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Professor of Human Geography 

College de France 

Awarded the gold medal of the Geographical Society of Paris 

and the Prix Halphen of the French Academy 

Translated by 


Professor of French, University of Minnesota 

Edited by 


Director of the American Geographical Society 



Emeritus Professor of Geography 
Teachers College, Columbia University 

Illustrated with 77 maps and diagrams and 146 half-tones y ^ 



Copyright, IQ20, by 
Rand McNally & Company 


cop. 2. 

Made in U. S. A 




The Editors' Preface vii 

From the Preface to the First Edition v{{ 

From the Preface to the Second Edition ix 

I. What Is Human Geography? 

General Relations between Physical and Human Geography . 1 

II. How Are the Facts of Human Geography to Be Grouped 

and Classified? 28 

III. The Essential Facts of Human Geography: 

y First Group: Facts of the Unproductive Occupation of the 

Soil: Houses and Roads 74 

IV. The Essential Facts of Human Geography (continued) : 

Second Group: Facts of Plant and Animal Conquest. Cul- 
tivation of Plants and Raising of Animals 230 

V. The Essential Facts of Human Geography (concluded): 

Third Group : Facts of Destructive Exploitation : Plant and 
Animal Devastation; Mineral Exploitation 330 

VI. Special Studies of Small Natural Units: 

First Example: Types of "Islands" of the Desert: the Oases 
of the Suf and of the Mzab 415 

VII. Special Studies of Small Natural Units: 

Second Example: Types of "Islands" of the High Moun- 
tains: the Central Andes. The Regional Diagram, Irri- 
gation, Nomadism 453 



VIII. Beyond the Essential Facts: page 

Regional Geography. Ethnography. Social Geography. 

Historical Geography 499 

XI. The Geographic Spirit 569 

Index of Subjects . 623 

Index of Geographical Names 630 

Index of A uthors ................ 643 


La Geographie humaine, by Jean Brunhes, gave us a new point 
of view in human geography, and a new method of analysis of an 
ever-appealing phase of geography. To make the new outlook 
available to students in normal schools and colleges and to the general 
reader has been the purpose of the editors in preparing the American 

This work was necessarily interrupted by war conditions, and the 
volume was delayed far beyond the time originally planned. 

To meet the needs of American conditions, certain sections and 
chapters have been omitted, and, at the request of the author, the 
regional description of the Central Andes has been substituted for 
chapter vii in the original. In addition, the footnotes have been 
reduced in number and restricted to sources available in a good 
geographical reference library. Illustrations, footnotes, and text 
have been added to bring out significant and pertinent American 
facts in human geography. 

Otherwise the original text has been followed faithfully. Pro- 
fessor LeCompte has aimed not merely to translate the idea but the 
exact shade of meaning contained in each part of the original. In 
case of doubt the editors cooperated in a personal discussion of the 
linguistic or geographical point, in order that the rendering into 
English might be faithful and smooth. 

In the revision of the proofs, regional references have been changed 
where necessary according to the latest information available. 

Isaiah Bowman 
Richard Elwood Dodge 


Human geography is not completed. It is known that much 
remains to be done. This book is therefore not a "treatise," prop- 
erly speaking (that term would undoubtedly be too presumptuous) ; 
it is rather a "manual" giving essential directions. 

After having tried, in my various works on irrigation, to pursue 
the examination of a single class of geographic, economic, and social 


problems in a small number of natural provinces capable of com- 
parison, I now try to bring together and make apparent what is the 
ensemble of the various problems under the jurisdiction of human 

For the benefit of old students and beginners I have adopted this 
didactic form, which seemed to me the more legitimate since human 
geography is still in its beginnings, and so cannot always avoid the 
risk of being somewhat disordered. 

Besides, geographers ought never to forget the increasing impor- 
tance that is being given to geography in secondary and primary 
instruction. I hope that many of the pages of this book will help 
convince those whose duty it is to instruct the children of the people 
even in the smallest towns and in the rural districts to what extent 
the observation of the simplest human facts can give material for 
ingenious and rational exercises of analysis. 

I have made it a rule to adhere strictly to essential principles. 
But I have not wished to treat of principles without considering the 
application of those principles. Frequent examples are therefore 
given throughout. All these examples here are only the means of 
illustrating the principles, in conformity with the tenets of all positive 
education. These are purposely unequally developed: they are 
like pictures at different stages of completion; by that means is 
revealed still better, it seems to me, the method of work and, as 
painters say, the "manner." 

To conduct researches in human geography, the "geometric 
spirit" is indispensable; but is it sufficient? If possible, is there not 
also necessary a certain "spirit of finesse"? And in presenting the 
results, in giving a grasp of the meaning and the beauty of the entire 
network of points and lines, of the checkered rows of those little 
spots of different colors, dimensions, and unequal forms, which are 
the traces and imprints by which the ingenious activity of our kind 
has transcribed itself on the outer surface of our planet, who would 
dare pretend that a little art is sometimes not necessary? The 
dimensions must be measured, but the color also must be inter- 
preted and the form brought out. 

Almost all the detailed data in this volume are original and are 
based upon the direct observations of my pupils or myself. As 
to the illustrative material, I have made an effort to keep it 
equally original. It is not overdone. It is distributed more or less 



abundantly according to the nature of the chapters and paragraphs. 
It is, as is fitting, strictly adapted to the text and commanded 
by it 

I desire to express my thanks in particular to my colleague and 
friend M. Paul Girardin, professor at the University of Fribourg, 
for all the suggestions and ideas I owe to long discussions on the 
subject with him. I thank my colleague M. Friih, of the University 
of Zurich, for the advice and complementary information which he 
furnished me, notably regarding various selections or cartographic 

That many analytic studies yet remain to be made before the 
difficult and definitive syntheses can be attempted is one of the 
conclusions that we hope will be drawn from the reading of these 
pages. First, one must try to classify the facts of human geography 
and to classify them according to the rules of observational sciences. 
By their very nature, these facts, unceasingly renewed and of an 
endless diversity, escape a classification that is too simplified and too 
artificial. Again, it is well to arrange the facts in series with clear- 
ness and exactitude, that it may not be necessary afterward to show 
how and why these groups of facts are far from being separated by 
impassable barriers. 

There can be no question of making a complete bibliography of 
so vast a subject. Several volumes would not have sufficed. The 
abundant footnotes in the chapters will prove, it seems to me, that 
I have always been strictly careful to render earlier authors due 
justice. I have limited myself, otherwise, to bibliographical refer- 
ences which might be useful to readers for their personal instruc- 
tion and to those which were indispensable as a justification for the 
assertions advanced. 

November i, 1910 


The first edition of the Human Geography was exhausted in a few 
months, and sufficient time has not elapsed between the two editions 
to bring about any great change in my thought and text. 

There are persons who make books with the books of others! 
This one and that have congratulated me, but others have reproached 


me for having given the principal place to my personal observations 
and those of my pupils. I am certainly far from disdaining — on 
the contrary, I admire with much reason — the works of our masters 
and predecessors; what has been called my erudition is proof of it. 
But I fear to say too much or too little when I take the risk of com- 
menting upon and explaining what others have seen ; since I do not 
pretend to limit myself to description, and as I try to take note of 
the facts themselves as well as the relations between the facts, I 
do not feel at ease unless I describe what I have seen. 

The book in its entirety is a reaction against the metaphysical 
phraseology, mystical or political, which has so long pervaded the 
geographic works of certain countries: earth harmonies, superior 
rights of this or that race, or this or that empire, discussion of the 
"stages" of "instinctive culture" and "animal culture," of "instinc- 
tive culture" and "reasoned culture," etc. Let us not encumber 
ourselves in geography with such theses, with such analyses, with 
such arguments. They belong to other branches of learning or 
.... other interests. Our effort in the domain of a positive 
science has been rigorously subordinated to the positive method. 

Of the many who have wished to read my book with conscientious 
attention, to discuss it with a very friendly sympathy, and to give 
it a well-analyzed review, I wish to mention particularly a Russian 
and an Englishman, A. Wocikof, professor of geography at the 
University of Petrograd, and George G. Chisholm, M.A., B.Sc. 
(Edin.), lecturer on geography, University of Edinburgh. 

I wish also to mention and to quote Paul Mantoux for the follow- 
ing reasons: He is a man who is known by his works, b\it whom one 
has never known personally or with whom one has never been per- 
mitted the privilege, through conversation and discussion, of bringing 
out the subtle fine points, who takes your book, reads it through, 
grasps its true aim, and expresses carefully and clearly the impres- 
sion he has received. 

When an author tries to explain or defend his ideas, one can always 
reply : That is perhaps what you have thought, but it is not what you 
have written. 

The article by Paul Mantoux appeared under the title "La Geo- 
graphie humaine d'apr*es Jean Brunhes," in the Athena of July, 191 1, 


a publication under the direction of Dick May and organ of the £ cole 
des Hautes fitudes Sociales. What is of especial interest in his 
review, needless to say, is not the too complimentary expressions, 
but it is the argument in defense of the method, admirably prepared, 
not by him who conceived it, but by one of those who, without taking 
sides, have wished to make themselves understand it. 

The expression "human geography" is new to many readers. M. 
Brunhes begins by defining it. The object of human geography is the study J 
of the relations between human activity and the phenomena of physical 
geography. The structure of the soil, climate, circulation of waters, vege- 
tation, and animal life on the one hand, human establishments, ways of 
travel, cultivation, breeding, exploitation of natural resources on the other, 
are united by bonds of causality more or less apparent, by connections more 
or less close, which it is desired to search out and to throw light upon. 
M. Brunhes does not pretend to give us the definite results of such research, 
which is scarcely begun, but, on the contrary, to present problems, indicate 
methods, while multiplying useful references: in short, to open up sys- 
tematically that vast, almost unexplored domain which gives promise of 
such significant discoveries. That is the purpose of the book, of a legitimate 
and restrained ambition. How has it been carried out, and what ought we 
think of it? 

The first care of M. Brunhes has been to forestall the objections of those 
to whom physical geography is geography in its entirety, and who from the 
moment that one ceases measuring the height of a fault, or registering ther- 
mometric observations, would be inclined to cry literature. He has desired 
to give to the study which he extols a basis as objective as possible. It is 
thus that he has been led, not as he has been reproached, to banish from 
human geography the man himself, but to hold himself exclusively to the 
human phenomena which inscribe themselves on the soil, and which modify 
nature at the same time that they are modified or brought about by nature. 
A type of house, of city, the distribution of a cultivation, these are visible 
and material: these can and should be self-explanatory, just as well as the 
folding of a sedimentary deposit or the retrogressive erosion of a stream 
of water. 

These phenomena of human activity, which leave an impression on the 
face of the earth, M. Brunhes divides into three groups, of which each com- 
prises two subdivisions. These are, first, the "facts of unproductive occu- 
pation of the soil": man constructs habitations, man traces roads: houses 
and agglomeration of houses; roads of all kinds, from the path to the road 
of steel, must adapt themselves to geographic conditions. Then come the 
"facts of vegetable and animal conquest": cultivations and breeding, which 
man undoubtedly selects and directs, which he imposes in some sort upon 


nature, but not without the consent of nature. Finally come the "facts of 
destructive economy," Raubwirtschaft, according to the expressive German 
term, which M. Brunhes usually quotes: animal and vegetable devastation, 
mineral exploitations having this common characteristic, that they take 
riches from the earth without giving anything in exchange. These are the 
six essential facts, to which reverts, according to M. Brunhes, all the material 
of human geography. He leaves to anthropology the study of the races, to 
ethnography the study of manners and customs. Why? Because the 
relation of man to his geographic environment is here less apparent, because 
it can provide in every case only partial explanations and very insufficient 
facts. Geography can lend its aid to the work of the biologist or the doc- 
tor, as to that of the sociologist or the historian: it ought not to confound 
itself with them. 

In each of the three chapters which he devotes to the six essential facts 
M. Brunhes, faithful to the thought which guides him, makes no attempt 
to exhaust his material. He limits himself to outlining it, to tracing its 
logical divisions, to examples, to quotations, to which his reader could refer. 
When he makes a study of the house and its form, so often modeled by 
geographic forces, he takes two or three types which he has himself studied 
close at hand: the wooden house of forested Europe, that of Switzerland in 
which he lives, the house of earth and the house of stone in Egypt, which 
he visited and carefully inspected when he was preparing his works on irri- 
gation. Having reserved to himself the right to eliminate and select, he 
refers preferably to that of which he has direct knowledge. Most of the 
illustrations which accompany his descriptions or his demonstrations, and 
which so happily illuminate the text, he has taken himself. He makes use 
usually of work carried on under his direction or in his immediate neighbor- 
hood, summing up, for the profit of everybody, the experience of the hard- 
working group that surrounds him. Thus, the study of the most general of 
facts takes on an original and personal aspect : the exposition of the method 
is illustrated, at each instant, by examples drawn from its application. 

It is in that spirit that, after having finished the survey and careful dis- 
tinguishing of the different parts of his subject, M. Brunhes has wished to 
see them all at once, mingled in complex wholes, like those which can readily 
be seen and experienced. But it was necessary that these wholes should be 
clearly delimited and be relatively simple, in order to lend themselves to a 
true methodical study in the present status of a science that is still in its 
beginnings. That is why M. Brunhes has chosen, in order to prepare mono- 
graphs on them, small natural unities, veritable human islands: the island 
of the desert, represented by two examples, the oases of the Suf and the 
oases of the Mzab; and the island of the high mountain represented by an 
alpine valley, the valley of Anniviers [for which is substituted in the English 


edition a study of the valleys of the Cential Andes by Isaiah Bowman, 
director of the American Geographical Society]. Here, again, M. Brunhes 
had the advantage of using personal studies 

We know now what M. Brunhes understands by human geography, and 
how he wishes one to work with it. There remains to indicate with care 
the differences of object and method which separate human geography from 
closely allied subjects, and to show the services which related sciences can 
render each other. This is the subject of a chapter entitled, in an enig- 
matical manner, "Beyond the Essential Facts." Regional geography is 
only an extension of the subject of small natural unities. Ethnographic 
geography is something different, because the facts with which it deals 
escape, in great part, geographic determination. The same applies to social 
geography, to political and historical geography. Each of them throws 
light upon geography, properly so called, but nothing more; and geography 
makes use of their aid in order to discover extremely variable relations of 
nature, rather than the rigorous and complete association of causes and 
effects. On it's part geography shares in the materials and examples which 
ethnography or history provides, but without ever losing sight of those 
pierres d'epreuves of true geography, the "essential facts." Thus, without 
risk of losing one's self in vague dissertations, which would be neither geo- 
graphical nor historical, one could study complex questions like that of the 
linguistic frontiers in mountain regions, or that of the influence exercised 
on a country highly developed industrially, by the concentration of the 
population around fields of coal. One would also see appear the purely 
human and somewhat arbitrary character of certain facts: the artificial 
depopulation of entire regions, like that of the county of Sutherland in 
Scotland; the persistence of ethnical features in a new geographic back- 
ground, as among the German colonies in Russia or Roumania; the effects 
of customs regimes, of economic monopolies, etc. 

M. Brunhes has been reproached for having set aside too summarily 
from geography facts which belong to it in the most legitimate way: is not 
the distribution of human lives, for example, closely bound to geographical 
causes as well as the distribution of domestic animals by man? It seems 
to me that there may be found in this chapter an answer to such a reproach. 
M. Brunhes does not forget that there is a geography of races, as there is a 
geography of diseases, or a geography of megolithic monuments or of Uralo- 
Altaic dialects. If he places them in the margin of his Human Geography, 
it is because the principles of explanation which can provide for them purely 
geographical causes are, not negligible, but certainly insufficient 

M. Brunhes concludes with a dissertation on the geographic spirit, by 
showing how it now penetrates and transforms most of the studies of man and 
society. After the historical spirit, to which it often allies itself, it has come 


to renew our views on human phenomena. M. Bedier, connecting with the 
routes of pilgrims the formation and the evolution of the epic legends of 
the Middle Ages, M. Berard, seeking about the Mediterranean the locations of 
the scenes of the Odyssey in order to reconstruct the world of the pre-Hellenic 
navigators, M. Harnack, studying the geographic conditions of the diffusion 
of Christianity in the first centuries, M. Ferrero, introducing into Roman 
history the consideration of the economic changes caused by the conquest 
of Egypt or of Gaul, are among the names and examples which M. Brunhes 
takes pleasure in quoting. "What is there new in this way of treating his- 
tory, except looking at it and seeing on the surface of the earth the reality 
and the variations of all we have called the essential facts of human geog- 
raphy? Here we may surely evoke that 'geographic sense' which Ratzel 
declares more and more indispensable to 'observers of politico-geographical 
phenomena.' There is a geographic sense which demands a more realistic 
perception of all the manifestations of human activity, economic, his- 
torical, and political." 

Such should be, at the farthest limits of its expansion, the influence of 
human geography. That influence, as one has seen, has already begun. 
Human geography already exists, and is developing: it suffices to read the 
excellent manuals which have been for several years at the disposition of 
the pupils of our lycees, to bring the conviction that M. Brunhes does not 
come to preach in the desert. But we cannot reproach him with having 
come to teach us what we already know. Not only has he presented us a 
systematic picture, a view of the whole, where he has tried to bring together 
all that can be useful to the class of students to which he has devoted him- 
self, but he has done it, as we have already said, in a manner which guards 
it absolutely from banality; first, in making use as often as he could of 
that which his personal experiences and those of his immediate collaborators 
furnished him, and, at the risk of limiting himself, in speaking often of cer- 
tain regions better known to him, as the mountains of Switzerland, or the 
countries of Northern Africa; and also in returning constantly to the ques- 
tion of method, while presenting problems in order that those who read may 
learn to solve them. A book of observation, which tries to be a methodology 
— it is thus that his work defines itself. Students will find there a mine of 
subjects to treat, of which the greater part are new and suggestive; for 
example, the geography of chateaux, which some worker familiar with the 
countries and the history of our Central Massif could try. 

It is a master who speaks, surrounded by his books, which he quotes 
freely, giving references to the most recent works and articles in order to 
aid his students in making a bibliography for themselves. Before us he 
distributes their work to them, he guides them, he counsels them, he points 
out the difficulties and obstacles, he offers them the example of his own works. 


Can we make his few digressions a crime? Can we say that he errs in 
morality when he speaks as he does of the native woman in the colonized 
countries, or in his descriptive literature when he paints the gloomy life of 
the mines? Would one deny the master the right to remain a man? 

This little laborious group which he has succeeded in gathering around 
him — is it not his influence as much as his teaching that has formed it? 
He retains his accent when writing, in the same way that he makes use of 
his work, of pictures that he has taken during his travels. I see the advan- 
tages of that style; I do not see the inconveniences. This book would not 
gain much by a more impersonal style. And it would run the risk of losing 
that which makes its raison d'etre. It is not the abstract exposition of a 
completed science, but rather the program of his hopes, accompanied by a 
constant invitation to reflection and work. 

Not only is human geography not a completed science, but is it, will it 
be, a science? To answer such a question it would be necessary to know 
what is meant by the word science. M. Brunhes is not of those who believe 
that they can reduce the most complex phenomena to rigorous laws and 
mathematical formulas. He admits that the chain of causes and effects, 
in the domain of human geography, is not always comprehensible, and that 
it is necessary to substitute more supple and less certain modes of explana- 
tion. "Between the facts of the physical order, there are sometimes rela- 
tions of causality; between facts of human geography, there are usually only 
relations of connection. To force, so to speak, the bond which connects 
phenomena with each other is scientifically false." .... 

What useful information to all those who are studying the collective 
phenomena of humanity! Between nature and human establishments is 
introduced an intermediary of which it is well to take account, the psycho- 
logical element: "By what slender and subtle psychological threads is 
all that which we have called 'social geography' and 'historical geography' 
connected with the essential data of human geography! That is why we 
cannot too often repeat the constant appeals for restraint and critical pru- 
dence which we have already made. The geographical spirit, once more, 
could not do without a 'spirit of finesse.' " 

Science or not — after all what matters the word? Human geography is 
an order of methodical investigation of which the object is from the present 
sufficiently determined, though the limits may have to be more or less 
advanced or withdrawn. Is not a true science the science in which at first 
we must feel our way, and which is formed by a succession of experiences? 
It is his experience which M. Brunhes brings to his readers and which he 
invites them to imitate. 

I could never have better expressed, in a few words, my ideas, my 
aim, my plan. 


I wish, finally, to thank the Geographical Society of Paris for 
having awarded to Human Geography its gold medal for 191 1, and 
the French Academy for having granted it one of its prizes. .... 

Jean Brunhes 

March 15, 1912 





1. The real scope of geography. Physical and human geography. 

2. The principle of activity: geographical facts, whether physical 
or human, are in a state of perpetual transformation. 

3. The principle of relationship: the facts of geography are 
closely bound together and must be studied in their manifold 
relations and connections. The idea of the * ' terrestrial whole. ' ' 


The field of geographical study consists of a double zone: 
the lower zone of the atmosphere surrounding our earth, 
and the superficial zone of the solid crust. At all points where 
these two concentric zones come in contact we find produced 
three groups of basal phenomena. 

A. The solar heat on our earth is the necessary condition 
of all activity and of all life. Its greatest effects are felt in 
the zone of contact where the atmosphere and the earth's 
crust meet. It is to the lower layers of the atmosphere (because 
these are more heavily charged with water vapor), and still 
more to the outermost "skin" of the earth, that the solar 
heat is almost exclusively communicated. Moreover, the 
greater part of this heat penetrates but a few feet into the soil 
and remains there but a few hours; it again passes from the 
soil to the atmosphere. In short, it rebounds, so to speak, from 
the solid or liquid surface of our planet, and thus reaches the 
lower portions of the atmosphere. The "heating surface" of 
our atmosphere is the surface of our own earth. 


B. Again, it is in the zone of contact of the atmosphere 
with the earth's crust that the atmospheric phenomena — 
variations of temperature, rains, and winds — and especially 
the geographical facts which result from these— running waters 
and glaciers — are unceasingly at work to modify and destroy 
the projecting relief and to fill the submerged depths. The 
leveling of mountains, the development of river . valleys, the 
filling up of oceans — all the facts which constitute the essen- 
tial part of physical geography — are rigorously localized at 
the surface of the earth's crust. 

C. Finally, it is on the surface of our globe and in the 
lower portions of the atmosphere that all the phenomena of 
plant, animal, and human life are concentrated. Even the 
birds which fly highest come to earth to rest or feed ; the fish 
and the invertebrates of the deepest seas live, in comparison 
with the dimensions of the earth, at but a short distance from 
the surface. As for human beings, having their feet necessarily 
on the ground and drawing from the atmosphere the oxygen 
needed for their respiration, they express in the highest 
degree that imperious localization of life within two thin, con- 
centric slices — a slice of rock or water and a slice of atmosphere 
— portions of the universe extremely small in comparison with 
the earth, and smaller still in comparison with known space, 
but portions favored above all others. There the sun con- 
centrates its energy; there the atmospheric agents are 
constantly at work; there, finally, life, in all its diverse forms, 
develops and multiplies, indefatigably. 

Now all these fundamental facts are not superimposed nor 
mingled in one "locality" without precise relations of cause 
and effect. We shall explain later (§2) the why and where- 
fore of these relations. In this introduction it is sufficient to 
point out how sharply circumscribed is the geographer's field 
of observation. Where all these phenomena are combined, 
and there alone, lies the field of geographical inquiry. 

The greater number of these phenomena are in no way 
influenced by human activities. Whether man exists or not, 
water will still evaporate under the action of solar heat; and 
air charged with vapor, when driven against a mountain wall, 
will rise, expand, and cool, causing precipitation. Whether 


man exists or not, running water will still carve valleys or 
wear away the brinks of waterfalls, and the land detritus borne 
along by the waters of streams will still tend, as soon as the 
force that carries it weakens, to spread out in alluvial cones or 
deltas. Whether man exists or not, the slow-moving glaciers 
will smooth their rough beds; the wind, bearing grains of 
sand, will sculpture the rocks of the deserts ; the waves of the 
sea will cause the cliffs to crumble; and the whole surface of 
the earth, raised or submerged, will show changes due to 
the physical agents that have worked upon it. Such are the 
basal facts which form the essential foundation of all "phy- 
sical geography." 

