Creation of Israel

Southwest Asia: The Eastern Mediterranean

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE On September 28, 2000, riots broke out in the city of Jerusalem. The cause was a visit by an Israeli political leader to a Jewish holy place at a location on the Temple Mount. Muslims also have a holy place on the Temple Mount. They viewed the visit by the Israeli leader […]

Arabian Peninsula History

Southwest Asia: The Arabian Peninsula

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Two million people pour into the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca for a few weeks each year. They come from all over the world. In the past, the trip to Mecca involved a difficult journey across oceans and over miles of desert. Today, pilgrims arrive on airplanes. These people are fulfilling the […]

Oil Pipelines in Southwest Asia

Southwest Asia: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Icebergs for fresh water? As you have seen, fresh water is in short supply in Southwest Asia. In 1977, a Saudi prince, Muhammad ibn Faisal, formed a company to investigate the possibility of towing icebergs from Antarctica to the port of Jidda on the Red Sea. The icebergs would then be melted […]

Climates of Southwest Asia

Southwest Asia: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the spring of 1999, three Canadian explorers retraced the steps of Sir Wilfred Thesiger’s 1946 epic journey across the Rub al-Khali on the Arabian Peninsula. It is one of the most extreme deserts in the world. Like Sir Wilfred, they crossed using camels, not four-wheel drive vehicles. But unlike Sir Wilfred, […]

Tigris-Euphrates River Valley Today

Southwest Asia: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Artillery shells and sniper fire rained down on the lands below a small plateau in southwestern Syria. Airplanes bombed the military positions on the plateau itself. Families in nearby villages huddled in their homes, hoping for the shelling to stop. Israeli Army engineers struggled to build a road to enable tanks to […]

AIDS in Africa

Africa: Health Care

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE On June 1, 2001, Nkosi Johnson died from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). He was the longest living South African child born with HIV. In February, he celebrated his 12th birthday—but weighed just 27 pounds. Living with a foster mother, the child had become […]

“One-Commodity” Countries

Africa: Economic Development

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Mauwa Funidi wonders about the future of her country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as she looks around the rundown university library where she works. She has not been paid her salary of 12 dollars per month in many months. Classes at the university have been suspended because of a lack […]

Ethnic Groups of Southern Africa

Southern Africa

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In April 2000 in Zimbabwe, armed men attacked the farmhouse of a white farmer whose family has lived in Zimbabwe for generations. A political crisis that goes back to Britain’s colonial rule caught white farmers in a violent crossfire. British colonial rule ended in 1980, but more than 4,000 white farmers in […]

Bantu Migrations, 2000 B.C.–A.D. 1000

Central Africa

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE A Congo riverboat ride from Kinshasa to Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a journey all visitors should take. The riverboat is essentially a floating village. Each barge shakes with music and dancing. In addition, the Congolese fill the riverboat with market stalls stocked with all types of food. […]

Empires of West Africa, 1050–1500

West Africa

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE A visit to Gorée Island, off the coast of Senegal, can be a moving experience. This island served as one of the busiest points for exporting slaves during the slave trade. From the mid-1500s to the mid-1800s, Europeans transported about 20 million Africans through Gorée Island. The island has a slave house, […]

Expansion of Islam, 750–1500

North Africa

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE According to legend, around 814 B.C. a Phoenician queen founded Carthage, one of the great cities of ancient Africa. She located it on a peninsula on the Gulf of Tunis. The location was ideal. The Lake of Tunis protected the rear of the peninsula from invasion. In addition, because Carthage was on […]

East African Trade, A.D. 1000

East Africa

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE East Africa is called the “cradle of humanity” because of the large number of prehistoric human remains found in the region. In 1931, Louis Leakey, an English archaeologist, began doing research in Olduvai Gorge, located in northern Tanzania. Olduvai Gorge has contained the most continuous known record of humanity. The gorge has […]

Africa: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Akierou Awe lives in a mud-brick house in Nigeria’s Niger delta, a region that contains most of Nigeria’s oil. On the morning of July 10, 2000, Awe’s four sons had been collecting fuel from a leaking pipeline to help scrape out a living in this poverty-stricken region. They hoped to resell the […]

