Ireland: Introduction

Perception is a key to understanding the geography of Ireland. Images or perceptions can be created from pictures and stories about Ireland or from family, television, books, and newspapers. For many people, Ireland is perceived as a land of eloquent poets, renowned writers and playwrights, lyrical musicians, and creative dancers.Among these many talented literary and artistic […]

Iceland Looks Ahead

For twelve centuries the people of Iceland have struggled against countless obstacles and won. There is ample reason to believe that they will continue to do so in the future. The country's natural resources are meager, yet on this small, remote, rugged island nation, Icelanders have developed one of the world's most enviable standards of living. […]

Visiting Iceland

Iceland has been discovered by visitors. The ease and relatively low cost of air travel, and the country's marvelous physical and cultural environments, have placed the island country on the map of tourist destinations. In this chapter, you will view Iceland through the eyes of a guest traveler. GETTING THERE Almost everyone who travels to […]

Economy of Iceland

Iceland's Scandinavian-type economy is basically capitalistic and similar to that of the United States and Canada. In addition, an extensive modern welfare system is in place. This covers the medical needs of the Icelandic people, with extensive medical, dental, and eye-care benefits. Free education (from preschool to the university level), guaranteed retirement pay, and high […]

Iceland’s People and Their Way of Life

Icelanders enjoy one of the world's highest standards of living and longest life expectancies. As has been mentioned, it is one of the world's most literate societies, with nearly 100 percent of all adults able to read and write. Surveys suggest that it is also one of the most honest countries, with very little crime […]

Iceland Through Time

In this chapter, our primary focus is on Iceland's culture—as created by its people and their past. The country has a fascinating and somewhat contradictory history. Among major world nations, for example, it was one of the very last countries to be settled. In this respect, it has a very brief history, although its governing […]

Iceland: Landscapes of Fire and Ice

Iceland's physical geography can be summarized in three words: fire, ice, and sea. The island country rose from the sea as molten volcanic material. Today, approximately one-eighth of Iceland remains buried under glacial ice or permanent snow cover, but volcanic activity continues to be an omnipresent threat to the island's people and property. As in […]

Iceland: A Unique Land and People

By almost any measure, Iceland is one of the world's most unique lands. It is a remote, far northern island country that holds many mysteries and contradictions. Physically, it is a land whose features have been shaped and reshaped by the opposing agents of fire and ice. Its first inhabitants were Irish monks who sought […]

Germany Looks Ahead

Charlemagne is often recognized as the founder of the French nation, but he was also responsible for the creation of the Holy Roman Empire and the development of the many small states within the Kingdom of Germany. Somewhat ironically, another French leader, Napoleon, was responsible for the fall of the Holy Roman Empire. From this […]

Living in Germany Today

Between 1945 and 1990, Germany was divided into a prosperous capitalist West Germany and a poorer Communist East Germany. Nonetheless, people in East Germany lived better than those in other Eastern European countries. Most had a television, a refrigerator, and a car even if they were of poorer quality and came with a high price […]

Germany’s Economy

Typical of modern industrialized countries, Germany has fewer than 3 percent of its workforce engaged in extractive industries. The North Sea has been a traditional fishing ground with herring being the most important catch. However, over-fishing has resulted in a decline in the fishing industry, and Germany now relies on imported fish to meet its […]

Germany: Government and Politics

The modern political history of Germany is usually considered to have begun in 1871, when the German Empire was formed. It will be remembered that prior to this time, Germany consisted of hundreds of very small states that had been gradually unified into the 39 states of the German Federation. In 1848, representatives were elected […]

Germany: People and Culture

Given the devastation of two world wars, it might be expected that the population of Germany would be relatively small. In fact, with slightly more than 82 million people, Germany's population is nearly 20 million larger than that of any other European country except Russia. This chapter examines the people of Germany—their demographic makeup, economic […]

Germany Through Time

Remains of the earliest people known to have lived in the area of present-­day Germany were found in the Neander Gorge near the city of Dusseldorf in 1856, thus they were called Neanderthals. They were cave dwellers who lived more than 30,000 years ago. Although a human species, Neanderthals were not entirely identical to present-­day […]

