North Dakota

NORTH DAKOTA, THE Flickertail State, is a land of endless fields of corn, sunflowers, wheat, and buffalo. The state has a small population but is rich in natural resources. Located in the north central UNITED STATES, North Dakota was named after the Sioux Indians who called themselves the Dakota. Rural depopulation is a serious problem […]

North Carolina

KNOWN AS BOTH the Tar Heel State and Old North State, North Carolina was part of colonial America. Like its sister state SOUTH CAROLINA, North Carolina was named for Kings Charles I and Charles II of England. North Carolina is bounded on the north by VIRGINIA, on the south by South Carolina and GEORGIA, on […]

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

AT THE END OF World War II (1939–45), Europe lay in wasted ruin with most industrial and transportation infrastructure damaged or destroyed. Some 40 million deaths had occurred in Europe and RUSSIA in the six years of conflict. Approximately 25 million displaced persons were stranded far from original homelands with little resources. The UNITED STATES […]

North American Free Trade Agreement

IN 1993, THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, and MEXICO signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which created a regional free trade zone that lowered tariffs and trading restrictions and encouraged greater opportunities for cross-border investments and movement of goods and services between the three countries. The agreement went into effect in 1994. While all three […]

Norfolk Island

NORFOLK ISLAND, AN AUSTRALIAN territory, is located in the south PACIFIC OCEAN, 1,041 mi (1,676 km) northeast of Sydney, AUSTRALIA. With a total land area of 13 square mi (35 square km), the island is slightly larger than the District of Columbia; it is approximately 5 mi (8 km) in length and 3 mi (5 […]


Area 100 square mi (260 square km) Population 2,145 Capital Alofi Highest Point unnamed hill near the town of Mutalau 223 ft (68 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP per capita $3,600 Primary Natural Resources agriculture. ONE OF THE WORLD'S largest coral islands and smallest countries, Niue is about the size of metropolitan District of […]

Nile River

AT 4,132 mi (6,650 km) long, the Nile River is the longest river in the world. It flows from two principal sources in equatorial Africa that join at KHARTOUM, SUDAN, and continues north through Sudan and EGYPT, emptying into the MEDITERRANEAN SEA. Historically, the Nile has been used in irrigation, farming, and transportation for thousands […]


Area 356,667 square mi (923,768 square km) Population 177.5 million (2014) Capital Abuja Highest Point 7,936 ft (2,419 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $568.5 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources oil, coal, tin, palm oil, peanuts, cotton, rubber. NIGERIA, THE MOST populous nation in Africa, is bordered to the south by the Gulf of Guinea […]

Niger River

LOCATED IN West Africa, the Niger River stretches 2,610 mi (4,200 km) in length, making it the thirdlongest river in Africa, after the NILE and the CONGO. It is ranked 14th among the longest rivers in the world. The drainage basin of the river encompasses 807,000 square mi (2,090,000 square km). The Niger River runs […]


Area 489,191 square mi (1,267,000 square km) Population 19.11 million (2014) Capital Niamey Highest Point 6,634 ft (2,022 m) Lowest Point 656 ft (200 m) GDP $8.169 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources uranium, coal, iron ore, tin. A LANDLOCKED republic in West Africa, Niger is bordered by ALGERIA to the northwest, MALI and BURKINA FASO […]


Area 49,998 square mi (129,494 square km) Population 6.014 million 2014 Capital Managua Highest Point 7,998 ft (2,438 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $11.81 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources gold, silver, cooper, tungsten, lead, zinc. BORDERED by COSTA RICA and HONDURAS, Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. The country is divided into […]

Ngorongoro Crater

LOCATED IN NORTHERN TANZANIA, 80 mi (129 km) west of the city of Arusha is the Ngorongoro Crater. This crater is a caldera formed by the collapse of a large volcano in the Great RIFT VALLEY. It is considered to be the largest subsidence crater in the world with a width of over 12.5 mi […]

