Geography is a major factor in the decision of where a group of people decide to settle down. Geography effects everything from the political decisions of the society to the economy of it. It even impacts the social development of the members of the region. Two examples of regions that were affected greatly by their geography is Japan and Latin America.
Japan is a chain of islands in the pacific ocean off the coast of Asia. It is oftenly referred to as a archipelago. Its four main islands were Hokkaido in the north, Honshu in the center and Kyushu and Shikkoku in the southwest. The islands were very mountainous and part of the ring of fire, which is a group of islands in the Pacific ocean that are prone to earthquakes and volcanoes. Sometimes the earthquakes cause fatal tidal waves which sweep over the islands leaving a path of destruction. They are called tsunamis.
Due to the mountainous terrain of the islands, the land was very difficult to farm. Although it was hard, they did come up with a way to farm. It was called terrace farming, and was different levels on which crops were planted on. Terrace farming however could not supply enough crops so they needed a different means of food production so they turned towards the sea. The majority of the population has always lived in river valleys or along the coast. The mountains however have also acted as a barrier to political unity. The Japanese did not only use the sea as a source of food, but for transportation as well. Like the mountains the sea isolated Japan from the rest of the world and also acted as protection from invasion. Because of the volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis they developed a great respect for the forces of nature. That respect became a religion known as Shintoism. The religion was based on giving all living and non-living things spirits.
Another region that is greatly affected by its geography is Mesoamerica. Mesoamerica is made up of many different climates and land forms, including, woodlands, fertile plains, mountain ranges and large rain forests. After it was settled by hunters in Asia that followed their game into America, they soon started to cultivate crops. They also started to take animals as pets instead of just hunting them. Some of the animals that were domesticated were llamas, who were valued for their wool. The farmers in Mexico began to harvest a widespread variety of crops including, corn, beans, peppers, and tomatoes. Because of this Agricultural revolution the nomadic hunters started to settle down in villages. Some of the villages even grew into major cities. Although there were many farming villages it always wasn’t that easy. Much of the land was tropical rain forest so they used a method called slash and burn. They would slash down the trees and burn the land flat so it would be level and ready for farming. They also had chinampas, which were floating gardens. They were constructed of layers of mud and vegetation within the shallow fresh water lakes. Another main impact of their geography was the fact that like Japan they to were isolated from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. This caused them to have a very high level of regionalism. Also because of their isolation they did not take part in the technological advances that the rest of the world was experiencing. They remained in the stone age for many years. It is amazing however that large stone heads were carved to symbolize gods without the use of the metal tools.
I have now proven that geography is the biggest factor in deciding where a group of people settle down. It affects the political, economic and social progress of the society. Because of its huge impact, people have adapted to their natural surroundings throughout time, and will continue to do so for the rest of time.