Climates of Africa

Africa: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1352, 48-year-old Ibn Battuta, a great traveler from Morocco, set out for the empire of Mali in West Africa. His most challenging obstacle was the Sahara, a desert nearly the same size as the continental United States. Battuta and his caravan set out in February. They traveled only in early morning […]

Basins of Africa

Africa: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Angola’s rebel leader Jonas Savimbi kept his forces fighting by bargaining with arms dealers and haggling with international diamond traders. Diamonds—one of the world’s most precious and valuable gems—have enriched some of Africa’s countries, including Botswana and South Africa. However, in other diamond-rich countries such as Angola, people use diamonds to fund […]

Selected Nuclear Reactors in Former Soviet Republics

The Soviet Union’s Nuclear Legacy

As you have read, the breakup of the Soviet Union sparked regional conflicts and economic hardship. Equally serious were the problems caused by the Soviet Union’s nuclear programs. These included nuclear warheads atop ballistic missiles, poorly constructed and maintained nuclear power stations, and decaying nuclear waste dumps. All threatened the region’s people and environment. An […]

Federal Districts of Russia

Russia and the Republics: The Struggle for Economic Reform

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Russians have faced many hardships since the breakup of the Soviet Union. But few have been as difficult to overcome as the collapse of the Soviet command economy. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the region’s people began to participate in a capitalist system. One Russian bitterly summed up the sudden […]

The Caucasus

Russia and the Republics: Regional Conflict

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The powerful central government of the Soviet Union once maintained tight control over Russia and the Republics. But when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, central authority weakened. Crime, conflict, and other signs of instability increased. As one former Soviet citizen put it,“We’re floating in a zone of half-lawlessness, half-law. . . […]

The Silk Road

Russia and the Republics: Central Asia

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Central Asia has inspired the dreams of many adventurers—and presented them with many dangers. In the 19th century, agents of the mighty British Empire found that even they were not safe there. In 1842, two British officers were captured in the Central Asian city of Bukhoro. For months, the city’s ruler kept […]

Languages Around the Caucasus

Russia and the Republics: Transcaucasia

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Throughout history, human beings have migrated through Transcaucasia, which today consists of the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Recent discoveries have shown just how early such migrations began. In the summer of 1999, a team of scientists discovered two 1.7-million-year-old human skulls in the Transcaucasian republic of Georgia. They were the […]

Russian and Soviet Expansion

Russia and the Western Republics

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Early in the 1500s, the Russian leader Ivan the Great put an end to two centuries of foreign rule in his homeland. Russia then entered a period of explosive growth. From its center in Moscow, Russia expanded at a rate of about 55 square miles a day for the next four centuries. […]

Rail Routes Across Russia

Russia and the Republics: Human-Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Since the 1960s, irrigation policies in Central Asia have had a dramatic impact on the Aral Sea. A recent visitor to an old Aral fishing village described the change: “I stood on what had once been a seaside bluff . . . but I could see no water. The sea was twenty-five […]

Vegetation Regions of Russia and the Republics

Russia and the Republics: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Large areas of Russia and the Republics are extremely cold during much of the year. For example, the Siberian town of Oymyakon has reportedly had temperatures as low as –95°F. At such temperatures, the cold can crack steel and cause tires to explode. When you exhale, your breath freezes into crystals that […]

Transcaucasia and Central Asia

Russia and the Republics: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Russia and the Republics occupy a tremendous expanse of territory—approximately three times the land area of the United States. The region sprawls across the continents of both Europe and Asia and crosses 11 time zones. When laborers in the western city of Kaliningrad are leaving their jobs after a day’s work, herders […]

The European Union

Europe’s long history of conflict reached a crisis in World War II (1939-1945). In the wake of that destructive war, two goals emerged: to rebuild the nations’ shattered economies and to prevent new conflict. Some people believed the best way to achieve both goals was to unify Europe. As you read the Case Study, consider […]

Cleaning Up Europe

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In January 2000, a gold mine in Romania released cyanide into local streams. The cyanide, a deadly poison, flowed into the Tisza River in Hungary. Before the accident, the river held some of Europe’s rarest fish. The poison killed an estimated 80 percent of the fish in the Tisza. Balazs Meszaros, whose […]

Conflict in the Balkans, 1990–2000

Turmoil in the Balkans

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic tried to increase Serbia’s power over the rest of Yugoslavia. As a result, in 1991 and 1992, four republics left Yugoslavia. Serbia went to war against them but lost. In 1999, an international court accused Milosˇevi´c (who was the Yugoslav president by then) and Serbian troops of war […]