A considerable part of plant and animal life also escapes the 
influence of man; the earth would be covered with vegetation 
and peopled with animals, even if man did not exist. Bio- 
logical geography (plant and animal), part of which is often 
called ''natural geography," 1 is still often considered an aspect 
of physical geography understood in its most general sense. 

But if we cast a general glance over the earth, we soon see 
a whole new and very extensive series of surface phenomena : 
here it is cities, there it is railroads; here it is cultivated 
fields, there it is quarries; here it is irrigating canals, there it 
is salt marshes; and in all lands are more or less dense masses 
or groups of human beings. These human beings are, in 
themselves and by themselves, surface facts and therefore geo- 
graphical facts. They live on the earth. They are subject 
to atmospheric and terrestrial conditions. They belong to 
certain climates, to certain altitudes, to certain zones. Be- 
sides, they live from the earth : it is by subordinating them- 
selves to natural phenomena that they assure to their bodies 
the necessary conditions for life and growth and to their facul- 
ties, development and expansion. 

J The excellent Bibliographie geographique annuelle which is published in Ann. de 
geog. (Paris), under the direction of Louis Raveneau, includes meteorology, geology, 
orography, hydrography, and botanical and zoological geography under the general 
title of Geographic naturelle — the equivalent of what is here called physical geography. 
The Physikalischer Atlas of Berghaus (Gotha) includes among other volumes one 
entitled Pflanzenverbreitung and another entitled Tierverbreitung. These two sections 
of a special atlas of physical geography are, as the names indicate, devoted to the geo- 
graphic distribution of plants and animals. The Traile de geographie physique by 
Emmanuel de Martonne (Paris, 1909; 2d edition, 1913) has a subtitle: Climat, 
Hydrographie, Relief du sol, Bio geographie, and in fact, a fifth of the volume is 
devoted to biogeography. 


In biological geography human beings occupy an incom- 
parable, a unique, place. They deserve from geographers 
special and careful attention, not only because of the reality 
of the covering which their living bodies form at certain places 
on the earth, but also because of their works. What are the 
ant-hills of our country or the mounds which the termites 
build in Australia, in Ceylon, in the Sudan, or in the Kalahari, 
in comparison with all that which is the peculiar work of man 
on our globe! In geography there is a striking difference — a 
difference for which there is no common measure — between 
the work of the animal species, even the best endowed and 
most ingenious, and the work of man. 

Men reforest the mountains which have been stripped of 
their trees and thus moderate the destructive work of the 
streams and indirectly affect climate. They plant trees to 
hold the sands in place, and seaweed to fix the submarine mud : 
the trees keep the sands from being set in motion by the wind 
and the seaweed protects harbors from the capricious move- 
ments of the mud in estuaries. 

Men do still more. Among the living beings they can 
arrange and control changes in the life-conditions about 
them; they "cultivate" plants and they "domesticate" 
animals ; they labor unceasingly in order to make both more 
adapted to their needs. Within recent times, for example, 
they have crossed the English horse with the Arabian, and 
have obtained an equine type that possesses wonderful 
resistance, a type that is capable of enduring not only the 
climate of Great Britain, but also the varied climates of 
America and Australia. 

The ensemble of all these facts in which human activity has 
a part forms a truly special group of surface phenomena — a 
complex group of facts infinitely variable and varied, always 
contained within the limits of physical geography, but having 
always the easily discernible characteristic of being related 
more or less directly to man. To the study of this specific 
group of geographical phenomena we give the name "human 

This appellation, thus understood, can give rise neither to 
ambiguity nor to any serious opposition. 



Everything about us is undergoing transformation; every- 
thing is increasing or diminishing. Nothing is really motionless 
or unchanging. The level of the sea, the universal and tradi- 
tional guiding mark for measuring altitudes, is a purely 
fictitious mean surface ; the real mean surface is not the same 
for all oceans nor even for all points of the same ocean. 
The immense glacial expanses, which seem eternal in their 
fixity, are nevertheless moving with a slow and silent but 
powerful and continuous motion — powerful because it is 
continuous. The hardest rocks cannot escape disintegration 
by the atmosphere. The loftiest peaks will sooner or later 
be reduced to more moderate heights. Thus, even where 
the superficial testimony of our senses reveals to us only 
immobility and stability, we must recognize the fact of move- 
ment, change, activity. 

What, then, are the forces which unceasingly transform the 
superficial regions of our globe? 

A. The igneous center of the earth is a primary cause of 
activity. The interior forces express themselves either by 
very slow, almost imperceptible but lasting phenomena — 
elevations, adjustments, subsidings ; or, on the other hand, by 
sudden, violent phenomena, by fits and starts — upheavals, 
foldings, fractures, sinkings, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions. 
The first go on so slowly that they are hardly perceptible to 
any one generation of men and we are tempted to neglect them. 
The second surprise us by their strange unexpectedness ; hence 
we are tempted to exaggerate their importance, forgetting that 
they are both local and exceptional, limited in extent and in 
duration. In reality, both constitute only a restricted part 
of the present activity of the earth; both play a secondary 
role in comparison with the daily and unceasing changes 
which are taking place everywhere and which are due to the 
action of the sun. 

B. Solar heat is in truth the principal and predominant 
energy that causes almost all the activity taking place on our 
earth. The sun constantly produces differences of temperature ; 
these cause differences of weight and differences of pressure 


of the air; thence arise numberless causes of instability; and 
instability determines movement. 

The zones of the earth on which the sun's rays strike per- 
pendicularly are warmed more than the rest of the globe; the 
layers of atmosphere in contact with these terrestrial zones 
share in the increased heating. From this double series of 
phenomena arises the permanent planetary wind system of 
our earth. 

C. Here another series of forces intervenes which transforms, 
directs, and multiplies the atmospheric movements. The 
earth is not motionless in space — it has periodic movements 
which are constantly changing its position with reference 
to the sun. Instead of counterbalancing the disturbances 
continually arising from differences of temperature, the 
astronomic movements cause the sun continually to vary its 
terrestrial field of action. They constantly augment the 
slightest daily disturbances, and hence deserve to be con- 
sidered a third cause of activity. However, these transforming 
forces only cause changes in the conditions of equilibrium on 
our globe. It is still the sun which furnishes the energy — 
it is the sun that is the primary cause of these transformations. 

The differences of temperature and the differences of 
pressure, associated thus with the cosmic forces, give rise 
to winds and currents. And while the eolian forces in their 
own way shape certain portions of the earth's relief, the 
atmospheric currents, acting upon the surface waters, cause 
to a certain degree the marine currents. 

Above all, the air is a transporter of water vapor. As 
it becomes heated it can absorb an ever-larger quantity of 
vapor; but as it cools, its power of absorption diminishes 
and the water vapor is precipitated. Variations of temperature 
cause perpetual movements of the air, and these movements 
themselves modify temperature. The water, carried by the 
air in the form of vapor, shares in this incessant play; it 
undergoes, in turn, changes of place which determine changes 
of condition, and changes of condition which bring about 
changes of place. This interplay of the reciprocal effects of 
temperature and movement goes on indefinitely. Through 
the agency of this universal circulation, water is carried 


by the air even to those parts of the continents most distant 
from the sea. The smallest drop moves and acts. Here, 
glaciers are formed; there, running waters unite in streams. 
Glaciers and running waters produce mechanical changes the 
effects of which are beyond appreciation, and of these 
mechanical changes the initial cause is still the sun. 

Light and heat, rains, climates, and seasons — we owe them 
all to the sun. Let us go still further: it is on the sun that 
all life, plant and animal, depends; even the activity of the 
human body itself depends upon that energy which the sun 
dispenses in the form of heat. Nor is that all. The sun 
has created on the earth reserves of force, as it were, from which 
man may draw at will. It has stored up in coal an incom- 
parable amount of chemical energy — ''bottled sunlight" — 
which we may set free and utilize as we please; for coal is 
only the precious remains of an earlier luxuriant vegetation. 

D. On the terrestrial globe the energy of the sun is, then, 
an endless cause of variation, or better, of unstable equilibrium 
and consequently of movement. But this movement would 
be irregular, the effects of this energy would be chaotic, if 
there did not exist, to combat this incessant cause of disorder, 
a general cause of order, a directing and organizing principle. 
This force, which might be called the wise force of the earth 
in contrast with the mad force of the sun, is the centripetal 
attraction of gravity. Among the multitude of chance 
groupings, of unstable complications, to which this continual 
and universal agitation gives rise, this powerful centripetal 
attraction imposes upon bodies of different weights, of different 
densities, one order of stability, one mode of equilibrium — 
that is, the order and mode of the superposition of the lighter 
layers and masses upon the heavier. A unified and regular 
result finally comes from this ever-renewed struggle between 
an indefatigable and universal cause of activity and an invio- 
lable and universal cause of order. 

This attraction of the heavier bodies toward the center of 
the earth disciplines and organizes activity; a harmonious 
order is thus introduced into the general economy of our 
earth. Our minds find a unity in the midst of the com- 
plexity of the phenomena. We begin by perceiving mechanical 


phenomena side by side; then we see that these phenomena 
are really subordinate one to the other; finally we discover a 
principle that gives unity; we can legitimately arrive at the 
idea of relation, and strive to define laws. Instead of limiting 
ourselves to the simple observation of phenomena, we are 
led to study them in series and to seek the very principle of 
their succession. Every succession has causes and laws. 
The material phenomena thus acquire a sort of personal 
life — they have no longer merely minima and maxima, but 
a birth, a maturity, a decay ; and we arrive at a conception 
of an organic development, as it were, of the physical facts, 
and establish a law of evolution even of the material forms 
of the earth. 

This is one of the newest and most interesting parts of 
geography. Three quarters of a century ago we gave up 
classifying mountains according to their secondary or acci- 
dental characteristics, such as their direction or their altitude. 
We recognized that their formation dated back to different 
periods of the earth's history, and for the first time the notion 
of age was introduced into orography. But even then it was 
still a question only of relative age. Mountain systems, by 
comparison, were either more ancient or more recent ; geologists 
and geographers dared go no farther. 1 

In a group of houses one can, from the style or by the 
aid of documents, decide which are the more ancient, which 
were more recently built; but we do not claim that these 
houses necessarily show the characteristic architecture of 
their age. We can, if we please, construct a building in 
Renaissance style, but, as soon as the stone has lost its bright- 
ness and freshness, our building will and must appear more 
ancient than a house of modern style. From material things 
let us pass to living beings and we shall at once be struck by 
the difference. No one of us would expect to find a child 
with the face of an old man, nor an old man with the face 
of a child. There are, of course, exceptional cases; but the 
exceptions themselves never go beyond certain limits. We 
affirm — and our affirmation has a universal import — 

1 Recently orogenic theories have been further developed: Suess, Das Antlitz der 
Erde, translated into French by Emmanuel de Margerie and published under the title 
La Face de la terre. An English edition by Sollas is entitled The Face of the Earth. 


that each age has its characteristic features. Why? Because 
the development of the living being is of necessity subject 
to the laws of growth. 

Now let us come back to our mountain systems and we shall 
understand what a change there has been in the ideas asso- 
ciated with age, under the influence of the new geographical 
ideas. Mountains are no longer merely structures of different 
dates and origin; in their evolution they are comparable to 
living organisms. They are no longer young or old with refer- 
ence to each other — they are young or old with reference to 
their past forms and to their future forms. Age in orography 
is expressed by a topographical appearance. No continental 
mass can escape erosion, the progress of which is inevitable. 
The existing stage of erosion allows us to give the present 
topography a definite place in the necessary series of successive 
stages. It goes without saying that, for phenomena the 
regular succession of which demands thousands of centuries, 
the apparent exceptions are much more numerous and striking 
than for living organisms whose evolution is accomplished in 
less than a hundred years. 

Then, too, the outcroppings of the earth's crust are not 
homogeneous in character; they consist of rocks of unequal 
hardness and of unequal resistance. But, whatever be the 
number of abnormal cases, and whatever be the importance 
of the accidental differences, we have none the less the right to 
speak, in the full sense of the word, of the age of topographical 
forms. And the idea is still more felicitous than the word. 
All mountains pass through successive stages of development ; 
the different stages are represented by different surface 
features. It follows that a large number of existing moun- 
tains can be referred to a common type. Orographic systems, 
formerly regarded as having no similarity whatever, are thus 
connected in a common family; they show this common type 
at different stages of its evolution. 1 

In regions of recent folding, young mountains arise with 
steep and rugged forms; their birth is of too recent date for 

^or the development of these ideas and the works on which they are based, 
consult A. Philippson, "Die Morphologie der Erdoberflache in dem letzen Jahrzehnt, 
1885-1894," Geog. Zeitschr., 1896, pp. 512-527, 557-576, and 688-704; W. M. Davis 
and G. Braun, Grundziige der Physiogeographie, Teubner, Leipzig and Berlin. 191 1. 


their modeling to be far advanced. Old mountains, on the 
contrary, have a softened relief; they have been leveled by 
erosive agents. Thus, we establish a relationship between the 
forms of the Alps, mountains which are still very young, and 
the aged forms of the plateau of the Ardennes or of New 
England. In the last two cases time has done its work — old 
age has come. The Alps likewise will doubtless some day 
in their turn be a slightly undulating plateau; they will finally 
become what we call a peneplain. 

The geographer strives thus to group and classify all the 
types that he observes. He forms, for example, a common 
family of all the glaciated countries, and, because their surface 
features have had a common origin, he puts into this family 
Canada, Finland, Scandinavia, Scotland, and other countries 
which long ago were freed from their continental icecaps, and 
ice-covered Greenland, which has been aptly called one of 
their "backward brothers." 

He who speaks of the age of topographical forms must also 
speak of the age of water courses. Rivers, like mountains, 
are more or less aged ; all pass through different stages of which 
the succession forms a cycle, the cycle of erosion, which Davis 
calls the life-cycle. 1 They pass from infancy, which is dis- 
tinguished both by an indefinite drainage system and by rapid 
streams, to old age, which is characterized by wanderings and 
bifurcations of every sort. During maturity the river flows 
in a well-defined bed, which it has itself excavated, and the 
slope is such that the water is easily and regularly conducted 
to the mouth. These stages, of course, pass into each other by 
imperceptible gradations. A river that is still young, like 
the Rhone, must pass through numberless stages (which it is 
as difficult to specify exactly as it would be to number) before 
resembling a very old river like the Mississippi or the 
Amazon. Finally, a river that has already reached old age 
may suddenly, as the result of the lowering or displacement 
of its base-level, begin its work of deepening all over again 

1 A11 these ideas are presented with clearness in A. de Lapparent, Lecons de 
geographie physique; see in particular Lesson VIII and Lesson X. See also W. M. 
Davis, "Rivers and Valleys of Pennsylvania," Nat. Geog. Mag., I, 1889, pp. 183-254; 
Practical Exercises in Physical Geography, Ginn and Co., Boston, 1908; Geographical 
Essays, Ginn and Co., Boston, 1909; Emmanuel de Martonne, Traite de geographic 
physique, Paris, 1913. 


in the opposite direction. It will thus again display the vigor 
of its early years, though retaining to a certain degree some 
of the forms of the earlier cycle. The river that had been 
growing increasingly heavy and slow, as if in a long sleep, can 
suddenly reawaken, but without putting off entirely the "old 
man." Thus it is that in a thalweg of a slightly undulating 
country of softened relief, where one would expect to see the 
feeble flow of a slowly-moving stream, one may sometimes dis- 
cover a river, intrenched in a new channel, robust and active. 

With all the more reason, therefore, is it permissible to 
compare with living beings series or groups of geographical 
facts of higher complexity — that is, geographical facts which 
concern the living beings themselves. Every day we make 
such comparisons. We say that the flora or the fauna of a 
country is growing young or old; and when they are being 
transformed, we say again that they are becoming enriched or 
impoverished. The population of a region or the development 
of an urban center is marked by successions of changes which 
resemble the characteristic phenomena of beings endowed 
with life. 

And we must, above all, investigate the causes to which 
these phenomena owe their origin, and whether the point at 
which they have arrived indicates maturity or heralds decay. 
What matters it whether a city have 50,000 or 52,000 inhab- 
itants? That is not the important question. What is the 
past of this city and what is its true age? At what point in 
its evolution is it ? Has it reached or passed the flower of its 
maturity ? Such are the problems to be set and to be answered. 
Is it an ancient city which formerly counted 300,000 inhabit- 
ants and which to-day has not more than 50,000? Is it a 
Ravenna or an Aigues-Mortes ? Or is it, on the contrary, 
a very young city, born yesterday, in full tide of growth 
and destined to grow still more, like Pasadena or Seattle, 
or like those cities of South Africa, some of which after only 
twenty-five years of existence had reached a population of 
more than 200,000 inhabitants? 1 

iThe town of Johannesburg, which was established September 20, 1886, had 
102,078 inhabitants according to the census of July 15, 1896, and a population of 
237,104 by the census of 191 1. Winnipeg, Manitoba, with a population of 7,985 in 
1881, had grown ten years later to 25,642 and to 163,000 by 1916. 



What more striking than the march of Paris, as it can be 
approximately established from historical documents! 1 

Number of 


Historic Periods 

(in thousands) 


Under Julian 



Under Clovis 



Under Philip Augustus 



Under Philip VI 



Under Henry IV 



Under Louis XIV 



Under Louis XVI 



Under the Consulate 



Under Louis XVIII 



Under Louis Philippe 



Under the Republic 



Under Napoleon III 



\ / 



1 I 



/ (After the annexation of \ 



V the suburbs within the / 



/ circle of the fortifica- \ 



V tions) J 



I I 



/ \ 


At the beginning of the twentieth century all Europe con- 
tained about 160 cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants, of 
which 55 exceeded 250,000. The cities of a half million 
numbered 23, and the cities of a million, 6. A. de Foville 
rightly concludes: " Present-day Europe thus supports more 
cities of five hundred thousand inhabitants and above than 
the Europe of a hundred years ago supported cities of a 
hundred thousand inhabitants." 

Have we even a clear notion of the growth of the world's 
population during the last century? In Europe it has at least 
doubled. "There exist at present," says A. de Foville again, 
"1,500 millions of men. If each century were to double the 
number, there would be 3 billions about the year 2000, 
6 billions about 2100, 12 billions about 2200, 24 billions about 

2300 We have already reached the impossible. 

Let us go on, however. In a thousand years it would be 
the mad sum of nearly 2,000 billions of human beings that 
our planet would have to support and feed And 

lAfter A. de Foville, "Les Grandes Villes au XIX e et au XX e siecle," Economiste 
francais, June 13, 1908, p. 877. 


will some one say that we are looking too far ahead? But 
what is a thousand years in the history of the world ? Thirty 
generations ; the time from Hannibal to Charlemagne, or from 
Charlemagne to Napoleon." 1 

What differences, besides, between two masses of human 
beings numerically comparable, such as the 268,000 inhabit- 
ants which the census of 1 9 1 1 gave to the whole department 
of Lot-et-Garonne, and the 261,000 of the city of Bordeaux 
according to the same census! Not only are these groups, in 
one case massed and in the other scattered, attached to the 
soil in a wholly different manner, but, what is still more 
important, 70 years earlier, in 1841, Lot-et-Garonne had 
78,000 inhabitants more, while the city of Bordeaux had 
162,000 fewer. 

Retrogression and progression: These human phenomena, 
like all terrestrial phenomena, never remain stationary; we 
must study them in evolution, catching them on the march 
and seizing them, so to speak, in full activity. They are 
animated by a definitely determined movement. We must 
study them as we study bodies in motion : we must determine 
definitely the point of space and the moment of time at which 
they are produced, then point out the direction and observe 
the speed of the movement itself. Such must be one of the 
dominant purposes of those who observe geographical facts, 
for progression is as true of human facts as of facts of the 
physical order. 

Thus to put in the foreground the idea and the fact of 
activity will be to produce a real resurrection of the idea of 
life in a study particularly concerned with the present life 
of the earth. 





It is not sufficient to study by themselves these different J 
series of phenomena. In reality they are not isolated; they 
depend upon each other. 

1 A. de Foville, "L'Avenir des populations humaines," Economiste frangais, 
November 30, 1907, p. 768. 


The evolution of water courses is related to the evolution 
of mountains, and vice versa. These two phenomena are so 
closely interrelated that in very truth they form but one 
study. The first course of a stream over a section of country 
is determined by the superficial conformation of the surface; 
but as the river develops, it modifies the relief of the region 
through which it flows. The liquid element removes the solid 
element; but the solid element directs and often stops the 
liquid element. The hydrographic systems and the basins 
of different water courses are thus associated in a common 
destiny. One may say that they make each other. 

As a country ages under the attack of streams and weather, 
even its climate will be changed. The air will not have to 
rise so high to cross the subdued mountains; it will therefore 
undergo less expansion and be cooled less, and a smaller part 
of the contained water vapor will be precipitated. The in- 
fluence of the climatic regime being thus transformed, its 
effects will be apparent upon the natural vegetation. Further, 
if the annual rainfall is diminished because of the modified 
relief, it follows that the flow of running water is diminished 
and the work of erosion will be slowed up. This in turn 
modifies the drainage by diminishing the precipitation. 
Finally, the water vapor which formerly was precipitated over 
this basin will be carried farther, to the benefit of another 
section of the earth's crust. 1 

Nothing shows more clearly than such examples the general 
interactions of phenomena, and nothing reveals more dis- 
tinctly the importance of the idea of relationships in geography ; 
this suggestive idea must dominate every complete study of 
geographical facts. One cannot be content with the observa- 
tion of a fact by itself or of an isolated series of facts. After 
this initial observation, it is important to place the series 
back in its natural setting, in the complex ensemble of facts 
in the midst of which it was produced and developed. We 
must investigate the manner in which it is connected with 
the series of facts which are its neighbors; we must ascer- 
tain in what measure it has determined them, and in what 

X J. B. Woodworth, "The Relation between Baseleveling and Organic Involution," 
Amer. Ceol., XIV, pp. 209-235. 


measure, on the other hand, it has been affected by their 

Of course, certain groups of facts were long ago observed 
and studied in their relations. Under the heading of climate, 
for example, a whole group of closely connected phenomena 
were brought together; but that was only an instinctive 
application of the principle of relationship. To-day this 
principle, clearly perceived, must be methodically introduced 
into geography as a whole. 

In meteorology, in zoology, in botany, it is possible to 
isolate certain facts, to study them by themselves. In 
geography one cannot stop there. And the principle of 
relationship, the application of which is especially fruitful 
in geography, has penetrated even into these individual 
sciences. We have seen phytogeography created by the side 
of botany; zoogeography by the side of zoology. Now the 
end proposed in these new scientific branches is the study 
of the relationship of facts whose analytical study is the 
purpose of the mother branch. 

Systematic botany collects and classifies plants, genus by 
genus, species by species; it also draws up catalogues and 
makes herbariums, country by country, province by province. 
We cannot dispense with this primary study; but it must be 
recognized that, even if the specimens are sought out, chosen, 
and examined with the most conscientious care, the region 
itself, as a natural vegetal region, may be somewhat neglected, 
as demonstrated by the importance given a rare plant though 
it be represented by only two or three individual specimens. 
Yet, when one looks at a picture one does not limit himself 
to counting the strokes of the brush and to classifying the 
tints; one must consider the harmonious whole produced by 
the mingling and opposing of the colors and shades. One 
can of course notice an isolated, peculiar touch of only 
secondary importance ; "but how can one neglect the impression 
produced by the picture as a whole? It is necessary to take 
account of those dominant color effects which, by their arrange- 
ment, give the key and, by their combination, determine the 
artistic impression and give character to the work. 

P is the same with the vegetal carpet of a natural region 


as with a picture. This carpet has dominant traits, a physiog- 
nomy. Likewise, for the geographer, the significance of the 
combination and relative value of the more abundant plants 
(vegetation) has an interest entirely different from that of 
the complete list of morphological types (flora). The vegeta- 
tion reveals to a greater extent the general conditions of life 
and has a biological value besides. When we travel over 
the heath of Brittany, the purple foxgloves, the broom, all 
the vegetal carpet which we trample under foot, recall to us 
similar natural regions such as the heaths of Wales or of the 
Central Plateau of France. Any one group of plants acts, 
in fact, in the same manner with reference to the same group 
of connected natural causes — subsoil, light, humidity, etc. 
That is another reason why in every vegetal region we should 
try to see, above all, the main features, the large masses. 

Such are the first principles of botanical geography. We 
are no longer interested in isolated individuals or floral species, 
but in groupings and in two main categories of groupings: 
the plant formations and the plant associations. 

