The Jewish homeland is a popular topic of contention these days. We claim to have ancestral rights to the land. It was promised to our forefathers, and we conquered it through miracle after miracle. But before we conquered it, it was called the land of Canaan. Canaan wasn’t just any person. He was cursed by his grandfather Noach (9:25) after committing a despicable act. Why was the land intended for the chosen people, first inhabited by a cursed nation?
The Netziv explains that the name Canaan comes from the word hachnaa meaning subjugation. He continues and explains that the curse of Canaan was that their natural tendencies were favorable for the life of slavery. The chosen people too, were so chosen because their natural tendencies (inherited from Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov) lent them to be servants of Hashem. In reality, Eretz Yisroel always was home to a nation of servants; initially servants to men, and then servants to Hashem, but always servants.