New Zealand

Area 107,737 square mi (268,680 square km) Population 4.510 million 2014 Capital Wellington Highest Point 12,283 ft (3,754 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $188.4 billion 2013 Primary Natural Resources natural gas, iron ore, sand, coal. IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN, the country of New Zealand lies to the southeast of AUSTRALIA. However, while Australia […]

Newton, Isaac (1642–1727)

SIR ISAAC NEWTON WAS one of the most famous and influential men in the world of science, in both mathematics and natural philosophy. His laws of gravity and motion formed the basis of classical mechanics, principles that are at the heart of modern engineering, physics, and astronomy. His work provided a mathematical mechanism to prove […]

New York City

“THE BIG APPLE,” covering 303 square mi (785 square km), is located at the southernmost point of New York State. It is bounded to the north by Westchester County, to the east by Nassau County, and to the west by the state of NEW JERSEY, across the HUDSON RIVER. The city is comprised of five […]

New York

NEW YORK—OFTEN called New York State to distinguish it from NEW YORK CITY—is a northeastern state of the UNITED STATES, bordering VERMONT, MASSACHUSETTS, and CONNECTICUT to the east; PENNSYLVANIA and NEW JERSEY to the south; and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec to the north. Lakes ERIE and ONTARIO form the greater part of […]

New Mexico

NEW MEXICO IS THE “Land of Enchantment.” Nowhere else in the UNITED STATES can such a variety of landscapes, histories, and traditions be found. Located in the American southwest, New Mexico is part of the dry and warm Four Corners region. Although primarily arid in the southern deserts to semi-arid in the high deserts, there […]

New Jersey

THE STATE OF New Jersey, located on the east coast of the UNITED STATES between NEW YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, and DELAWARE, is home to hundreds of flora and fauna. The landscape of the state is comprised of pine forests and flatlands in the interior, swampy meadowlands in the north and the dry Pinelands in central and […]

New Hampshire

LOCATED IN THE northeastern UNITED STATES, the state of New Hampshire has a total area of 9,304 square mi (23,380 square km) of land and 277 square mi (23,3380 square km) of inland water, with its geographic center lying in Belknap County, 3 mi (5 km) east of the town of Ashland. New Hampshire is […]

New Delhi

NEW DELHI, by current estimates, has a population of about 300,000 persons, although Greater Delhi's population is estimated to be between 12 and 14 million, making it the third-largest urban settlement in INDIA. Located at the western side of the Gangetic Plain in India, New Delhi is also located next to the city of Delhi, […]

New Caledonia

NEW CALEDONIA IS A French protectorate located in southwestern Oceania, approximately equidistant from AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, and FIJI. It consists of the principal island, Grande Terre, as well as the outlying Loyalty Islands and their nearby atolls and reefs. Archaeological evidence suggests human settlement dates from approximately 4000 B.C.E. Distinct forms of pottery and imported […]


KNOWN AS THE Silver State, the Battle-Born State, or the Sagebrush State, the mountain state of Nevada was admitted to the Union in 1864 as the 36th state. Covering an area of 110,540 square mi (286,297 square km), Nevada is 485 mi (780 km) north to south and 315 mi (507 km) east to west, […]

Netherlands Antilles

AN OVERSEAS TERRITORY of the NETHERLANDS, the Netherlands Antilles consists of four and a half islands, separated by about 545 mi (880 km) of the CARIBBEAN SEA. The southern group, Curacao and Bonaire, known as the Windward Islands, lie 40 to 50 mi (60 to 80 km) off the northern coast of VENEZUELA. Formerly known […]


Area 16,033 square mi (41,526 square km) Population 16.85 million 2014 Capital Amsterdam Highest Point 1,063 ft (322 m) Lowest Point -23 ft (-7 m) GDP $869.5 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources natural gas, petroleum, arable land. THERE IS A SAYING that God created the world, but the Dutch created Netherlands. Since roughly the 12th century, […]


Area 87,489 square mi (140,800 square km) Population 28.17 million 2014 Capital Katmandu Highest Point 29,035 ft (8,850 m) Lowest Point 230 ft (70 m) GDP $19.64 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources quartz, water, timber. NEPAL, LOCATED between two Asian giants INDIA and CHINA, is a small country of approximately the size of the American state […]