Germany: Physical Landscapes

Germany has an area of 137,847 square miles (357,021 square kilometers). It stretches about 520 miles (840 kilometers) north to south, reaching from 47 to 55 degrees north latitude, and 385 miles (620 kilometers) east to west, between 6 and 15 degrees east longitude. The terrain can be divided into three regions that increase in […]

Introducing Germany

A review of twentieth-­century history would be incomplete without reference to Germany. During the past century, Germany was involved in two world wars. Following its defeat in World War II, its division into East and West became a major symbol of the larger division of the postwar world, just as its reunification in 1990 served […]

Future of Croatia

Although its recent past has been quite troubled, Croatians are optimistic about their country's future. But it is up to them to ensure that the future is, indeed, bright. The country shares many of the same problems that hinder stability and development in most other former Eastern European socialistic states. Achieving political and economic stabilization […]

Croatia: Regions and Cities

Geographers often divide the world and its various areas into regions. A region is an area that is united in some way by one or more elements. In the United States, for example, people often speak of the “South,” or the “Midwest.” Croatia is divided into several regions. Chapter 2 discussed Croatia's three basic land […]

Croatia: Government and Economy

Since 1990, when the one party socialist system was eliminated, Croatia has existed as a parliamentary democracy. A national constitution was approved in December 1990, and independence was proclaimed on June 25, 1991. The country's flag has horizontal bands of red, white, and blue upon which appears the Croatian coat of arms that includes symbols […]

Croatia: People and Culture

Who are the Croats? What are they like? How do they live? What do they do? These are just some of the questions that will be answered in this chapter. Croatian People Almost every nation has a legend about its origins, and the Croats are no exception. According to Croat legend, in the distant past […]

Croatia Through Time

Croatia, as is true of all countries in Eastern Europe, has a long and complex history. This chapter discusses the past and the people, cultures, and events that have shaped present-day Croatia. In the Beginning Archaeological evidence suggests that humans inhabited the area of what today is Croatia as early as 100,000 years ago. More […]

Croatia: Physical Environment

Croatia: Physical Environment

In terms of its natural environment, Croatia is a tourist's dream come true. The country shares many similarities with California. Both are blessed with a very mild and pleasant Mediterranean climate. They both have long coastlines that rank among the world's most scenic. Each location has varied terrain, contributing to diverse landscapes and ecosystems. Unlike […]

Introducing Croatia

A map of Europe looks much different today than it did just a decade or two ago. In the late 1980s, Europe was divided into two political spheres—the democratic West and the Sovietdominated East. Only a few countries were neutral in this Cold War, or ideological conflict, between Eastern and Western Europe. Today, the Soviet […]

Belgium Looks Ahead

The author has been careful to emphasize the difference between Belgium and what is now increasingly referred to in Europe as “Brussels.” The former is the country and its people, and “Brussels” is a term often used for the huge controlling bureaucracy that is the European Union (EU). This powerful entity is not to the […]

Living in Belgium Today

It is sometimes said that many people in Europe hold a rather negative image of Belgium. Undoubtedly, the country is sharply divided by language. This division causes a seemingly endless separation of people, politics, government, administration, media, and other aspects of society and culture. It is a densely populated country and one that is often […]

Belgium’s Economy

Belgium is located in one of the most industrialized areas of Europe. Because of its industrial strength—­ and hence, employment opportunities—­it is also one of the most densely populated. The per capita gross national product (GNP) for the Flemish and Central regions ranks among the highest in the entire European Union (EU); the average figure […]

Belgium: Government and Politics

Belgium is a federal state in which amendments to the Constitution that were made in 1993 have resulted in a further reduction in the power of national government. What were formerly national powers have now been granted, at least to some degree, to regional and community governments. First, however, let us examine the various levels […]

Belgium: People and Culture

Few countries are so equally divided by language and other aspects of culture as Belgium. Yet, despite the conflicting interests of the two main population groups, the country has achieved a unity that does not appear to be seriously threatened. Although there have been, and still are, significant separatist and nationalist movements, especially among the […]

Belgium Through Time

The area of Europe that includes Belgium lies open and exposed on the European plain. It has often been referred to as the “Battlefield of Europe.” Bloody and seemingly endless wars between different European powers were repeatedly fought here. It was not always a single nation known as Belgium; the country's name derived from that […]

