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In this paper we derive the Forchheimer law via the theory of homogenization. In particular, we study the nonlinear correction to Darcy's law due to inertial effects on the flow of a Newtonian fluid in rigid porous media. A general formula for this correction term is derived directly from the Navier–Stokes equation via homogenization. Unlike other studies based on the same approach that concluded for the nonlinear correction to be cubic in velocity for isotropic media, the present work shows that the nonlinear correction is quadratic. An example is constructed to illustrate our theory. In this example, the analytic solution to the Navier–Stokes equation is obtained and is utilized to show the validity of the quadratic correction. Both incompressible and compressible fluids are considered.