Archive "Geography" (Page 2)

The Real World of Japanese Politics: 1945–1985

As discussed both here and in the history chapter, democracy grew relatively rapidly in Japan, and the Japanese now have a more than 60-year democratic history. However, Japan's political history, culture, geography, economy, and changing position in the world, just as is the case with any nation, makes the nature of Japanese democracy unique in […]

Postwar Government and Politics: The Creation of Japanese Democracy and Its Structure

Japan became a democratic country with the adoption of the 1947 Constitution, which has never been amended and remains in effect today. However, since roughly 1985, domestic and international factors have resulted in new challenges and changes for Japan's political leadership. Before contemporary government and politics can be understood, a discussion of the creation of […]

Government and Politics in the Tokugawa Period: 1600–1868

As depicted in the prior chapter, in 1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu, through force of arms and diplomacy, managed to unify a Japan that had been torn by civil war for most of the previous century and intermittent internal strife for much of the 14th century as well. Tokugawa and his descendents who ruled Japan as shoguns […]

Introduction: The Roots of Japan’s Contemporary Government and Politics

Most readers of this book are Americans, and they have studied U.S. government. Imagine attempting to learn about how the American government works without some knowledge of the influence of Great Britain, the motives of the founders of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the formulation of the present […]

Japan’s Prehistory and Early Mainland Asia Influences

The first people in the archipelago probably walked there via temporary land bridges from the Asian mainland more than 30,000 years ago. There is some archeological evidence that people from Southeast Asia also reached Japan by water in prehistoric times. Archaeologists have used the art of Japan's earliest known culture to name the first period […]

Japan: History

KEY EVENTS IN JAPANESE HISTORY 11,000–300 BCE Jomon culture 300 BCE–250 CE Yayoi culture 250–552 CE Tomb period (Kofun) 552–710 Late Yamato period 552 Buddhism is transported from Korea to Japan 604 Japan's 17-point ''constitution'' is ascribed to Prince Shotoku 645 So-called Taika Reforms are enacted 710 Japan's first permanent capital is established at Nara […]

The Physical and Human Geographies of Japan

With its four major islands—Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku—as well as thousands of smaller ones, Japan has a total land area of approximately 145,825 square miles. The distance from the northernmost tip of Hokkaido to extreme southern Kyushu is approximately the same as the distance from Bangor, Maine, to Mobile, Alabama, in the United States […]

Economy

Jamaica is classified as a less developed country (LDC), as is true of countries throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere in Latin America. The nation faces many problems that hinder economic growth. It also has many advantages that, if properly developed, can boost development. IS JAMAICA A WEALTHY COUNTRY? Gross domestic product (GDP) is one of […]

People and Culture

POPULATION TRENDS Size of population is an important characteristic of any country. It determines the number of houses, schools, and hospitals; the size of the labor force; and the amount of food and water it is likely to need. The total population of Jamaica in July 2003 was an estimated 2.7 million, with an annual […]

History

Jamaica has a remarkable and dramatic history, one of merging peoples and cultures. The island's inhabitants enjoy a culture that is a blend of traditions from various groups that have come to the island over time. They include the native Taino Indians, the English colonizers, and Africans who were introduced to the Caribbean to perform […]

Economy

Chile has one the world's best performing economies. A measure of a country's economic performance is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP is the value of all goods and services produced by a country. From 1990 to 2000, Chile's GDP grew 5.2 percent annually. This was the highest rate of GDP growth among all […]

Government and Politics

hile has a democratic government that allows every adult the right to vote. Its laws apply to everyone. Its citizens have the right to receive fair trials, and they can meet and discuss freely their political and religious beliefs. As a democratic government, the nation educates its citizens, which enables them to make informed decisions […]

People and Culture

Geography and history formed the crucible from which Chile was born. In the twentieth century, the country survived dictatorships and social upheavals to become a model of democracy in Latin America. Today, the vitality of its people and culture heighten the world's respect for this small nation even more. POPULATION Chile's 15.7 million people are […]

Average Annual Temperatures of Coastal Locations

Physical Landscapes

Three major landform regions divide Chile: the Andes Mountains, the coast and islands, and the Central Valley. The regions run north to south and parallel to each other. The Andes region is an awesome mountain barrier. Its majestic peaks of spectacular height and bone-chilling temperatures define the country's eastern border. The nation's coast includes imposing […]