Communist and Non-Communist Europe, 1949 and 2000

Eastern Europe

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Eastern Europe has many plains that allow invaders to move from east to west and vice versa. In World War II, Germany invaded the Communist Soviet Union, killing millions. After the war, the Soviet Union decided to protect itself from invasion by setting up a political barrier. So it established Communist governments […]

Advances in Representative Government

Northern Europe

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In World War II, Germany perfected a new military tactic, the blitzkrieg. Using a massive force of dive-bombers, tanks, and artillery, the German army rapidly surprised, attacked, and defeated a foe before it could mount a defense. Germany used blitzkriegs to invade Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. But Germany couldn’t launch […]

Major Industries of France and Germany

Western Europe

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Today, the French call Émile Durkheim the father of French sociology (the study of society). But he wasn’t always honored. During World War I, some French patriots considered him a disloyal foreigner. Why? Perhaps it was because he had a German last name and came from Lorraine, a region that had switched […]

Cultural Legacy of the Roman Empire

Mediterranean Europe

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Have you ever heard the saying, “All roads lead to Rome”? The Mediterranean region was home to the two great civilizations of ancient Europe—ancient Greece and ancient Rome. The city of Rome was founded in about 753 B.C., and Rome conquered a huge empire by about A.D. 100. To aid communication and […]

Making a Polder

Europe: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE “1800 DIE IN WIND-WHIPPED FLOOD WATERS!” February 1, 1953, witnessed a disaster in the Netherlands. Winds estimated at 110 to 115 miles per hour piled up gigantic waves that ripped through dikes—earthen banks—holding back the North Sea. When the storm was over, 4.5 percent of the Netherlands was flooded, and thousands of […]

Climographs: Fargo and Paris

Europe: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Because of Greece’s mild climate, the ancient Greeks spent much time outdoors. Greek men liked to talk with their friends in the marketplace. They also enjoyed sports. Large crowds gathered for athletic contests that were held during religious festivals. The most important of these was a footrace held every four years in […]

Major European Peninsulas

Europe: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Elephants in Europe? In 218 B.C., Hannibal, a general from Carthage in North Africa, attacked the Roman Empire, which was at war with Carthage. He moved 38 war elephants and an estimated 60,000 troops across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain. To reach Italy, his armies had to cross the Pyrenees Mountains, the […]

Latin America: The Income Gap

A long the oceanfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, gleaming office buildings and hotels share the boulevards with trendy restaurants and exclusive shops. Behind all this glitter and glamour, however, is another world, hidden from sight—the favelas, or slums, of Rio. Here, the poor live among swamps and garbage dumps, and on barren hillsides. These […]

Latin America: Giving Citizens a Voice

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE From the late 1970s through the early 1980s, the Argentine military waged a campaign of terror against those who supported political reform. As many as 30,000 people mysteriously disappeared. People accused of being terrorists and revolutionaries were kidnapped and questioned. Some were tortured, and then killed or “disappeared”— their bodies were never […]

Major Rain Forests of Latin America

Latin America: Rain Forest Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1997, biologist Marc van Roosmalen made an incredible discovery. An Amazonian Indian had brought the biologist a tiny monkey huddled inside a tin can. Van Roosmalen realized that the monkey was a kind of pygmy marmoset never before seen by scientists. Over the next three years, Van Roosmalen and his colleagues […]

Treaty of Tordesillas

Latin America: Brazil

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1807, Napoleon’s armies invaded Portugal. As the French army approached the capital of Lisbon, the Portuguese royal family boarded ships to escape capture. They sailed to Brazil, Portugal’s largest colony, taking their court and royal treasury with them. For the next 14 years, Brazil was the heart of the Portuguese empire. […]

The Mercosur Trade Group

Spanish-Speaking South America

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the early 1500s, the Inca empire was at the height of its glory. Then Spanish soldiers under the command of Francisco Pizarro invaded the South American empire. The Spanish attacked the Inca army, killed many of its warriors, and took the emperor prisoner. The Spaniards held him for ransom. Although the […]

