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Geography: Its Nature and Function

THE DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER OF GEOGRAPHY

GEOGRAPHY IS THE physical-social science which describes, maps, and seeks to explain the interrelations between man and his physical environment. On the one hand, it deals with the natural setting or physical environment in which man lives. Some of the elements of the physical environment are the surface or topography of the earth, soil, rocks and minerals, climate, land and water bodies, native plant and animal life, and location on the earth's surface. On the other hand, geography deals with man's occupation, his religion, art, science, music, literature, types of communities, his means of transportation and communication, and other elements resulting from man's efforts to utilize the materials of his physical environment.

These two sets of elements, the physical and cultural, are interrelated, and the interpretation of that interrelationship gives distinctive character to the study of geography.

This concept of geography may be illustrated by a specific example of how a people have adjusted their ways of living to the kind of country in which they live.

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The Teaching of Geography
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