The forms of vegetation, or plant formations (die Vegetations-, include plants which, while very different from the 
morphological point of view, are similar in appearance and 
present themselves to us in similar attitudes. The most general 
of these classes correspond to empirical definitions ; for example, 
trees, bushes, herbaceous plants, epiphytes — that is, plants 
which develop on other plants — etc. To make use of the 
expression often used by the true founder of botanical geog- 
raphy, Alexander von Humboldt, 1 these are properly "physiog- 
nomy" categories. We are already close to geographical 
reality. We may leave together plants which systematic 
classification separated and scattered, but which, however, 
are united and mingled in nature, such as those two species 
of rank plants which we find associated in dry regions: the 
aloes, with succulent leaves, and the cacti, with succulent stalks 
but without leaves. In the same way the larches, which lose 
their leaves at the end of autumn, conifers though they are, 
will fall in with the deciduous trees of northern regions. On the 

• Von Humboldt is the author of De distributione geographica plantarum secundum 
cadi temperiem et aUitudinem montium, Paris, 1817. 


other hand, from this new point of view, the old divisions into 
species are broken up. The powerful and very abundant family 
of graminaceous plants, which includes the rice and the gigantic 
bamboos of tropical regions as well as the maize and the rye grass 
of temperate regions, is entirely dismembered, and the genera 
and species are distributed among several forms of vegetation. 

The second unit of botanical geography has a yet greater 
value : it represents still more clearly the facts of natural con- 
nection. The plant world, we have said, gives to certain 
similar countries a like physiognomy: very different plants 
have, in fact, analogies of temperament, as well as affinities; 
the ensemble of the plants which live together and whose 
natural grouping is expressed to our eyes by a characteristic 
landscape, constitutes a plant association or Pflanzenverein. 1 

Thus the forests include many different associations, and 
if some are due to almost a single plant formation like the 
association of the littoral tropical forests (forests of mangroves) , 
there enters almost always into any single association a large 
variety of formations. The great trees of our region, beeches 
and firs, develop into great forests. Each of them is accom-^ 
panied by the same group of bushes, grasses, or mosses which 
gives to it everywhere the same underbrush. It is a sort of 
necessary retinue which shares its fortune, which is associated 
with its life ; and all this living group is collectively designated 
by the tree or by the species which predominates, as the fir 
association, the beech association, etc. 2 Thus an entirely new 
botany has been created which gives more attention to the 
real grouping of living forms. 3 

1 Warming, Oecology of Plants: An Introduction to the Study of Plant-Communities 
(English adaptation by Groom and Balfour), Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1909; F. E. 
Clements, Plant Physiology and Ecology, Henry Holt and Co., New York, 1907; 
Coulter, Barnes, and Cowles, Textbook of Botany, Vol. II, Ecology, American Book 
Co.. New York, 1911. 

2 See Ch. Flahault, "Au Sujet de la carte botanique, forestiere et agricole de 
France, et des moyens de l'executer," Ann. de Geog., October 16, 1896, pp. 450-451; 
cf . also Warming, op. cit. ; and Oscar Drude, Handbuch der Pflanzengeographie, Engel- 
horn, Stuttgart, 1890; geographers are directed also to the more recent work by R. 
Chodat, Principes de botanique, Paris and Geneva, 191 1. 

3 These natural associations are so well established that botanists are enabled to 
reconstruct the ancient vegetal coverings of regions. "The dominant species of a 
primitive association having died out, other species belonging to the same association, 
characteristic forms accompanying the dominant species, live on, often unnoticed and 
neglected, but trustworthy evidences of the past and sure signs of the plant associa- 
tions that once flourished there. Thus the botanist restores a country as the archae- 
ologist restores the temple of Epidaurus or the Acropolis. He discovers forests 
of beeches under areas covered with myrtle: forests of cork-oaks and chestnuts under 


We might, in addition, show manifold relationships between 
the same natural conditions, soil and climate, and the animal 
world; between the plant and the animal world — between the 
different types of the animal world. 1 But we need only 
note here this general necessary orientation in different kinds 
of investigation. In a work published in Germany, Domestic 
Animals and Their Relations with the Economic Life of Man, 
the author is not satisfied with studying domestic animals 
one by one, or with describing their organs, or with seeking 
their origin. He takes them in their geographical setting; 
he examines the relationships which exist between the animals 
and the cultivated plants, and determines with what methods 
of exploitation of the soil, with what sorts of cultivation, 
and even with what forms of economic organization they 
are generally associated. 2 

The study of the origin of the terrestrial faunae is becoming 
more and more geographical. If one consult such a well-known 
book as that of R. F. Scharf , on the faunae of Europe, one finds 
that the only two factors which are to-day introduced to explain 
the distribution of animal population are, first, the continental 
continuity (present or past), and, second, the intervention of 
man — factors which are both of a distinctly geographical 
character. 3 

Through these facts of plant and animal distribution, 
through these forms of economic organization, we come to 

the brush of Corsica. A few species surviving an association are our touchstone" 
(Ch. Flahaut, "Le Devoir des botanistes en matiere de geographie humaine," Compte 
rendu du 7X« Congres geog. internal., Geneve, 1908, I, Geneva, 1909, p. 290). Further, 
botanical geography understood in this way furnishes a suggestive principle, both posi- 
tive and critical, to paleobotany, or the study of the flora and vegetation of different 
geological periods: " In all of these investigations, consideration of the general char- 
acter of the flora one is studying, of the climatic conditions in which it seems to have 
flourished, would naturally result in useful bases for interpretation; for example, that 
the presence of types belonging to warm regions would be unlikely in a setting of types 
belonging to cold ones, or vice versa. But that is a sort of argument that must be 
used with greater discretion the farther one gets from the present time, it being 
quite possible that species different from those of our era, however like they may be, 
did not have exactly the same needs" (R. Zeiller, "Les Problemes et les methodes 
de la paleobotanique," Rev. du mois, December 10, 1909, p. 654). 

Arnold Jacobi, Tier geographie (Sammlung Goschen), Leipzig, 1904. 

2 See Eduard Hahn, Die Haustiere und ihre Beziehungen zur Wirtschaft des Men- 
schen. Eine geographische Skizze, Leipzig, 1896. Cf. Maurice Caullery, "Animaux 
domestiques et plantes cultivees," Ann. de geog., January 15, 1897, pp. 1-13; 
A. Hettner, " Die Haustiere und die menschlichen Wirtschaftsformen nach Eduard 
Hahn," Geog. Zeitschr., March, 1897, pp. 160-166. 

3 More and more the tendency is to explain such facts as due to other causes than 
marine currents or migratory birds. See R. F. Scharf, European Animals: Their 
Geological History and Geographical Distribution, London, 1907. 


I man. Our endeavor finds its entire raison d'etre in the great 
geographical principle of relationships. For men themselves, 
like the plants and the animals, are closely bound to a certain 
number of phenomena. Man has need of water both for 
himself and for the animals which live near him; he naturally 
J fixes his dwelling about springs, and the distribution of springs 
'' often explains the distribution of groups of habitations. Com- 
pare the Champagne and the Morvan. In Champagne 
pouilleuse the soil is very permeable and springs are not 
numerous, though they have in general considerable volume; 
the houses and farms are therefore found huddled together in 
groups far from each other. In the Morvan, on the other 
hand, in nearly all localities .slender threads of water gush 
out and flow; as a result the houses are isolated and scat- 
tered widely (Fig. 7). In Lorraine a line of springs follows 
the line of contact between the permeable lower oolite and 
the impermeable clay of the Lias; cities and villages are 
strung along this line.j 
I . At other times men grouped themselves on the border line 
I] of very dissimilar natural regions because this border line was 
" a natural place of exchange. The pasture lands of volcanic 
Auvergne are bordered on the northeast by the rich agricul- 
tural plain of fertile Limagne, and are surrounded elsewhere 
by crystalline regions, poor lands covered with moors, and 
chestnut groves; the most influential cities are placed on the. 
border of old volcanoes and form a belt which never leaves 
the geological boundary line (see Fig. 1) 

A striking example of the geographical importance of a 
geological boundary line is found in the line of significant 
cities that have grown up at the Fall Line between the Pied- 
mont Belt and the Coastal Plain in the eastern United States. 
Where the streams of the strong rock Piedmont pass by a 
series of small falls and rapids to the Coastal Plain area, they 
furnish power for manufacturing. The presence of the falls, 
at or near the head of navigation of the Coastal Plain streams, 
necessitated a change in the form of transportation. Cities 
situated at the falls drew their sustenance and goods for trade 
from two contrasted soil areas. The geological boundary still 
continues to be the basal cause of the important cities 



Fig. 1. General Relations Connecting Physical Geography and Human 

Geography: the Distribution of the Principal Urban Centers on the 

Border of the Volcanic Regions of Central France 

It is most often at the point of contact between the eruptive areas and the quite 
different surrounding lands that small cities (Saint-Flour, Mauriac, Pleaux, etc.) are 
situated. Here the extremities of the ancient lava flows terminate and the base 
of the very poor Archaean soil appears. Clermont-Ferrand, Riom, Aurillac, etc., 
more important cities, are found where the eruptive rocks meet the richer soils of 
the great Oligocene basin of the Limagne or the small Aurillac basin. 

From the 1 : 1,700,000 geological map accompanying the fine monograph (given the award by the Academy of 
Sciences) of Marcellia Boule, on the age of the last volcanos in central Franoe, La Geographie, XIII, 1906, p. 179. 


that are to-day found at the Fall Line from New Jersey 
to Alabama. 

The importance which we attach to Quaternary glaciation [writes 
one geographer 1 ] comes from the fact that in Savoy, as in high 
jj mountains elsewhere, physical geography and human geography 
I are in greater part the work of the ancient glaciers. They it is 
that have at least broadened, deepened, and shaped the Alpine 
valleys; they it is that, after the erosion of the bordering rocks and 
the grinding of the harder elements in the complex of the deep 
moraines, have made habitable the mountains by leaving this 
erratic drift either in the depressions of the valley thus hollowed, 
or on the gentler slopes, or on the bottoms of the preglacial valleys. 
In fact, these erratic deposits, being impermeable (especially the 
glacial silt of the deep moraines), make, along the sides of the valleys, 
a line of springs at contact with which the water absorbed by 
the slope reappears, a characteristic which allows us to recognize 
them in the landscape. On the other hand, these glacial banquettes, 
as they are termed by W. Kilian, formed from material of different 
origin, include elements of every nature — calcite in a granite country, 
flint in a calcareous country — always very finely ground ; these are 
cultivable soils par excellence, and often the only available ones of 
the valley. Hence they are selected for human habitations. 

Lowl 2 had noticed previously that, in the tributary valleys of the 
Oetzthal, the greater part of the population lives on the alluvial 
cones; in the Langtaufererthal the figure amounts to 84 per cent, in 
the Valserthal to 94 per cent. In the high mountains we shall show 
that the population on moraines surpasses this. 

These Quaternary moraines touch human geography still more 
closely. Lateral moraines, in particular, keep the slope of the 
ancient glacier, a slope hardly stronger than that of the valleys 
which they dominate, but weaker than that of the present glacier. 
They unite above with what remains of the ancient glacier, habitu- 
ally in the form of hanging glaciers. Thus there are continuous 
projecting banks, fully prepared to conduct irrigating canals over 
the impermeable soil of the glacial mud. These canals, called 
bialets or bialieres, ramify into the complex of frontal moraines, 
covering sometimes the entire bottom of a valley, such as the valley 
of Polset above Modane, or the valley of Chavieres-sur-Pralognan. 
The proprietors of the chalets of Polset, at an altitude of 5,935 
feet, have thus been able to utilize the multitude of small inter- 
secting crests of the recessional moraines for the distribution of 
ditches in the form of a checkerboard ; a more important canal leads 
to Villars, above the Praz; the same distribution is found in the 

a Paul Girardin, "Glaciation quaternaire," Rev. de geog. ann., II, 1908, pp. 691-692. 
2 " Siedlungsarten in den Hochalpen," Forschungen zur deutschen Landes- und 
Volkskunde, Vol. II, No.' 6, 1888, pp. 408-409. 


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Lavoir, south of Modane, and in the valley of Bonneval is the canal 
of Vallonet, which carried water to the mills or mulinets, situated 
near the falls of the torrent of Vallonet ; these were the mills of the 
former town of Bonneval, buried, tradition tells us, beneath the 
Clapier de Fodan. Above Bonneval, again, a bialet not kept in 
repair comes from the glacier of the Fonds Valley and waters the 
Lenta and Grande Feiche; at Gliere-de-Pralognan an abandoned 
canal follows in the same way the crest of the lateral moraine below 
the Morion. These last three canals, like many others in Savoy, 
are not kept up. They testify to the fact that here, as elsewhere, 
later generations are more grudging of time and trouble. What 
remains of these old canals suffices to show the bond which unites 
irrigation to the moraines of ancient glaciers. 

Some relationships are of a still more delicate complexity. 
An eminent geologist thus formulates the relations between 
natural conditions and human life observable in the Armorican 
peninsula : 

The natural regions of Brittany show certain common character- 
istics; all are remarkably long and narrow, presenting a streaked 
structure in slender, parallel bands of different composition. . . . The 
inhabitants have had to adapt their lives to the structure of their 
soil, which is full of ridges with narrow furrows between them. 
Each of these grooves has been occupied by breeders who have found 
themselves shut in and self-sufficient, and not obliged to have dealings 
with their neighbors. Brittany has thus become, as a result of its 
climate and the structure of its soil, a country of pasture-grounds not 
used in common. Thus, it is against his neighbor's cow that the 
Breton peasant defends his property by planting around his patches 
of ground, walls of thorn-broom and girdling them with ditches like 
fortresses. 1 

The situation, the configuration, the structure, or the climate 
of a country helps to explain the historical development of a 
people as a social organization. As far as certain countries, 
such as England, are concerned, that is a current truth. But 
even for political facts which have long been considered some- 
what surprising and abnormal, we can discover real natural 
foundations. Professor Theobald Fischer, in a very remark- 
able work on the Iberian Peninsula, 2 explains clearly why 
Portugal has been able to preserve her historical and political 
autonomy. Portugal is nothing more than a peripheral zone 

1 Charles Barrois, "Des Divisions geographiques de la Bretagne," Ann. de geog., 
March 15, 1897, pp. 103-104. 

2 "Die iberische Halbinsel," in Landerkunde von Europa, edit, by A. Kirchhoff, 
Part 2, second half, pp. 519-754. Tempsky, Vienna, 1893. 


such as the plains of Valencia or Andalusia, which border on all 
sides the central Spanish plateau; but Portugal alone is sepa- 
rated from Spain by the deep canyons of three great water 
courses and their affluents — a natural frontier more effectual 
than many mountain chains. In the second place, much more 
than any other region of the peninsula, Portugal is closely 
connected with the sea, and through her great estuaries the 
tide penetrates far into the land. And, finally, Portugal has 
lived a life of her own because, having the same products as 
certain other parts of the peninsula, she has had to turn away 
from Spain and toward the sea. Professor Fischer happily 
compares the geographical situation of Portugal, independent 
of Spain, to that of Holland, independent of Germany. 

Do we wish examples still more simple, more decisive, and 
incontrovertible? Let us recall the attraction exercised over 
man from remotest antiquity by certain natural products; let 
us recall the commercial activity of which the spices of India 
alone have been the determining factor. Salt has played a 
greater role in history than has gold: how much trade it has 
brought about, how many regular exchanges it has estab- 
lished between far-off countries! In our times coal has been 
a prodigious creating and transforming cause. Farther on we 
shall have occasion to show in some detail to what extent it 
has attracted men and brought them together. 

We may now see what part the investigation of causes may 
play in human geography. Human facts and natural phe- 
nomena cannot be separated. 

This method, followed by the eminent geographer and 
teacher, P. Vidal dela Blache, is clearly set forth in the preface 
to his Atlas: 

The political map of the country to be studied is accompanied 
by a physical map ; they throw light upon each other and find their 
complement in the maps, or diagrams, for which geology, climatology, 
the science of statistics, have furnished the subject. The collection 
of material, more or less complete according to the case, aims at 
placing before us the ensemble of the features which characterize a 
country, in order to allow the mind to establish relationships between 
them. In fact, it is in this relating of parts that the geographical 
explanation of a country consists. Considered by themselves, the 
features which compose the physiognomy of a country have the 
value of a fact; but they take on the value of a scientific idea only 


when we put them back in the chain of which they form a part and 
which alone can give them their full significance. 

Is the word explanation, which we use here, legitimate? - 
Certainly we do not claim to give, in geography, the primary 
reason for everything which now exists or is being produced on 
the earth's surface; but to endeavor to connect the phenomena 
with each other, and thus to reduce the part that must be 
assigned to pure chance, is to explain. 

In trying to show in this way a country under different aspects - 
[P. Vidal de la Blache continues] I have had no other end in view than 
to emphasize the principle of relationship which unites geographical 
phenomena. I have had to borrow from neighboring sciences, not 
of course for the sake of focusing the attention on different subjects, 
but in order to draw from them useful proofs. I have not tried, for 
example, to elucidate the science of statistics by a set of selected 
maps, but rather to develop geography by means of statistics. I 
have not sought to imitate the scientist who follows step by step 
and figure by figure the evolution of an economic or social phe- 
nomenon, but only to establish from these figures the averages upon 
which geography may base a principle. Whether it be a question of 
climatic, botanical, or economic facts, it is the relation that I have 
sought to point out. Where certain phenomena of climate are 
localized, we find certain forms of vegetation, a certain distribution 
of crops — that is the geographic element, the element which allows 
us to grasp the relationship between climate, vegetation, and soil. 

The characteristic quality of a country is thus a complex thing 
resulting from the delicate and varied interactions of many factors. 

It follows that we must not restrict our study to a single * 
order of phenomena. Even the least ambitious geographical - 
study, to be complete, cannot be limited to mere observation 
of isolated facts; the earth's surface cannot be divided into 
isolated areas; there may be broad natural divisions, but 
there are no small closed fields. A single mountain does not 
form a whole; neither is a city an independent unit area, for 
it depends upon the soil on which it rests, upon the climate 
which plays upon it, upon the whole vast contributing area 
from which it draws its sustenance and life; nor is a river an 
individual thing which can be considered apart from the land 
through which it flows. 

The great meteorological phenomena, such as the trade- 
winds, monsoons, cyclones, are striking manifestations of the 
close interdependence of the different parts of the earth. 


Let us consider facts which are constantly to be seen right 
at hand. A great aerial current from the west brings damp 
and relatively warm air into parts of all western and even 
central Europe and constitutes one of the essential elements 
of "European climates. If a cyclone has formed within this 
current, far from the European coast, over either the Atlantic 
Ocean or even on the coast of America, the result will be a 
storm which may eventually reach the shores of Europe. If 
it approaches Iceland, and shows its presence naturally by 
strong barometric depression, the English Channel is beaten 
by violent winds from the southwest, and the North Sea by 
winds from the south ; rain falls in abundance over the British 
Isles and the coast of France. But suppose the whirling move- 
ment proceeds toward the Scandinavian Peninsula, instead 
of advancing to central Europe; the winds and rains over 
western Europe diminish and the barometer rises. Suppose, on 
the other hand, that the current bringing the barometric depres- 
sion strikes Europe obliquely and passes from the North Sea 
to the Mediterranean; when the low-pressure center is over 
the Gulf of Lions the mistral is let loose in the Rhone Valley. 

One might attempt to follow this storm into all its distant 
effects ; but where could one stop ? It is a center of influence 
without limit, which establishes relations more or less direct, 
more or less variable, more or less visible, but always effective, 
between countries that seem totally unrelated. 

We thus reach the highest thought, the thought of the 
terrestrial whole — the conception of the terrestrial unity. 
The different forces do not act upon each other only under 
fixed conditions, nor do they exert a reciprocal action only in 
a few definite instances. The very opposite is true, for, in a 
manner more or less remote, in a form more or less discernible, 
all these forces are closely bound together because of the 
endless interrelations of the conditions they bring about. 

'The idea that the earth is a unit, the parts of which are 
coordinated, furnishes geography with a working principle of 
method, the value of which is more evident as its application 
is extended." 1 

1 P. Vidal de la Blache, "Le Principe de la geographie generate," Ann. de geog., 
January 15, 1896, p. 129. 


Activity a nd relationship : these then are the two principles 
which to-day must dominate geography. 

The forces of physical nature are bound to each other in 
their consequences, in their relations , and in the consequences 
of these relations. Man does not escape the common law; 
his activity is included in the network of terrestrial phenomena. 
But, if human activity is thus circumscribed, it does not follow 
that it is fatally determined. Because of its connection with 
natural phenomena it is, without question, included in geog- 
raphy in two ways: it responds to the influences of certain 
facts and, on the other hand, it exercises its influence on other 
facts. For this double reason it belongs to geography. That 
is why we must add to the_grqup of .material forces, whose 
incessant interplay we have seen, this new force — human 
activity — which is not only a material thing but which also 
expresses itself through material effects. That is why, as 
geographers, we are led to study man's part in nature — with- 
out ever separating it from the study of physical geography. 



i. The antecedents and beginnings of human geography. The 
orientation given by Ratzel. 

2. The facts of human geography classified according to their 
increasing complexity. From the geography of the first vital 
necessities (fundamental physiological needs: eating, sleeping, 
clothing, defense) to political and historical geography. 

j. An attempt at a positive classification. The three groups and 
the six types of fundamental facts. The small natural units: 
the "isles" of the sea, of the desert, of the forest, of the high 
mountain, and of the plains. 

4. The natural forces. Water and wind. Human beings. 
The first maps: rainfall and population maps. 


Modern geography aims at the comparison and classification 
of phenomena, and at their explanation in the widest sense of 
the word. The geography of yesterday was defined as the 
description of the earth; by contrast the new geography is really 
the science of the earth. 1 It does not content itself with merely 

Geography is the science of the earth as it is to-day, while geology deals with 
the earth's past. These two sciences come in contact but are not merged. H. J. 
Mackinder, in comparing and contrasting the new points of view and methods of 
geology and geography, has said very truthfully that geology is the study of the past 
in the light of the present. But this general definition cannot be understood literally 
as the chief difference between geology and physical geography. On this point we 
cannot do better than refer to the thoughtful remarks with which Sir Archibald Geikie, 
the eminent English geologist, summarized and closed an instructive discussion at 
Nottingham on September 15, 1893, between Sections C (geology) and E (geography) 
of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. For a complete account, 
see "The Limits between Geology and Physical Geography," Geog. Jour., December, 
1893, pp. 518-534. The same number contains an interesting discussion concerning 
"The Present Standpoint of Geography," presented November 13, 1893, to the 
Royal Geographical Society of London, by its president, Sir Clements R. Markham. 
All this is less excluding than the statement in 1883 by the eminent geographer, F. von 
Richthofen, in his Aufgaben and Methoden der heuligen Ceographie. a statement, which 
doubtless he would not have made in the same form later: "The surest basis for 
geography is geology in ihrem ganzen Umfang." Geology is no longer the only indis- 
pensable foundation for geography, and geologists are to-day the first to recognize it. 



describing the phenomena — it explains jfcham. It studies 
the development of the different forces which act upon the 
earth, their processes, and their consequences. In the second 
place, it studies these different forces in their relation to 
each other, and the consequences of these relations. As 
has already been stated, scientific geography — modern geog- 
raphy — is dominated by two leading ideas: the idea of 
activity on the one hand and the idea of relationship on the v 
other. It is no longer an inventory, it is a history. It is ^ 
no longer an enumeration, it is a system. It has the double 
purpose of observing, classifying, and explaining the direct 
effects of the acting forces and the complex effects of these 
forces working together. 

