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Human Geography, History of

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Human geography has a long and complex history stretching into prehistory. At times, the evolution of human geography was closely intertwined with that of cartography and physical and environmental geography, each of which also has its own, distinct history. Every society creates its own geography, both in the sense of an ontology—that is, as material landscapes and spatial distributions—and in the sense of an epistemology—that is, as a worldview of the earth, the meaning of near and far, and how space and place reflect and affect identities. As long as there have been people, there have been human geographies. Australian Aborigines, for example, used so-called song lines to navigate the desert. The Sumerians developed clay maps of their cities, and the Polynesians crossed the Pacific ...

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