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Physical Geography, History of

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

Physical geography has a history that spans several thousand years, which is often intertwined with developments in geography's other major field of study, human geography. Some of the first applications of knowledge involving physical geography occurred more than 4,000 yrs. (years) ago. The main purpose of these early investigations was to map the natural landscape and human settlements observed as explorers traveled to new lands. At this time, the Chinese, Egyptian, and Phoenician civilizations were beginning to explore the spaces and places within and around their homelands. The earliest evidence of such explorations comes from the archaeological discovery of a Babylonian clay tablet map that dates back to 2300 BC.

Early Greeks and Romans

The early Greeks were the first civilization to practice a form of physical ...

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