For centuries two conceptions of geography have been {/ 
opposed to each other; by generalizing and perhaps stretching 
the facts a bit, one might be called the Greek conception, the 
other the Roman conception. The Greek conception was . 
loftier and truer. The Greek geographers, Thales of Miletus, 
Eratosthenes, Hippocrates, and Aristotle, were philosophers; 
they had a general, philosophic conception of the physical 
universe and they sought before everything else to work out 
the natural succession of phenomena and how these phenom- 
ena were subordinated to each other. Then came the Romans :, 
with their utilitarian spirit; their geography was practical. 
They established itineraries, and composed topographical 
dictionaries; they were especially dominated by commercial 
interests, by administrative problems, or by ambitions of 
conquest. 1 From that time general and speculative geog- 
raphy was neglected; the spirit of geographical science and 
the taste for it were lost. Only a few men, as rare as they were 
farseeing, strove to preserve the scientific point of view in 

Long after the marvelous period of the great discoveries 
(1492-1523: Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, 
Magellan) Bernhard Varenius, by publishing (in the first 
half of the seventeenth century) his Geographia Generalis, 

1 Strabo, who was the first to develop regional or descriptive geography, and 
Ptolemy, who represented a reaction in favor of general geography, were the lead- 
ing geographers of the Roman period; but neither of them was a Roman and they 
both wrote in Greek. See the volume on Strabo by Marcel Dubois. 


really inaugurated modern geography. 1 But we must come 
down to the nineteenth century to see in Europe the true 
renaissance of geography. At the beginning of the last cen- 
tury two men, whose work was complementary, set forth 
the guiding conceptions both of that part of the science which 
was to become physical geography and of that part which 
was to become human geography. One was the great scientist, 
Alexander von Humboldt (i 769-1859), the author of the 
Cosmos; the other was Karl Ritter (1 779-1859), the author 
of the Allgemeine vergleichende Erdkunde, who, more historian 
and philosopher than scientist, was always dominated by 
teleological ideas which, in spite of certain exaggerations, led 
him to seek everywhere the affinities and relationships between 
man and the earth. To these two great names joint homage 
must be paid at the beginning of every modern attempt to fix 
the method of geographical study. 2 

In France the renaissance had been slow. Before that 
profound and penetrating transformation to which the name 
of Vidal de la Blache will always remain particularly attached, 
our teaching for a long time had been faithful to an unfortunate 
routine. Children and young people were taught geography 
in manuals without illustrations and without maps; atlases 
were for them unknown and sometimes even forbidden books. 3 

*See G. Giinther, "Varenius," Klassiker der Naturwissenschaften, Bd. IV, Theod. 
Thomas, Leipzig; and M. Kiessling, "Varenius und Eratostenes," Geog. Zeitschr., XV, 
1909, pp. 12-28. 

2 If one should write a complete history of geography, and especially German 
geography, it would be necessary to include also Oskar Peschel, author of the Neue 
Probleme der vergleichenden Erdkunde; see Kirchhoff, " uber Humboldt, Ritter und 
Peschel," Deutsche Rev., January, 1878, whom he calls the three "Hauptlenker der 
neueren Erdkunde." See also the inaugural lecture at the University of Tubingen 
by Alfred Hettner, "Die Entwickelung der Geographie im 19. Jahrhundert," Geog. 
Zeitschr., IV, 1898. Also note Oskar Peschel, Volkerkunde, Leipzig, 1881, and 
Alfred Vierkandt, N aturvolker und Kulturvolker, Ein Beitrag zur Socialpsychologie, 
Leipzig, 1896. To follow the subject even further, note must be made of Rougemont's 
La Geographie de I'homme, ethnographique, arlislique et historique, translated into 
German in 1843, and the work of Arnold Guyot, whose relation to American geog- 
raphy is of especial interest. A native of French Switzerland, he settled in the 
United States in 1848, in his forty-first year. While intimately associated with the 
scientific life of his adopted country for the remaining thirty-six years of his life, he failed 
to create a following in the field that was his specialty, human geography. The time was 
not ripe at this stage of our national development for the doctrines of this disciple of 
Karl Ritter; when it was, the teleological principle had been displaced and discredited, 
by the doctrine of evolution. See especially his The Earth and Man: Lectures on 
Comparative Physical Geography in Its Relation to the History of Mankind, Boston, 1849. 

3 The two great works of Elisee Reclus, who for a quarter of a century devoted himself 
to the reorganization of geography, must not be overlooked: La Terre, Description 
des phenomenes de la vie du globe (perhaps needing some correction), and the great work 
in nineteen volumes, entitled Nouvelle geographie universelle. La Terre et les hotnmes. 


Until recent years, both in our classes and our examinations, what 
a singular importance was still attached to subpref ectures ! A 
very insignificant fact apparently, but a significant example. 
Pupils were led to put in the same rank in their minds cities 
such as Douai and Murat, Brest and Puget-Theniers, and to 
consider as analogous, as almost identical, a host of cities 
which have nothing in common except the tinseled uniform 
of a public official. Moreover, it was all too often in alphabeti- 
cal order that the pupil had to recite the names of the 
subprefectures of all our departments, and even of the de- 
partments themselves — a sorry list, as instructive as might 
be an alphabetical list of the metalloids or of the kings of 
France. Let such tables be inserted, if one wish, in a 
supplementary chapter on administrative geography, but 
let them no longer form an essential part of even primary 
instruction. Such an ill use of time is in itself proof of a 
wrong conception of geography. It would doubtless be an 
error to judge of the development of a science merely by 
the instruction currently given in it ; but the type of instruc- 
tion is at least a revealing picture which furnishes us sure 

It is important to recall briefly this almost contemporary 
past in order better to understand the import of Ratzel's work. 

In 1882 Ratzel published the first volume of his Anthro- 
po-Geographie. 1 To be sure, he was not the actual originator 
of this manner of viewing and analyzing human facts. Even 
in the writings of the greatest Greek historians and philoso- 
phers, whose work has already been noted, we find illuminating 

1 Friedrich Ratzel, who died August 9, 1904, professor of geography at Leipzig, 
is especially known as the author of Die Anthropo-Geographie, the first volume of 
which appeared in 1882 and the second volume, with the title without a hyphen, in 
1 89 1. A second edition of the first volume, much expanded and extensively reor- 
ganized, appeared in 1899. His Politische Geographie was published in 1897. Among 
his other important contributions to human geography should be noted the second 
volume of his Die Veteinigten Staaten von Nprd-Amerika, first edition 1880, second 
edition 1893. Note also his "La Corse, Etude anthropogeographique, " Ann. de 
geog., VIII, 1899, pp. 304-329. For a complete study of the development of human 
geography in recent years, see Ernst Friedrich, " Die Fortschritte der Anthropogeo- 
graphie (1891-1902), " Geog. Jahrb., XXVI, 1903. PP- 261-298; XXXI, 1908, 
pp. 285-461; XXXII, 1909, pp. 3-68. For an interesting discussion between 
Ratzel and one of the leading German geographers, H. Wagner, at the time of the 
appearance of the second volume of Ratzel's Anthropogeographie, see H. Wagner, 
"F. Ratzels Anthropogeographie II, oder die geographische Verbreitung der 
Menschen," Zeitschr. der Ges. fiir Erdkunde zu Berlin, XXVI, 1891, pp. 465-478; 
and F. Ratzel, "Erwiderung auf H. Wagners Besprechung der Anthropogeographie 
II," ibid., XXVI, 1891, pp. 508-512. 


and judicious suggestions which, in spite of their fragmentary 
and sporadic character, would allow us to invoke the old 
authority of Herodotus and Thucydides, of Hippocrates and 
Aristotle, in favor of this very recent geography. Ratzel 
chiefly followed tradition and developed, of course with more 
precision, the brilliant sketches of the celebrated Karl Ritter; 
he was inspired besides by excellent works of less known 
authors, G. B. Mendelssohn and J. G. Kohl. 1 But, by creating 
a word which should serve as a name for the new studies, he con- 
tributed more than anyone else to the great progress of this line 
of investigation. And to Ra.tzel's influence are due, in large 
part, the works on "human geography" which have multiplied 
in France and the United Kingdom in the last few years. 

By his two- volume work, Anthropo-Geographie, by his 
Politische Geographie, by a whole series of other works, shorter 
and less synthetic, and by numerous investigations which his 
pupils have undertaken under his direction, Ratzel has in 
truth revivified the method of understanding humanity and 
human activity as geographical facts. He saw men as realities 
covering portions of the earth's surface, a living covering as 
worthy of study by the geographer as the plant covering or the 
animal population. He saw human groups and human societies 
developing, always within certain natural limits (Rahmen), 
occupying always a certain definite place (S telle) on the 
globe, and needing always, in order to nourish themselves, 
to subsist, to grow, a certain space (Raum). History of course 
cannot be entirely explained through geography, but in the 
evolution of history, men, who are its actors, do not cease for 
a single day to tread the soil, and to make the resources of the 
earth serve for their maintenance. The most peaceful economic 
life as well as war 2 can be understood only if one never loses 
sight of these real "foundations" of all human activity. Be- 
sides, this activity finds expression in 'Visible and tangible" 
works, in roads and canals, in houses and cities, in clearings 
and cultivated fields. There is everywhere evidence of man. 

x See G. B. Mendelssohn, Das germanische Europa, Zur geschichlliche Erdkunde, 
Duncker u. Humblot, Berlin, 1836; J. G. Kohl, Der Verkehr und die Ansiedelungen 
der Menschen in ihrer Abhdngigkei' von der Gestaltung der ErdoberJlache t Arnold, 
Dresden and Leipzig, 1841. 

2 The second edition of the Politische Geographie has the following subtitle: Geo- 
graphie der Staaten, des Verkehrs und Krieges. 


All this takes on a new meaning under Ratzel's pen, for it is 
grasped and interpreted by him in a new manner. He pos-i/ 
sessed to a very high degree the sense of terrestrial reality. He * 
perceived the human facts on the earth no longer as a phi- 
losopher or historian, or as a simple ethnographer, or as an 
economist, but as a geographer. He distinguished their 
manifold, complex, and variable connections with the facts 
of the physical order — altitude, topography, climate, vege- 
tation. He observed men peopling the globe, working its 
surface, seeking their livelihood, and making history on the 
earth; he observed them with the eyes of a true naturalist. 

It would take too long to point out all the subjects which 
Professor Ratzel has treated in the course of his very produc- 
tive career; and besides, how can one analyze a mass of obser- 
vations which have filled no less than 24 volumes and 100 
monographs or articles? But it is important to recall some 
of his works which, though less generally known, are yet 
perhaps as important as his Anthropo-Geographie, and to 
indicate what precise knowledge and what natural gifts explain 
the intellectual range of his human geography and the scien- 
tific light that it sheds. 1 

If Ratzel, as we have just said, subjected geographical facts 
to the keen observation of a true naturalist, we must not . 
forget that he began not only his works but his studies with | 
the natural sciences. It was by travef^by^direct contact 
with realities, 2 that Ratzel came to geography, like some of 
the best known geographers of contemporary Germany — 
Baron von Richthofen, Theobald Fischer, etc. 

Some months before his death, in January, 1904, Professor 
Ratzel himself summarized the evolution of his career as 
follows: "I traveled, I sketched, I described. I was thus 
led to Naturschilderung. In the meantime I came back from 
America and was told there was need of geographers. I then 

1 Ratzel's field of scientific production was exceedingly broad; his writings deal with 
the natural sciences, general geography, ethnography, anthropogeography and biog- 
raphy, physical geography, the Alps, snow, history of geography, pedagogical geog- 
raphy, etc. At present the best authority to consult for a full list of his works is Victor 
Hantzsch, Ratzel- Bibliographie 1867-1905, published in 1906 as Appendix to Vol. II 
of the Kleine Schriflen. These Kleine Schriften, published as a posthumous work under 
Ratzel's name, are edited by Hans Helmholt and published by R. Oldenbourg, Munich 
and Berlin, 1906. 

2 See one of the last works published by Ratzel: Uber Naturschilderung, 1904. 


gathered together and coordinated all the facts I had myself 
observed and collected on Chinese emigration to California, 
to Mexico, to Cuba, and I wrote my inaugural dissertation 
on Chinese emigration." He became in 1876 Privat-Docent 
in geography and from the following semester professor of geog- 
raphy in the Technische Hochschule in Munich. In 1886 he 
was called to succeed Ferdinand von Richthofen at the Univer- 
sity of Leipzig. There for eighteen years he generously spent 
his energy, training many pupils and exercising a scientific 
influence that passed far beyond the boundaries of Germany. 

By a monograph on human geography the future author of 
Anthropo-Geographie had caused university professorships to 
open to him ; but he was of those who are convinced — and 
rightly — that all serious and substantial human geography 
must rest on physical geography. In this field he brought 
his contribution of observations to the solution of divers 
problems, fiords, lapiaz, etc. ; and published a very important 
work, Die Sckneedecke besonders in deutschen Gebirgen. 1 The 
snow, said he, is not merely a meteorological phenomenon — 
it is a geographical fact, a surface fact; and in this properly 
geographical spirit he studied all the questions connected with 
the Sckneedecke. Friedrich Ratzel was the organizer and 
editor of that very valuable collection of geographical hand- 
books "Bibliothek Geographischer Handbiicher," to which we 
owe the Gletscherkunde of Heim, the Ozeanographie of Bogus- 
lawski and Kriimmel, and above all the Morphologie of Penck 
and the Klimatologie of Hann. Those are high services. Ratzel 
never forgot the fundamental importance of physical geogra- 
phy, and it was to making more clear this union of natural 
facts with the geography of man that he especially devoted 
his last great work: Die Erde und das Leben ("The Earth 
and Life"), Eine vergleichende Erdkunde. 2 

It is a difficult matter to observe and explain natural facts; 
it is far more difficult to observe and analyze facts of human 
geography. The gift of observation, indispensable though it is, 
no longer suffices. It is impossible to be a good human geogra- 
pher without a thorough historical, economic, and philosophical 

1 Forschungen zur deutschen Landes und Volkskunde, IV. 3, Engelhorn, Stuttgart, 1889. 
2 Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig and Vienna, 1901 and 1902. 


training; and in these fields Ratzel' s mind was incomparably 
trained. Prepared for human geography not only by an 
extensive experience, but by special studies in ethnography 
and comparative ethnography, absorbed by the thought of 
never forgetting that, back of political and historical geog- 
raphy, peoples arestill far ;more closely bound to their natural 
setting by all the acts of their material and daily life, he found 
before him all the fundamental problems of humanity, which 
remain the most obscure of philosophical problems. 1 Far from 
failing to recognize under what a complex and diverse form geo- 
graphical reality reveals them to us, Ratzel, for these questions, 
always extolled the geographical method, thus opposing some 
of the most notable ethnographers and philosophers. 2 

Ratzel was fond of quoting Karl Ritter and of referring to 
"comparative geography." The name of the former deserves 
to be placed close beside the name of the latter. One cannot 
too often repeat to what an extent Ratzel was an originator 
of ideas, and justice should be done to him without reserve. 
It is nevertheless true that he had ideas in abundance rather 
than methodical discipline. His works, especially the later 
ones, do not sufficiently avoid dissertations foreign to geography. 
Those who have followed or still follow the teachings of Ratzel 
must help fill the principal gaps in the work of this founder 
of human geography : the pursuit of practical principles of ob- 
servation and the establishment of a method of classification. 3 

1 After keeping, for several years, a bibliographical record of the principal works 
on ethnography, in the periodical Archiv fur Anthropologic (1878, 1879, 1880), Ratzel 
published several memoirs: " Uber geographische Bedingungen und ethnographische 
Folgen der Volkerwanderungen," in Verh. der Ges.fiir Erdkunde zu Berlin, 1880; " Die 
Stellung der Naturvolker in der Menschheit," in Ausland, 1882, Nos. 1, 2, and 4; then 
his three volumes of Volkerkunde, 1885-1888, reedited in two volumes, 1894-1895. 

2 See, for example, "Die geographische Methode in der Ethnographic " Geog. 
Zeitschr., 1896; "Der Ursprung der Arier in geographischen Licht," Seventh Inter- 
national Geographical Congress in Berlin, 1899. 

3 As early as 1899, in his presidential address, J. Partsch, to-day the successor of 
Ratzel at Leipzig, then head of the University of Breslau, compared Ritter's method 
and that of a pupil of Ritter's, Neumann, who was Partsch's master, with the method 
of Ratzel, and reproached Ratzel with not being sufficiently careful about overstating 
facts. He wanted long, precise works, like Die Vereinigten Staaten, rather than great 
syntheses {Die geographische Arbeit des 19. Jahrhunderts, Breslau, 1879). For the 
desiderata and for the method of human geography, see also Otto Schluter, Die Ziele 
der Geographic, der Menschen, Munich, 1900; Alfred Vierkandt, " Entwickelung und 
Bedeutung der Anthropogeographie," Zu Friedrich Ratzels Geddchtnis, Leipzig, 1904, 
PP- 378-409; and especially Alois Kraus, Versuch einer Geschichte der Handels- und 
Wirtschaftsgeographie, Frankfurt a. M., 1905. Finally, see A. J. Herbertson and 
F. D. Herbertson, Man and His Work, An Introduction to Human Geography, London, 
1899; Ellen Churchill Semple, The Influences of Geographic Environment, Henry Holt 
and Co., New York, 191 1. 



Certain needs of human life are so general and so uniform 
that they must be constantly satisfied. Thus men, wherever 
they live and whatever be their mode of existence, have need 
of air to breathe ; similarly, as a result of gravity, they need a 
material and solid support, whether that support be the earth 
itself or, on occasion, the deck of a ship or the car of a balloon. 
These are conditions which from the very beginning have 
imperiously confined the inhabited portion of the earth to 
that zone where the solid surface and the atmosphere join 
and touch. 

But there are other material conditions indispensable to 
human life which in different parts of the earth may be satis- 
fied in many different ways. Merely to mention them is to 
indicate what are the causes and what are the chief forms of 
those unceasing relations that men are obliged to establish 
between themselves and surrounding nature. As human 
demands become more complex we shall see offered for our 
examination groups of geographical phenomena more and more 
complicated and confused. If, beginning with the humblest 
and most elementary facts, we first take a cursory glimpse of 
this crowded and heterogeneous domain, we shall then have 
to try to determine in the most careful manner what are the 
essential primary facts which human geography requires us 
to observe first. 

i. Geography of the First Vital Necessities 

A. Man has constant need of nourishment; several times a 
day he must renew his strength by" eating and drinking. It 
i is in the "thirsty countries," in regions poor in water, that 
| we understand the imperative subordination of men to water; 
in the Sahara as in the Gobi, in the ' ' arid region ' ' of the Far 
West of America as in Arabia, all manifestations of human life 
follow the lines of the distribution of water. Those who seem 
to be the most independent of local conditions and who escape 
the geographical imprisonment of our sedentary life — the 


nomads, the shepherds — do not escape the tyranny of water. 
All their travels, all their roads and trails, all their raids, must 
above everything else take account of water-holes; to renew 
their supply of water daily is the most constant and the gravest 
of all their problems. 

"Everywhere water reigns supreme over human activity. 
As for our nourishment, it is formed of plant or animal prod- 
ucts, products which all come from beings occupying a place 
at the surface of the globe. More than that, the terrestrial 
animals from which human beings draw their nourishment 
feed upon plants or other animals which themselves feed upon 
vegetables. The geography of alimentation is connected not 
only with the general geography of life, but with the special 
geography of vegetation. Reduced to lowest terms, we find 
in almost all human nourishment a portion of the vegetal 
covering of the earth; the representative of a herbivorous 
species — ox, sheep, rabbit, camel, antelope, or elephant — crops 
each day for food the grasses of a small part of the earth's 
surface. Man's daily attitude is more exalted; his head and 
his tongue are farther from the soil ; the food which the civilized 
man, or even the savage, assimilates has often been not only 
prepared but transported a long distance from its place of 
origin. And yet, if one looks closely, the meals of a human 
being represent, directly or indirectly, the "cropping" of a 
more or less limited expanse of the vegetal carpet, natural 
or cultivated, and show clearly that each person requires a 
"sustenance space" as he requires a "house space" in his hours 
of rest and sleep. Without the vegetation the cannibals them- 
selves would not be able to live on our globe. And in the 
same way men who live on fish levy more or less indirectly 
for their daily repasts on a larger or smaller portion of that 
organic sea food, the plankton. 

Every time that men slake their thirst or feed themselves 
they profit, then, by surface facts which they modify. The 
cumulative effect of these minor changes produces in the course 
of time extensive modifications in the distribution of the plants 
and animals that are the main sources of human energy. Thus 
man's regular periodic need for food and drink binds him closely 
to surface facts of plant and animal distribution which are 


themselves dependent upon general and local conditions of the 
soil, the ocean, the climate. As a result of this levy by over 
sixteen hundred millions of human beings, the surface of the 
earth undergoes endless, immeasurable changes. 

B. Every healthy human being loses consciousness in^sleep 
for a part of every twenty-four hours. The lives of civilized 
men are so organized that the satisfaction of essential needs is 
assured by simple and normal means and we can hardly realize 
what the periodic tyranny of sleep means to the savage. We 
must think of the tramps of the highways, and the shelterless 
of the great cities — the victims of our social organization — in 
oider to understand what an inexorable master sleep is, and 
what insistent cares it places upon man. Man, when uncon- 
scious, is an easy prey for those who wish to attack him, for 
his fellow men as well as for animals. Not being able to escape 
sleep except for a time and by abnormal means (the Fangs or 
Pahouins of the Belgian Congo, for example, make use of the 
kola nut to combat sleep) , all men of all countries are led to 
seek shelter. This may be as rudimentary as can be imagined 
— interlaced boughs and vines in the thick tree crowns of the 
equatorial forests (dwarfs of central Africa), shelters under 
rocks (numerous prehistoric and existing peoples) , holes in the 
snow (Eskimos). But, however rudimentary, the sleep shelter 
is still a definite point at which man installs himself for some 
hours and to which he is naturally inclined to return. Such 
is the origin of that very important fact of human geography, 
the habitation. 

C. The human body must be kept at a certain temperature, 
about 37 C. (98 F.); too low temperatures eliminate all 
life. Because of this organic necessity, very high latitudes 
as well as very high altitudes are natural limits of human 
habitation. The human body, however, has a marvelous 
power of reaction against climatic conditions, especially if it 
is aided by clothes in its struggle against loss of heat. For 
the population of a great part of the earth, clothing thus 
serves a vital need, protecting the human body from the 
effects of low temperatures in the colder regions of the habitable 
world, and counteracting the effects of extreme heat and of 
rapid and great diurnal changes of temperature in the deserts. 



It goes without saying that man can go naked in the hot, 
humid regions. Although the need for clothing is far from 
being as general and compelling as the need for food 
and sleep, yet, geographically speaking, this need has still 
a great significance. Man clothes himself almost every- 
where with some animal or plant product — wool, cotton, 
linen — and thus, in his clothing as in his need for food and 
shelter, he depends in a certain measure upon his natural 

Food, habitation, clothing, these are the three essential foun- 
dations of all economic geography. In so far as they represent 
the more or less spontaneous satisfaction of primary needs, 
they form a first series in human geography. 

Of the human facts enumerated, clothes are the least de- 
pendent upon the geographical environment, for they do not 
have to be renewed every day as food does; once manufac- 
tured, they last for some time. Further, clothes are by their 
very nature movable and transportable; they are not, like the 
usual habitation, attached to a given spot on the earth. 
Escaping the double servitude of incessant renewal and of 
localization, they also escape in a certain measure the strict 
tyranny of immediate natural conditions. 

Eating must be constantly repeated and foods are, as it 
were, material bonds between man and the earth, which 
must be established at fixed hours. Many foods, however, 
are easily transportable and can be made available for use 
far from their place of origin. The people of western Europe 
consume large quantities of coffee, tea, and cacao, while 
the cow's milk from European mountain pastures is con- 
sumed by the inhabitants of Shanghai and South Africa. 
Although the ordinary food of certain human groups, especially 
primitive peoples, the Naturvolker, has a simpler and more 
expressive geography, yet it is none the less true that increased 
facilities of transportation tend more and more to intermingle 
all human foods. 

The permanent habitation, occupying a fixed place, has the 
added interest, from a geographical point of view, that it is 
generally built of local natural materials. A movable habita- 
tion, the nomad's tent, shares in the ease of transportation 


that characterizes clothing, and, geographically, it is a sort 
of clothing. 

Of all the phenomena involved in the satisfaction of essential 
I human needs, the habitation is to the highest degree geo- 
graphical and hence must be given special consideration. A 
further reason for its exceptional place in the study of human 
geography is the fact that every form of human labor on the 
earth's surface is accompanied by human dwellings, if not 
permanent, at least temporary or intermittent. Everything 
leads to the house or groups of houses, villages, towns, or 
cities, so that at the end of the study of any phenomena of 
human geography, we shall be compelled to consider how 
these phenomena find further expression in houses scattered 
or massed together. 