Negev Desert

THE NEGEV IS A part of the Saharo-Arabian desert belt running from the ATLANTIC OCEAN across the SAHARA and Arabia to the Sind desert of INDIA's Indus Valley. The Negev, also spelled Negeb, means both “the southland” and “dry.” Negev is derived from the Hebrew verbal root n-g-v meaning “to dry.” The Ha-Negev (Hebrew) covers […]

needs and wants

WANTS AND NEEDS are concepts that have come to be developed around three different spheres of discussion, biological, social, and economic. Each is an expansion in size and scale over the one preceding it. In addition, it is important to remember that the subject is biological in character. This means that we do not discuss […]


KNOWN AS THE Cornhusker State, the west northcentral state of Nebraska was named from a Native American word meaning “flat or broad water.” It lies within the Missouri River basin; the western part of the state also lies within the Platte River basin. Nebraska covers an area of 77,354 square mi (200,346 square km), making […]

nautical mile

A UNIT OF DISTANCE used primarily at sea and in aviation, the nautical or sea mile is based on the average meter distance on the Earth's surface represented by one minute of latitude. Because it is based on the earth's dimensions, the nautical mile is extremely convenient to use for any type of navigation. Adopted […]


Area 8 square mi (21 square km) Population 12,570 Capital None, government offices in Yaren District Highest Point 200 ft (61 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP per capita $5,000 Primary Natural Resources phosphates, fish. NAURU, LOCATED near the equator south of the MARSHALL ISLANDS in the south PACIFIC OCEAN, is the world's smallest independent republic. […]


THE MODERN CONCEPT of nationalism was born with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Before then, Europe was a checkerboard of small states, cities, principalities, and alliances united by religions, language, history, and politics. As recently as the 1800s, such nations as CHINA, INDIA, and even ITALY looked nothing like they do today but instead […]

Nap of the Earth

NAP OF THE EARTH, or NOE, is a Vietnam War-era term for very low-level flight, particularly of helicopters. The concept behind this type of flying is that a pilot guides his or her craft as close to the Earth's surface as terrain, vegetation, and other obstructions will allow and maintains that low altitude while approaching […]


Area 318,696 square mi (825,418 square km) Population 2.403 million (2014) Capital Windhoek Highest Point 8,550 ft (2,606 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $13.43 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources diamonds, gold, tin, copper, lead, zinc. NAMIBIA, FORMERLY known as South West Africa (SWA), is located in southern Africa. It borders the South ATLANTIC OCEAN, […]

Myanmar (Burma)

Area 261,970 square mi (678,500 square km) Population 53.44 million 2014 Capital Rangoon Highest Point 9,692 ft (2,954 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $64.33 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper. A KITE-SHAPED country with a 1,243-mi (2,000-km) north-south stretch, Myanmar has its apex in the north, bordering INDIA and […]

Mumbai (Bombay)

BOMBAY, RENAMED Mumbai in 1995, is a city in western INDIA and the capital of the Indian state of Maharashta. With its three totally computerized stock exchanges that handle 70 percent of the country's stock transactions and manufacturing (particularly in textiles, which employs 11 percent of India's factory workers), Mumbai is the most important economic center […]

Mozambique Channel

LOCATED OFF the country of MOZAMBIQUE in Africa, the Mozambique Channel lies within the INDIAN OCEAN, between the African continent and the island of MADAGASCAR. The currents in the Mozambique Channel usually form an anticyclonic system but sometimes they do flow directly south into the Agulhas Current off the coast of SOUTH AFRICA. This area […]


Area 309,496 square mi (801,590 square km) Population 27.22 million (2014) Capital Maputo Highest Point 7,992 ft (2,436 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $16.39 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources coal, natural gas, titanium ore, iron ore. MOZAMBIQUE IS located in southeast Africa and is about twice the size of CALIFORNIA. It is bordered on […]

Mosquito Coast

THE MOSQUITO COAST, or Mosquitia, is located on the east coast of NICARAGUA and HONDURAS. The name is derived from the Miskito, the indigenous people of the region. The Miskito are descendants of the Chorotega, an aboriginal people of South America. Because of the absence of historic ruins, little is known of the Chorotega people, […]