Belgium: Physical Landscapes

Belgium: Physical Landscapes

Belgium has a land area of 11,787 square miles (30,528 square kilometers), which, as already has been noted, is roughly equivalent in size to Maryland. Most of the country's territory lies on a huge lowland plain that stretches from the Pyrenees eastward to the Urals. In this chapter, we will look at Belgium's land areas, […]

Welcome to the Kingdom of Belgium

The small country of Belgium hugs the coast of the North Sea in northwestern Europe. It is bordered by Germany to the east, the Netherlands to the north, and France to the south and southwest. The smaller Grand Duchy of Luxembourg borders Belgium's southeast corner. There, the dense forests and rolling hills of both countries […]

Canada Looks Ahead

To more clearly see where Canada is going, it is beneficial to remember from where it has come. Its rich history commemorates, celebrates, and teaches valuable lessons not to be forgotten. Canada's identity has been shaped and ornamented by the contributions of diverse peoples. Referred to as a cultural mosaic, millions of Canadians live side […]

Living in Canada Today

Canadians are proud of their diverse heritage and achievements. Its proximity to the United States often means that they are perceived as similar societies, but the two countries do have many differences. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, highly esteemed by the Canadian public, once stated, “Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which […]

Canada: Economy

For seven consecutive years—from 1994 to 2000—Canada held the distinction of being the best country in the world in which to live. The annual ranking by the United Nations assesses such things as life expectancy, adult literacy, and economic prosperity. Canada's life expectancy is 79 years, with a literacy rate of 97 percent. These high […]

Canada: Government

Geographic and cultural diversity offer unique challenges in governing the expansive country of Canada.Dilemmas arise from ongoing issues, such as Quebec's desire for secession, and newer issues, such as the self-governing of Nunavut. Being prepared to meet such challenges responsibly is an ongoing task of the Canadian government. In this chapter, you will read about […]

Canada: Faces and Places

Few people are permanent residents of any one place.Migration (movement from one location to another) occurs for various reasons for various people and involves a host of push-andpull factors. Push-and-pull factors are those reasons why a person feels “pushed” from a present home and “pulled” to the attracting qualities of a different home. Consider factors […]

Canada Through Time

The self-governing Dominion of Canada—comprised of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia—was established on July 1, 1867. But is this date the real beginning of Canada as a country? At this point in the young country's life, Canada still maintained ties to the British crown. (This unique connection will be further discussed in Chapter […]

Canada Map

Canada: Physical Landscapes

Canada is a vast country with a great variety of impressive scenery. The natural environment, or physical landscape, provides the stage upon which human cultures play out their ways of living. In this regard, Canada is blessed in countless ways—its land regions, weather and climate, ecosystems, water features, and other natural resources offer much diversity […]


Introducing Canada

Imagine you are hiking on a meandering trail through one of Canada's spectacular national parks. As you breathe in deeply, smelling the natural perfume of the evergreens surrounding you in this particular location, you pause to wonder,“Have I experienced Canada before?” If you have eaten a crisp, juicy McIntosh apple (cultivated in Ontario in 1811 […]

Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica: Industrialization Sparks Change

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Some of the largest employers in Southeast Asia are makers of athletic shoes. They provide much-needed jobs for Southeast Asians, but many observers have accused the companies of abusing workers. For example, in 1995, Lap Nguyen began working at a shoe factory in Vietnam. In February 1996, she was promoted to team leader. […]

Aboriginal Land Claims

Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica: Aboriginal Land Claims

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1972, the Australian government denied the claims of some Aboriginal people trying to regain ancestral lands. In response, Aboriginal protesters erected a tent on the lawn of Old Parliament House in Canberra and named it the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. They called it an embassy to symbolize their treatment as foreigners in […]

Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1788, Great Britain founded Sydney, Australia, as a penal colony—that is, a place to send prisoners. By the end of the 20th century, Sydney had overcome its origins and earned a reputation as a fun and fascinating international city. That has been due, in part, to a unique combination of physical […]

Cultural Regions of Oceania


A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Noah Idechong has fought to protect the sea life of Palau, an archipelago east of the Philippines. Palauans have always earned their living by fishing, but in the 1980s, many species of fish were in danger of extinction because they were such popular menu items in Asian restaurants. Idechong began to study […]