Native Peoples, 1492

Latin America: Central America and the Caribbean

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Central America forms an isthmus, a land bridge between North and South America. It also divides two oceans. This geographic fact has made the region attractive to the United States and other major world powers and has helped to keep the area fragmented and politically unstable. For example, in the early 20th […]

Population Distribution in Mexican States

Latin America: Mexico

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Quetzalcoatl was a god worshiped by the Toltec and Aztec peoples of Mexico and Central America. According to Native American legend, Quetzalcoatl traveled east across the sea. It was said that he would return some day, bringing peace. One day, messengers brought Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, news that strangers had arrived from […]

Latin America: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE High in the Andes Mountains, in what is present-day Peru, the ancient Inca needed fields in which to grow crops. By the 1200s, in the highlands around their capital of Cuzco and elsewhere, the Inca carved terraces out of the steep sides of the Andes Mountains. They built irrigation channels to bring […]

Vegetation of Latin America

Latin America: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the 17th century, missionaries and Indians in the area of present-day Paraguay were at times attacked by jaguars, the great cats of Latin America. In 1637, packs of jaguars roamed the countryside, attacking humans. The Indians built barricades for protection from the savage cats. But the jaguars remained a source of […]

Landforms and Rivers of Latin America

Latin America: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Simón Bolívar was a general who led the South American wars of independence against Spain. In August 1819, Bolívar led approximately 2,500 soldiers on a daring march from Venezuela over the mountains into present-day Colombia. Coming from this direction, over the massive barrier of the Andes Mountains, Bolívar and his troops were […]

U.S. Population by Race and Ethnicity

CASE STUDY. Diverse Societies Face Change

As you read earlier in this unit, the first immigrants to North America are believed to have come from Asia. They are thought to have crossed a land bridge that existed in what is now the Bering Strait thousands of years ago. Since that time, millions of people from countries all over the world have […]

Growth of U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Urban Sprawl

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Richard Baron is a real estate developer who tried to address the related problems of urban sprawl and inadequate low-income housing. In 1996, he began building Murphy Park, an affordable and attractive housing complex in mid-town St. Louis, Missouri. The development has more than 400 units and contains both apartments and townhouses. […]

Major Terrorist Attacks Against Americans, 1979-2001

The Fight Against Terrorism

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE For Karl Co, a 15-year-old sophomore at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, September 11, 2001, began as “such a normal day.” From his classroom, Karl had a clear view of the World Trade Center, just four blocks away. On a normal day, about 50,000 people worked in and 70,000 visited […]

Comparing the Subregions of Canada

Subregions of Canada

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The Grand Banks, a shallow section of the North Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland, make up one of the earth’s richest fishing grounds. In fact, it was the abundance of fish—including cod, haddock, herring, and mackerel—that first attracted Europeans to the region centuries ago. Today, thousands of hardy Canadians make their […]

Agriculture and Industry of Canada

Economy and Culture of Canada

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The fur trade was a major economic activity in early Canada. It began in the 16th century, when Canada’s Native American peoples, now known as the First Nations, started trading with European fishermen along the northern Atlantic coast. A brisk trade soon developed, and trappers and traders poured into Canada. They came […]

Territorial Growth of Canada

History and Government of Canada

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Around A.D. 980, a Viking named Erik the Red sailed to Greenland. Soon after, about 3,000 Vikings colonized the region. About A.D. 1000, Erik’s son Leif led an expedition that landed off the Atlantic coast of North America on what is now Newfoundland. Leif called the area Vinland, after the wild grapes […]

Population Increase by State, 1990–2000

Subregions of the United States

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE America’s back roads were the beat of reporter and author Charles Kuralt for more than 20 years. Beginning in the 1960s, he traveled by van through every region of the country. In his “On the Road” series for television, he reported on the uniqueness of the lives of ordinary Americans. He said […]

Agriculture and Industry of the United States

Economy and Culture of the United States

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The average American worker in 1790 was a self-employed farmer. The farmer spent each work day, sunrise to sunset, in backbreaking labor in the field. Most of the crops and livestock raised were consumed by the farm family. In the 1890s, the average American worker labored in a manufacturing or service industry, […]

History and Government of the United States

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Women were North America’s first farmers. In all early cultures except the hunter-gatherer culture of the Southwest, women cultivated the land. They discovered which wild plants could be used as food for the family. They planted the seeds, tended the garden, harvested the crops, and prepared food for meals. Corn, beans, and […]