MOSCOW IS THE capital city of the Russian Federation, and although superseded as the official capital during the 18th and 19th centuries, it has dominated Russian politics, culture, and economics since the 14th century. Today, it is RUSSIA's largest city and one of the largest urban centers in Europe. Geographically, Moscow lies at the center […]


Area 172,413 square mi (446,550 square km) Population 33.92 million (2014) Capital Rabat Highest Point 13,665 ft (4,165 m) Lowest Point -180 ft (-55 m) GDP $107.0 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources agriculture, phosphate mining, minerals. MOROCCO REPRESENTS the finest example of multicultural fusion, combining 2,000 years of languages, rituals and customs, cuisine and foods, […]


THE ISLAND OF Montserrat, an overseas territory of the UNITED KINGDOM, is part of the chain of islands in the CARIBBEAN SEA that were formed millions of years ago by volcanoes, some of which remain active, while others are completely dormant. Montserrat itself is composed of seven active volcanoes of varying ages, which have been […]


AS THE TREASURE STATE, Montana is known for its mountains and extensive natural resources, such as copper, silver, gold, coal, lead, zinc, oil, limestone, antimony, phosphates, and gypsum. This mountain state encompasses 147,046 square mi (380,821 square km) of land area; Montana is the fourth largest state in the UNITED STATES, but it is 44th […]


THE HEAVY RAINS of the monsoon appear in June and subside in September every year in the Northern Hemisphere. Meteorologists and scientists are greatly helped by the development of sophisticated weather analysis and forecasting technology in understanding monsoon mechanisms. Numerous people on the earth are affected by this significant climatic system. The monsoon directly governs […]


Area 604,250 square mi (1,565,000 square km) Population 2.910 million 2014 Capital Ulaanbaatar Highest Point 14,350 ft (4,374 m) Lowest Point 1,699 ft (518 m) GDP $12.02 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources oil, coal, copper, tin, nickel. ONCE ONE OF THE world's largest empires (under Genghis Khan), Mongolia eventually became a territory of CHINA, then […]


Area .75 square mi (1.95 square km) Population 37,620 2014 Capital Monaco-Ville Highest Point Mount Agle 460 ft (140 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $6.075 billion 2011 Primary Natural Resources climate for tourism. WHILE EXTREMELY SMALL at only 48 acres (19.4 hectares) in area bordering FRANCE and ITALY, Monaco still has several distinct geographic […]


Area 13,067 square mi (33,843 square km) Population 3.556 million 2014 Capital Chisinau Highest Point 1,419 ft (430 m) Lowest Point 6.6 ft (2 m) GDP $7.944 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources lignite, phosphorites, gypsum. THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA is the second-smallest former Soviet republic and the most densely populated, located in the borderlands between […]


IN THE MIDWESTERN UNITED STATES, Missouri is the 19th state in terms of size of all the states. Its name is derived from a Native American word for “town of large canoes.” Missouri covers an area of 69,686 square mi (180,487 square km). A LANDLOCKED STATE, inland waters cover an area of 691 square mi […]

Mississippi River

MARK TWAIN begins the novel Life on the Mississippi by writing “The Mississippi is well worth reading about. It is not a commonplace river, but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable.” No better words can be used to summarize of one of the world's largest, and North America's greatest, river. The Mississippi River […]


KNOWN AS THE Magnolia State, Mississippi is bordered on the north by TENNESSEE, on the south by LOUISIANA and the Gulf of Mexico, on the east by ALABAMA, and on the west by lOUISIANA and ARKANSAS. The MISSISSIPPI RIVER, which flows along most of the western boundary of the state, is the origin of the […]


WITH THE EXCEPTION of ALASKA, Minnesota is the northernmost U.S. state, on account of the notch in its northern border, where Lake of the Woods abuts CANADA. Long known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” the state is also known for its progressive society, common Scandinavian heritage, sturdy agriculture, advanced technology, and outdoor tourism. Minnesota […]


