Maps and Civilization by bjBcQ3lq


									Maps and Civilization

  What maps can tell us about the
 development of human civilization.
Physical Geography

Physical geography is all about the “where” and
the “why” of the natural world. Geographers
study the spatial distribution of natural
phenomena and the interaction of humans with
the natural world.

Geographers ask four major questions:
    - Where is it?
    - Why is it there?
    - How did it get there?
    - How does it interact with other things?
   Important Physical
• Volcano – an opening in Earth’s crust where lava, ash, and
  gases erupt.
  Volcano sites contain very fertile soil, for example, Japan, Italy, and Mexico.
  Volcanoes tend to explode.
• Mountain – an area of rugged land that generally rises
  higher than 2,000 ft.
  Mountains are great protection from attacks, but hinder trade, food sources, and
• Forest – an area of densely wooded area
  Forests provide timber (building materials) and food (plant and animal), but have
  limited room for expansion and provide a home for predators as well as insect-
  born diseases.
• River – a natural flow of water that runs through the land
  Rivers provide food (fish, etc.) , fresh water, easy transportation, but rivers tend to
  flood and are easy to pollute.
   Important Physical
• Desert – an extremely dry area with little water and few
  Deserts provide protection (invaders, etc.) and contain oases (fertile soil and fresh
  water). Deserts are extremely arid and oases can be difficult to find (little food
  and fresh water).
• Jungle – land densely overgrown with tropical vegetation
  Jungles contain massive amounts of resources, access to fresh water, and are good
  protection. Jungles contain numerous predatory animals, diseases, and lack of
  expansion area. Maintaining structures and civilization can be very difficult in
  the jungle.
• Coastline – an area of land near the ocean
  Coastlines provide easy expansion, trade opportunities, and food sources.
  Coastlines may or may NOT provide fresh water (mostly salt), are home to
  predatory animals, and are at risk for natural disasters (hurricanes and
• Tundra – vast treeless plain in which only the top few
  inches of ground thaw in summer
  Tundras are disease-free, have plenty of room for expansion, and provide
  protection from invaders. They provide limited access to food, fresh water, and
Which sites were best able
to support large scale
population development?
 Cultural Geography
• Historians ask the same question when
  looking at civilizations.
• They look at seven elements when
  analyzing a civilization.
  –   Religion
  –   Economics                        Respect is an
  –   Society / social structure     acronym that is
  –   Politics                             helpful to
  –   Education                       remember the
  –   Culture                      seven elements of
  –   Technology                       a civilization.
 Religion is defined as the belief in and worship of
  a god or gods
   Basically, a set of beliefs that explain life
 Generally , religions are described as being
  polytheistic or monotheistic.
   Polytheistic religions = the worship of many
    gods/goddesses such as in Greek, Roman, and Norse
   Monotheistic religions = the worship of one god or
    goddess such as in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
 Other religious traditions include nature worship
  (the Druids of the British Isles) and animism (the
  belief that souls/spirits exist in animals as well as
  Religion Question

• What is religion?
• Why might religion be
  important for a
  civilization to develop?
 Economics is a study of the production, distribution, and
  consumption of goods and services.
   Basically, how we make goods, how we decide who gets the
    goods, and how we consume goods.
 Many early civilizations are characterized as traditional
  economies, meaning that traditions and customs are the
  deciders of economic decisions.
   For example, if your father was a farmer, you will be a farmer,
    and your children will be farmers/marry farmers.
 To be classified as a civilization, a settlement must have
  evidence of specialized jobs. Rather than growing your
  own food, protecting your own land, and educating your
  own family, you would specialize in one area. Civilizations
  have citizens that specialize in food production, education,
  warfare, art, music, etc.
 Economic Question
How could better farming
 techniques lead to specialized
Why might specialized jobs
 such as weavers and soldiers
 be a requirement for
• Human societies are characterized by patterns
  of relationships between individuals sharing a
  distinctive culture and institutions.
• For example, certain foods and artistic
  techniques can group people into one society.
• Basically, a group of people living and working
  together, with some unifying characteristics.
  Also, varying levels of social status within the
  – The workers, the middle class, the elites, etc.
  Society Question

• Do we have social classes
  in the US today?
• If so, what kinds of social
  classes and societies exist?
• Politics is defined as the process through
  which groups of people make collective
  decisions. It is generally associated with
• Basically, a civilization must have some
  way of governing itself and making
• It can be one person chosen to make all
  decisions (a dictator or an absolute
  monarch), a small group of people (usually
  the elites), or a large group (a democracy).
  Politics Question
• What is the most efficient
  way of governing a
• What is the most equitable
  way of governing a
• Education is any experience that has a
  formative effect on the mind, the character,
  or the physical ability of a person.
• It can be both informal education (such as
  learning to speak a primary language,
  learning how to react in social situations)
  and formal education (institutionalized
  schooling, mentoring programs, etc.)
• Civilizations must pass knowledge and
  learning from one generation to the
 Education Question