Colonies in Southeast Asia, 1895

Southeast Asia

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Much of Southeast Asia is haunted by its colonial past. One example is the divided island of Timor. The Netherlands ruled Western Timor, later part of Indonesia. Portugal ruled East Timor. In 1975, East Timor declared itself an independent state (even though some people living there wanted to join Indonesia). In response, […]

Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In May 2000, the Smithsonian Institution honored Mau Piailug for preserving traditional navigation skills. Mau was born in Micronesia. When he was four years old, he began to sail with his grandfather, who taught the boy how to navigate without using instruments. Those methods of navigation were similar to those used by […]

Australia’s Unique Life Forms

Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE During the Vietnam War, American troops were sent to fight in unfamiliar Southeast Asia. Among the hardships they endured was the tropical climate. Few had ever lived in a place that had a monsoon season with constant rain. One soldier wrote to his wife, “We live in mud and rain. I'm so […]

Southeast Asian Mountains and Rivers

Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Antarctica: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The Aeta people of the Philippines lived on the volcano Mount Pinatubo for generations. They knew this volcano so well that they timed the planting and harvesting of their crops by the amount of steam rising from a vent on its slope. In 1991, the Aeta noticed changes in the mountain and […]

East Asia: Population and the Quality of Life

Because East Asia has changed so much, it's hard to imagine how different the region looked 50 years ago. Today, some of the countries and cities of the region are among the most prosperous in the world. In Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, the statistics on per capita income, length of life, and literacy are […]

Exports from Jakota Triangle Countries

East Asia: Trade and Prosperity

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE At the beginning of the 1990s, the economies of East Asia were growing very rapidly. Unfortunately, there was a dark side to this prosperity. In 1995, UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) reported that more than half a million children in East Asia were working in factories or begging on the streets. […]

The Ring of Fire

East Asia: The Ring of Fire

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE On January 17, 1995, at 5:46 A.M., a severe earthquake rocked Kobe, Japan's sixth largest city. When the dust settled and the last of the fires burned out, about 6,000 people lay dead, and more than 40,000 suffered injuries. The government quickly began rebuilding the port city, but psychologists warned that reviving […]

Japanese Empire, 1942

East Asia: Japan

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The Japanese flag shows a red sun against a white background. The red sun symbolizes Amaterasu, the sun goddess. According to myth, the Japanese emperor and his family are descended from the goddess. The Japanese call their country Nippon, which means “source of the sun.” The name Japan may have come from […]

The Korean War, 1950–1953

The Koreas: North and South

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Korea is surrounded by water on three sides and by mountains on its northern border. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Korea chose self-protected isolation and became known as “the hermit kingdom.” This isolation has continued in North Korea, which has little contact with other nations even today. However, that may be […]

The Mongol Empire, 1294

East Asia: Mongolia and Taiwan

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE The Mongols of the Asian steppe lived their lives on horseback. In 1206, a great leader named Temujin (later called Genghis Khan) united the Mongol clans and led them in conquering much of Asia. He is reported to have said, “Man's greatest good fortune is to chase and defeat his enemy, seize […]

East Asia: China

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In ancient times, China had been open to attack from nomadic horsemen who roamed the plains of northern China and Mongolia. Around 220 B.C., the emperor Shi Huangdi decided to build the Great Wall of China by closing the gaps between smaller walls built by earlier rulers. Hundreds of thousands of peasants […]

East Asia: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Hundreds of thousands of Chinese died in floods in the 20th century. Most of these deaths were caused by the flooding of the Chang Jiang and the Huang He rivers. These vast river floodplains are home to, and help feed, hundreds of millions of people, and this makes people vulnerable to the […]

Climate Comparison, East Asia and North America

East Asia: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Kublai Khan was the ruler of the Mongol Empire (which included China) in the 13th century. In 1281, the Great Khan sent a huge fleet against Japan. A typhoon—a tropical storm that occurs in the western Pacific—swept across the Sea of Japan and sank the Mongol ships or dashed them against the […]

Rivers and Mountains of East Asia

East Asia: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Time and again in its early history, China was attacked by invaders from the steppes of Central Asia. The Chinese built and extended the Great Wall over many centuries in an attempt to keep out such invaders from Mongolia. From the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert, the wall twisted for thousands […]


