Geography Affects Culture, Language, Religion, and Technology
One of the many ways that geography affects a civilization is the connection between one land to another, for example, Europeansacquirednew technology from the Mongols through the Silk Road. The Mongols were savage but purposefulinnovatorsthat used cruel means to spread and share ideas to many different civilizations. One of the ways they did this was by making trading and traveling easier and safer. They controlled the Silk Road, a safe trade route that connected Europe and Asia.During the time of the Mongols, Asia was a thriving civilization that produced and invented a lot of helpful technology. On the other side, Europe was in the Dark Ages. Life there was extremely violent and especially isolated. Due to the Silk Road Europe was able to safely trade and with the rest of Asia. The Europeans acquired many necessities through the Silk Road. The Europeans brought back new knowledge and technology, such as, printing, firearms, the compass, and and the abacus. Many of these inventions improved Europe's technology and helped them go from the Dark Ages to one of the best civilizations in the world.
The way in which geography affects culture, which includes language, religion, and technology, is known as cultural geography or cultural diffusion. This website gives an overview of this idea:http://geography.about.com/od/culturalgeography/a/culturalovervie.htm
Geography Impedes and Encourages Exploration
As a result of the location of the Incan Empire in Peru, they were isolated from trading and traveling to the outside world. The closest civilization to them was the Aztec Empire, just North of them in Mexico. There is one main theory on why the Incans could not come in contact with the Aztecs. This theory is because that it is harder to travel from North to South rather than from East to West. Going from North to South the day lengths are changing along with the climate, making it harder to travel from the South, where the Incans were, to the North where the Aztecs where. Because the Incans couldn't reach the Aztec Empire it left them without trade. Without access to trade the Incans had to rely on their own technology and inventions to continue advancing. This worked fine until the Europeans came to south America to explore. When they ran into the Incan Empire the were easily defeated despite having a less people. The reason for this is because the Europeans were a more technologically advanced civilization. As a result of their geography they were able to trade with the Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. As stated in the above paragraph access to trade affects a civilizations culture, technology, religion, and language. Europe was located where there was easy access to trade routes leading west. This is an example of how it is easier to trade from East to West. This is the opposite of why it is hard to travel from North to South. The climate stays the same along with the day lengths. This made it easier for Europe to explore Asia, which eventually led to Spain and Portugal starting many explorations at sea. This is how they made it to South America and to defeating the Incans because theirgeographiclocation led them to many helpfultechnologicaladvancements.
The area on the top that is shaded grey is the Aztec Empire in Mexico. The area on the bottom that is shaded grey is the Incan Empire in Peru.
This is a link that explains the reasons for Spain and Portugal trying to find a different route to get to Asia. It is because of their geography that they can do this.
Geography Both Builds and Destroys Exploration
In the example above, with the Incas, their geography had a negative impact on the civilization. They were an isolated empire with no contact to the outside world. As a result they had no access to trade with the outside world and in the end led to Pizarro and the Spainards defeating them. In this case the geography of the Incan Empire destroyed their civilizations. With Europe, however, their geography had a positive impact on their civilization. They were located just West of Asia. Because of this they were able to trade with many places such as, Asia, the Middle East, and Asia. The main trade route that allowed Europe to trade with these places was a region in the Middle East that we call the Four Corners because it connects these four places. Many Empires fought to gain contol over this region. When the Ottoman Turks controlled the Four Corners they reduced Europes trade through the region. Because Europe had the seamanship and the means to explore on the water they tried to get to Asia from Europe by going West. This is how the Spainards came to be in South America. Because Europe had already been trading for many years they were a much more advanced civilization than the Incas, who hadn't been trading, which is why they were able to win. (Add a picture of four corners).
The region highlighted in the picture below is the four corners.
http://geography.about.com/od/historyofgeography/a/ageexploration.htm. This link talks about the four corners region and why/how the Spanish and the Portuguese decided to go overseas.