• From what types of education
  (both formal and informal)
  have you benefited?
• Which is of more benefit,
  formal or informal education?
• Culture is defined as an integrated pattern
  of human knowledge, belief, and behavior
  that depends upon the capacity for
  symbolic thought and social learning.
• In other words, it depends on creative
  thought and draws upon the human
• Culture generally refers to language,
  food, art, music, drama, religion, etc.
  Culture Question
• What is the most important part
  of culture (language, cuisine,
  art, music, philosophy, etc.)?
• How would you define your
  culture, or that of the US?
• Which do you think Ms. Carroll
  thinks is the most important?
• Homo sapiens had language,
      – so they could exchange complex ideas with
        each other.
      – and they could store and add to the ideas of
        previous generations.
• Because they swapped ideas, they kept finding
      – new ways of doing things and

      – new ways of living.                       Ideas

Language             Shared


               Language made
         collective learning possible.
• The stores of knowledge
  and skills humans built up   It is what human
                               history is about!
  are called “culture.”
• No other animal can store
  and accumulate                             It is what
                                             makes us
  knowledge and skills in                     special!
  this way.
• We call this ability
  “collective learning.”

• Technology is defined as the sum of the
  ways in which social groups provide
  themselves with the material objects of
  their civilization.
• Technology is both knowledge and
  tools. It is how a civilization discovers
  or invents what is needed for survival.
 Technology Question
• Which of the following is technology?
   – Fire
   – Wheel
   – Hammer
   – Computer
   – Tractor
   – Shovel
• What basic tools and technology are needed
  for survival?
Maps show physical geography,
but often contain the elements
of the civilization that created
   Instinctive Habit
• Humans instinctively map their
  surroundings. It’s a necessary skill. A
  skill that has protected us since we lived
  in caves, huddling around fire for
  warmth, worried about where nearby
  predators called home. It helped us to
  feed ourselves as we began gathering
  into groups, wanting to keep track of
  where the best fruits and nuts could be
     The First Map
• No one knows when the first map was
• The first map was probably a mental
  image used by some beings to organize
  the space in which they lived.
• “Mapmaking is a very human story of
  heroics and everyday routine, of
  personal and national rivalries, of
  influential mistakes and brilliant
  insights, of technological innovations
  and a passion to explore and understand
  Earth and the universe.”
              John Noble Wilford from The Mapmakers
    From imagination
        to reality
• Those same beings may have used
  sounds and gestures to convey spatial
  information about the local environment
  to others.
• Eventually, using a stick to draw a
  picture in sand that has long since been
  erased, early humankind may have
  drawn a likeness of these mental and
  oral maps.
       1000 B.C.E.
• The earliest evidence of mapping comes
  from the Middle East. These ancient
  Babylonian clay tablets depict the earth
  as a flat circular disk.
Ancient Chinese Maps
In ancient times, Chinese cartography was more
advanced than anyone else’s. Their maps were accurate
and detailed compared to other ancient maps.
200 B.C.E.
The Greeks understood that the earth was a
sphere. Eratosthenes accurately calculated
the circumference of the earth using angle
150 C.E.
Ptolemy defined in Geography the elements and form of
scientific cartography. In spite of his errors (he maintained
that the sun revolved around the earth and calculated the
earth as 3/4 its actual size), Ptolemy was far ahead of his time
on how scientific research should be conducted. He proposed
a system of projections and coordinate systems that are still
used today.
Middle Ages
European maps incorporated religion with map making.
Cosmas exemplified this concept, incorporating religious
themes and references into many of his maps. This map even
has the Tree of Life in the east.

In contrast, Arab maps advanced the earlier Greek practices.
Al-Idrisi designed a still-famous world map.
         16th century
Mercator created a map--the Mercator
Projection--that allowed mariners to sail to
their destinations by following a fixed rule
called a rhumb line.
17th century
Sir Isaac Newton postulated that, due to the
centrifugal force of the spinning earth, strongest at
its equator, the earth bulges at the equator and
flattens at the poles. The earth is not a true sphere,
but a spheroid.
19th century
Europeans implemented the metric system which
introduced a simpler and more universal language for map
scale. The Greenwich prime meridian was established.
20th century
Aerial photographs, computers, electronic distance-measuring
instruments, navigation systems, remote sensing, and
applications of space science create new extensions of
cartography's reach.
"The character and technology of mapmaking may have
changed over the centuries,...but the potential of maps has
not. Maps embody a perspective of that which is known
and a perception of that which may be worth knowing.“

John Noble Wilford from The Mapmakers
"The uses of maps in human
communication continually
increase and diversify, reflecting
the range of interests, knowledge,
and aspirations.“

John Noble Wilford from The Mapmakers

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