MINDANAO, THE SECOND-largest island (36,537 square mi or 94,630 square km) in the Republic of the PHILIPPINES, is one of the three groups of over 7,100 islands in the country, the other two being LUZON and Visayas. The Mindanao group to the south consists of some 400 islands. The island Mindanao, about the size of […]

military geography

FROM EARLIEST HISTORICAL writings, the nature of warfare is shown to be a struggle for positional advantage at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. Xenophon writing of the fate of the 10,000 Greeks fighting in Persia in the 4th century B.C.E., tells of the constant consideration commanders gave to all aspects of the terrain and […]


MIGRATION IS referred to as “any residential movement which occurs between administrative units over a given period of time,” according to geographers Paul White and Robert Woods (1980). Other scholars have defined migration as the change in the center of gravity of an individual's mobility pattern. The destinations of the mobility flows need not, themselves, […]

Middle East

THE TERM Middle East came to modern use after World War II, and was applied to the lands around the eastern end of the MEDITERRANEAN SEA including TURKEY and GREECE, together with IRAN and, more recently, the greater part of North Africa. The old Middle East began at the river valleys of the Tigris and […]

Mid-Atlantic Ridge

A MID-OCEAN RIDGE is a system of rifts and parallel mountain ranges or hills found in all major oceans. It is thought to be the site of upwelling new ocean floor material from Earth's mantle, from which ocean floors are gradually spreading out laterally. The Atlantic ridge is the most striking bottom relief feature of the […]


Area 271 square mi (702 square km) Population 104,000 2014 Capital Palikir Highest Point 791 m (2,595 ft) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $316.2 million 2013 Primary Natural Resources forest products, fish, marine products, deep sea minerals. MICRONESIA CONSISTS of four Pacific island groups located between the Marianas and MARSHALL ISLANDS, 1,000 mi (1,600 km) […]


MICROCLIMATES ARE climates of small areas, such as gardens, cities, lakes, valleys, and forests. A microclimate is an expression of the temperature, humidity, and wind within a few feet or meters of the ground. Such expressions exist because surfaces vary in their ability to absorb, store, or reflect the sun's energy, making some areas warmer […]

Michigan, Lake

LAKE MICHIGAN IS one of the five original Great Lakes, which are located near or along the border between the UNITED STATES and CANADA; a sixth lake, Lake Champlain, was added to the Great Lakes category in 1998. The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, and Lake Michigan is the […]


IN THE NORTH-CENTRAL UNITED STATES, Michigan is known as the Wolverine State. Michigan entered the Union in 1837 as the 26th state, measuring 490 mi (788 km) north to south and 240 mi (386 km) east to west. The total area of Michigan is 96,716 square mi (250,493 square km), making Michigan the 11thlargest state. Michigan ranks 8th in population. Bordering on […]

Mexico City

MEXICO CITY IS THE capital of the country of MEXICO. The city is located in the Valley of Mexico on the central Mexican plateau. The core of the city is comprised of the Federal District. However, the Mexico City metropolitan area goes well beyond the boundaries of the Federal District into the surrounding states. With […]


Area 761,605 square mi (1,972,550 square km) Population 125.4 million 2014 Capital Mexico City Highest Point 18,700 ft (5,700 m) Lowest Point -33 ft (-10 m) GDP $1.283 trillion 2014 Primary Natural Resources petroleum, silver, copper, gold. OFFICIALLY KNOWN AS the Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United Mexican States), Mexico is a country in North America. It […]

metric system

LEGALLY RECOGNIZED in the UNITED STATES by the Metric Act of 1866 but devised by French scientists in a 1791 report to the French National Assembly, the metric system of measurement is the decimal system of weights and measures based on the meter, liter, and gram with the prefixes deci-, deca-, and kilo-. Originally not […]


ON MARCH 26, 1991, the presidents of ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, PARAGUAY, and URUGUAY signed a common market agreement, the Treaty of Asuncion, that set the basis for the creation of the Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR, or Mercado Comun del Sur). MERCOSUR was the final step in a long struggle for economic and political cooperation […]

Mercator, Gerardus (1512–1594)

