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Mother Country

  • By: Emily R. Cheney
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Mother country is the term that colonists or immigrants have used to refer to the geographical place where they were born, or that citizens use to refer to the geographical place from which their ancestors originated. More specifically, it is held that in 1617 John Robinson and William Brewster were the first to use the term as they wrote to Sir Edwyn Sandys about their plans to immigrate to America on the Mayflower: “We are well weaned from ye delicate milke of our mother countrie, and endured to ye difficulties of a strange and hard land, which yet in a great parte we have by patience overcome.”

They had possibly read the term in the works of Arthur Golding, a Puritan, who had translated Ovid's Metamorphosis: ...

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