Cuba’s Economy

The Castro government transformed the Cuban economy from capitalism to Marxist-Leninist Socialism. The main element of Marxist-Leninist Socialism is the governments “nationalization of all means of production.” This phrase means that the government takes over ownership of all farms, factories, warehouses, railroads, banks, and so on. The government also sets all prices, wages, and salaries […]

Government and Politics

Spain did not create political units on Cuba until 1827. In that year, the Spanish began to govern the island through three loosely defined departments: Occidental (Western), Central (Central), and Oriente (Eastern). The departments were under the command of a captain general who lived in Havana. Each department had several towns. The towns had broad […]

People and Culture

Cuba has the largest population among Caribbean countries, nearly 11.5 million inhabitants. The island's population is highly urbanized, with 76 percent of the people living in cities. With so many people in cities, rural areas are sparsely settled. Like two poles of a magnet, Cuba's population is concentrated on opposite ends of the island. Thirty-eight […]

Huge mountains cover more than one-third of the total land area of this island nation. The remaining parts of the island are flat plains and rolling hills. Cuba is the principal island and is surrounded by four main groups of islands: the Colorados, the Sabana-Camagüey, the Jardines de la Reina, and the Canarreos. The nation’s highest point is the Pico Real del Turquino (6,578 feet or 2,005 meters), located in the Sierra Maestra mountains.

Physical Landscapes

Although we often speak of Cuba as one island, Cuba is actually an archipelago, or group of islands, whose total combined area is 42,803 square miles (110,860 square kilometers). Cuba is the largest island in this archipelago, making up 95 percent of the total land area of the island group. The second largest island, Isla […]

The Dominican Republic’s Economy

country's economy is the engine that fuels its daily life and determines the well-being of its citizens. Whether it's providing transportation systems or jobs and consumer products or public services, a country's economy has a significant influence on the daily activities of citizens and is the lifeblood of a country. Thus, the health of the […]

Government and Politics

Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city of the Dominican Republic. It has a history that stretches back more than 500 years to the time of brothers Christopher and Bartholomew Columbus. Bartholomew founded the settlement of Nueva Isabella (New Isabella) in 1496, which officially became Santo Domingo in 1498. Santo Domingo is the first […]

People and Culture

Nearly 10 million people call the Dominican Republic home. Most of them are of mixed European and African ancestry. Most Dominicans live in cities, although much of the country's rural landscape is densely packed. In this chapter you will learn about the Dominican people. You will get a glimpse of their demographics (demography is the […]

The Dominican Republic is home to sugar plantations, four major rivers, many lakes and lagoons, and five important mountain ranges. Although the climate year-round is tropical—earning it the nickname “the endless summer”—temperatures as low as 32ºF (0ºC) are possible in the mountains.

Physical Landscapes

The natural environment forms the foundation upon which all human societies depend for their survival. This is not to say that nature determines the way people live within a particular natural setting. To the contrary, a people's culture, or their way of life, is determined by human ingenuity—what they have learned and are able to […]

Franz Meyen and Vegetation Regions

Humboldt was generous in his support for young researchers and helped many at the start of their careers, but if he can be said to have had a favorite, that person was Franz Meyen (1804–40). When Humboldt first met him, Meyen was working as a physician. Humboldt secured for him the post of professor of […]

Adolf Engler and the Vegetation of the World

In 1924 the German botanist Adolf Engler (1844–1930) published Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien (Summary of plant families). In this work, Engler set out his own system of plant taxonomy. Many herbaria, field guides, and floras still use Engler's classification, and the 12th edition of this two-volume work, edited by H. Melchior and E. Werdermann, was published […]

Aristotle (384–322 b.c.e.) in his later years. The photograph is of a Roman marble bust that is a copy of a Greek original, which is now lost. (The Granger Collection)

Aristotle and His Natural History

Aristotle (384–322 b.c.e.) was a Greek philosopher who lived at a time when most people believed in a world governed by gods, demigods, and other supernatural beings. According to tradition, in the distant past these beings had made the plants and the stories about how they did so are woven into the Greek myths. It […]