The St. Lawrence Seaway

The United States and Canada: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The sun-baked American Southwest was a harsh environment for its early inhabitants, the ancestors of today’s Pueblo peoples. But these early settlers made good use of available resources. From the land, they took clay and stone building materials. They built multi-room, apartment-like dwellings in cliffs. This gave protection against daytime heat, nighttime […]

Vegetation

The United States and Canada: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE A little gold and bitter cold—that is what thousands of prospectors found in Alaska and the Yukon Territory during the Klondike gold rushes of the 1890s. Most of these fortune hunters were unprepared for the harsh climate and inhospitable land of the far north. Winters were long and cold, the ground frozen. […]

Natural Resources of the U.S. and Canada

The United States and Canada: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The beauty and abundance of the land was a source of wonder to early explorers of North America. One who traveled the Atlantic coast referred to the “amazing extent of uncultivated land, covered with forests, and intermixed with vast lakes and marshes.” A 17th–century French expedition described “a beautiful river, large, broad, […]

Economic Geography

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE One of the most valuable of natural resources—petroleum—wasn’t always used as a source of energy. Until the world began to run on gasoline-powered machinery, oil was used for a variety of purposes. Native Americans, for instance, used “rock oil” for medicinal purposes. Egyptians used oil as a dressing for wounds. Ancient Persians […]

Urban Area Models

Urban Geography

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Around 4500 B.C. in Sumer, an ancient country in what today is Iraq, the city of Ur was settled. Eventually it grew to be home to as many as 34,000 people. Archaeologists believe that it was one of the first cities in the world. Within the city walls, a broad avenue led […]

Political Geography of the Korean Peninsula

Political Geography

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Abdoulaye Sowe, a Senegalese farmer, chose a spot to build his new house near the Senegalese border guard’s shack. He believed the guard shack was in Senegal. But long-time residents of the area told him that, before the shack was built, a guard used to sit near a tree that was considered […]

World Population Growth

Population Geography

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1999, the world’s population reached 6 billion people. To get an idea of how many people that is, consider this: If you had a million dollars in thousand dollar bills, the stack would be 6.3 inches high. If you had a billion dollars in thousand dollar bills, the stack would be […]

Society and the Individual

The Elements of Culture

BASICSA HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In an article titled “ The 100% American,” anthropologist Ralph Linton described how a typical American, in eating breakfast, had borrowed from other cultures. He has coffee, an Abyssinian plant, with cream and sugar. Both the domestication of cows and the idea of milking them originated in the Near East, while sugar […]

Soils and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the 1870s, a settler described prairie land in Tazewell County, Illinois, as having western meadow lilies “as high as a boy’s head,” rippling waves of wildflowers, and grass so dense that a man on horseback 30 yards away could not be seen. At that time, the land produced crops of grains, […]

Climate Regions

World Climate Regions

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Songs have been written celebrating April in Paris. Springtime there is mild, with temperatures in the 50°F range. But no songs have been written about April in Winnipeg, Canada. Temperatures in April there are only slightly above freezing. If you look at the two locations on a map, you will find the […]

Global Wind Currents

Climate

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Nineteenth-century fishermen along the Peruvian coast called the event El Niño—the Spanish name for the infant Jesus—because the event occurred near Christmastime. Every two to seven years, the waters off the Peruvian coast became warmer than usual, resulting in poor fishing. Eventually, 20th-century scientists studying worldwide climate changes confirmed the truth of […]

Seasons: Northern Hemisphere

Seasons and Weather

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The smell of thousands of decaying corpses hung in the air in what was once the thriving seaport of Galveston, Texas. The day before, winds estimated at 130 miles per hour roared through the city. A storm surge of seawater more than 15 feet high pushed a wall of debris across the […]

What has happened to the sediment created by weathering in the canyon?