D. Mankind has a fourth fundamental need suggested 
by the primary purpose of the habitation as a protection 
during the hours of sleep, and that is for defense. Man must 
be protected, not only in his hours of rep"ose, but in his hours 
of labor, if he is to work to the maximum advantage. The 
making of a clearing, at least "an arrow's flight" in radius, 
about a stockaded town, so characteristic a feature of colonial 
times in America, was for purposes of defense and served the 
same purposes as the tree houses of the Fijians or the cliff 
dwellings in prehistoric America. 

Health laws in urban and rural communities, regulations 
in reference to the common towel or drinking cup, are means 
of defense against more insidious enemies than wandering 
savages or prowling animals. 

The modern requirements in many communities that 
dangerous machinery shall be covered so far as possible to 
avoid accident, that employers shall be liable for damages 
to employees during working hours, are but refinements of 
the more primitive defense needs to meet the conditions 
imposed by current industrial conditions and practices. 

Confidence due to a realization of adequate defense is an 
attribute of life essential to all progress. The means of 
securing that defense may be simple or complex, crude or 
refined, but the need always exists and man, either directly 
or through depending on others to whom the responsibility 


is delegated, must be adequately defended against danger of 
all kinds. 

2. Geography of the Earth's Exploitation 

Thus far we have purposely spoken of the material facts 
which respond to the satisfaction of the first demands of human 
life, without examining the ways and means by which men 
arrive at the satisfaction of these demands. Men do not 
always rely for their food upon the mere picking of wild fruits 
(simple gathering), nor upon the killing of wild animals 
(hunting and fishing). They anticipate their needs perhaps 
months in advance and supply themselves with vegetable, 
animal, or mineral products. We thus distinguish a second 
series of more complicated facts into which the organized work 
of man enters as an essential factor. 

The slightest cultivationj^ the soil shows an effort and a 
plan, a looking ahead to the morrow. Likewise, foresight is 
seen in cattle-raising, even in its most elementary form, and 
in washing gravel for gold, however crude the process. Let 
us note here that such facts have a geographical interest 
exactly in so far as they express themselves on the surface in 
material forms. It is not the psychological fact of the fore- 
sight which is important and which should claim our atten- 
tion, but the material, the geographical expression of this 
foresight. The cultivation of cereals expresses itself by a 
field and a granary ; primitive cattle-raising, by a more or less 
regular change of place ; the labor of the gold or salt miner, by 
"works." The field and the granary of the cultivator, the 
itinerary of the nomad, the gold-seeker's installation, or the 
salt-mine, are the phenomena by which these human facts 
express themselves in the world of geography, and which serve 
to differentiate the second series of facts, involving organized 
work, from the first, which do not involve organized work. 

From the order of facts that are spontaneous, or almost so, 
implying only impulsive and often immediate movements 
under the spur of vital needs, we come to an order of facts 
which is dominated by work for the future. All these surface 
phenomena can be grouped under the general head of exploita- 
tion of the earth. Agricultural geography, pastoral geography, 


and industrial geography correspond to this second more com- 
plex series of facts. 

3. Social Geography 

One of the instincts and primal needs of man is to perpetuate 
his kind. It is not because of philosophical considerations 
that we have here to discern whether or not' man is Z^ov 
irokiTwbv. Everywhere we see the human species assuring 
the transmission of life and everywhere we find at least embryos 
of families and of society. Man is everywhere gregarious; it 
is an exceptional thing for an individual to live alone. If a 
person becomes a hermit, he is no longer a part of geographical 
humanity. It is only the chances of shipwreck or the dreams 
of mystics or idealists that make Robinson Crusoes or Stylites ; 
the abstract systems of the philosophers or lawmakers alone 
can speak of man by himself as an isolated being. It is by 
an abstraction that we use ' ' man " as a generic term to include 
all humanity. The truth is that human beings everywhere 
live in groups on the earth. This is one of the fundamental 
facts of human geography, which determines a third and 
very extensive series of phenomena. The simplest results of 
this grouping of human beings at all points of the earth are 
exchanges. Almost from its beginning and at least in one of 
the two individuals involved, exchange represents an effort 
and a plan — a foresight for the morrow ; and this fact of 
exchange is especially important for us as soon as it expresses 
itself by that significant geographical reality, the market. 

But men are not only compelled to distribute the products 
of the earth among themselves; they are obliged more or less 
clearly and conscientiously to regulate the conditions of pro- 
duction, the distribution of work, and, above all, the division 
of the soil. Generally speaking, the man who tills the earth, 
or he who raises a herd, does not work for himself alone but 
for a family or social group; the two men involved in an 
exchange are not individually isolated, but both belong to 
groups. All exploitations of the earth's resources are multi- 
plied and perfected toward this social end. Children so young 
that their parents must support them, and old people no 
longer able to secure the necessities of life for themselves, 


depend upon the able-bodied adults for their food, shelter, 
and clothing. Hence result more or less complex facts of 
organization which in a degree depend upon the conditions of 
work and yet in a measure react upon these conditions. 

As soon as men wish to utilize natural resources and riches, 
they must solve not only technical problems — cultivation, 
mines, etc. — but further problems involving the coordination 
and subordination of their own efforts. Whether the owner- 
ship of property shall be communal or individual is a typical 
example of a large group of social facts which, by a more or 
less direct and happy adaptation, are the outcome of the 
exploitation of the earth. 

According as human beings are placed in this or that geo- 
graphical setting they are led to cultivate the palm tree, rice, 
or grain. Similarly they raise horses in the semi-arid steppes 
of central Asia, cattle in the mountains of central Europe or 
on the islands of Lake Chad or on the shores of Lake Rudolf, 
sheep on the lofty and dry plateaus of Spain or New Mexico. 
These different forms of activity bring about still different 
types of social organization. The conception and the limits 
of property are not the same for a farmer who every year 
tills the same field and for a herdsman who drives great herds 
of horses or camels across vast spaces almost treeless and 
without a fixed population. 

We may group all these facts under the term "social 
geography," but we should not forget that, though these facts 
are associated with a given geographical environment, they 
depend especially upon human freedom and will. The analysis 
of them will, then, from the geographical point of view, be a very 
delicate matter, demanding both prudence and critical insight. 

4. Political and Historical Geography 

Finally the coexistence, in a given area of the earth, of 
numerous groups which are obliged to secure the necessities 
from the soil, creates certain necessary relations, now pacific, 
now violent, some of which are also connected with general 
or local facts of a geographic nature. 

Still more critical and prudent must be the criticism of this 
fourth and last series of facts belonging to human geography : 



"historical geography" — that is to say, political, military, 
and administrative geography. Such facts, it is easily 
seen, depend especially upon human vicissitudes and do not 
always have a truly geographical value or meaning. How- 
ever, certain fundamental geographical conditions, such as 
topographical situation, altitude, orientation, proximity to 
the sea, size of the space occupied or conquered, etc., play 
such a role in the destinies of cities, provinces, or states that 
their history cannot be discussed without due consideration 
of the geographical surroundings. Far more, human history 
is deeply rooted, if one may so express it, in the material 
things of the earth. 

Does that mean that all history can be explained by geog- 
raphy? Assuredly not. Historians at one time considered 
only those artificial labels on the earth's surface, the proper 
names — names of mountains, of water courses, or of cities. 
At another time, reacting against this entirely abstract view 
of terrestrial reality, they endeavored to establish general 
relations between the geographical character of a certain 
country and its historical destiny; they approached human 
geography at its end and unfortunately endeavored to solve 
first its most obscure and difficult problems. Hist ory ev olves 
upon the earth, but it is made up of complex and involved 
elements that are removed as far as possible from elementary 
geographical conditions. It is by means of the intermediary 
facts of the second series — cultivation, grazing, etc. — and by 
facts of the third series — of social geography — that the 
profound echo of geography in the evolution of human 
societies is chiefly explained. 1 

1 While such historians as Gibbon, Prescott, Motley, and. Guizot have recognized 
the influence on human history of geographical conditions, the systematic study of 
this subject is of more recent date. A work of which the underlying conception is 
the relation of history to geography, is the Weltgeschichte, by numerous contributors, 
edited by H. P. Helmholt, 9 vols., Bibliographische Institut, Leipzig, 1899-1907, 
second edition in course of publication (see especially Lord Bryce's introduction to 
the English translation, 8 vols., Dodd, Mead & Co., New York, 1901-1907). A simi- 
lar work, the labor of one man, is Elisee Reclus, L' Homme et la terre, 6 vols., Libr. 
Universelle, Paris, 1905-1908, a geographic interpretation of history, the master's 
last work. Cf. also H. B. George, Relations of Geography and History, third edi- 
tion, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1907; and A. P. Brigham, "Problems of Geographic 
Influence," Annals Assoc. Amer. Geog., V, 1915. PP- 3-25. The two leading geo- 
graphic interpretations of American history are Ellen Churchill Semple, American 
History and Its Geographic Conditions, second edition, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 
19 1 3, and A. P. Brigham, Geographic Influences in American History, Ginn and 
Co., Boston, 1903. 


Through a strange illusion, "historical geography," which 1/ 
is the most complicated phase of human geography, is at the 
same time the boldest, most adventurous geographical under- 
taking and one that has often appeared the easiest. He who 
glances at a map of the British Isles, and recalls vaguely the 
history of England, establishes so quickly a bond between 
the insular position of these lands and their historic destiny 
that he at once invokes geography as an explanatory cause of 
history; and he is not wrong. But these first general relation- 
ships are so obvious and so true that anyone with an open 
mind can perceive them ; there is no need of laborious training 
in observation to see the general influence of the "insularity" 
of England upon the policy and destiny of Napoleon. But 
have we the right to stop with such easy comparisons? Can 
the true archaeologist content himself with perceiving the 
general relations between a Gothic cathedral and a certain 
period of Christian history? Can the true botanist content 
himself with perceiving some relation between climate or 
altitude and the development of great forests of pine or firs? 
Is the literary critic satisfied with establishing a relation of 
simple "contemporaneousness" between the works of Boileau, 
of Racine, and of La Bruyere? Should the geographer alone 
be the one to declare himself satisfied after having indicated 
some large and obvious relationship, exact though it be, 
between the general geographical situation of a country and 
its general historical destiny? 

Likewise, if the analysis is not more precise, we run the 
risk of often reaching superficial or erroneous conclusions: 
witness how many of Michelet's eloquent generalizations! 1 
On the other hand, if it is proper to go farther, numerous 
difficulties arise. The task is too delicate to be accomplished 
at the first attack. The first consequence of this more scientific 
conception of the relations between geography and history is 
that we must begin with the more modest work of building 
our approaches. 

In human geography, as in all the observational sciences, it 
is important to proceed by first classifying all the facts in 
series, by separating out a precise category from the crowded 

^ee Jean Brunhes, Michelet, Perrin, Paris. 


whole of which it forms a part, and by continuing the com- 
parative observation of these facts in a series of analogous, 
or similar, or progressively distinct, cases. Of this plan of 
procedure it will now be our first and most important care 
to point out with exactness the essential steps. 






We can now comprehend in what numberless ways, and 
under what very general conditions, the actions of men are 
influenced and sometimes even controlled by the physical 
world. This introduction to human geography is a sort of 
necessary preface. 

The truly geographical point of view has been emphasized 
constantly in these earlier pages and attention has been given 
to the types of facts which form the field of investigation of a 
geographer. For instance, in speaking of farming, the raising 
of animals, or trading, it has been pointed out with much 
emphasis that, as geographers, we are not primarily interested 
in the psychological fact of foresight for the morrow, but 
rather in the results of this foresight as indicated by fields 
and granaries, by roads that pass by wells or pools, or by 
market centers. What are the world expressions of these 
scattered suggestions and can this definite point of view be 
used as the basis of a systematic classification that shall be 
truly geographical? 

Human geography is first of all geography, and not psychol- 
ogy, sociology, or history. In the formative stage of its 
development, human geography was easily diverted from its 
proper field and thoughtlessly confused with the many other 
sciences dealing with man. It was easily accused, and not 
without reason, of "touching everything" without having a 
definite field and an organizing principle of its own. It is 
time to check all these haphazard wanderings, and the tendency 
of geographers is now to define their proper field of study and 
to confine themselves to it. 

To consider first the physiological needs of man, as we 


have done, is to explain how, from his earliest hours of exist- 
ence, the human being, whatever he be, comes inevitably into 
contact with the physical world. These necessities once in 
mind, is there not urgent need of abandoning not only every 
a priori notion, every preconception, but every special fact 
concerning the human organism? Is there no way of putting 
less acquired knowledge of man and more geography at the 
beginning of all human geography? Is it not our duty as 
far as possible to free ourselves from every psychological, 
ethnological, or social conception and to devote our attention 
to the actual observation of the human facts on the earth 
with the least possible mingling of the subjective human 
element ? 

Suppose we rise in a balloon or an aeroplane some hun- 
dreds of yards above the ground, following practically the 
same idea as that expressed by the geologist Suess at the 
beginning of his great work, Das Antlitz der Erde ("The Face 
of the Earth"), and, with our minds freed of all that we know 
of men, let us try to see and note the essential facts of human 
geography with the same eyes and vision which would dis- 
cover to us and distinguish the morphological, topographical, 
and hydrographical features of the earth's surface. From such 
a supposed observatory, what is it we see? Or, better still, 
what are the human facts that a photographic plate would 
register just as well as the retina of the eye? (Fig. 3.) 

In the first place, we see men themselves, as a movable cover- 
ing of the surface, but as a covering of very different density 
at different points of the globe. Yet this mobility is more 
restricted and this inequality of distribution is much more 
persistent and constant than one might at first suppose. Each 
individual, each little group, may move separately, and in 
fact does move; still it is none the less true that on the map 
of the world the large blots of living humanity appear for a 
long time in the same places. The general distribution of 
the larger human masses seems subject to a fixity, of course 
relative, and yet a fixity that is certain and surprising. The 
Siberian tundra, the Saharan hamadas, or the Amazon forest 
are almost devoid of men, while men are densely crowded 
on the moist and fertile deltas of the Orient, in certain districts 



of western and central Europe, and along the northeastern 
shore of the United States. 

With and besides men, and varying in numbers with the 



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Fig. 3. The Limmat axd the City o;- 

tograph by bpeltenni 


This photograph, taken by the aeronaut, Captain Spelterini, from the car of a bal- 
loon at about 656 feet (200 m.) above Zurich, indicates clearly to what a degree the 
houses, streets, bridges, etc., as truly as a river, can lay claim to recognition as 
distinctive surface features of the crust of the earth. 

population, appear other concrete surface facts which may 
be referred to six essential types: 

1. Facts of the Unproductive Occupation of the Soil 

(a) and (6). Houses and roads. — First of all, one of the 
most visible facts, a sort of superficial excrescence, is the 
house, or, if one prefers, the shelter or habitation or human 
construction. All these innumerable and varied structures 
that dot the earth's crust with thousands of little points, red 


with tiles, gray with slate, white with marble or lime, dark- 
brown with old thatch, or yellow-brown with dried leaves — 
all these facts, no matter what their size or permanence, and 
regardless of how they are spaced, we group under the general 
term of "houses." This title includes all human structures, 
from the humblest straw huts of the savage to the most 
elaborate mansions of our cities, the cupolas of observatories, 
or spires of cathedrals, and from the isolated huts or cabins 
of the arid steppes to those compact clusters of houses, so 
closely placed as to seem continuous, that we see in the large 
areas of dense population. 

A second fact nearly always accompanies the first, that is, 
the "road," or the line of passage devoted and, if one may so 
speak, sacrificed to movement. The road includes the half- 
beaten paths that lead to the "chaM" or the shepherd's hut 
of the high mountain, great city streets paved or asphalted, 
white roads winding up the. sides of the Alps, the Cevennes, 
or Mount Lebanon, railroads lined with parallel rails, and 
"flowing roads" — diked rivers or. canals. With the "road," 
thus understood, are associated bridges and tunnels, strong- 
holds or ports , and all the other concrete things that are the 
necessary complement or outgrowth of traffic and human 
communication. From the car of our balloon we note at 
the first glance how intimately, from the geographical point 
of view, the road and the house are associated and how they 
mingle still more closely where population is more concen- 
trated. The city, geographically speaking, both in appearance 
and in reality, is made up of empty places as well as full — 
that is, of streets, crossways, and squares as well as houses 
and monuments. 

"Houses" and "roads" are then closely associated over the 
inhabited earth and represent the two essential human facts 
of what might be called the "sterile or unproductive use of 
the land." 

2. Facts of Plant and Animal Conquest 

(c) and (d). Cultivated fields and domesticated animals. — 
Still other surface spots appear, more numerous as the popu- 
lation is more dense ■ — ■ spots with rather regular and seemingly 


definite outlines, of tints varying with the seasons, now the 
dull color of the bare earth or the warm, rich color of the plowed 
ground, now the tender green of springing grass, the deep 
yellow of ripened grain, or the dazzling white of cherry blos- 
soms or cotton bolls — spots corresponding to parts of the sur- 
face where the soil is scratched, turned over, or worked. In 
a general way, to use a term that summarizes what is actually 
seen, this is the "field" or the "garden." Such is the geo- 
graphical and material expression of cultivation — that is to 
say, the subordination of the plant world to the human will. 
Whether it be wheat fields of the plateaus of Beauce or of the 
"black earth" of Russia, the terraces of lofty vine arbors or 
of old, twisted olive trees on the Mediterranean slopes, the 
closely aligned beds in the market gardens of the Paris suburbs, 
checkerboards of muddy rice fields in China or Java, thin 
forests of eucalyptus of the "oases" of the Roman Campagna, 
or old Saharan palm groves, sheltering under their slender 
shade, figs and pomegranates, barley and beans — all these 
' ' fields " or ' ' gardens ' ' are to such a degree marks of human toil 
that the photographic negative would record them, even when 
we remained unaware of the efforts that brought them about. 

A fourth fact is to be noted, now associated with the "fields " 
or the "garden", now, on the other hand, often strong and well 
developed where cultivated spots are rare, but always linked 
with the presence of men. Scattered dromedaries and camels 
that feed on the stiff, hard tufts of the desert ; groups of cattle 
that crop the short, sweet-smelling grass of the Alps; long, 
crowded processions of sheep that browse on the stalks and 
leaves of the dry steppes of the Mediterranean world; or Arab 
horses, each guided by human hands; reindeer drawing sleds 
over the snows of Lapland; Egyptian buffaloes dragging the 
plow under the goad of man and tracing the furrows of his 
field— all these form an animal population which is clearly 
subordinate to human will, a fact indicated by our common 
expressions, the "herd" and the "beast of burden." 

It is through the definite forms of "fields" and "gardens," 
of "herds" and "beasts of burden," that we are led to intro- 
duce into geography the many varied facts included under the 
terms "cultivated plants" and "domesticated animals." In 


one place they may date from an age so remote that their origin 
is a matter of tradition, and in another they may have been a 
sudden innovation of yesterday, but they comprise all that 
from the time of prehistoric man until to-day may be called 
"facts of plant and animal conquest." 

3. Facts of Destructive Economy 

(e) and (/). Exploitation of minerals and devastation in 
plant and animal life. — It remains for us to note from our 
point of vantage two other types of facts, both of which repre- 
sent though in different degrees, "destructive economy," or, to 
use the forceful German term, Raubwirtschaft — that is, "eco- 
nomic plunder." 

Here and there over the earth, and often near the house or 
the road, the soil is removed. Gaping holes mark the points 
where men, without restitution, have taken rocks for their 
own uses: "Sand pits," "gravel pits," "sulphur pits," marble, 
granite, or rock salt quarries, etc. — all these facts, minute 
or imposing, are, in a word, the "quarry." Geographically 
speaking, we pass, by imperceptible stages, from the quarry 
to the mine, from the earth that has been cut away on the 
surface to the earth hollowed out beneath. In the iron 
mines of Minnesota or in the copper mines of Cbuquicamata 
(northern Chile), the pits are open, while in Westphalia, in the 
copper mines of Keweenaw Point, and in the Pas-de-Calais, 
the mines are developed some hundreds of yards or even 
thousands of feet below the surface. In each case the "hole" 
is made by man to remove once for all mineral substances, such 
as silver, diamonds, coal, salt, or plaster; and the "hole" is 
literally a mark of "destructive economy." 

The sixth and last type of surface facts are closely bound up 
with the facts of "plant and animal conquest." We have to 
do here with all those acts, often brutal and violent, almost 
always short and quick, always decisive and final, which, in 
the vegetal order, are seen in wild fruits seized and eaten, trees 
felled and forests burned, and, in the animal order, in animals 
hunted and killed or fish caught. Devastation and pillage of 
the cultivated oasis by the nomadic Tuaregs and the senseless 
and ill-considered exploitation of the rubber vine in the Congo 


are facts analogous to the excessive hunting that tends to 
exterminate certain species, such as plume-bearing birds and 
fur- or ivory-bearing animals. 

4. The "Islands" or "Islets" of the Inhabited Earth 

Later we must consider the general reaction of facts upon 
one another and not neglect that "geography of the whole" 
which is in truth the highest goal of geography study. It is 
difficult to make out at first glance what is really and strictly 
geographical in the manifestations of human life in vast, 
dissimilar settings, each corresponding, for example, to a 
"whole" as complex as France or the United States. Only 
by the careful study of a small unit can one learn to discern 
and evaluate the strictly geographical relations between 
physical facts and human destinies. Among those points of 
our inhabited planet that are isolated enough to form separate 
and therefore simple unities, five types of little geographical 
worlds, five types of islands or islets of humanity, seem espe- 
cially marked for our observation. They are: 

the islands of the sea; 

the oases which are "islands" of the desert; 

the populated ' ' islands " or " oases ' ' of the boreal or of the 
equatorial forest; 

the high closed valleys of mountain regions; 

the isolated mountain areas that rise in the midst of exten- 
sive plains. 


Among the natural facts and forces to which man is geo- 
graphically bound almost as closely as he is to the air, water 
deserves a place in the first rank. Water is preeminently the 
economic wealth : it is, for men, more truly wealth than either 
coal or gold. 

Not a house or human shelter has been built without some 
attention being given to the availability of a water supply ; the 
humblest chalet in the high mountains is situated first of all 
near a spring or a stream; every village must have its spring 
or its well. In some countries where the climate brings a 


prolonged period of dryness, the roofs and terraces are arranged 
so as to catch all the rainwater in cisterns. (Figs. 4 and 5.) 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 4. The Upper Terraces of Bellver Castle, near Palma 
De Majorca, Balearic Islands 

Everything on these terraces is so arranged as to collect even the 
smallest drops of rain that fall. 

We have already compared Champagne and the Central 
Plateau of France from the point of view of the distribution 
of human establishments; we might in the same way compare 
Beauce and Brittany. Better still, let us choose districts 
almost adjacent, such as a portion of the Central Plateau and 
a portion of Burgundy with fissured limestone; 1 or two agri- 
cultural plains in the immediate neighborhood of Paris — 
Beauce and Brie. 

In Beauce, where the plateau is covered by grain fields as far as 
one can see, trees are very rare and are found only a few in a place ; 

iSee Paul Girardin, "Le Relief des environs de Dijon et les principales formes 
topographiques de la Bourgogne," Ann. de geog., XI, 1902, pp. 43-53. 


the large villages are far apart and always situated about a large 
well equipped for furnishing water quickly. One rarely finds a 
well used by one farm alone. It is just the opposite on the plateau 
of Brie, lying at a lower level on the right bank of the Seine. This 
area, with a more varied surface than Beauce, is well supplied with 
living springs and streams. And so, beautiful estates, recognized 
from a distance by a girdle of great trees as well as by all the signs 
that accompany isolated farms, are scattered over this verdant 

Jean Brunhea 

Fig. 5. The Well of the Great Cistern in the Interior Court of 
Bellver Castle 

The rain is gathered and stored, even to the smallest drop, in the great 
cistern that extends below the large central interior court. 

country, the surface of which is agreeably divided between great 
woods and cultivated plains. 

Often, as is clear from Figs. 6 and 7, page 57, the human map 
rigorously follows the lines of the hydrographical map. 

In studying the formation of the city of London, Prestwich showed 
that, for centuries, the population had unconsciously located itself 
exclusively within the boundaries of the water-bearing layers, so 


that the plan of the capital and its suburban parishes reproduced 
exactly the distribution of the ground-water. 1 

One of the largest problems of great cities is that of water 
supply — a problem of public hygiene and social life of primary 
importance, and worthy of examination as a whole from an 
especially geographical point of view. Thus, whether it be 
the humblest chalet or the largest dwelling, the human house 
is necessarily bound to a certain quantity of water. 

