It (historical geography) is a study of the historical present; the geographer has to try and put himself back into the present that existed, let us say, one thousand or two thousand years ago; he has got to try and think of the geography of that time complete; he has to try and restore it.
SIR H. J. MACKINDER.
ALTHOUGH the studies of geography and history are generally recognized as cognate and indeed, as Dr. Heylyn put it, are threatened, if parted, with certain shipwreck, British educational practice has always separated them sharply. In writing, as in teaching, each study has been usually conceived as a separate field, and their common borderland remains relatively unploughed. Yet both the geographer and the historian are well aware that these two studies are inter-related, and that each can, and in certain problems must, seek illumination from the other.
On the one hand, the historian, in his attempts to explain the location of past events, contrasts in agrarian systems, the migrations of peoples, the origin and growth of cities, military and naval strategy and the means of communication and transport from place to place, encounters problems to the solution of which knowledge of the geographical background is indispensable. On the other hand, the geographer, concerned as he is primarily with the transient present, finds himself continually faced with questions to which history holds the solution.
It is not surprising, therefore, that in our universities several specialist studies have sprung up to investigate the inter-relations of geography and history. Two of these investi-