The Effects of Geography on Nations

Regents Essay 2

The geography of the world greatly affected the development of nations and regions.   Geographic features including deserts, monsoons, and mountains have impacted cultural diffusion around the world.   As a geographic barrier and obstacle, mountains forced communities to progress independently, both hindering and facilitating cultural diffusion, by isolating communities limiting their communications with the outside world, but allowing them to create their own new ideas.   Rivers have historically been an important factor in cultural diffusion.   Many civilizations began as river valley communities, due to its natural resources that provided plentiful food and water, and it’s easy access to trade and transport.
The mountainous geography of Greece has affected cultural diffusion throughout it’s history.   What little Greek land wasn’t covered in water, was covered in rocky mountains with unfertile soils scorched by the sun.   This land also made the development of an organized infrastructure a difficult task.   The Greeks became known as great fishermen and sailors because they were forced to use the seas as their main source for food and trade.   As the Greeks traveled to across the seas to unknown countries and places seeking trade, they picked up on new ideas and technologies, and giving some of their own to those they traded with.   On the other hand, the mountains acted as a physical boundary limiting their communication with the rest of the country, ergo the Greek city-states and had to rely on their own community to support themselves.   Each city-state developed independently, with their own government, political systems and culture, making Greece, in its early days, unique because it was a disunified empire. Two examples of this difference in culture were Athens and Sparta, Spartan life was simple and mainly focused on war and obedience, while many would call Athenian life a “creative wonderland,” where education was a priority.