South Asia: Territorial Dispute

Kashmir is a territory of towering mountains, dense forests, and fertile river valleys. It is strategically located at the foot of the Himalayas and is surrounded by India, Pakistan, and China. Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought to control this territory of 12 million people. The territorial dispute has caused three Indo-Pakistani wars and, […]

Farming Calendar in India

South Asia: Living with Extreme Weather

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In May 1996, a fierce tornado tore through northern Bangladesh, leaving more than 700 people dead and 30,000 injured. Winds reached speeds of 125 mph. Within 30 minutes, nearly 80 villages had been destroyed. In the town of Rampur, Reazuddin Ahmed and his family sought shelter behind a concrete wall. All the […]

Population Density in Indian States

South Asia: Population Explosion

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE On May 11, 2000, at 5:05 A.M., a baby girl was born in a New Delhi hospital. Her parents named her Astha, which means “faith” in the Hindi language. Ordinarily, Astha's birth would not have made news. After all, an estimated 42,000 babies are born in India every day—15,330,000 each year. Astha, […]

World Tea Production

South Asia: Sri Lanka and the Maldives

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE For centuries, Sri Lanka and the Maldives have been ports of call for ships from around the world. The Greeks, Romans, Persians, Chinese, and Arabs all knew about these islands. Arab traders referred to Sri Lanka as Serendib, and they called the Maldives the “Money Isles” for their abundance of cowrie shells—seashells […]

Mountains of Bhutan and Nepal

South Asia: Nepal and Bhutan

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the novel Lost Horizon, James Hilton described an imaginary mountain valley called Shangri-La, hidden high in the Himalayas. He wrote, “The floor of the valley, hazily distant, welcomed the eye with greenness; sheltered from winds . . . completely isolated by the lofty and sheerly unscalable ranges on the further side.” […]

The Indian Subcontinent

South Asia: Pakistan and Bangladesh

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Some workers in the port of Chittagong, Bangladesh, have an unusual job. They are ship breakers. When oceangoing ships reach the end of their useful life, they take their last voyage to Chittagong. There, ship breakers wait on the beach with sledgehammers, crowbars, torches, and wrenches. They attack each ship, tearing it […]

Ancient Empires of India

South Asia: India

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE At midnight on August 14, 1997, India celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence from Great Britain. Thousands of people flooded the streets of the capital, New Delhi, and waved the orange, white, and green flag of India. Fifty years before, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had spoken to the nation. “A moment […]

The Ganges River

South Asia: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Hinduism is the religion of most Indians. During one Hindu religious festival, millions of Indians gather near the city of Allahabad, where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet. A temporary tent city goes up, complete with markets, temples, and teahouses. People visit the market stalls and pray at the temples. They also […]

Climate and Vegetation of South Asia

South Asia: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Every April and May, much of South Asia bakes in the heat. People endure temperatures that regularly top 100°F. Dust fills the air, and streams dry up. People walk for miles looking for water. Then—when it seems that no one can survive another day—the clouds roll in. The skies open up, and […]

Formation of the Himalayas

South Asia: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Thousands of years ago, the Hindus of what is now north India imagined a gigantic mountain reaching more than 80,000 miles into the sky. They believed that this enormous peak, called Mt. Meru, was the center of the physical and spiritual world. In their writings, they described “rivers of sweet water” flowing […]

Southwest Asia: Oil Wealth Fuels Change

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE On October 2, 1995, Queen Noor of the Kingdom of Jordan gave a speech on the role of women in Southwest Asian economies. In her speech, she identified an important change in the economies of Southwest Asia: The changing environment in our region holds the promise of new opportunity for businessmen and […]

Southwest Asia: Population Relocation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the 1980s, Kurds living in Turkey were attacked by the Turkish military. The parents of 10-year-old Garbi Yildirim feared for their son's safety. Reluctantly they sent him from Turkey to live with relatives in Germany. When Garbi reached his 18th birthday, he was notified by the German government that he would […]

Northeast Ethnic Areas

Southwest Asia: The Northeast

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE On March 16, 1988, Iraqi Air Force planes released poisonous gases over the Kurdish town of Halabja, Iraq. An estimated 5,000 Kurds, an ethnic group in Southwestern Asia, died from the chemical weapons attack. The Kurdish people have occupied the lands they call Kurdistan for thousands of years. In the modern world, […]

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 Goree 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 Goree 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 Milosevic (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 Emile 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 […]