The Aboriginals: The Oldest Culture

The Australian deserts also harbor one of the most remarkable, desertadapted cultures, the Australian aboriginals. They adapted to the harsh conditions and their long isolation with a culture sparing in the use of tools but rich in philosophy and cultural adjustments to desert conditions. Moreover, their long isolation from other human cultures has made them […]

Desertification in Africa

Great Animal Migrations

Any creatures that live in the Kalahari must therefore either survive without relying on easy access to surface water or migrate through the area during the times when the scarce rains fall. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Kalahari is the way in which it blends into the larger, surrounding stretch of arid grasslands, […]

Strange Animals Thrive in Harsh Conditions

Many of the most unique and specially adapted creatures of the Arabian Desert have already disappeared or cling to a rootlet of survival. One remarkable creature that has vanished from most of the desert is the ferocious honey badger, a 10-inch-long (250 mm), 25-pound (11 kg) mass of muscle and aggression also known as the […]

Animals Also Evolve Ingenuous Adaptations

The Sahara once had a broad, vital array of animal species, including elephants, lions, ostrich, and a host of other species. But many animals vanished as the climate shifted, the desert expanded, and human beings killed off the fragile survivors. For instance, a hunter killed the last known antelopelike addax in the northern Sahara in […]

Big Bend National Monument: Hard and Historical

This 2,865-square-mile (7,420 sq km) region in a bend of the Rio Grande exemplifies the austere terrain and the complex geological history of the lower-elevation areas of the Chihuahuan Desert. Lying in a great, down-dropped trough, the park features the typical basin and range topography of low flat basins surrounding sharply uplifted, isolated mountain ranges. […]

Grand Canyon Reveals the History of the Earth

The great gash of the Grand Canyon also provides perhaps the single most dramatic lesson in geology and the Earth's history on the planet. The Colorado River cut down through the leading edge of the uplifted Colorado Plateau in the past five million years as the same forces that created the Basin and Range Province […]

WORLD POPULATION

Population growth

Is it a rule of nature that the population keeps on increasing? It might seem so from the relentless graphs of world population that adorn most books on the subject, including this one. But this century's newspapers seem to contain more headlines about a dearth of people than about a surplus. The reason is that […]

PANGEA, 255 MILLION YEARS AGO

Reading history in rocks

All these rocks hold clues to the history of the Earth and, through many years of hard work by hammer-wielding geologists, this information has been painstakingly unlocked. In a saga of endeavour generally traced back to the work of William Smith in early-nineteenth-century England, the geological tale of the Earth has been assembled bed by […]

AUSTRALIAN CULTURE—THE NATIONAL OXYMORON?

Anybody who goes to an art gallery is a wanker, right? There are 3.6 million wankers in Australia. Only geeks go to libraries, so this country has 5.4 million geeks. Dance performances are for poofs and fag-hags, and now we know Australia has 1.6 million people like that. Outside of school projects, you wouldn't go […]

The Government and the Economy

NEW ZEALAND'S CONSTITUTION New Zealand's constitutional history can be traced back to 1840. Under the Treaty of Waitangi, the Maori people exchanged their sovereignty for the guarantees of the treaty and New Zealand became a British colony. New Zealand is today an independent state, a monarchy with a parliamentary government. Queen Elizabeth II has the […]

Poland’s Economy

The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent changes that swept Eastern Europe were seen as a very positive transition for Poland. The country was in position to open its economic system and follow the rules of a market economy. Previously, it had labored under a politically manipulated, centrally planned economy. Poland […]

Poland: Government and Politics

After striving for many years to be in charge of their own affairs, Poles managed to topple the Soviet-­supported authoritarian regime that ruled the country for several decades. In theory, Poland was an independent country pursuing its own destiny. In reality, its political leadership received instructions from Moscow. Puppet regimes often face popular discontent, and […]

Poland: People and Culture

The chapter on the people of Poland and their culture (way of life) serves as the main focus in the review of this modern world nation. To this point, we have covered the physical landscapes and historical geography of Poland. Here, the emphasis is on what people are doing and why, as well as the […]

Poland: Physical Landscapes

A country's physical environment can offer opportunities and challenges to its people. Poland's natural conditions are no exception. Nature provides the canvas upon which people paint their own unique cultural landscapes—­the human imprint on Earth's surface. People are guided by their particular needs, as well as by the financial and technological resources they command. The […]