GERARDUS MERCATOR is the Latin name of Gerhard Kremer, one of the greatest geographers and cartographers, who lived in the 16th century. He was born on March 5, 1512, in Rupelmonde in the Flanders (now in BELGIUM), seventh child of Hubert and Emerentia Kremer. His father was a shoemaker. Thanks to his paternal uncle Gisbert […]


BEGINNING WITH THE FRENCH explorer Jules d'Urville Dumont in the 1830s, geographers have grouped the far-flung islands of the PACIFIC OCEAN into three great island worlds: Melanesia, MICRONESIA, and POLYNESIA. Melanesia, derived from the Greek words for “black” and “islands,” consists of those islands that extend from New Guinea in the northwest to the FIJI […]

Mekong River

THE MEKONG IS the 12th-longest river in the world, traveling nearly 2,600 mi (4,200 km) from its source in the Tibetan plateau to its enormous DELTA in southern VIETNAM. It is the major transportation highway and supplier of life for most of Southeast Asia—with five cities over 100,000 and one-third of the populations of THAILAND, […]


A GREEK-DERIVED word meaning “large stone,” megaliths refer to huge, uncut, or roughly cut boulders that people have moved to stand upright from the ground. Some megaliths, also called menhirs, have been in place for thousands of years, and the reasons for their positions are not fully known. They are found all over the world. […]

Mediterranean Sea

THE TRANSLATION of its Latin name (“in the midst of land”) indicates that the Mediterranean Sea is located between the landmasses of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Some students of geography may view the Mediterranean as a physical separation between Europe and Africa. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Mediterranean, in fact, has been […]

McKinley, Mount

MOUNT MCKINLEY is the highest peak in North America with a summit at 20,329 ft (6,196 m). Located in the 600-mi- (965-km-) long Alaskan Mountain Range, it is approximately 150 mi (246 km) south of Fairbanks, ALASKA. Mount McKinley is home to more than 650 species of flowering plants, as well as mosses, lichens, fungi, […]


Area 788 square mi (2,040 square km) Population 1.261 million 2014 Capital Port Louis Highest Point 2,732 ft (828 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $12.62 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources arable land, sugarcane, tea, cattle, goats, fish. MAURITIUS IS AN island nation in the INDIAN OCEAN, located about 500 mi (800 km) east of […]


Area 397,955 square mi (1,030,700 square km) Population 3.970 million (2014) Capital Nouakchott Highest Point 2,985 ft (910 m ) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $5.061 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources fish, iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphates, salt. MAURITANIA IS LOCATED in Northwest Africa on the coast of the ATLANTIC OCEAN. It covers an area […]


THE COMMONWEALTH of Massachusetts has a population of 6,379,304 (2001), more than half of whom live in the greater Boston metropolitan area. The largest city in the state is Boston (the capital), with a population of 589,141, and the smallest town is Gosnold, with a population of 86. It borders NEW HAMPSHIRE and VERMONT to […]


“THE OLD LINE STATE,” covering an area of 12,407 square mi (32,134 square km) is located in the mid-Atlantic UNITED STATES and features a diverse geography, prompting the nickname “a miniature America.” Maryland is one of the more irregularly shaped states, with a long straight northern border and an irregular southern border that is delineated […]


MARTINIQUE, IN the CARIBBEAN SEA, is one of the four French overseas departments and regions. Temperatures range from 25 to 30 degrees C (76 to 86 degrees F) and the climate is tropical and humid. The dry season runs from December to May (careme). Drought is relatively common from February to April. During the rainy […]

Marshall Islands

Area 70.7 square mi (181.3 square km) Capital Majuro Population 52,900 2014 Highest Point 33 ft (10 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $190.9 million 2013 Primary Natural Resources coconut products, marine products, seabed minerals. THE REPUBLIC OF THE Marshall Islands, formerly a component of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (administered […]

market geography

MARKET GEOGRAPHY is a subfield of ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY that focuses on the spatial nature of market forces. It derives its rationale from the central place theory, first argued in 1933 by German economic geographer Walter CHRISTALLER in his book on central places in southern Germany. Central place theory is fundamentally concerned with the patterns through […]

maps and globes

A MAP IS AN abstract representation of a selected set of features on or related to the surface of the Earth. The map reduces these selected Earth features to points, lines, and areas, using a number of visual resources such as size, shape, value, texture or pattern, color, orientation, and shape. Whereas aerial photographs and […]


