01 - Geography

01 - Geography - Geography Introduction Contribution of...

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Geography Introduction Contribution of Ancient Greeks The ancient Greeks were one the first cultures to systematically describe features of the physical environment (landscapes, animals, plants, etc.) and the human environment (cultures, cities, languages, etc.). The primary question asked by the ancient Greeks was WHERE? Excellent examples of ancient Greek geography is the book The Histories by Herodotus and The Geography by Ptolemy. Geography - from two Greek words Geo - earth Graphos - to write about or describe Ancient Greek contribution to development of geography emphasized - describing the world - viewing the world from a spatial perspective - holistic recognition of the interdependence of the elements of the world Middle Ages Much of the geographic knowledge accumulated by the ancient Greeks was unknown to many people in Europe during the Middle Ages. Muslim scholars living in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) preserved many of the ancient Greek texts. By coming in contact with various Muslim groups during the Middle Ages, the Europeans "rediscovered" the geographic knowledge of the Greeks. Renaissance The rediscovery of Greek geographic knowledge helped fuel European interest in exploring new territory. European contribution to geographic knowledge during the Renaissance was in cartography (map-making). As Europeans discovered and explored new lands, they contributed to geographic knowledge by producing more accurate maps of places throughout the world. Modern Since the 1800's, geography has emerged as an important academic discipline. Geography was first established as an academic discipline in European universities in the mid-1800's and in American universities in the 1880's. Likewise, many societies and associations were formed in the late 1800's and early 1900's throughout the world. Excellent examples include the Royal Geographical Society , the National Geographic Society , and the Association of American Geographers .
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Modern Geography Background Today, modern geography continues the tradition first started by the Ancient Greeks. Today, geographers are still concerned with answering the important question of WHERE? However, the difference between modern geography and that of the ancient Greeks is a modern geographer is also concerned with asking WHY? or HOW? or WHEN? in addition to WHERE? For example, in addition to wanting to know where most of the people in the United States live, geographers would also be curious about why people are concentrated in certain places in the United States or how people came to be concentrated in those areas. Definition There are many definitions of modern geography that emphasize the three components initiated by the ancient Greeks (describing the world, viewing the world from a spatial perspective, and the holistic recognition of the interdependence of the elements of the world). The following are three definitions that encompass everything in the realm of modern
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course SOC 321 taught by Professor Reiter during the Fall '08 term at Ohio State.

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01 - Geography - Geography Introduction Contribution of...

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