Why is a country referred as "She"?
My curious fella once asked - "Baba, why is a country referred to as 'she' or 'her'?" e.g. Her Flag etc.
I didn't have an immediate answer. I somewhat knew why would it be, but I couldn't put it in a logical convincing manner. I realised, I needed to look up some references.
My thinking was on following lines.
The word "mother" instantaneously gives reference to "birth", "care". Since one takes birth in a given land, it is easy to relate it to be "motherland". It invokes the emotions similar to visiting your mother when you come back to your native place. So the feminine reference is largely on an emotional basis rather than any grammatical one.
My research started indicating that although majority of the references are feminine, there's no basis for that in english grammar. English language is gender neutral and has no feminine and masculine distinction between words. However Latin, from which English is originated, it has gender. There also seems a good support for using "it" instead of "she" (read this).
However, I found a good logical explanation here. This is in the context of why Germany is referred as "Fatherland" and India uses "Motherland". You can get good history about both these words and can see the origin of both the words.
I also feel that projecting land as "mother" also helped immensely during the war times. It is kind if easy to invoke "warrior" feelings when one's mother is in danger. The "fathers" were supposed to be strong and capable enough to take care of themselves, but the perception about "mothers" was not the same. So the armies could easily be charged to protect their "motherland" and that is how the country or land started being referred as feminine.
Does anyone have better explanation or information to support or counter this?