External Forces Shaping the Earth

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In Egypt, a seasonal dry wind is called khamsin (“fifty”) for the number of days the season occurs. During khamsin, wind-driven sandstorms kill and injure people, close businesses and airports, and strip topsoil and seed from the ground. Sandstorms are not limited to the desert areas of Africa and Southwest Asia. For […]

Tectonic Plates

Internal Forces Shaping the Earth

BASICSA HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Sally Ride, America’s first female astronaut, wrote the following after one of her trips into space: I also became an instant believer in plate tectonics; India really is crashing into Asia, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt really are pulling apart, making the Red Sea even wider. Even though their respective motion is […]

The Hydrologic Cycle

Bodies of Water and Landforms

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In July 1971, astronaut James Irwin was lifted into space on the Apollo 15 mission. As he circled the earth, he was deeply moved by the beauty of our planet. Later he wrote this: Anyone passing through our solar system would be attracted to the blue planet. They would know that the […]

The Solar System

The Earth Inside and Out

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE A quick look at a world map will convince you that the continents, landmasses above water on earth, fit together like a huge jigsaw puzzle. South America and Africa are good examples. With imagination, you can see how other continents might fit together as well. The first person to suggest that the […]

Cultural Legacy of the Roman Empire

Thematic Maps

Geographers also rely on thematic maps, which focus on specific types of information. For example, in this textbook you will see thematic maps that show climate, vegetation, natural resources, population density, and economic activities. Some thematic maps illustrate historical trends, and others may focus on the movement of people or ideas. These maps may be […]

South Asia: Physical map

Using Different Types of Maps

PHYSICAL MAPS Physical maps help you see the types of landforms and bodies of water found in a specific area. By studying the map, you can begin to understand the relative location and characteristics of a place or region. On a physical map, color, shading, or contour lines are used to indicate elevation or altitude, […]

Geographic Information Systems

The Geographer’s Tools

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE At noon on a sunny midsummer day, sometime around 255 B.C., Eratosthenes drove a stake into the ground at the mouth of the Nile River in Alexandria, Egypt. He then noted the angle of the shadow cast by the stake. Meanwhile at Syene (modern-day Aswan, Egypt), another person drove a stake into […]

The Five Themes of Geography

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Between 1838 and 1842, Captain Charles Wilkes led an American expedition to the South Pacific and Antarctica. At one stop at a South Sea island, a friendly islander drew a map on the wooden deck planks of the ship. To Wilkes’s amazement, the map accurately showed the location of the Tuamotu Archipelago—a […]

U.S. Possessions

NAVASSA ISLAND Uninhabited island owned by the United States Area: 2 sq. mi. (5.2 sq km) BAKER & HOWLAND ISLANDS Unincorporated territories administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge Official Name: British Indian Ocean Territory Area: 0.5-0.6 sq. mi. (1.40-1.60 sq km), each JARVIS ISLAND Uninhabited territory […]

U.S. Virgin Islands map

U.S. Virgin Islands

AT A GLANCE Government: Unincorporated; purchased by the United States in 1917 Size: 136 sq. mi. (352 sq km) Population: 102,951 (2016) Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The Virgin Islands are two groups of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, 40 miles (64 km) east of Puerto Rico. They are part of […]

Puerto Rico map

Puerto Rico (USA)

AT A GLANCE Name: Puerto Rico means “rich port” in Spanish. Capital: San Juan Size: 3,515 sq. mi. (9,103 sq km) Population: 3,474,182(2015) Statehood: Unincorporated Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE Puerto Rico is an island about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Florida, between the United States and South America. Puerto […]

Northern Mariana Islands map

Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

AT A GLANCE Nickname: America’s Best Kept Secret Capital: Saipan (38,896) Size: 184 sq. mi. (477 sq km) Population: 53,467 (2016) Statehood: Unincorporated Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands is a chain of 16 islands in the Pacific Ocean, south of Japan and east of the […]

Guam map

Guam (USA)

AT A GLANCE Capital: Hagatna (Agana) Size: 209 sq. mi. (541 sq km) Population: 162,742(2016) Government: Unincorporated territory of United States Electoral votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE Guam is located in the Pacific Ocean at the southern end of the Mariana Islands. It lies about 1,300 miles (2,100 km) east of the […]

American Samoa map

American Samoa (USA)

AT A GLANCE Name: Samoa is a native Polynesian word. Capital: Pago Pago Size: 77 sq. mi. (199 sq km) Population: 54,194 (2016) Statehood: Unincorporated Electoral Votes: 0 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE American Samoa is a group of seven islands located about 2,600 miles (4,184 km) southwest of Hawaii. The U.S. federal government […]