Streets and the road are also surface facts that must have 
water. The historic routes of travel of the desert nomads, 
the buffalo trails of the Great Plains, are almost as rigorously 
subject to the distribution of water-holes as our trains are 
subject to stops at fixed stations. These stations are always 
watering-points, and the fastest expresses of our most highly 
developed roads, with means of locomotion seemingly most 
independent of the detailed facts of the geographical environ- 
ment, must make stops to supply the boilers with water. 

The facts of destructive economy are somewhat less depend- 
ent upon water than the two types of facts of sterile occupation 
of the soil, but here again, through the relations that exist 
between the plant world and water as well as between wild 
animals and water, it would be easy to show that real relation- 
ships exist between these less systematic forms of human 
activity and the distribution of water. With regard to 
fishing, the relation is obvious. As to quarrying and mining, 
they demand a large quantity of water either for the work 
itself or for the lives of the employes. The huge hydraulic 
works that have developed in the exploitation of gold in the 
deserts of western Australia are well known. 2 

But if, from this group of facts, we pass to a consideration 
of plant and animal conquest, the geographic necessity of 
water appears to be still more imperious. All raising of 
animals is based upon water; even the camels of the Sahara 
as well as the sheep of the lofty plateaus of the Barbary States 
must slake their thirst. As for cultivation, it is preeminently 
a question of water. 

1 A. de Foville, Introduction a Venquete sur les conditions de V habitation en France, 
Les maisons-types, I, p. x. 

2 See Paul Privat-Deschanel, "Le Probleme de l'eau a Coolgardie" (Western 
Australia), La Geographie, XIV, 1906, pp. 13-18. 


Some of the fundamental facts with reference to the water 
demands of our crops are worth noting. According to Haber- 
landt, a very green leaf evaporates in an hour a quantity of 
water equal to its own weight. This chemist has calculated 
the amount of water evaporated per acre during the growth 
of different grains: 

Quantity of Water Evaporated per Acre 

Cereals Pounds 

Wheat 997,570 

Rye 743,723 

Barley 1,101,880 

Oats 2,028,987 

For the production of a pound of dry matter, wheat requires 
515 pounds of water; rye, 365 pounds; barley, 543 pounds; 
oats, 1,001 pounds. Experiments at Akron, Colorado, in 191 1, 
gave a requirement for wheat of 507 pounds of water per 
pound of dry matter, of 724 pounds for rye, 539 pounds for 
barley, and 614 pounds for oats. 1 

Evaporation is more rapid in regions of abundant sunshine, 
and in dry climates water is most needed for cultivation. 
This fact emphasizes, in a word, to what extent artificial 
watering or irrigation will be for man the most efficient method 
of plant culture in arid, semiarid, or desert countries (Fig. 8). 

It is therefore in considering the garden and the irrigated 
field that we see the true relations between man and water; 
and of our six essential facts, this is the one that must be the 
foremost geographical reality and which serves, so to speak, as 
introductory to the examination of the more general problem. 2 

It is also in connection with the field carefully worked that 
we shall meet with dry farming. By repeated tillage to prepare 
the ground to absorb and husband even the slightest rain, dry 
farming especially expresses, so to speak, all that water is worth. 3 

•Lyman J. Briggs and H. L. Shantz, The Water Requirements of Plants, I, Investi- 
gations in the Great Plains in 1910 and 1911, U. S. Dept. Agr., Bureau of Plant 
Industry, Bulletin No. 284. 

2 J. Brunhes, L' Irrigation, ses conditions geographiques, ses modes et son organi- 
zation dans la Peninsule iberique et dans I'Afrique du Nord, Paris, 1902; F. H. Newell, 
Irrigation in the United States, The Macmillan Co., New York, 1902. 

3 "Dry farming" is one of the oldest and richest traditions of the Mediterranean 
world. See "A Majorque et a Minorque, esquisse de geographie humaine," in the 
Rev. des deux mondes, November 1, 191 1; and Augustin Bernard, "'Dry Farming' 
et ses applications dans I'Afrique du Nord," Ann. de geog., XX, pp. 411-430. See 
also J. A. Widtsoe, Dry Farming, The Macmillan Co., New York, 191 1; and W. Mac- 
Donald, Dry Farming, The Century Co., New York, 1909. 



Fig. 6. 

The Distribution of Human Settle- 
ments in Regions of Fissured 

• Limestones 

Water is, then, associated with all human life, and, if Ratzel 
could say at the beginning of his Politische Geographic: 
'Jeder Staat ist ein 
Stuck Boden und 
Menschheit" ("Every 
state is a bit of soil and 
humanity"), let us take 
his phrase and complete 
it : every state and even 
every human group is 
a blend of a bit of hu- 
manity, a bit of soil, 
and a bit of water. 

That is why all hy- 
drography, terrestrial 
or marine, has had a 
very great influence 
upon humanity from 
the beginning. The sea 
attracts men because it 
is at the same time a 
mad and a fishing 
ground. When the 
mighty tide swells the 
estuaries and ascends 
the streams of the Brit- 
ish Isles, it increases 
enormously the line of 
contact between the sea 
and the land and the 
intensity of movement 
and traffic that can re- 
sult therefrom; 1 the 
flood-tide which makes 
possible the entrance 
and departure of great 
vessels is like a drawbridge thrown across a moat, reestablishing 

*To the detriment even of inland navigation. See A. Demangeon, "La Navigation 
interieure en Grande Bretagne," Ann. de geog., XXI, January 15, 1912, p. 41, last 

* .Granji-^aucclles i 

\Morey^ / Barnay-Dcssus » 

Fig. 7. 

The Distribution of Human Settle- 
ments in a District of Imper- 
meable Rocks 

These map-sections represent areas of the same 
size in two regions quite near one another: those 
of Chatillon and the Morvan. This part of the 
Chatillon, calcareous and very permeable, has only 
a few rivers, on which the inhabitants are grouped; 
there are neither hamlets nor farms. The Morvan, 
formed of crystalline rocks and well watered, has 
numerous streams; water is present everywhere; 
farms, hamlets, and villages are scattered throughout. 

Maps from La France et ses colonies, by H. Busson, J. Fevre, and 
H. Hauser, Paris, F. Alcan, 1910, p. 33. 


the continuity of the road of approach. And, as a foster- 
mother, the sea, in spite of the efforts by some states at 
limitation, is the most extensive common of the world. 

Looking at this group of facts from the truly geographical 
standpoint, it is evident that they depend on some one of the 
six types of essential facts. Whether he will or no, consciously 
or unconsciously, every writer who attempts an exact discus- 
sion arrives necessarily — with more or less clearness — at 
this elemental analysis. A page from Vallaux will furnish 
us the proof: 

Boysen has remarked that the English Channel, because of its 
traffic, has permanently a population as dense as the province of 
Yakutsk; would it not be then, as well as the province of Yakutsk, 
a part of the inhabited world which geographers must study? 

Boysen's remark is interesting, but, taken literally, it would 
bring about certain misconceptions that we must take care to avoid. 

Of course, if we consider the Channel as a continental shelf (it 
is one since its depth does not exceed 300 feet [100 meters] except 
in the narrow trench or deep of Alderney), and if we consider it 
consequently as a fishing zone, it is an inhabited zone, less populated 
in fact than any other similar zone, such as the Dogger Bank or 
the Vendean coast of Brittany. If we consider it as a region of 
constant and uninterrupted passage between France and England, 
it is again an inhabited region. But, however interesting these two 
characteristics of the Channel may be, it is not to them principally 
that it owes the numerous population which plows its waters and 
which Boysen has in view. It owes its population above all to its 
position as an outlet from northwest Europe toward the Atlantic 
and as a way of approach from the entire Atlantic to continental 
Europe. Under this title, which is its chief title, the Channel is 
not an inhabited region, for the population of the passenger and 
merchant boats across this sea, for the most part, is without stop 
or stay upon its shores. To this mobile and traveling population 
the Channel gives no geographical environment; it serves simply as 
a means of connection between numerous fixed environments from 
which the men who pass through it separate themselves in groups, 
masses, or unities. 1 

But water is something more than this for man. Obeying 
the pull of gravity and descending the mountain toward the 
sea, it is a force that can become a source of energy. For 
centuries it had set in motion mill wheels and saws (Fig. 10). 
Then came the hour of the almost indefinite increase and 

J C. Vallaux, La Mer, pp. 8-9. 


perfection of methods of utilization of the "white coal" and 
" green coal." 1 "This water so rebellious," says Gabriel 
Hanotaux, "why not muzzle it at its birth?" 2 

And during the last twenty-five years, through the develop- 
ment of hydro- 
electric power 
houses and the 
transmission of 
power by elec- 
tricity, there has 
come about a 
mighty indus- 
trial revolution 
which gives to 
countries de- 
prived of coal, 
such as Switzer- 
land or Norway 
or California, an 
economic power 
and rank that 
it would have 
been impossible 
to imagine or 
foresee. Let us, 
however, study 
somewhat more 
closely such a 
phenomenon in its entirety on a map such as that of Wyssling, 
Carte des stations centrales d* electricite en Suisse (Kummerly 

1 0n the subject of "green coal," consult the investigation made by Henri Bresson, 
La Houille verle, mise en valeur des moyennes et basses chutes d'eau, Paris, 1906. See 
also Charles Barrat, Les Forces hydrauliques de la France et la houille verte, a commu- 
nication made to the Societe de statistique de Paris (May 13, 1907), Nancy, 1907. 

2 G. Hanotaux published under the title of "La Houille blanche," in the Rev. des 
deux tnondes, an article of such great importance that it influenced the modification 
of jurisprudence. These pages are reproduced in L'Energie jrancaise, Flammarion, 
Paris, pp. 163-197. Apropos of Dauphine, he writes: "It is nevertheless true that 
one of the most active and noblest provinces of France, peopled by mountaineers ordi- 
narily classed among 'backward communities,' has created and developed without 
outside assistance a magnificent industry born of the soil, the future of which is 
immense. The sons of the mountain have wrested from the mountain a force it was 
expending uselessly" (p. 187). On the subject of "white coal," see Congres de la 
houille blanche, Grenoble- Annecy-Chamonix, September 7-13, 1902, Grenoble, 1903. 


Jean Brunhes 

A Small Irrigation Canal or Bisse 


The Valais is the most arid region in Switzerland, and that 
is why the water from the glaciers is there carefully collected 
and conducted for the irrigation of the upper pastures. The 
irrigation canals, called bisses, are miniature works of art con- 
sisting sometimes of tunnels, and sometimes, as in this case, 
of flumes simply but skillfully constructed. The water in this 
bisse flows from the Trient glacier. 


et Frey, Bern, 1902). The truly Alpine region, the region of 
high mountains, appears to us as still being poor in electrical 
plants; the existing plants are isolated and furnish power 
only for a short distance, while in the Swiss Jura and on the 
great molassic plateau power houses with long transmitting 
lines are numerous. 1 (Fig. 9.) 

The reason is that man has found on the plateau, if not 
more available water than in the Alps, at least streams with 
more volume and force. He has found especially more popu- 
lation and more labor, therefore more facilities for the creation 
and organization of factories to use the power produced by 
the waterfalls. 

Certainly we are coming to see more and more clearly that 
high falls are particularly valuable and that a movement to 
lead industries toward the high mountains is taking place, but 
alas, how slowly! 2 

It is the human phenomenon that, above everything else, 
directs this utilization, and it is through the increase in popu- 
lation, through the construction of factories, through the 
creation of a network of communications, that is, once more, 
through some of the essential facts of the preceding section — 
houses and roads— that this new fact of the domestication of 
natural forces is revealed. It is becoming more and more 
obvious to men that it is to their interest to take advantage 
of the free forces of nature. 3 This evolution is carefully noted 
in a general work on L 'Homme et la terre cultivee ("Man and 
the Cultivated Earth"). 

The wind is another natural force that seems to be coming 
back into favor. It was a valuable aid at a time when man 

x The phenomenon appears still more clearly, if possible, in the second edition, 
which dates from 1907: Carte des stations centrales d' electricite en Suisse, dressee 
comme complement de la carte du professeur Dr. Wyssling et editee par V Assoc, suisse 

des electriciens. 

2 J. Dalemont, "L'Energie des cours d'eau en Suisse," La-Geographie, XVI, 1907, 
pp. 291-308. See what this says of the "ascent of factories toward the mountain," 
p. 298, and the diagram, Fig. 26, representing the number of central factories built 
in Switzerland from 1891 to 1903, classed according to the height of the waterfalls 
utilized. In a still more recent work, Les Industries de V electricite au Canada, Julien 
Dalemont, speaking of the 394,400 horse-power already taken from Niagara Falls, 
insists upon the part which the preceding economic facts, especially facts of population, 
play in the utilization even of hydro-electric forces (Rev. icon, internat., Dec, 1909). 

3See Brunhes, "L'Homme et la terre cultivee, Bilan d'un siecle," Bulletin de la 
Societe neuchdteloise de geographie,~KlI, 1899, pp. 219-260. See III, "Better Economy 
of Riches and of Natural Forces." 


was less spoiled than to-day and could use only the feebler 
sources of energy. In Germany and Holland, as in Spain, 
the huge wings of windmills still stand out everywhere on the 
horizon. It was the wind that ground the grain and sped the 

Fragniere Bros. 

Fig. 9. One of the Great "Centrals" of the Swiss Plateau: the 
Pressure Pipes at the Hydro-Electric Works of Hauterive, 
2% Miles (4 Kilometers) above Freiburg 



ships of our forefathers. The century of steam and elec- 
tricity has caused this power of the wind to be neglected and 
almost forgotten. It is, to be sure, a capricious and irregular 

force, but it 
is a force that 
is free and 
ble. To-day 
we are again 
turning to 
the wind. 
Wind motors 
as well as 
steam en- 
gines are 
used. To a 
steam engine 
for raising 
water for 
for example, 

we join a wind motor. Even if this motor should save only 
the coal that the steam engine would burn in twenty-four 
hours, it is a clear gain. Air motors are increasing in number 
over the great plains of the Dakotas and in France, particu- 
larly in some departments of the southeast. 1 In the same 
way navigation by means of sails, far from disappearing, is 
being developed, although the modern sailing vessel may have 
an auxiliary steam motor for use in case of need. On the 
sea, as on the land, man is turning once more to this force 
for the moment despised ; a new age of wind power is about 
to begin. 

Now, from the geographical point of view, windmills must be 
included in the same group with water mills. Sailing vessels, 
geographically speaking, will not be separated from the steam 
vessels which follow the same courses and carry the same 
merchan dise. It is not the forces conquered but the resulting 

1 There are still many regions where wind motors are used in raising the water 
necessary for market gardening. Few regions are so characteristic, from this point 
of view, as the immediate environs of Dresden, in Saxony. 

Courtesy of H. Busaon 

Fig. io. Traditional Utilization of Hydraulic Power 
A large water wheel, in the vicinity of Murcia 


surface phenomena that furnish the basis for a geographical 

Finally, among the facts which our vision of the earth's 
crust reveals to us, we have pointed out, as of the very first 
rank, that unequal covering formed by the human popula- 
tion itself. Men, too, must be looked upon as a sort of natural 
force which here exists and there is rare; as a sort of funda- 
mental fact which it is in human power to utilize far more 
than to modify suddenly or radically. When, as a result of 
an economic or historical fact such as the South African War, 
the black labor had disappeared or fled, it was discovered how 
difficult and dangerous it was to repeople a section of the earth. 
Even though the central power desirous of finding workmen 
was one of the most powerful on the globe and the interests to 
be safeguarded were the interests of gold, and even with the 
attempt at a partial transplanting of the yellow race to this 



•«; . ^ 


Fig. ii. 

A View of the Great Eastern Irrigation Ditch. 
Project, Kansas 

From U.S. G. S. 

Garden City 

Wind motors used in connection with a gasoline or steam engine for the raising of 
water represent a large saving in fuel. 

land of impoverished "human vegetation," the endeavor to 
reestablish the earlier conditions was but a slow and sorry 

This simple instance may serve to introduce the general 
consideration of that terrestrial surface fact, the popu- 
lation. The phenomena of life are not merely the results of 


geographical causes, nor are they fatally and closely bound to 
them and them alone; it would be a mistake to think it. 
But while geographers have not to seek the remote beginnings 
nor to investigate the obscure and confused complex by which 
the present population is explained, must they not at least be 
asked to investigate the present influences? But do these 
influences themselves all belong to the domain of geography? 
Who would dare claim that the natural environment furnishes 
the key to all these phenomena, so fascinating and so involved, 
which form the object of study of demography: birth-rate, 
proportion of marriages, mortality, etc.? What will be the 
part of human geography here? In what places and by what 
modes must demography profit from geographical observations 
and by its own results benefit geography ? 

It evidently goes without saying that it is from the critical 
studies of great censuses that geographers have been able to 
form a clear idea of the predominating facts of population. 
The countries which have methodical censuses at regular 
intervals, from almost all the European states and the United 
States to India or Egypt, are the ones where the geographer 
finds a hold, so to speak, and can make his judgment sure. 

P. Vidal de la Blache, while insisting, as is proper, on the 
importance of facts of population, has justly said : 

There is at the base of political geography a question that may be 
considered as fundamental; that is the question of the distribution 
of human populations over the surface of the earth. Nothing is 
more unequal: certain relatively restricted parts of the globe show- 
enormous accumulations; India and China alone contain nearly 
half of humanity. These are masses of human beings cemented 
by time, against which wars, epidemics, and famines wear them- 
selves 'out in vain. On the other hand, there are vast new spaces 
which man is just beginning to occupy in large numbers. Now, 
with regard to these phenomena, which have a resulting influence 
upon the entire geographical physiognomies of the districts, wc 
have only begun to be informed since regular censuses, still too 
few, have allowed us to compare the state and progress of popula- 
tion in widely separated parts. It was a revelation when in 1872 
the first census of British India showed us positively the existence 
of nearly 250 millions of men (to-day 291 millions) in that peninsula. 
Since 1790 the monumental series of decennial censuses in the United 
States of America has not ceased to furnish valuable documents 
for following the progressive increase of population in a vast country. 


We are thus enabled to study comparatively the geographical 
aspect of the population in countries of old civilization, whether in 
Europe or in the tropics, and in new countries such as America. 
And we find strange phenomena, some of which have been forcefully 
set forth by F. Ratzel. The United States contains some of the 
great metropolises of the world, although the density of population 
is only thirty-three inhabitants per square mile (thirteen per square 
kilometer). Australia has more than 30 per cent of its people in 
three cities. The enormous inequalities of distribution which 
these figures indicate exist even in the immediate radius of great 
cities. A few hours separate New York from the wooded solitudes 
of the Adirondacks. Had it been in Europe, clearings would have 
been made in these forests; through factories or different occupa- 
tions a population would have striven, and probably with success, to 
create in them means of existence for itself as it is, a few hunters 
or woodsmen, and they only in the summer risk themselves in 
these solitudes. Such is a demographic picture of a new country. 1 

But how do these phenomena of population reveal them- 
selves to us ? How are they even approached and measured, so 
to speak, by censuses except through the habitation? Because 
of the fact of the material establishment at a given place on 
the land men are "caught" and counted. Where men are 
not thus fixed they escape all control and all accurate number- 
ing. Now the earth's covering of human dwellings is a 
phenomenon more geographical, more closely bound to 
natural conditions, than the earth's covering of human beings 
itself. The first is the visible sign of the second and is preemi- 
nently within the province of geography. Truly geographical 
demography is above all the demography of the habitation. 

Let us add that the two facts of sterile occupation of the 
soil — houses and roads — arrange themselves in varied net- 
works which are literally representative plottings of the 
population. A moment ago there was mentioned "the 
demographic picture of a new country" drawn from statistics. 
A still more expressive idea could be drawn from maps on a 
large scale. A piece taken from a good topographical map 
is preeminently a ' ' demographical picture of a new country." 
(Fig. 12.) 

The human fact as a force applied to the transformation of 
the surface of the earth will manifest itself as an explanatory 

1 " La Geographie politique, a propos des 6crits de M. Fr6d6ric Ratzel," Ann. de 
geog., VIT, 1898, p. 105. 



and cooperating factor in each of the visible and tangible 
results 'of this transforming work : apropos of the cultivated 

Fig. 12. How the Settlement of a New Country Marks the Ground 

Portion of the Hebron Quadrangle U. S. Geol. Survey, showing the strikingly 
regular distribution of houses on the dry plains of the West settled under the various 
Homestead Acts. 

field or the mine, men will have to be studied in so far as they 
determine these facts and in so far as they remain connected 
with them. We shall see how the factor of "labor" is intro- 
duced into all studies of cultivation, of devastations, of the 
exploitation of minerals. 


Nowhere does man exist without doing something; every- 
where he at least eats and sleeps; and everywhere he leaves 
the marks of his passage which are par excellence the object 
of our particular studies. 

Proceeding by way of analysis and following our principle 
of classification, we must go over again, step by step, the 
problems of population. It is in connection with the house, 
the village, and the city, that the question of the distribution 
of population must be examined — under its real and logi- 
cal aspect — as well as the question of the maps and diagrams 
intended to show that distribution. 

The Two Primary Maps of All Human Geography"" 

On the whole, if we wish to draw any general conclusions 
from a critical examination of the natural forces which are 
everywhere basal to all human geographical facts, we consider 
as fundamental maps the map of water and the map of men; 
that is, the map of the general distribution of the rainfall and 
the map of the general distribution of the population (Figs. 
13 and 14). 

All the water, either for his life or for his work, is not fur- 
nished to man by the rainfall alone, and those who engage in 
irrigation in a dry country know this better than anyone 
else. But the expenditure of time, money, and human 
muscle required for artificial watering makes us recognize by 
contrast the full geographic and economic benefit of rainfall 
which is shed in drops over such vast surfaces. Directly or 
indirectly, almost all the water that we use, whether it be 
spring water, well water, or other water, is due to rainfall. 
Excess of rainfall is, moreover, like the dearth of rain, unfavor- 
able to the free extension of human life; the fullest and best 
development of humanity is limited to areas lying between 
these two extremes of rainfall. In these intermediate zones 
we find all the great centers of population. We shall have 
occasion to take up this very important point again when we 
come to discuss those occupations and industries which are 
most directly connected with climate, that is, the works which 
involve vegetal and animal conquest. (See §1 of chap. IV, 
pp. 230-249.) 


Fig. 13. General Distribute 

The two continuous heavy lines mark the southern limits (in the nort 
(exception made of some isolated, very high elevations as Ruwenzori and K 

The works of Supan, Loomis, A. Angot, Hann, Woeikof, etc., also re 
LII, 1906, T, 7,, etc.) have been consulted. But the data are taken princif 


>f Precipitation on the Globe 

hemisphere) and northern limits (in the southern hemisphere) of the snowfall 

:able special publications (rainfall map of Africa by Fraunberger, Pet. Mitt., 
from the rainfall map of Andree's Atlas (4th edition) published by A. Scobel. 



It remains none the less true that a general rainfall map 
represents one of the great terrestrial facts the actual distri- 
bution of which controls in the highest degree the geog- 
raphy of man. 

The distribution of human beings is another all-important 
geographical fact. Once more, it is not our purpose to study 
here groups of human beings from the ethnological or histori- 
cal point of view; there is no doubt that facts of race 
and of history are of great significance in explaining the 
present distribution of men. To make the actual dispersion 
of men dependent upon geography alone would be an error. 
The two Americas, which to-day, invaded by migrations of 
men from the Old World, show themselves so favorable to 
population in so many regions, were for a long time in places 
a juxtaposition of uninhabited districts. A hundred years 
ago they were devoid of men in comparison with other parts 
of the world, such as Europe, Asia, or even Africa. Even 
to-day the comparative table of absolute area and popula- 
tion of the continents justifies the declaration that human 
beings are localized and distributed on the earth in a manner 
that is far from being exclusively dependent upon natural 

Comparative Table of Population in 19 10 

Total Population 
of the Earth in 

Surface in Millions 
of Square Miles 

Average Population 

Millions of 




of Continents per 
Square Mile 

1 .665 


57-5 |i39.5 






Australia and 


Population in 
Millions of 




Surface in 
Millions of 
Square Miles 


11 -5 



Average Pop- 
ulation per 
Square Mile 

II .2 



ii. 7 

of Earth's 




In Asia, which is only one-sixteenth larger than the 
Americas, lives a population that is almost five times the 
population of the New World. Europe, which is only one 


fourth as large as America, has over two and a half times as 
many inhabitants as America. 