My road starts with the four roads on the left side of the page. The roads eventually lead to the crash at the intersection of the Incan road and the European/Spanish road. I chose this structure because I thought it work the best to show the important Empires and have different events happen on those roads then lead them to the crash. At the beginning of the European road there are thunder clouds and lightning. This represents the Dark Ages, the potholes on the road represent the feudal system and how it was unfair. The construction represents wars and how there were many wars that came out of the feudal system. The bulldozer coming from the Mongol road shows the steel, swords, and gunpowder because these inventions helped the Europeans in their wars. Although the constructions on the is inconvenient for the cars right now, in the long run it will make the road smoother and easier for the cars to drive on. It is the same thing with war. In Europe at that time the wars were not a good thing for the country but in the long run they got steel and swords out of it which eventually helpedPizarrobeat the Incas. The European and Mongol gravel roads that turn into paved roads illustrate the Silk Road. Paved Roads are easier to travel on just like the Silk Road made travel and trade from east to west, and vice versa, easier. The wheat and other crops on the side of the road represent the farming that came to Europe from the Mongols and from Asia. These crops led to close contact with farm animals. The farm animals gave the Europeans many diseases which led to the plague. This is what the dead bunny or the road kill represents. The fallen tree on the road is showing Marco Polo's influence on Europeans. After Marco Polo travel through Asia, which was possible after the Silk Road because that is how some people learned about what was to the west of them, he was able to write his stories down because of the written language that came out of the Middle East and the Fertile Crescent. People were able to hear about Marco Polo's travels because of the invention of the printing press. The printing press is the lightning that made the tree fall. The printing press is what made people hear about Marco Polo, which made people curious about Asia. This is why the road turns when the tree falls. The road turns toward Asia. After Europe starts trade with Asia, it also starts trading with Africa and the Middle East. To access trade with all of these places they had to pass through an area called the four corners. This is the place where they all connect. Many Empires fought for control of the Four Corners. When the Ottoman Turks gained control they reduced Europe's trade. This is shown by the Closed/Detour sign. Since Europe could not go through the Four Corners any more they were forced to find a new way to travel to Asia for trade. Spain and Portugal went around the Four Corners by sea. This path is the road that goes around the Four Corners. Spain and Portugal were the countries to travel by sea because they were the countries that had the means. They were already on the water. They were motivated by the three G's, god, gold, and glory. These are the billboards along the detour road. Under the billboards the speed limits are increasing. This shows that those three things motivated them and made them go faster. Portugal sailed west to get to Asia this is where they came in control on the spice trade. This is the traffic that is shown on the Portugal Road. It is traffic because trade brings a lot of traffic because people need to go to where that trade is. The Spanish sailed west in hopes to get to Asia. With the new knowledge of the earth being round they thought they could just sail in a circle to reach Asia, they had not discovered the Americas yet. The nice weather, tree, and bird represents the new world. As the Spaniards ran into the Incas they had significantly less people but they were going faster, because of the increasing speed limit signs through out the road. These mean that gradually Europe was becoming a more advanced civilization. Although they had less people they were more advanced, this is why there is a small car on the European Road but it is going fast. On the Incan Road there are roads coming off of it but they all result in dead ends because the are isolated and they can't reach the Aztec road which is right next to them. The Aztec Empire was just North of the Incan Empire but they were not able to travel there because of the theory that it is harder to travel from north to south because day length and the climate change. Where as, when you travel from east to west the day length and the climate and the same making it easier to travel. The big truck on the Incan road shows how the Incans had a huge population but since the truck is going slowly the small car still comes out and wins when they crash. The speed limit signs are still increase on the Incan road but not as much as the European road because they weren't becoming as advanced as fast. The Crash Represents Pizarro beating the Incas. The small, fast car is Pizarro and the big, slow truck represents the Incans. The small doesn't get damaged because it is going so fast even though it is much smaller while the big truck goes off the road because it is so slow. The small car coming out of the crash represents Pizarro winning.
I personally thought this assignment went well for me. I feel like I understood most of the story. Although, I found it hard to show the story on paper. I thought the activity with the little green pieces of paper was challenging. It was hard to show the order because many of the little green pieces of paper could go in multiple places so I didn't even know where to start. Because of this I decided to write it out on paper and include all of the green pieces of paper. I thought this was really helpful because I wrote many things down twice. I think this project helped me understand the story much better. It helped me put everything that I learned during this unit together and it actually made a lot of sense. It was much harder had to show the information on the road because you really had to choose the important things and you also had to know the story really well. You had to know where and when things connected where as when your writing or telling the story you don't have to be as exact. Also I thought some things were hard to show on the road where as it could have been much easier to explain them but I thought it project was good because it gave you a chance to explain the whole metaphor. Over all I thought this was a very helpful project and it helped me understand the story of Pizarro defeating the Incas much better.