District of Columbia

District of Columbia

AT A GLANCE Government: The District of Columbia has been the seat of the U.S. government since 1800, and a municipal corporation since February 21, 1871. Area: 68.25 sq. mi. (177 sq km) Population: 672,228 (2015) Electoral votes: 3 U.S. Representatives: 1 (nonvoting) THE PLACE The city of Washington covers the entire District of Columbia, […]

Wyoming map

The State of Wyoming

AT A GLANCE Name: Wyoming comes from an Algonquian phrase meaning “large prairie place” or “at the big plain.” Nicknames: Equality State, Cowboy State Capital: Cheyenne Size: 97,818 sq. mi. (253,349 sq km) Population: 586,107 (2015 estimate) Statehood: Wyoming became the 44th state on July 10, 1890. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: 1 (until […]

Wisconsin map

The State of Wisconsin

AT A GLANCE Name: Wisconsin is believed to be taken from one of three possible Indian words—Ouisconsin, Mesconsing, or Wishknosing. The words’ meanings are unclear. Nickname: Badger State Capital: Madison Size: 56,145 sq. mi. (145,414 sq km) Population: 5,771,337 (2015 est) Statehood: Wisconsin became the 30th state on May 29, 1848. Electoral votes: 10 (2016) […]

West Virginia map

The State of West Virginia

AT A GLANCE Name: West Virginia was once part of Virginia, which was named for England’s Queen Elizabeth I. She was known as the Virgin Queen because she never married. Nickname: Mountain State Capital: Charleston Size: 24,231 sq. mi. (62,759 sq km) Population: 1,844,128 (2015 est) Statehood: West Virginia became the 35th state on June […]

Washington map

The State of Washington

AT A GLANCE Name: Washington is named after President George Washington Nickname: Evergreen State Capital: Olympia Size: 68,126 sq. mi. (176,446 sq km) Population: 7,170,351 (2015 est) Statehood: Washington became the 42nd state on November 11, 1889. Electoral votes: 11 (2016) U.S. representatives: 9 (until 2016) State tree: western hemlock State flower: western rhododendron State […]

Virginia map

The State of Virginia

AT A GLANCE Name: Virginia was named for Queen Elizabeth I of England, who was known as the Virgin Queen because she never married. Nicknames: Old Dominion, Mother of Presidents Capital: Richmond Size: 40,598 sq. mi. (105,149 sq km) Population: 8,382,993 (2015 est) Statehood: Virginia became the 10th state on June 25, 1788. Electoral votes: […]

Vermont map

The State of Vermont

AT A GLANCE Name: Vermont is a combination of the French words vert and mont, which mean “green” and “mountain.” Nickname: Green Mountain State Capital: Montpelier Size: 9,615 sq. mi. (24,903 sq km) Population: 626,042 (2015 est) Statehood: Vermont became the 14th state on March 4, 1791. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: 1 (until […]

Utah map

The State of Utah

AT A GLANCE Name: Utah was named for the Ute tribe. Ute means “higher up.” Nickname: Beehive State Capital: Salt Lake City Size: 84,904 sq. mi. (219,902 sq km) Population: 2,995,919 (2015 est) Statehood: Utah became the 45th state on January 4, 1896. Electoral votes: 5 (2016) U.S. representatives: 3 (until 2016) State tree: blue […]

Texas map

The State of Texas

AT A GLANCE Name: Texas is a Spanish version of a Native American word meaning «friends» or «allies.» Nickname: Lone Star State Capital: Austin Size: 266,874 sq. mi. (691,201 sq km) Population: 27,469,114 (2015 est) Statehood: Texas became the 28th state on December 29, 1845. Electoral votes: 34 (2016) U.S. representatives: 30 (until 2016) State […]

Tennessee map

The State of Tennessee

AT A GLANCE Name: The region may have been named after Tanasie, a group of Cherokee villages on the Little Tennessee River. Nickname: Volunteer State Capital: Nashville Size: 42,146 sq. mi. (109,158 sq km) Population: 6,600,299 (2015 est) Statehood: Tennessee became the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Electoral votes: 11 (2016) U.S. representatives: 9 […]

South Dakota map

The State of South Dakota

AT A GLANCE Name: Dakota is a Sioux word meaning “friends” or “allies.” Nicknames: Coyote State, Mount Rushmore State Capital: Pierre Size: 77,121 sq. mi. (199744 sq km) Population: 858,469 (2015 est) Statehood: South Dakota became the 40th state on November 2, 1889. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: 1 (until 2016) State tree: Black […]

