Impact of Geography

Throughout history, geography has had an impact on the development of nations and regions. Geographic features that which have shaped the world include mountains, monsoons, rivers, coastlines, location, as well as many others. Three countries whose development were majorly affected by geographic features are Mali, Japan, and Greece.

One geographic feature which shaped the country of Mali is it’s location. Mali is located on the east coast of the African continent, and is situated between the southern gold mines, and the northern salt mines. Under the rule of Mansa Musa, Mali gained control of the trade routes to and from these mines, and the country also extended it’s borders to the Atlantic Ocean. They then engaged in trade with sea traders from Asia, and Europe, exchanging goods such as cloths, rugs, metals, and coral. With this cultural diffusion, a blending of African and Arabic languages resulted in the creation of the trade language, Housa. Mansa Musa’s strong faith in Islam prompted him to build mosques, as well as schools. The capital of Mali, Timbuktu, quickly became a large center for the Muslim community, and it continues to be today.

The country of Greece was largely affected in its development by its irregular coastline. This geographic feature provides many harbors and coves. It also inhabits sea life. This provides many of the people with a livelihood. People began to embark on sea trade and would exchange goods such as olives, and art. The sea also provided the Greeks a way to invade neighboring lands, and increase the size of it’s empire. Various cultures were thus exchanged, creating the present-day culture of Greece.

A geographic feature which has had a major impact on the development of Japan is it’s natural resources. Japan’s 35,000 plus islands lack natural resources. To make the most of what they possessed, the Japanese became self-sufficient, and adopted a feudal society. Every member of this society was dependent upon each other. The Japanese isolated themselves from other nations in the early 1630’s, concerned with the threat of European invasions. In 1853, the U.S. sent Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan to open the nation to trade with western countries. Soon after that, Britain, Russia, and Holland negotiated similar treaties, allowing for trade with the Japanese. The Japanese people were angered by the decision of the governing body of the country, the Tokugawa shogunate, and they were overthrown. In 1868, Emperor Mutsushito took power. To become more like western countries, he created a written constitution, industrialized, and adopted a simple policy: to prevent being taken over by western empires, the Japanese themselves would have to become imperialistic. In 1894, Japan attacked China, beginning the Sino-Japanese War. The main purpose of this conflict was to gain land, and it’s natural resources.

These three countries are just mere examples of the many ways that geography has affected global development. In conclusion, throughout history, geography has had an impact on the development of nations and regions.

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