Regional Geography 105

Nations and States

Nation - has common characteristics shared by a group of people

State - politically organized territory, with a permanent resident population, organized economy and infrastructure.

Nation-State possesses the above characteristics plus: a sense of unity by the population

Internal Nation Building Forces

Centripetal Forces: Unifying forces; binding forces within a state together.
Centrifugal Forces: Forces that tear a state apart.
Devolution: Process whereby regions within a state demand and gain political strength and autonomy at the expense of the central government.

External Nation Building Forces

Supranationalism: Separate nations join to become one nation.
Irredentism: Incorporation or aid by one country to an ethnic group in an adjacent country.

Importance of Europe

Why is Europe important?
Why is there a focus on Europe from a political, economic and historical perspective?
Due to: Agriculture, Technology, Diseases, Writing, and Geography

Relative Location
Centralized global location - distances to other parts of the inhabited world are relatively short.

Nearly surrounded by oceans and seas
Navigable rivers

Historical Geography of Europe

Changing states and nation-states.
Empires have formed; consolidate; then collapse.
European geography examined as a series of "unifications" and fragmentations.

Greek Civilization

European history, politics, philosophy, art and economics has been strongly influenced by two main groups - Ancient Greeks and Romans.
Ancient Greece - strong influences in philosophy, art, politics, and literature.
Modern science had its roots in Ancient Greece and the Middle East.

Roman Empire: 200 BC to 450 AD

It is recognized by many that the Roman adopted many of their cultural aspects from the Ancient Greeks - many similarities are seen in their art, architecture, religion and politics.
The Romans were excellent technicians - in other words they were very good at applying what they learned.
Beginnings of European infrastructure
Romans linked widely separated areas together with roads, waterways, aqueducts and communication networks.
Areal Functional Specialization - particular people in particular places concentrating on the production of particular goods.
In other words, people that were skilled in mining and metal works produced metal goods, while people that were skilled in animal husbandry raise livestock. The Roman infrastructure allowed good to flow where they were needed. Metal workers did not need to raise livestock for clothing and herdsmen did not need to be able to work metal.

Frankish Empire forms, 482-814 A.D.

Roman Empire falls. Dark Ages.
Not much happens in Europe in terms of development.
Isolation, and feudalism prevail.
Frankish Empire forms, 482-814 A.D., unifies a portion of central Europe.

Fragmentated Europe


Major changes in Europe due to the Agrarian, Industrial and Political Revolutions.
Feudalism fades.
Nation-States develop.

Von Thünen's Isolated State Model

1826 - Johann Von Thünen developed one of the first geographic models
Model - an idealized representation of reality - allows understanding of complex relationships by means of simplification.
Von Thünen wanted to develop an isolated state model to understand what an ideal state would look like and behave.
Five Parts:
Significance of this model:

European Union

European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), Apr. 1951.
European Economic Community (EEC), March 1957.
European Community (EC), July, 1967.
European Union (EU), Feb. 1992. (27 current member states)

European Union

What are the aims and goals of the European Union?

How does EU development fit into the larger pattern that is seen in European development?
How does it differ?