South Carolina map

The State of South Carolina

AT A GLANCE Name: South Carolina was named after King Charles I of England. Nickname: Palmetto State Capital: Columbia Size: 31,117 sq. mi. (80,593 sq km) Population: 4,896,146 (2015 est) Statehood: South Carolina became the eighth state on May 23, 1788. Electoral votes: 8 (2016) U.S. representatives: 6 (until 2016) State tree: palmetto State flower: […]

Rhode Island map

The State of Rhode Island

AT A GLANCE Name: Some historians believe that Rhode Island was named by a Dutch navigator who called it Roode Eylandt (“red island”) because of its red clay. Rhode Island may also have been named for the Greek Isle of Rhodes. Nicknames: Ocean State, Little Rhody Capital: Providence Size: 1,212 sq. mi. (3,142 sq km) […]

Pennsylvania map

The State of Pennsylvania

AT A GLANCE Name: Pennsylvania was named by King Charles II of England in honor of Admiral Sir William Penn, the father of William Penn, who governed the area. The name means “Penn’s woods.” Nickname: Keystone State Capital: Harrisburg Size: 45,310 sq. mi. (117,351 sq km) Population: 12,802,503 (2015 est) Statehood: Pennsylvania became the second […]

Oregon

The State of Oregon

AT A GLANCE Name: The exact origin of Oregon’s name is unknown, but it may have come from the Native American name for one of the area’s rivers—the Ouragon. Nickname: Beaver State Capital: Salem Size: 97,052 sq. mi. (251,365 sq km) Population: 4,028,977 (2015 est.) Statehood: Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. […]

Oklahoma map

The State of Oklahoma

AT A GLANCE Name: Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw words okla humma, which mean “red people.” Nickname: Sooner State Capital: Oklahoma City Size: 69,903 sq. mi. (181,048 sq km) Population: 3,911,338 (2015 est) Statehood: Oklahoma became the 46th state on November 16, 1907. Electoral votes: 7 (2016) U.S. representatives: 6 (until 2016) State tree: redbud […]

11,613,423 (2015 est)

The State of Ohio

AT A GLANCE Name: Ohio is an Iroquois word for “fine or great river.” Nickname: Buckeye State Capital: Columbus Size: 41,330 sq. mi. (107,040 sq km) Population: 11,613,423 (2015 est) Statehood: Ohio became the 17th state on March 1, 1803. Electoral votes: 20 (2016) U.S. representatives: 19 (until 2016) State tree: buckeye State flower: scarlet […]

North Dakota map

The State of North Dakota

AT A GLANCE Name: Dakota is a Sioux word that means “friends” or “allies.” Nicknames: Sioux State, Flickertail State, Peace Garden State, Rough Rider State Capital: Bismarck Size: 70,704 sq. mi. (13,123 sq km) Population: 756,927 (2015 est) Statehood: North Dakota became the 39th state on November 2, 1889. Electoral votes: 3 (2016) U.S. representatives: […]

North Carolina map

The State of North Carolina

AT A GLANCE Name: North Carolina was named after King Charles I of England. (The Latin word for the name Charles is Carolana.) Nicknames: Tar Heel State, Old North State Capital: Raleigh Size: 52,672 sq. mi. (136,421 sq km) Population: 10,042,802 (2015 est) Statehood: North Carolina became the 12th state on November 21, 1789. Electoral […]

New York map

The State of New York

AT A GLANCE Name: New York was named in honor of England’s Duke of York. Nickname: Empire State Capital: Albany Size: 49,112 sq. mi. (127,200 sq km) Population: 19,795,791 (2015 est) Statehood: New York became the 11th state on July 26, 1788. Electoral votes: 31 (2016) U.S. representatives: 31 (beginning in 2016) State tree: sugar […]

New Mexico map

The State of New Mexico

AT A GLANCE Name: New Mexico was named after Mexico by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. Nickname: Land of Enchantment Capital: Santa Fe Size: 121,598 sq. mi. (314,939 sq km) Population: 2,085,109 (2015 est) Statehood: New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912. Electoral votes: 5 (2016) U.S. representatives: 3 (until 2016) […]