Introduction to Geography

The study of an area of the earth’s surface and the human and physical processes that shape it
inter-regional linkages
The connections between distant regions. These linkages can include, but are not limited to environmental, technological, economical, social, and political factors.
contiguous region
Regions that are adjacent to one another.
*** Due to economic, technological, social, and political changes regions widely separated in space can now have interdependent economic relationships that used to be possible only between close neighbors or contiguous regions.
Unit of the earth’s surface that contains distinct patterns of physical features or human activities. Way of subdividing a larger geographic division along logical lines in order to understand it better and in more detail.
human geography
various aspects of human life that create distinctive landscapes and regions (e.g. culture, economy, politics, history)
The various ways of showing the spherical surface of the earth on a flat piece of paper. ***All maps must solve this problem
spatial analysis
study of how people, objects, or ideas are or are not related to one another across space
physical geography
study of the earth’s physical processes to learn how they work and how they are affected by humans and in turn affect humans (e.g. landforms, climate, hydrology)
Lines of latitude/longitude enable us to establish a position on the map relative to other points on the globe. Longitude lines, or meridians, run pole to pole, and latitude lines, or parallels, run parallel to the equator
the idea of taking over human and natural resources of often distant places in order to produce wealth. This idea can be seen evident in many periods in human history, the most recent being the westward expansion of the U.S.
Traits of a Region
(There are 5)
1. Regions have distinct environment or cultural patterns
2. Regions are made by people to define spaces for varying purposes
3. No two regions are necessarily described by the same sets of indicators
4. Regions vary greatly in size (scale)
5. Regions’ boundaries are unclear and hard to agree upon
Pangaea Hypothesis “all lands”
first proposed by geophysicist Alfred Wegener in 1912. The belief that all continents were once joined together in a super continent.
Plate Tectonics
the scientific theory that the earth’s surface is composed of large plates that float on top of an underlying layer of molten rock; the movement and interaction of the plates create many of the large features of the earth’s surface, particularly mountains
the physical or chemical decomposition of rocks by sun, rain, snow, wind, ice and the effects of life-forms
the long-term balance of temperature and precipitation that characteristically prevails in a particular region
the short-term (day-to-day) expression of climate so to speak
air pressure
the force exerted by a column of air on a square foot of surface
orographic rainfall
rainfall produced when a moving moist air mass encounters a mountain range, rises, cools, and release condensed moisture that falls as rain
rain shadow
the dry side of a mountain range, facing away from the prevailing winds
all the ideas, materials, and institutions that people have invented to use to live on earth that are not directly part of our biological inheritance
culture group
a group of people who share a particular set of beliefs, a way of life, a technology, and usually a place
cultural identity
a sense of personal affinity with a particular culture group
formal institutions
associations such as official religious organizations; local, state, and national governments; nongovernmental organizations; and specific businesses and corporations
informal institutions
ordinary or casual associations, such as the family or a community
all the associations, formal and informal, that help people get along together
cultural markers
a characteristic that helps to define a certain culture group
the forum in which people make their living including the spatial, social and political aspects of how resources are recognized, extracted, exchanged, transformed, and reallocated
extractive resource
a resources such as mineral ores, timber, or plants that must be mined from the earth’s surface or grown from its soil
non-material resource
skills and knowledge of economic value
formal economy
all aspects of the economy that take place in official channels
informal economy
all aspects of the economy that take place outside official channels
the growth of inter-regional and worldwide linkages and the changes they are bringing about
global economy
the worldwide system in which goods, services, and labor are exchanged
industrial revolution
a series of inventions, innovations and ideas that allowed manufacturing to be mechanized
European colonialism
the practice of taking over the human and natural resources of often distant places to produce wealth for Europe
free trade
the movement of goods and capital without government restrictions
barriers to free trade
(there are 3)
1. tariffs
2. import quotas
3. capital controls
a tax imposed by a country on imported goods, usually intended to protect industries within that country
import quota
a limit on the amount of a given item that may be imported into a country over a given period of time
capital control (capitalists)
usually a wealthy minority that owns the majority of factories, farms, businesses, and other means of production
regional trade blocks
an association of neighboring countries that agreed to lower trade barriers for one another
World Bank
a global lending institution that makes loans to countries that need money to pay for development projects
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
a financial institution funded by the developed nations to help developing countries reorganize, formalize, and develop their economies
structural adjustment policies (SAPs)
policies that require economic reorganization toward less government involvement in industry, agriculture, and social services; sometimes imposed by the World Bank and the IMF as conditions for receiving loans
fair trade
trade that values equity throughout the international trade system; now proposed as an alternative to free trade
gross domestic product (GDP)
the market value of all goods and services produced by workers and capital within a particular country’s borders and within a given year
GDP per capita
the market value of all goods and services produced by workers and capital within a particular country’s borders and within a given year divided by the number of people in the country
Human Development Index (HDI)
set up by the United Nation to consider real income, which takes into account what people can buy with what they earn, as well as data on life expectancy at birth and on educational attainment
Gender Development Index (GDI)
set up by the United Nations that looks at whether countries make basic literacy, health care, and access to income available to both women and men
Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM)
set up by the United Nations to score and rank countries according to how well they enable participation by women in the political and economic life of the country
rate of natural increase (growth rate)
the rate of population growth measured as the excess of births over deaths per 1000 individuals per year without regard for the effects of migration
population pyramid
a graph that depicts the age and gender structures of a country. Reveals age and gender distributions and also shows subtle gender differences within populations
subsistence economy
circumstances in which a family produces most of its own food, clothing, and shelter
cash economy
an economic system in which the necessities of life are purchased with monetary currency
sustainable development
improvement of standards of living in ways that will not jeopardize those of future generations

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