A critical and detailed examination of regions having close 
natural analogies would be still more instructive. 

We shall, then, have ground for repeating, in chapter VIII, 
that human geography, properly so called, must be first and 
above all the geography of material human works; it is also 
the geography of human masses and human races, but only 
in so far as these masses and races express their specific and 
distinctive modes of activity by material works, and in so far 
as they reveal their existence and their presence by these 
same works. 

Certainly there are real relations between the general map 
of rainfall and the general map of population. (Figs. 13 and 
14.) The study of plant zones in relation to climatic zones, 
to be taken up later, as well as the vegetation and climatic 
maps (Figs. 11 1 and 112), will further bring out these con- 
nections. However, we shall consider here the two groups of 
facts, rainfall and population, as providing the fundamental 
factors, the primary and almost brute factors, of the infinitely 
varied play of causes and effects which ends in covering the 
surface of our globe with a multitude of human marks 
and traces. 

From these different records of observation it is evident 
that all the phenomena of human geography can and must be 
examined in the light of the facts that we have designated 
under the term of essential facts. The question is now to 
undertake a more detailed analysis of these facts with the aid 
of numerous examples. 



Fig. 14. General DistrE 

These population maps of the hemispheres are from the Teachers' Geograi 


Compiled by Mark Jefferson, Ypsilanti, Mich. 

3N of the Population 

y Mark Jefferson, and are reproduced here by courtesy of the author. 







1. The form of the house. Typical houses. Examples: {a) the 
wooden house in forested northern and central Europe; (b) 
the house in Egypt: the house of earth and the house of stone. 

2. The material characteristics of the street and of the road. 

j. The physiognomy of the human establishment: geographical 
types. Example: the village-type in Egypt. 

4. The geographical localization of the human establishment. 
Site. Dissemination or concentration. Limits. 

5. The urban agglomeration and the city road. The large city 
and large cities. Brief comments upon an example of 
comparative geography: the large cities of the world above 
'5,000 feet {1,500 meters). 

6. Urban circulation and the fortification. A geographic 
feature of the city: the "boulevard" as a fact of urban 

J. The general geography of circulation. 

The human habitation — a small geographical phenomenon 
so intimately associated with our lives — is almost as ephemeral 
as we ourselves. In the best preserved cities the oldest 
houses go back only some three or four hundred years; in 
general the ordinary house is replaced frequently as the 
generations come and go. If a fact that changes so quickly 
still keeps the same general characteristics and, as it were, a 
physiognomy that is handed down, it is certainly because 
a real power of tradition influences its successive forms; but 
it is also because the human house depends upon natural 
conditions to an extent which is yet to be defined and which 
is, moreover, variable. 




Even the house of the urban center shows this dependence. 
Toulouse is a city composed of brick houses, and certain of 
its most celebrated monuments, such as the marvelous Roman 
basilica of Saint Sernin, are likewise of brick. By contrast 
a commonplace building in a street near la Dalbade enjoys 
the solemn title of "The Stone House." Similarly, on the 
quay of the city of Antwerp is a building called the "Steen" 
(Stone), a fact which indicates to what an extent the rest 
of the town is built of other materials, in this case of brick. 

But it is especially the rural house and the isolated house 
which best show the characteristics of this dependence upon 
the geographical environment. 1 The geographer is interested 
above all in the most representative type of a given region. He 
has no interest in the more or less costly abnormal house 
which expresses only the individual taste of the owner. The 
pseudo- Italian villa built in the Vosges Mountains or on 
the Swiss plateau, as well as the pseudo-Swiss chalet built 
on the shores of Lake Maggiore between Pallanza and Intra, 
the plaster facades of which bear painted representations of the 
trunks of larch trees, are generally detestable artistic atroci- 
ties and are in any case geographical absurdities. That which 
is exceptional has less value, in the study of human geography, 
than that which conforms more closely to a "type." 





Many scholars and artists, archaeologists and architects, 
have been interested in noting, by description, drawing, or 
photography, the forms of the urban or rural house. 2 The 

1 Apropos of L' Habitation humaine dans le Senonais, Paul Privat-Deschanel goes 
so far as to say: "We will confine ourselves to the study of the rustic [peasant's] 
house, which alone is closely connected with local geography" (La Geographie, XVI, 
1907, p. 209), a slightly exaggerated formula, but one arising from a correct idea. 

2 The literature on this subject is so abundant that only the more significant 
references available can be given here; as for instance Dohme, Das englische Haus, 
Braunschweig, 1888; Aug. Ahlqvist, Die Kulturvolker der westfinnischen Sprachen. Ein 
Beitrag zu der dlteren Kulturgeschichle der Finnen, Buchh. Wasenius, Helsingfors, 
and in Commission Leipzig, Leopol Voss, 1875, chap. IV: Wohnung, Hausgerath, 
Kleider, pp. 101-160. See also the very remarkable and well-illustrated Polish 
work on the marvelous wooden architecture of Tatra: M. W. Matlakowski, Popu- 
lar Architecture of Podhalau; with reference to Switzerland, consult: A. Sutter, 
Schweizer Landschafts- und Archite.ktur-Bilder (in 3 series), M. Kreutzmann, Zurich; — ■ 
Rahn, Ceschichte der bildenden Kiinste in der Schweiz; and especially the works of 



Fig. 15. 

Jean Brunhes 

Steppe House of the Upper Jordan 

form of the house interests the geographer not so much in its 
details as taken as a whole, or, more exactly, in so far as the 
materials of construction bring about a certain form, and as 

the adaptation 
to geographical 
conditions is 
shown in the 
general plan. 
Travelers who 
pass through 
new and dis- 
tant regions are 
more frequently 
struck by the 
signs of this 
geographical de- 
pendence than 
we are by analo- 
gousf acts nearer 
home. One sees 
in the middle of 
a stony steppe a wretched house like the one in Fig. 15. It 
is certainly the blocks of stone strewing the ground that have 
been piled up to make the walls, and the great stalks of the 
dried-up vegetation that have been brought together for the 
roof. This house is, as it were, a piece of natural vegetation. 

Gladbach, Der Schweizerholzbild, Die Holzarchiteklur, Charakleristische Holzbaulen der 
Schweiz. Especial note should be made of the series of works by the late Hunziker; 
the title of the first volume, published in 1890, is: J. Hunziker, Das Schweizerhaus 
nach seinen landschaftlichen Formen und seiner geschichtlichen Entwickelung, first part, 
Das Wallis (Aarau, 1900); and in French; La Maison Suisse d'apres ses formes rustiques 
et son developpement historique, French translation by Fred. Broillet, first part, Le 
Valais (Lausanne and Aarau, 1902). See also XII e Bibl. 1902 of the Ann. de geog., No. 
304. The series is continued by some volumes published after the death of Hunziker 
by C. Jecklin, translated by Broillet, Les Orisons, Le Jura comprenant la Suisse romande 
a V exception du Bas-Valais, des Ormonts et du Pays d'Enhaut, etc. The Swiss Society 
of Engineers and Architects has begun a large publication on the bourgeois house; 
Das Burgerhaus in Uri, Basel, 1910. Finally, if we leave Europe, we should need 
several volumes to hold the bibliography of a multitude of studies. Other important 
monographs are: Richard Mahler, Siedelungsgebiet und Siedelungslage in Oceanien 
unter Beriicksichtigung der Siedelungen in Indonesien, which appeared in Archiv Inter- 
nationales f. Elnographie, Suppl. gr. 4°, V, 1898; Bastian (A.), Die Culturldnder 
des alien Amerika, 3 vols., Berlin, 1878-1889: I, Ein Jahr auf Reisen: Chile, Peru, 
Ecuador, Colombia, der Isthmus, Guatemala. Aus Religion und Sitte des alien Peru; — 
II, Beitr. zu geschichtl. Vorarbeiten auf westl. Hemisphare: Gesch. der Inca in Peru, 
Gesch. des alien Mexico, u. s. w.; — III, Nachtrage u. Erganz. aus den Sammlungen 
des ethnologischen Museums, etc. 

The walls are made of the blocks of limestone strewing the 
ground, and the roofs of the stems of the tall weeds seen in 
the foreground at the right. 


Let us, however, pass by all these facts which depend so 
strikingly upon the geographical environment: the snow 
huts or igloos of the American Eskimos; 1 the summer chum 
and the winter yurt of the Ostiaks;' the gray felt tents of 
the nomads of central Asia; the Tahitiar or Congo huts of 
leaves or stalks; the round, thatched huts of Harrar at the 
foot of the Abyssinian plateau ; the houses of eastern Bolivia, 3 
with roofs of foliage and without walls. 

From the studies of Frobenius, as from many others, we 
get the impression that, in spite of the principles of imitation 
and repetition which have an ethnic significance, varieties 
which are dependent upon geography appear everywhere. 
It was formerly thought that in the entire Sudan there was 
but a single dominant form of habitation — the round hut with 
a conical roof. What a multiplicity of forms adapted to their 
surroundings have recent explorations revealed! 

We likewise once considered certain types of habitation as 
corresponding to a period of human history and even, in 
certain cases, to an age of humanity. Learned ethnographers 
have shown, as far as Europe alone is concerned, that the 
lake-dwelling populations are not at all represented by a single 
ethnic group, and that the bond of resemblance existing 
between the forms of habitation of these very different 
populations results from the same need of defense which had 
to be met in like geographical surroundings. 4 Even to-day 
many people build upon piles, and one of the latest explorers 
of Sumatra considers that the chief reason for building upon 
piles is not to place man in safety from ferocious beasts or 
from his sometimes no less ferocious fellows, but particularly 
to raise him above the immediate surface of the soil which 
in equatorial regions is much too damp in the rainy season 
(Fig. 16 ). 5 

1 See, for example, Captain Roald Amundsen, The Northwest Passage, 2 vols., 
New York, 1908. 

2 Charles Rabot, "Les Ostiaques, les Samoyedes et les Zirienes, d'apres les travaux 
de M. Sommier," Revue d'ethnographie, 1889. 

3 See La Geographie, September 15, 1900, pp. 226, 227. 

4 Marquis de Nadaillac, "Les Populations lacustres de l'Europe," Rev. des questions 
scientifiques , October, 1894. 

5 See M. Moszkowski, Aufneuen Wegen durch Sumatra, Forschungsreisen in Ost- und 
Zentral-Sumatra (1907), Dietr. Reimer (Vohsen), Berlin, 1909, p. 267. See chapter iv 
and figure on p. 79, as well as chapter xii and figures on pages 270, 272, 274, etc. 



The troglodytes are not merely prehistoric groups. Men 
have lodged and still lodge in caves in regions where rocks 
which are at the same time soft, homogeneous, and dry, such 

M. Mosikowski 

Fig. 16. A Contemporary Sumatra Dwelling on Piles 

as the Turonian chalk or the Swiss Molasse, permit them to 
make a sufficient shelter at small expense. We must with 
good reason speak of modern, of contemporaneous, troglo- 
dytes. 1 Without even going as far as America or Africa, one 
may examine their habitations as a type of human geography 
in France and in Switzerland 2 as well as in Italy, where the 
Central Bureau of Statistics informs us that more than 
200,000 persons now inhabit more than 37,000 subterranean 
dwellings. In the south of Spain there are numerous inhabited 

1 See the studies by Dr. Bertholon in the Bull, de la Soc. de geog. commercial? de 
Paris; D. Bruun, The Cave Dwellers of Southern Tunisia; Johnston, " A Journey through 
the Tunisian Sahara,*' Geog. Jour., 1898, pp. 38 ff.; and more recently, Pierre Prins, 
"Les Troglodytes du Dar Banda et du Djebel Mela." Bull, de geog. hist, et descriptive, 
1909, No. 1; J. Russell Smith, "The Desert's Edge," Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc, see 
Vol. XLVII, 191 5, pp. 813-831 (on the Matmatas, t.p. 824-829). 

2 Village of Orival (Lower Seine), village of Haute-Isle (Seine and Oise), the neigh- 
borhood of Tours, etc., caves in the neighborhood of Fribourg (Switzerland), etc. 
For France, see Philibert Lalande, "Les Grottes artificielles des cavernes de Brives 
(Correze)", in Mem. de la Soc. de speleologie, January, 1897; Abbe Parat, Les Troglodytes 
contemporains, reviewed in ibid., IV, pp. 44-45; and for Switzerland, J. Friih has 
published in 21-24 of the Globe, 1897, some very interesting articles on modern 
troglodytes. See also Jacques Flach, L'Origine historique de V habitation et des lieux 
habites en France, pp. 4-5. The valley of the Ourcq is especially rich in subterranean 
dwellings which are called boves. > 


caves near Jaen or Granada. A similar case occurs in one of 
the basins in the midst of the Betic Cordillera, where, in the 
little town of Guadix, 3,000 inhabitants live in dwellings, 
revealed only by their whitewashed chimneys, which have 
been hollowed out of a conglomerate coherent enough to stand 
unsupported and yet easy to excavate (Fig. 17). 

The following brief sketch will indicate how rich in results 
would be a complete geographical study of simply the form of 
the house in central Europe as well as in the Mediterranean 
world, that is to say, in two contrasted areas in which may 
be seen the infinitely varied effects of an already very ancient 

In traveling from north to south over the vast plains of 
European Russia, 1 where natural zones succeed each other 
with a simple clearness that is not to be found in central, 
southern, or western Europe, one is struck by the regular 
succession of prevailing types of human habitation. In the 
north, in the zone of the 
tundra, whose frozen sub- 
soil bears but a meager 
and uniform flora of 
cryptogams without for- 
ests or crops, there are 
no fixed human shelters 
except huts. Then comes 
the great forest, the 
largest remaining piece 
of the enormous boreal 
forest of old, and there 
we meet with the wooden 
house. Then, toward the 
south, extend the her- 
baceous steppes with the 
rich ' ' black earth ' ' region 
where the house is built of earth or adobe and covered with 
thatch or clods of turf. When this region without trees or 

Fig. 17. 

Jean Brunhes 

A Group of Subterranean 

Contemporary troglodytes in Spain: subter- 
ranean Guadix. The little city of Guadix has 
14,000 inhabitants, of whom more than 3,000 
live in cave dwellings. 

^ee Alfred Hettner, Das europaische Russland, Eine Studie zur Geographic 
des Menschen, in 8 vols., Teubner, Leipzig, 1905; and also Alois Kraus, "Landbau 
und Landbauzonen Russlands," J ahresbericht fiber die Prager Handelsakademie, 
1898-1899, Prague, 1898. 


stones is succeeded by the stony steppe of Crimea or the chains 
of the Caucasus, the stone house reappears, while on the 
southern slope of the western and central Caucasus a vegetation 
of trees and shrubs with pliant stalks points to a warm and 
humid climate and expresses itself in certain accessory build- 
ings, such as barns, made of wattle work. 

i. General Survey of the Wooden House in Forested Europe 

Let us consider in detail the wooden house — the chief of 
these types. 1 By examining it briefly in its entire geographical 
distribution let us see how far we can answer these four ques- 
tions: Where is it? How is it made? How far does it 
extend? What becomes of it ? 

Where is it? (geographical zone). — The wooden house, as it 
exists in Finland and Russia, belongs, as we have said, to the 
great northern forest. This forest formerly extended almost 
unbroken over the whole of central Europe. The excessive 
clearing due to increased occupation has cut it up. This 
region did not and could not become populated except at the 
expense of the forest. At many points the human settlement, 
even in the immediate neighborhood of large cities, such as 
Munich, appears as an opening or clearing in the midst of the 
trees (Figs. 18 and 19). Thus large islets of this primitive 
forest still remain in the mountainous plateaus of the Her- 
cynian or the Alpine zone, the Harz Mountains, the Black 
Forest, the Alps, etc. Wherever wide stretches of the forest 
persist the wooden house appears, in Sweden as in Bohemia, 
in the French Alps as in the Swiss Alps. 

The boreal forest is made up of the more northern species, 
such as the birch, and of others more southern, such as the 
beech; but everywhere they present the common twofold 
characteristic of being composed chiefly of trees with very 
straight trunks, such as the fir, the Scotch pine, the beech, 
and of being pure growths of each of these species over 
vast extents. These are the two characteristics of the forest 
which proceed to put their stamp, so to speak, on the form 
of the house. 

Jin Russia only 4 per cent of the houses are of stone (Les Forels de la Russie, 1000. 
p. 17). 




Fig. 18. 

From Karte des Deutschen Reiches (638 Miinchen) , Amer. Geog. Soc. 

Human Settlement in the Forest of Central Europe 

This region, situated southeast of Munich, reveals in the map, in the form of 
clearings in the great forest, how human settlements were made. If in this map the 
meadow land were included within the forest contours, the regularly circular design 
of the clearings would be still more striking. — History confirms these facts, still so 
apparent on the map to-day. Following are the dates when the principal settlements 
were first mentioned: Hohenbrunn, 812; Siegertsbrun, 1075; Putzbrunn, 1095; 
Brunthal, 1073; Grasbrunn, 1160. It is not surprising to discover that the three 
first settlements named were founded by the convent of Benedictines at Tegernsee. 
The land-clearing monks were the first to open up the vast forests of Germany. 

How is it made ? {geographical form) . — The straight trunks 
of these trees can be easily superposed or cut up into 
boards. The houses, in their simplest form, are built by the 





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Fig. 20. 

Jean Brunhes 

The Wooden House of Forested Europe. 
A Swedish Dwelling-house 

superposition of timbers or logs, sometimes in the rough, some- 
times more or less regularly squared. These pieces of timber 
are joined at the 
corners. By the 
use of boards, 
more complicated 
and varied forms 
of construction 
are possible. The 
first type does not 
lend itself to so 
many combina- 
tions. Geographi- 
cally speaking, it 
is more shaped 
in advance, and it 
is for this reason 
that the walls of 
the house in Fin- 
land are exactly 
like the walls of 
like those of the 
little Czech village 
or of the Swedish forester's hut; and if we follow the great 
boreal forest to other lands, we find the same type with 
superposed and united timbers in the Siberian taiga or where 
frontier conditions still exist in the great northern forests of 
America (Figs. 20, 21, 22, and 23). 

In the Russian forest the wooden house is such a common 
thing that it is the basis of a special traffic. Even before the 
improvement of roads and of methods of communication, 
portable houses of wood existed in Russia. The Almanack de 
Gotha for the year 1823 reminds us that "the seat of the wood 
industry is at Yaroslav, Tula, Kursk, and Moscow"; then 
it adds: "In this last city ready-made houses of wood, 
which can be set up and taken down at will, are sold to 

The wooden house was once far more general in some of the 

Environs of Are, in the interior of Sweden, not far 
from the Norwegian frontier. The sides, made of joists 
carefully squared and joined, are covered with a coat of 
red paint which protects the wood against the wet. The 
roof is covered with thin slabs. The chimney is built of 
flat stones. 



Fig. 21. In Sweden, 

Jean Brunhes 

countries where it is seen to-day. The reason for its disappear- 
ance will be taken up later. 

An historical work by Marius Besson begins thus: "Every- 
thing leads us to think 
that, in our regions, re- 
ligious edifices of the 
early Middle Ages were 
generally of wood. 
Thus is explained their 
disappearance." 1 

In vSweden, in Nor- 
way, in Russia, as in 
Switzerland, many old 
churches or small chap- 
els are still made of 
wood. The national 
expositions of bygone 
types of constructions 
have brought once 
more to light for our 
admiration the most 
curious of these types. 
The following was 
published as a result of the Geneva Exposition of 1896: 

The houses of wood can be divided into three great groups: 
those of the plains, which are very much decorated and of which 
the type perceptibly approaches stone buildings; those of the moun- 
tainside, likewise skillfully decorated but belonging more particularly 
to the chalet type and no longer having the huge pointed gables or 
the facades with horizontal cornices of the former; finally, those of 
the high mountains, in which the wood is more or less squared, the 
ornamentation rudimentary, and which show no notable differences 
of form and structure. 

These last are represented in the village by small chalets and 
genuine mazots; their roofs with two very flat slopes are covered 
with shingles or lath held in place against the wind by large stones. 
They present a compact mass capable of resisting the heaviest falls 
of snow. Decoration is lacking (they are, in general, nothing but 
barns), consisting of hardly more than a symbolical figure hastily 
cut above the door, accompanied sometimes by a date or name. . . 

a 0n this point, see a number of texts dealing with ancient Gaul, collected by 
A. Marignan, Le Culle des Saints sous les Merovingiens, Paris, 1899, pp. 149-150. 

Typical hay-barn, the walls of which are made 
of small straight, joined logs and the roof covered 
with thin wooden slabs. To be compared especially 
with the haybarn of Fig. 22: resemblances are 
striking in spite of the thousand miles which sep- 
arate the two regions. 


In fact, most of the rural dwelling houses are made of wood. 
It is an old custom; the Burgundians and the Alemanni constructed 
their houses of the trunks of trees sawed or cut the same length, 
placed upon each other and notched at the point of union in such a 
way as to avoid intersections. These trunks were fastened together 
by means of pins of oak or cherry. Before the time when they were 
squared they were hewn into various forms. 

Formerly the peasant who built a house was helped by his neigh- 
bors. The wood was sought in the forest, the cellar was dug, and 
the foundation was laid of rough stones taken from the immediate 
neighborhood and joined with mortar. There was no thought of 
locks; a simple catch served as a lock. Finally the covering was 
made of the larger waste pieces from the squaring. 

In eastern America the house- or barn-raising, where all 
the men of a neighborhood joined in the setting up of the 
prepared frame, was an occasion for a social gathering and 

Fig. 22. In the Comelico (Carnic Alps) 

This is a fertile (hay-barn) situated at 4600 feet (1400 meters) 
altitude. It is constructed of small logs roughly squared and joined. 

(See further the resume of the studies by O. Marinelli on the Comelico, Chap. Ill, 
pp. 157-164). 

jollification until the "balloon type" of building succeeded 
the ' ' frame' ' building. Even to-day ' ' raisings' ' are occasionally 
held in the more rural communities. 

Red spruce was used particularly, first of all because of the mag- 
nificent red-brown coloring which this species of wood acquires after 
long exposure to the air. 



In the mountains the roofs were covered with laths, strips of wood, 
more or less large, held in place by stones lest the wind should carry 
them away. In the plain, where straw is abundant and where the 
roofs must be very peaked in order to make room for the storage 
of hay and other harvest products, roofs of thatch were used for a 
long time. 

The covering of the house is, in all climates, a delicate and 
difficult problem. In the northern forest it is made relatively 

easy by those fine, 
straight tree trunks 
which furnish the 
framework. To make 
the roof itself, men 
have recourse, accord- 
ing to the circum- 
stances, to thin pieces 
of wood — bardeaux, 
Sckindeln (shingles) 
(Figs. 20, 22, and 23) 
— or to thatch (Fig. 
24) or even to flat 
stones, such as the 
large slabs of schist 
with which the in- 
habitants of Valais 
cover their mazots. 1 

Fig. 23. 

Jean Brunhes 

The Wooden House in Switzerland 

At Ringenberg, on the shores of the Lake of Brienz. 
The foundations are of masonry; well squared and 
smoothed trunks are joined at the corners; the roofs 
are shingled and strewn with crosspieces and stones 
to keep the shingles in place. 

Likewise the form of the roof will depend, to a considerable 
extent, upon climatic conditions. 2 

Throughout the Alps the two-sloped roof of the high moun- 
tain chalet is less steep because it must support the snow which, 
in midwinter, the peasants like to keep on their roofs as a 
means of protection from the cold. In the low mountains 

J Even in Russia, where abundant iron has favored the use of roofs of painted iron, 
it is well to remember that this characteristic roof, always very noticeable to the 
traveler, is above all an urban roof, and that only .5 per cent of the roofs in all Russia 
are of metal, while 30 per cent are of wood and 69.5 per cent are of thatch. The 
wooden roofs correspond with the forested zone. 

2 Climate expresses itself chiefly through the form of the roof. In his Esquisse 
geographique du Vivarais, R. Blanchard has clearly brought out the contrast between 
the Mediterranean valleys and the bare, denuded plateaus of the Montagne, swept by 
the violent gusts of the burle: "It is still in the dwelling that the contrast is most 
extraordinary. We left behind at Montpezat storied houses (often with two or three 
stories), with rather flat tiled roofs, sometimes projecting in a gable above the facade 
to protect it from the torrents of rain." 


or in the Swiss Mittelland the roofs with two or four sides are 
much steeper, either to allow the rain to run off better or in 
order that the less abundant and less persistent snow may slip 
off more easily (Fig. 24 ; the inclination of the roof is less in 
Fig. 25, than in Fig. 24). 