CONSIDERED TO BE the best harbor in the Far East, known as the “Pearl of the Orient,” Manila has been a commercial and cultural hub of the PHILIPPINES, and of Southeast Asia, for over four centuries. Ferdinand MAGELLAN claimed the island of LUZON for SPAIN in 1521, as a strategic point of access to the […]


Area 122 square mi (316 square km) Population 427,400 2014 Capital Valletta Highest Point 830 ft (253 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $9.643 billion 2013 Primary Natural Resources globigerina limestone, petroleum, tourism. THE COUNTRY OF MALTA, which calls itself the Repubblika Ta' Malta, is an archipelago made up of five islands: Malta, Gozo, Comino, […]


Area 478,640 square mi (1,240,000 square km) Population 17.09 million (2014) Capital Bamako Highest Point 3,789 ft (1,155 m) Lowest Point 75 ft (23 m) GDP $12.07 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone. A LANDLOCKED REPUBLIC and the largest country in West Africa, Mali is bordered by ALGERIA to the northeast, […]

Maldive Islands

Area 115 square mi (300 square km) Population 357,400 2014 Capital Male Highest Point 7.8 ft (2.4 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $3.032 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources coconuts, corn, sweet potatoes, fish, tourism. THE COUNTRY OF THE Maldive Islands is located in southern Asia, in the INDIAN OCEAN, as a group of atolls […]


Area 127,316 square mi (329,750 square km) Population 29.90 million 2014 Capital Kuala Lumpur Highest Point 13,450 ft (4,100 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $326.9 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore. MALAYSIA IS LOCATED in the heart of Southeast Asia and is divided into two geographical sections: Peninsular Malaysia […]

Malawi, Lake

LAKE MALAWI IS LOCATED in southeastern Africa lying within the crease where the eastern and western branches of the Great Rift Valley meet. According to the Center of Great Lakes Studies, Lake Malawi is the ninth-largest lake in the world by area and the fifthlargest lake in the world by volume. Malawi is the third-largest […]


Area 45,745 square mi (118,480 square km) Population 16.70 million (2014) Capital Lilongwe Highest Point 9,843 ft (3,002 m) Lowest Point 105 ft (37 m) GDP $4.258 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources almost entirely agricultural. MALAWI IS A SMALL, landlocked country in central southeastern Africa. It is about the size of LOUISIANA or somewhat larger […]

Malacca Straits

A PLAQUE IN THE gardens of the sultan's palace in Melaka reads: “Whoever is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice.” For centuries this passage of water, 620 mi (1,000 km) long, connecting the INDIAN OCEAN and the South China Sea, running generally northwest to southeast, lived up to this reputation […]


MAINE IS THE easternmost state in the UNITED STATES and the northernmost of the 48 contiguous states. It is bounded to the east and south by the ATLANTIC OCEAN, to the northeast by the Canadian Province of New Brunswick, and to the northwest by the Canadian Province of Quebec. To the west, Maine is bordered […]

Magna Graecia

MAGNA GRAECIA (or “Greater GREECE”) was the geographic expression of Greek colonization originating from many different Greek cities. It was a process that began in the 7th century B.C.E., largely because of overpopulation. Competing city-states such as Sparta, Corinth, and Athens began to found new cities (colonies) that, in turn, became centers of an economically […]


BROADLY DEFINED, the Maghreb is the triangular region of northwest Africa bounded by the ATLAS MOUNTAIN ranges, the ATLANTIC OCEAN from the border of western SAHARA to the Strait of Gibraltar, and the MEDITERRANEAN SEA from the Strait of Gibraltar to the northeast of LIBYA. Politically, the Maghreb includes the countries of MOROCCO, ALGERIA, TUNISIA and […]

Magellan, Ferdinand (1480–1521)

