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Introduction to Human Geography

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Introduction to Human Geography
Human geographers use geographic information technology such as that pictured above in order to study important trends.

What is human geography?

Human geography, a subfield of geography, is concerned with the interactions of humans and the environment. It seeks to explain the demographic trends, economic attributes, and political configuration of regions by considering both the physical and the cultural landscape. It is thus distinct from physical geography, which focuses exclusively on natural features.


About this textbook

This textbook aims to provide a simple, no-fear introduction to the discipline, presenting its evolution and explaining its major concepts while remaining free of jargon. It is aimed at the general reader and thus does not follow the AP® curriculum of the subject of the same name. The help of educators and students alike is requested.



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Preface - Human Geography as a Discipline

Important figures and theories in the field of human geography; development and evolution of human geography; techniques employed by geographers

Carl Ritter, a 19th century German geographer and proponent of the theory of environmental determinism and of the organic theory of the state.
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Chapter 1 - Methods and Challenges in Mapmaking Overview of the history of cartography; how to properly read maps; advantages and disadvantages of competing projections of the Earth; impact of technology
Gerardus Mercator's 1569 world map, whose mathematical principles continue to serve as the basis for the contemporary Mercator projection
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Chapter 2 - Studying Human Populations

Modern and historical demographic change in human societies; statistical models of development; epidemiology

The demographic transition model, which is used in demography to predict the developmental patterns of countries
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Chapter 3 - How People, Goods, and Ideas Spread

Introduction to cultural diffusion; mechanisms and types of cultural diffusion; migration and its effects

Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome were cultural hearths from which Western civilization derived many of its characteristics
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Chapter 4 - The Distribution of the Languages of the Earth

Evolution of major languages; language families; language as a source of conflict and/or unity; language policy; pidgin and creole languages; impact of geography

A map of the world's language families
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Chapter 5 - Major Belief Systems and Religions

The geographic distribution of beliefs systems and their adherents; universalizing and ethnic religions; religious conflict

Istanbul's Blue Mosque was constructed during the rule of Ahmed I, a 17th-century Ottoman emperor. Mosques such as this one serve as houses of worship for followers of Islam, the world's fastest-growing major religion
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Chapter 6 - How Is Our World Organized Spatially?

The political structure of Earth; types of states; development of nation-states; regionalization and globalization; supranationalism and internationalism in the modern world

1648's Peace of Westphalia marked the end of the Thirty Years' War and resulted in the adoption of a new principle of state sovereignty