''atameken'' * the Latvians as tēvzeme * the Liechtensteiners as ''Vaterland'' * the Lithuanians as ''tėvynė'' * the Nigerians as ''fatherland'' * the Oromo as ''Biyya Abaa'' * the Pakistanis as ''Vatan'' (madar-e-watan means motherland. Not fatherland) * the Somali as ''Dhulka Abaa'', land of the father * the Swiss as ''Vaterland'' (as in the national anthem Swiss Psalm) * the Thais as ''pituphum'' (ปิตุภูมิ), the word is adapted from ''Sanskrit'' * the Tibetans as ''pha yul'' (ཕ་ཡུལ་) * the Welsh as '' the land of my fathers '' (Y Wlad Fy Nhadau)

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, Asturian, Franco-Provençal, Galician, Italian, Spanish: ''Patria'' * Catalan: ''Pàtria'' * Occitans: ''Patrìo'' * French: ''Patrie'' * Romanian: ''Patrie'' * 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 Chinese as ''zǔguó'' (祖国or祖國(traditional chinese), "land of ancestors") * the Czechs as ''vlast'', ''power'' or (rarely) ''otčina'', fatherland * the Hungarians as ''szülőföld'' (literally: "bearing land" or "parental land") * the Indians as मातृभूमि literally meaning "motherland" * the Jews as ''Eretz Ha'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 as ''sokoku'' (祖国, "land of ancestors") * the Koreans as ''joguk'' (조국, Hanja: 祖國, "land of ancestors") * 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 Burmese as အမိမြေ (ami-myay) literally meaning "motherland" * the Persians as ''Sarzamineh Pedari (Fatherland), Sarzamineh Madari (Motherland) or Meehan'' * the Poles as ''ojczyzna'' (''ojczyzna'' is derived from ''ojciec'', Polish for father, but ''ojczyzna'' itself and ''Polska'' are 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 neuter, ''otchizna'' is feminine. * the Slovenes as ''očetnjava'', although ''domovina'' (homeland) is more common. * the Swedes as ''fäderneslandet'', although ''fosterlandet'' is more common (meaning the land that fostered/raised a person) * the 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 SSR. In the case of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast this was not necessary, since it had been created from the start at the far-Eastern end of Siberia, where no Jew had ever lived. * In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security was created soon after the 11 September 2001, terrorist attacks, as a means to centralize response to various threats. In a June 2002 column, Republican consultant and speechwriter Peggy Noonan expressed the hope that the 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 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, 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
{{Indigenous rights footer Category:Nationalism Category:Cultural geography Category:Ethnicity in politics