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Motherland or Fatherland or Homeland

There are two confusing terms when speaking about one’s country of birth they are motherland and fatherland. Of the two terms in the English language, fatherland is the older and first recorded in the early 1200s. Motherland came around in the mid-1500s.

Those living in some countries have historically personified their country to be feminine. An example of this is Russia referred to as Mother Russia. In the late 1800s, the concept of Bharat Mata or Mother India came about. Both of these are linked to ancient mother goddesses. Most people recognize and know the term Mother Earth.

There are cultures who personify their countries to be masculine. The German national anthem refers to the German fatherland. Other countries that have similar forms are The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries. People of Slavic and the Baltic nations (Estonia) also refer to their countries as fatherland. However, the Baltic nation of Latvia refers to their country in the feminine “Mate Latvia” or Mother Latvia.

Finally, we have the term homeland which mostly refers to the country from which one originated. It is used most often. To me, homeland means the land of my birth which is the U.S. When I speak of Latvia I tell people that it is my parents’ homeland.

The photo is of my parents after leaving their homeland, Latvia during WW II and traveling to Germany. 

  • Question /

    Do you use these terms to refer to your country?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question /

    Do you live in your homeland?

    • Yes
    • No

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  1. I always referred to the USA as my country or my native land. I don’t really want to use the terms “motherland” or “fatherland”. But I especially don’t want to use the term “homeland” because it’s a term I didn’t hear of until the 9/11 terrorists attack. I still like to call America “my country”.

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