How Geography Influences an Area's Economy

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Part 1: Geography Rules

To a great extent, the geography of a settlement determines what kind of industry grows in that settlement. Simply put, if you live on a river or the shore of an ocean, you're probably going to own a fish market or a trading company or something that uses the natural resource right under your nose. If you live next to an area that has a lot of coal deposits, you're probably going to work in a coal mine or in an industry that supports coal mining.

History is full of examples of this:

  • The Egyptians used the Nile River to ship their goods to other civilizations and, in turn, to receive goods from those other civilizations.
  • The Phoenician colonies were mostly on the Mediterranean Sea, and the Phoenicians became traders, sailing all across the Sea and around its coastal areas.
  • Colonial expansion in the Pacific Ocean was a mad dash to capture the bounty of the Spice Islands, among others.

Why is this important? It's a lot easier for people who live next to the ocean to catch and sell fish than it is for people who live a long way from a water source. This sounds silly, but it is merely an example of taking advantage of what Nature gives you.

Why does a large part of the oil shipments come from the Middle East? Because that's where a large part of the oil deposits are. Most people today need oil for something. The most common use is probably to power cars and trucks and buses. But people who live nowhere near areas of oil deposits must depend on other people to send that oil and gasoline around the world, so everyone who needs it can get it.

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