The hinterland is the land or district behind the borders of a coast or river. Specifically, by the "doctrine of the hinterland", the word is applied to the inland region lying behind a port, claimed by the state that owns the coast. The area from which products are delivered to a port for shipping elsewhere is that port's hinterland. Contrast foreland, the places to which a port ships.

Etymology and usage

The word has been borrowed from German, where it literally means "the land behind" (a city, a port or similar). In English, the term was first used in 1888 by George Chisholm in his work "Handbook of Commercial Geography" [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9040530/hinterland Definition of the term "hinterland" on Encyclopædia Britannica] ] . In German this word also describes the part of a country where only few people live and where the infrastructure is underdeveloped. The direct analogy in English is "back country". See also The Bush of Alaskan and Australian usage.

In shipping usage, a port's hinterland is the area that it serves, both for imports and for exports. The size of a hinterland can depend on geography, but also on the ease, speed, and cost of transportation between the port and the hinterland.

By analogy, it is the area surrounding a service from which customers are attracted, also called the market area.

It was applied also to the surrounding areas of former European colonies in Africa, which, although not part of the colony itself, were influenced by the colony.

A further sense in which the term is commonly applied is in talking about an individual's depth and breadth of knowledge, specifically on cultural or scholastic matters. For instance, one could say 'X has a vast hinterland'.


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  • Hinterland — Hinterland …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • hinterland — [ intɛrlɑ̃d ] n. m. • 1894; mot all., de hinter « derrière » et Land « pays » ♦ Dr., géogr. Arrière pays. L hinterland d un grand port. ● hinterland nom masculin (allemand Hinterland, arrière pays) Région desservie par un port, une voie navigable …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hinterland — ist ein Begriff aus der Humangeographie in verschiedenen Kontexten. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Humangeographie 2 Politische Geographie 3 Verkehrsgeographie 4 Militärgeographie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hinterland — HÍNTERLAND, hinterlanduri, s.n. 1. Regiune relativ rigidă din punct de vedere tectonic, situată în spatele unui sistem muntos cutat. 2. Teritoriu care gravitează spre un centru economic. 3. Regiune învecinată cu un teritoriu ocupat, folosită ca… …   Dicționar Român

  • hinterland — hin‧ter‧land [ˈhɪntəlænd ǁ ər ] noun [singular] ECONOMICS the area around a particular place, especially a large city, that is economically important for that place: • Shanghai, and the vast hinterland of the Yangtze River delta * * * hinterland… …   Financial and business terms

  • hinterland — hin ter*land , n. [G.; hinter behind + land land.] a remote and undeveloped area; originally, the land or region lying behind the coast district. The term is used esp. with reference to the so called {doctrine of the hinterland}, sometimes… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hinterland — / hintəlant/, it. / interland/ (o, all ital., hinterland) s. neutro ted. [comp. di hinter dietro e Land terra ], usato in ital. al masch. (geogr.) [territorio che circonda una grande città] ▶◀ entroterra. ⇑ banlieue, cintura, dintorni, periferia …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • hinterland — 1890, from Ger. Hinterland, from hinter behind + Land land …   Etymology dictionary

  • hinterland — hìnterland m DEFINICIJA reg. pov. geogr. područje koje čini geografsku ili ekonomsku cjelinu; zaleđe ETIMOLOGIJA njem. Hinterland …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Hinterland — Hinterland, Landstrich des nordwestlichsten Theils der großherzoglich hessischen Provinz Oberhessen, welcher, im Durchschnitt etwa zwei Meilen breit u. acht Meilen lang, von Heuchelheim bei Gießen bis zur nördlichen Grenze bei Bromskirchen sich… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Hinterland [1] — Hinterland (franz. Pays d amont) bezeichnet das stromaufwärts gelegene Land, das häufig von dem Besitzer des Mündungsgebietes eines Stromes in Anspruch genommen wird; im modernen Kolonialrecht ist H. überhaupt das Land, dessen natürliche Handels… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon