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Geography and the Development/Diffusion of Human Society

Western Expansion during the nineteenth century was an important determinant of geographic distribution and economic activity in the United States today. Shelter, food, favorable weather, and safety are a few of the reasons why man has been on the move since the beginning of time. Because of these unavoidable facts people have moved from location to location in search of a better life. Two of the most environmental and geographical factors to change the environmental stability of the United States were rivers and gold. People used rivers to ship goods, and as a means for a food source.

Homes became located around river ways, and agricultural industries settled next to river ways for efficient irrigation systems. People still settle quite close to bodies of water not only for business, but also because of the aesthetics and leisurely environment. This has caused urban sprawl and increases in pollution in these areas, including overfishing and eutrophication. San Francisco was a small town of a few hundred people in 1840, but by 1850 it was a huge city whose economy was injected with gold money. This rapid growth and development was brought on by an accidental discovery by James Marshall.

(Beilharz, 2000) Marshall had been working on a lumber mill when he made his discovery. Early efforts were made in the beginning to keep the discovery quiet, but they soon failed and lead way to one of the single largest migration of American’s across the continent. Word quickly spread through California, the rest of America and eventually the world and people flocked to California to make their fortune. The population increased by 86,000 in 2 years, according to some estimates. Being that most of these wealth seekers left toward their goal in the year 1849, they were referred to as “49ers.

” (Beilharz, 2000) Mesopotamia means “land between the waters”, because this civilization is located between the Tigris River and Euphrates River. (Mesopotamia, 2005) The geographical location of Mesopotamia was very important to its success. Not only was their fertile land caused because of the rivers, but the two rivers provided many resources such as food, transportation, and plants. The rivers are the reason that people were able to survive in the land of Mesopotamia. The rivers were an essential part of the development of a civilization.

The rivers were in the middle of deserts and were surrounded by rough land. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers were extremely important to the survival of people. Cultural diffusion is the exchanging and adaptation of ideas amongst people of the world. It is a constant force that allows us to accept and modify an idea to mold into our own world. Throughout great civilizations of history, the idea of cultural diffusion has spread and continues to spread in present time. Because Mesopotamia is so centrally located it is constantly surrounded by other cultural charge.

Different languages, ethnicities, and material culture floated around the Near East and were constantly influencing and changing the people of Mesopotamia. (Mesopotamia, 2005) People first began to settle and farm in southern Mesopotamia were called the Sumerians, The Sumerians mixed with the local farmers, and their language became dominant in the region. No one knows for sure where the Sumerians came from. Good soil was the advantage that attracted these settlers to the flat, swampy land of Sumer. Sumer’s city-states grew prosperous from the surplus food produced on their farms.

These surpluses allowed Sumerians to increase long-distance trade, exchanging the extra food and other goods for items they needed but did not have. As their population and trade expanded, the Sumerians came into contact with other peoples, and their ideas—such as living in cities—spread. By 2500 B. C. , new cities were arising all over the Fertile Crescent. So, too, did the Sumerians absorb ideas such as religious beliefs from neighboring cultures. (City States, 2002) Sumerian beliefs and legends greatly influenced other ancient cultures, including the Hebrews and the Greeks.

During 3,000 years of Mesopotamian civilization, each century gave birth to the next. Thus, classical Sumerian civilization influenced that of the Akkadians. The similarity of certain themes in literature and the Old Testament, such as the story of the Flood or the motif of the righteous sufferer, is due to such early contacts and not to direct borrowing. (Green, 2008) REFERENCES Beilharz A. The California Gold Rush of 1849 [Internet]. 2000 [cited 2011 Jan 1]. Available from: http://www. coloma. com/gold/gold-rush. php Mesopotamia [Internet]. 2005 [cited 2011 Jan 7]. Available from: http://www.

crystalinks. com/mesopotamia. html Science News: What Caused Westward Expansion in the United States [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2011 Jan 8]. Available from: http://www. sciencedaily. com/releases/2008/02/080228150402. htm Kishlansky,M. , Geary,P. , O’Brien,P. , Civilization in the West, 7th edition. Pearson Education, Inc. 2008 City-States in Mesopotamia [Internet]. 2002 [cited 2011 Jan 8]. Available from: http://mmoloneyiths. com/text/2-1-meso+hammur. pdf Green, S. Cultural Diffusion [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2011 Jan 8]. Available from: http://www. mightystudents. com/essay/cultural. diffusion. essay. 10410

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