Ireland’s Economy

Fado, fado, Ireland's economy was at the simplest and most basic level of development. The ancient Irish hunted the land, fished the lakes and streams, and foraged the forests in order to find the foods they needed to survive. Interestingly, they never turned to the sea as a major source of food. A huntinggathering (and […]

Government and Politics of Ireland

Fado, fado, the Celts ruled Ireland as a multitude of kingdoms, with one overall, high king. When the Anglo-Normans came to Ireland, they ruled the area within their own kingdoms, building castles throughout the land. During British colonization, the Irish had little control over their land. As the colonizer, the United Kingdom ruled the land […]

Irish People and Culture

Fado, fado, Ireland was populated by people from the Eurasian landmass. Racially, the Irish are linked to Western Europe and Scandinavia. The Celtic culture came to envelop Ireland during the years of Celtic domination. Saint Patrick and Christian missionaries brought the Catholic religion to Ireland. Vikings intermarried with the Irish resulting in some genetic changes. […]

Ireland: Culture History and Cultural Landscape

Fado, fado, with the end of the Ice Age, 12,000 years ago, the glaciers retreated. They left Ireland covered with glacial debris and tundra vegetation. It was a barren land, with limited varieties of plant and animal life. This is the setting in which Ireland's changing culture history and cultural landscape takes place. Over the […]

Ireland’s Physical Environment

Fado, fado, Ireland's geologic roots began with the formation of Western Europe. The island of Ireland today is a direct result of the earth-building forces that created Eurasia over two billion years ago. Over time, layers of sediment accumulated on the floor of ancient geologic seas, creating limestone. A mixture of this limestone and lava […]

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 […]

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: 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 […]

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: 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 […]

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: 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, […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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

Types of Climates World climates are generally divided into five large regions: tropical, dry, mid-latitude, high latitude, and highland. The regions are divided into smaller subregions that are described below. TROPICAL WET This subregion has little variation in temperature over the year—it is always hot, with an average temperature of 80°F. The days begin sunny […]

Global Wind Currents

Climate

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Nineteenth-century fishermen along the Peruvian coast called the event El Nino—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 […]

The United States’ Economy

With an annual gross national product (GNP) of about $13 trillion in 2006, the United States is the world's largest and most powerful economy by a wide margin. By any measure, the country is an economic giant. In fact, it is responsible for about 30 percent of all of the world's economic production and services! To place the country's economic […]

Government and Politics

Epluribus unum is perhaps the best-­known motto of the United States of America. Translated from Latin, it means “From many, one,” or “Out of many, one.” In working to achieve this goal, the nation's Founding Fathers and subsequent leaders faced a challenge of herculean dimensions. You have already learned that, from the very beginning, this land has been home to […]

People and Culture

These lines, part of a poem written by Emma Lazarus, appear on the Statue of Liberty. They offer a very appropriate introduction to this chapter on the American population. The United States has been and continues to be a grand human experiment conducted on a colossal scale. It has often been called a “country of immigrants,” people who arrived from […]

Physical Geography

Nature has blessed and in some ways cursed the United States. No country on Earth can match America's diverse physical conditions and the resulting natural landscapes. The United States holds the distinction of being the only country that has within its territory all of the world's climates and ecosystems (a combination of climate, natural vegetation and animal life, soils, […]

France’s Economy and Communications

France ranks fourth among countries in terms of its economy, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of around $1.5 trillion. Per-capita purchasing power is the equivalent of about U.S. $24,500 per year (compared with the U.S.'s $34,100 in 2002). AGRICULTURE France is an agriculturally favored country—60% of its land is arable and over half is cultivated—and produces prodigious quantities of […]

Population, Culture Regions, and Social Institutions

Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong,” goes the old saying, but there are now more than sixty million French citizens in metropolitan and overseas France. They account for 16% of the European Union's population and rank France twentieth among world countries. Approximately 75% of the country's population is urban, living in towns of 2,000 or more people. This is in […]

French History to 1830

A deep sense of the past is very much part of French character. Glorious monuments of that dramatic and creative past are revered treasures, the inheritance of the nation. Because of its respect for the past, France exceeds most other countries in its historic-preservation efforts. The history of any country, France included, is made up both of important individual events […]