FERDINAND MAGELLAN, one of the most distinguished explorers in world history, was born in to a middle-class Portuguese family. In his youth, Magellan was awed by Christopher Columbus's seafaring adventures, and he developed a strong interest in the sea and enlisted in the navy in 1505. While serving as a naval officer, Magellan participated in […]


WITH A POPULATION of 3,092,759 and crossed by the Manzanares River, Madrid is the capital and largest city in SPAIN. Located approximately at the center of the Iberian Peninsula, at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama, Madrid has a dry continental climate, with hot summers and cool winters. After enduring conquest by the Moors […]


Area 364,500 square mi (587,040 square km) Population 23.57 million (2014) Capital Antananarivo Highest Point 9,435 ft (2,876 m) Lowest Point 0 m GDP $10.59 billion (2014) Primary Natural Resources chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz. MADAGASCAR, THE WORLD'S fourth-largest island, after GREENLAND, New Guinea, and BORNEO, is located 250 mi (400 km) off the southeast […]

Mackinder, Halford J. (1861–1947)

HALFORD JOHN MACKINDER was born on February 15, 1861, in Gainsborough, a small port and market town at the river Trent in England. He was the eldest of six children born to Dr. Draper and Mrs. Fanny Anne Mackinder. His father was well educated and trained as a scientist. It was he who taught Mackinder […]

Mackenzie-Peace River

THE MACKENZIE-PEACE River system is made up of the Mackenzie and Peace rivers. Located in western CANADA, this is the 10th-longest river system in the world, at 2,635 mi (4,240 km). Sir Alexander Mackenzie, a Canadian explorer, discovered the river in 1789 and it was named for him. By itself, the Mackenzie River is the […]

Macedonia (FYROM)

Area 9,781 square mi (25,333 square km) Population 2.076 million 2014 Capital Skopje Highest Point 9,085 ft (2,753 m) Lowest Point 165 ft (50 m) GDP $11.32 billion 2014 Primary Natural Resources chromium, lead, zinc, manganese. THE REPUBLIC OF Macedonia is a country in the southern Balkans but covers only part of the larger historical […]


MACAU IS LOCATED in the southern part of CHINA's Guangdong Province, near the tip of the peninsula formed by Pearl River on the east and Xinjiang River on the west. Macau is situated 37 mi (60 km) west of HONG KONG and comprises the Macau Peninsula and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. Macau has […]


THE ISLAND OF LUZON is the largest and most populous island in the PHILIPPINE archipelago (17th largest in the world), the center of Philippine political and economic life, and the site of the capital city, MANILA. With roughly 42 million people occupying a total land area of 40,420 square mi (104,688 square km)—roughly the size […]


LUXOR IS LOCATED on the banks of the middle reaches of the NILE RIVER, in Qena governorate, eastcentral EGYPT. Approximately, 440 mi (700 km) south of Cairo, it is a bustling city with a population of about 150,000. As a modern city, it caters to tourists who are attracted to the famous archaeological sites that […]


Area 998 square mi (2,586 square km) Population 556,100 2014 Capital Luxembourg Highest Point 1,834 ft (559 m) Lowest Point 436 ft (133 m) GDP $60.13 billion 2013 Primary Natural Resources arable land. LUXEMBOURG IS a small LANDLOCKED western European country, within the EUROPEAN UNION (EU), and given its small population size, the country does […]

Louisiana Purchase

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE (1803) included all of the present-day states of ARKANSAS, OKLAHOMA, MISSOURI, KANSAS, IOWA, and NEBRASKA, as well as parts of MINNESOTA, SOUTH DAKOTA, NORTH DAKOTA, MONTANA, WYOMING, COLORADO, NEW MEXICO, TEXAS, and, of course, LOUISIANA. The area is approximately one-third of the continental UNITED STATES. Initially, it included portions of CANADA—southern Manitoba, […]


SITUATED AT THE MOUTH of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana and its people have long been influenced by the intersection of these two major water features. The physical geography of Louisiana can be examined in terms of its five natural regions: the Coastal Marsh; the Mississippi Flood Plain; […]