To the north of Bern, the house is entirely hooded by its 
roof, a real cover of thatch or wood which comes down on 
four sides with a steep and even slope, to within two yards 
of the ground, and hides nearly all of the walls. The house 
is protected by its roof on all sides; there are nowhere any 
large clear spaces. If we walk around it we can catch only 
a glimpse of the bottom of the door, or here and there the 
beginning of a window between the base line of the roof and 
the ground. 

But a new style is being developed in the midst of the 
ancient type. The more modern house has joyously turned 
up the edges of the old roof and raised it especially in front to 
form a frame 
for its elab- 
orate facade. 
The facade 
roof of the 
and multi- 
form chalet 
of the plain 
is placed and 
arranged al- 
most like a 
woman's hat 
— susceptible 
of undergo- 
ing and dis- 
playing the 

fantasy of each little group of the population and almost of 
each individual. The house with the old four-sided roof 
is everywhere the same; the chalet everywhere varies. Might 
we not say, to express our thought in a word, the strictly 

Fig. 24. 

Jean Brunhes 

A House of the Swiss Plateau North 
of Bern 

Large roof with four sides, thatched and very steep, con- 
structed with much care and very durable. In certain more 
ancient houses, the overhanging eaves are still nearer the ground. 


traditional hood of the old grandmothers has become a hat ? 
Here is Emmanuel de Martonne's description of the wooden 

house of another region, far distant from the Swiss plateau 

— the range of 
Paringu in the 
southern Carpa- 
thian Mountains : 

The architecture 
of the stina is of 
the simplest. The 
walls are generally 
formed of rough 
tree trunks resting 
upon corner pillars 
planted in the 
ground. The wind 
passes freely 
through the un- 
stopped cracks. 
Sometimes there is 
a sort of basement 
made of dry stone 
(without mortar). 
The roof, two or 

Above Lenk, at an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,700 meters), three times higher 

The. walls are of stone; the roof is covered with small slabs than the walls is 

of wood carefully superposed and fitted; this covering is 1 j -fW 

rounded even at the four angles of the roof, so that the placed. Upon tnem 

water from the snow can not penetrate into the interior of like a COVer that 

the chalet - can be taken off, 

and resembles a boat with a straight keel and flattened bow and 
stern. It is made of strips of wood nailed upon each other like 
slates (sindrele). 

Such are some of the truly geographical elements of the 
wooden house. How have they been combined: roofs of 
thatch with houses of timber, roofs of slate with houses of 
boards, etc. ? How are their parts arranged and proportioned? 
What, finally, is their ornamentation ? All these are questions 
to which it is proper to reply with explanations human rather 
than geographical. But here again these different features 
have been combined in an analogous manner over stretches 
of country which frequently form small natural provinces and 
the study of which can never be completely independent of 
geographical considerations. 


Jean Brunhes 

A Chalet of the High Mountains in 
the Bernese Country 


How far does it extend f (geographical limits) . — The wooden 
house extends as far as the forest. It is sufficient to say here 
that the steppe is a zone of middle Russia where forest growths 
first become sparse, then disappear to give place to the Gram- 
ineae, Cruciferae, Labiatae, Umbelliferae, Liliaceae, and Com- 
positae which form great herbaceous covers beneath which 
lies the rich tchernoziom (black earth). In the steppe appears 
the isba, built of dry earth, of clods of turf, or of loam, often 
entirely covered with a dazzling white layer of lime (Fig. 44). 

Thus geography explains in an entirely natural manner 
what an exact and well-informed traveler in Russia noted: 

Most of the isbas of the steppe are built of turf — yes, in this 
paradoxical Russia, where in places the wood overruns everything, 
a -part of the rural population dwells in huts of turf and warms 
itself .... with straw! This is the way our amateur architects 
proceed. They plow parallel furrows which merely split the layer 
of turf and roots which covers the steppe. With a spade they then 
cut up these grassy strips and thus obtain pieces about 1 1 to 13 inches 
square by 2 to 3 inches thick (30 to 35 centimeters square by 6 to 
8 centimeters thick). First they dry them; then placing them close 
together, grassy side down, they make walls about 27 inches thick 
(70 centimeters) and 7.5 feet high (2 meters and 50 centimeters). 
Then upon these walls they fit slender beams which form a roof 
frame with ridge pole perpendicular to the street. On these rafters 
they spread branches and on the branches a double layer of turf. 
When the whole building is well dried they daub the walls within 
and without with clay and whitewash them. Such is the typical isba 
of the steppe; the differences that are found come from the larger 
or smaller quantity of wood used in the construction. 

Also in' the marshy plain of north Germany, dotted with 
lakes and peat bogs, the wooden house disappears, to be re- 
placed, now by houses with walls of burnt brick, now by 
houses with walls of clods of peat and of wickerwork as in 
the Moorkolonien. 1 

In northern regions the forest ends, and wherever sedentary 
populations have established themselves these dwell in houses 
in which wood plays only a very secondary role. From this 
point of view the Iceland farmhouse is entirely typical: the 
walls of the house are built for the most part of clods of turf 
and earth and only the front of the house is faced with boards. 

, 1 Por an interesting study of the houses in the Moorkolonien see G. Blondel, 
Etudes sur les populations rurales de I'Allemagne, p. 133. . , 



In all western and central Europe the forest is limited on 
every side by enormous strips of open land, or by island-like 
clearings, and here rise everywhere infinitely varied types of 
houses which contrast in their whole exterior form and in 
their character with the wooden house. 

Up to the very foot of the forest, and, so to speak, joined 
to it, is a region which is not yet entirely deforested, like all 
of the Swiss plateau up to an altitude of 2,300 or even 2,650 
feet (700 or 800 meters). There the rural house is built of 
stone and wood in variable proportions. 

Another boundary of the forest is the limit of high altitude 
where trees no longer grow: above the forest is the alp, with 
its pastoral and nomadic life of summer. Where the alp is 
extensive is found a hut of stone — the chalet in which cheese 
is made — like the chalet of the Bernese high mountains 
or the Sennhiitte of the canton of Valais. The same fact 
occurs again in the Department of Cantal. Above and 
beyond the forest we find the upper pasture-ground and the 

buron, which 
is in general 
a structure 
of stone (Fig. 

Toward the 
south of Eu- 
rope, finally, 
the northern 
forest ceases 
altogether. It 
ends still more 
defi n i tely 
than toward 
the west, and 
the wooden 
house stops 
also at the 
edge of that 

Mediterranean world whose geographical types of human 
construction will be examined a little later. 







Jean Brunheg 

Fig. 26. In the Central Highlands of France: a Buron 
of the Department of Cantal 

This stone structure (walls and roofs of stone) surrounded by 
stone walls, is a temporary summer dwelling, standing at an alti- 
tude of about 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) at the foot of the Puy Mary. 
It is used for the manufacture of cheese, and is called a buron. 


What becomes of it? (geographic future) . — The forest, in spite 
of reforestation — attempted with so much energy and method 
in certain countries, notably Switzerland — is dwindling and 
becoming impoverished. Besides the necessary clearing which 

Isaiah Bowman 

Fig. 27. The Stone Dwelling Beyond the Forest Limits 

Straw-thatched stone huts of mountain shepherds in their winter homes in a deep 
valley at Soncor, eastern edge of the Desert of Atacama, Chile. 

we have looked upon as the condition of historic settlement in 
our countries, there has been too often an unrestrained and 
destructive utilitarian clearing, an important fact which will 
have to be considered at length as a phase of destructive 

Besides men, the forest has many other enemies, such as 
the avalanche or inundation; but the most serious of all is 
fire. It would be very useful if a geographer, taking as a 
basis the known facts of the last half century alone, would 
make a study of the extent of forest that has been destroyed 
by fire even when it has been possible to fight fire with 
effective modern methods. 

Going back only a few years, let us recall, during the single 
hot, dry month of August, 1904, the fires of the first days of 
the month in southern Norway and Sweden ; toward the middle 
of the month, the fire in the forest of Fontainebleau and the 


great fires in the forests of Silesia; toward the end of the 
month, the fires in Corsica and in the forests of British Colum- 
bia. Late in August, 1906, a serious fire in the forest of the 
Esterel cost the lives of several soldiers and destroyed at least 
7,410 acres of wood (3,000 hectares) ; at the same period several 
forests in Savoy and several in Auvergne were also burning. 
Some days later, at the beginning of September, fire devoured 
the forests of Val Champex in the territory of the commune 
of Orsieres (Switzerland) and raged likewise in the forests on 
the east shore of Lago di Garda. 

In October, 1908, enormous clouds of smoke, coming from 
forest fires caused by dryness in the states of New York, 
Pennsylvania, and Michigan, swept over the cities on the 
banks of the Hudson. In New York this thick and suffocating 
smoke so darkened the day that it was necessary to turn 
on the electric lights at noon, and there was a distinct smell 
of burning wood and leaves. One of the numerous fires in 
the Adirondack Mountains spread over a width of four miles. 
Every hot and dry summer implies a diminution of the 
forested area, and it takes long years for the trees to grow 
again and the forest to be replaced. 

The summer of 191 1 was to a rare degree a summer of fires. 
Recall the numerous wooden houses, in the depth of the 
Canadian forest, which were destroyed by fire in July. In the 
month of June 8,000 houses of the city of Kirin, in Manchuria, 
were burned. In July "the red cock with wings of flame," as 
the people call it there, ravaged Russia and Siberia. In a 
single week it was announced that more than a thousand 
houses had been entirely destroyed and that 59 persons had 
been burned alive. At Basel, in the canton of Aargau, at 
Suhr, at Fribourg, at Selzach (Solothurn), fire devastated 
much property during the months of August and September, 
and on the 17 th of August the large Italian village of San 
Bartolomeo, close to the Ticino frontier, fell a prey to the 
flames. 1 

In July, 191 1, there were extensive fires in the great forest 
area of North America, both in the United States and in 

1 For other facts, see "The Forest Fires of 1910," American Forestry, November 
and December, 1010, Washington, and L. Morei, La Question forestiere en France, 
A. Rousseau, Paris, 1910. 


Canada, especially in northern Ontario. At the same time 
in France the forest of Fontainebleau burst into flames, and 
nearly 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) were burned; the Argonne 
forest also caught fire. 

Between August 12 and 20, 191 1, the woods and thickets 
everywhere in Europe took fire; in France alone twenty or 
thirty places were affected: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Ram- 
bouillet, etc. While the Belgian f agues were burning over 
hundreds of acres, the pine lands of Franzensfeste in Tyrol 
were in flames and masses of forest in Switzerland were 
everywhere on fire — in the neighborhood of Locarno, in the 
communal forest of Abbaye (canton of Vaud), in the valley 
of the Conches, on Glishorn, on Grammont, in Vanil des 
Arches, etc. 

During the first days of September, 191 1, fire spread its 
ravages' near Avallon, in the neighborhood of Chartres, in the 
forest of Vallussiere (Var), in the forest of Chinon, in the peat- 
bogs of Puy-de-D6me, in the forests of Pont-Guiraud at 
Saint-Pons (Herault), in the department of Gard, Morbihan, 
Sarthe, etc. 

Everywhere the dry trees are an easy prey to the burning 
cinders from locomotives; on the slopes which border rail- 
road lines we even see the grass licked up and destroyed by 
creeping lines of fire. 

The isolated wooden house and the village of wooden 
houses are subject to the same danger that the forest is. 
They may also be destroyed by fire. 

The little village of Neirivue in the canton of Fribourg, 
Switzerland, was completely destroyed by fire three times 
in a little more than a century. In May, 1906, the village of 
Planfayon, also in the canton of Fribourg, was devastated. 
In August of the same year, the little village of Cleibe, in 
Valais, was swept away; only a single dwelling house was 

What has happened so often in Switzerland has happened 
in all European countries wherever the wooden house pre- 
dominates, from Bulgaria (destruction of city of Kotel, near 
Sliven) to Scandinavia, where the largest cities such as Trond- 
hjem have so often suffered from fire. On January 24, 1904, 


the little town of Aalesund, the port of southern Norway, 
had three-quarters of its wooden houses devoured by a 

Now what is the result of this destruction by fire and of the 
constant menace which it holds for wooden structures ? Sooner 
or later they give way, and stone or brick is substituted. In 
the Siberian forest which continues the Russian forest, Irkutsk, 
called to-day Irkutsk the White, acquired its new form and 
its surname only after it had been completely destroyed by 
fire. Likewise, Meiringen (Bernese Oberland), once destroyed, 
has been rebuilt of stone, and so again Neirivue and Planfayon. 
Governments, alive to the dangers of fire, make laws forbid- 
ding that new roofs be made of thatch or new coverings of 
shingles; little by little roofs that have been repaired, even in 
the very midst of the ancient territory of the wooden house, 
have been covered with tiles or slate. In America the most 
congested cities have fire laws requiring that all new struc- 
tures shall be built of fire-resisting materials. Thus the geo- 
graphical distribution of the wooden house, like that of the 
forest, becomes more and more restricted because of the 
ravages of fire. 1 

The house of the large city has been transformed still more 
quickly than the house in the village or small settlement. 
Nothing ift Petrograd recalls the forest which reaches to its 
very gates. 

This very brief outline of the geography of the wooden 
house in the northern forest shows us that, if geography is far 
from explaining everything in the house, at least the human 
habitation cannot be completely understood without an appeal 
to geography. 

A similar study of the prevailing types of human habitations 
in the Mediterranean region would enable us to establish in the 
same way the relation of the house-type to the geographical 

Whatever may have been the earlier conditions of vegetation 
in the Mediterranean territory, however beautiful and numer- 
ous may have been the forests of the eastern shores of the 

] See Raoul Blanchard, V Habitation en Queyras: "The threat of fire hangs over 
these houses incessantly. The threat is often realized," etc. {La Geographic XIX, 
1909, p. 27). 


Adriatic or of Mount Lebanon, however large may have been 
the rainfall in certain districts, 1 Mediterranean Europe to-day 
contrasts with the deforested Europe that we have just been 
considering, as a denuded Europe with a Europe that is 
clothed in green. The Asiatic and African countries that 
border on the Mediterranean together with the European 
peninsulas form a Mediterranean world which, by the seren- 
ity of its sky and the sharp severity of its mountainous 
setting, contrasts strongly with central, western, and northern 

We cannot discuss here the relationships between climate, 
natural forms of vegetation, and animal and human life in 
this environment of the Mediterranean where so many kinds 
of human energy have developed with such intensity. Let 
us merely note that everywhere appear forms of vegetation 
composed of shrubs with evergreen foliage, bushes and plants 
that survive the dryness of the summer; they are the garigues, 
the maquis, etc. Let us recall also that everywhere men 
have striven successfully to transform the often steep slopes 
into terraced gardens — the cultures en terrasses — and that 
they have devoted themselves with a natural taste to the 
skillful cultivation of trees. 

These small cultivated trees (orange, olive, mulberry, etc.) 
are generally planted at intervals, and they appear from a 
distance in the form of a light trellis, or else as if scattered 
in the form of little round spots close to the ground. They 
never give the impression of large, bushy masses, thick, and 
tall, and close together, such as that always given by the 
northern forests, whether they are seen from a distance or 
near at hand. 

All about the Mediterranean rise chains of mountains or 
highlands with exposures of bare rock. Here again is the 
house of stone: in Spain, in Provence, in Liguria, and in 
Calabria, as in Sicily and Greece, at Jerusalem, at Tunis, and 
at Algiers. The stone house, by the very nature of the 

x The best watered place in Europe is, in fact, to be found in the Mediterranean 
portion: Crkvice, at an altitude of 3,500 feet (1,100 meters), receives about 14 feet 
(4.55 m.) a year, and even reached a maximum, in one year, of almost 20 feet (6 m.) 
of water. See K. Kassner, "Das regenreichste Gebiet 'Europas," Petermanns Mitt., 
L., 1904, p. 281. Again, in Switzerland, the best watered spot is Brissago, on the 
shores of Lago Maggiore, a little to the south of Locarno. 


material used, is susceptible of much more capricious archi- 
tectural variations than the wooden house. If we should 
make a general and systematic study of the stone house 
analogous to that which we have made of the wooden house, 
we should be obliged to consider the distribution according 
to regions. 

i. In the Terra di Bari and in the Terra d'Otranto, Apulia 
petrosa, formed of a thin-bedded fissile limestone, the people 
build houses and shelters by arranging blocks of limestone in 
superimposed circles without even binding them with cement. 
To cover these round rooms they narrow progressively the 
diameter of the rings and place on the top a large flat stone. 
Sometimes the exterior form is that of a truncated cone, or 
rather, since they arrange two or three shelves on the outside, 
of several truncated cones placed upon each other; this is a 
trullo. Sometimes the whole structure is covered with a 
conical roof which is itself constructed of small limestone 
sheets called chiancarellc; this is the casella. 

2. Trulli and caselle are strictly limited to the zone of sheet 

3. On the other hand, we find analogous structures in the 
Balearic Islands, at Gozzo, or even in regions geologically 
entirely different, but where the constituent rocks are also 
easily cut into sheets (Ireland, Hebrides). 

4. We must include in the same type of building ancient 
structures of uncemented stones, the ruins of which have 
often been described by archaeologists — the talayots of the 
Balearic Islands, the nuraghi of Sardinia, or the pueblos of 
New Mexico and Arizona. 1 

5. It would, however, be a mistake to consider the trulli 
and the caselle as primitive forms of habitation in Apulia. On 
the contrary, the region where these structures are the most 
numerous has been peopled only for the last two or three 
centuries. Where now stands Alberobello, the largest town 
of caselle, with 9,000 inhabitants, there was nothing at the 

1 G. Perrot and Chipiez, Hietoire de V art dans Vantiquite, IV, pp. 51-55; and 
Cartailhac, Monuments -primitijs des ties Baleares. See also the discussion by Jean 
Brunhes of ancient talayots, and modern constructions of the inhabitants of the 
Balearic Islands called barraccas and ponls, in an article that appeared in the Rev. 
des deux mondes (November 1, iqii), entitled: "AMajorque et a Minorque, Esquisse 
de geographie humaine." 


beginning of the seventeenth century but "a chapel in the 

As a matter of fact, whatever be the historical and archaeo- 
logical interpretation accepted by competent scholars, one 
cannot but say with Bertaux: 

If the geographical conditions of Apulia do not suffice to explain 
the distribution of the trulli, they alone can explain their continu- 
ance. On the one hand, the trullo, the low wall of which forms the 
inclosure, furnishes a use for the stones which must be taken from the 
field. On the other hand, the irregular materials which can be 
picked up at one's feet would not lend themselves to the building 
of houses; wood for roofs becomes more and more rare as the last 
groves of oak give place to olive trees. All the peasants agree that 
the trullo is the most economical building. It is also the driest and 
the most healthful; the rain rolls easily over the chiancarelle, and 
the sun does not penetrate its thick walls. In fact, the interior of 
a casella of a well-to-do agriculturist is comfortable and attractive. 

Before seeking to determine the historical relations of the 
trulli and caselle, it is wise to determine their relations to like 
structures elsewhere. 

One of Bertaux's happiest observations is that which con- 
cerns the resemblance between types of construction belonging 
to different regions but made of similar materials (in this 
particular case, limestone rocks). We must always bear in 
mind the fact that the materials utilized by man bring about 
certain forms of construction, not because of their internal 
character, but because of their physical characteristics (hard- 
ness, strength, and customary forms). In Palestine houses 
without order or symmetry are crudely built of scattered 
blocks of the compact white limestone from Mount Hermon 
and of the black basalt from the Hauran. These rocks, so 
dissimilar in many respects, have the same durability and are 
readily available, rough -hewn for the builder (Fig. 28). 

But the facts here set forth are not limited to the Mediter- 
ranean region. For example, in the Central Plateau of 
France, or, to be more exact, in Cantal, sheets of basaltic 

X E. Bertaux, "Etude d'un type d'habitation primitive, trulli, caselle et specchie 
des Pouilles," Ann. de geog., VIII. 1899, pp. 207-230. See also a more recent and well- 
illustrated work by Carlo Maranelli, La Murgia dei trulli, un' oasi di popolazione 
sparsa nel Meggiorno (Scriti in onore di Giuseppe dalla Vedova), Florence, 1908, 
pp. 107-142. Apropos of the population of Apulia, consult Theobald Fischer, Mittel- 
meerbilder (Leipzig and Berlin, 1906), under the title: "Ansiedelung und Anbau in 
Apulien" (pp. 204-215). 



lava have covered the crystalline base. Thus the basalt 
from the ancient volcano of Cantal has spread over the region 
called Planeze, and the city of Saint-Flour is built upon the 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 28. Miserable Little Low Houses, Loosely Constructed of White 
Blocks of Limestone and Black Blocks of Basalt 

These houses belong to the village of Hadar, on one of the long and difficult caravan 
routes from Banias (Caesarea Philippi) to Damascus. In the foreground and especially 
on the left are slabs of Mt. "Hermon limestone; in the background and on the light 
are sheets of basalt connected with the Hauran toward the southwest. 

extremity of a promontory of this flow. Beyond the limit of 
the basalt and all about Planeze the surface is formed of a 
solid gneiss which separates in large blocks. The houses of 
Planeze and those of the surrounding border are very similar, 
for the blocks are of basalt. Man finds them equally suitable 
for his work and for his needs. 

The larger prehistoric pueblos of New Mexico were built of 
locally derived extremely fissile rocks. In some cases the 
pieces are no larger than a man's hand, with the spaces between 
chinked with slivers of rock or with mud. These ancient walls 
are often found still plumb and perfectly faced (Fig. 29). 


Richard E. Dodge 

Fig. 2q. Ancient Pueblo Ruins in New Mexico 

Evidence of the former presence of a storied building is seen in the weathered 
line in which the ancient floor timbers were supported. The wall alignment is still 
nearly perfect. 

Richard E. Dodge 

Fig. 30. Ancient Stone Constructions in New Mexico 

These ancient masonry landmarks were built to serve as a guide to water holes. 
They are now sharply inclined from the perpendicular through the action of 



In some of the smaller structures less care was displayed. 
Rough stones, more or less flat, were built up almost like a 
house of cobs. Yet so well were the stones lapped that the 

form of the structure is 
still intact, even in some 
cases after the building 
has been split in twain by 
a landslip (Fig. 30). 

The immediate neighbor- 
hood of the Mediterra- 
nean, however, is not all 
bare rock; if we circle its 
coast, we find a series of 
plains and lowlands — now 
immense rich alluvial 
regions like the plain of 
the Po, now small basins 
inset among the moun- 
tains, now simple deltas, 
now even muddy and 
marshy regions. 
In these regions and in the humid areas the house is made of 
dried or baked earth, sometimes of mere mud (adobe); and 
though the small dwelling of loam of the huerta in Valencia 
(Spain), called the barraca, is covered with a slender and 
rather attractive roof with two slopes, the wretched mud house 
of the infertile plain of Sharon, at the other end of the Mediter- 
ranean, between Jaffa and Mount Carmel, is covered with a 
flat roof made simply of clods of earth resting on slender beams. - 
Though this dependence is in a sense very natural, yet it 
suggests such consequences that it is well to examine a little 
more closely a typical case of this geographical juxtaposition 
of the house of earth and the house of stone. Moreover, the 
stone house is generally built in part of wood. 

Often in the Mediterranean region a particularly skillful 
advantage is taken of small short logs such as those of the 
juniper tree (Fig. 31). 

Since the wooden house has been considered only in a 
general way, and since it is desirable to illustrate here the 

Fig. 31. The Use of Wood in the Con- 
struction of Stone Houses 

In some houses in the Mediterranean region 
the upper stories are extended and supported 
by the ingenious use of short pieces of wood. 


exact method to be followed in this phase of human geography, 
let us make a study of the characteristics of the wooden and 
the stone house — including form and construction — in the 
small natural unit area of the lower valley of the Nile (Lower, 
Middle, and Upper Egypt). 

2. The House in Egypt: The House of Earth 
and the House of Stone 

Present life is not considered of much importance in Egypt. 
True monuments are built only for the dead. Contemporary 
excavations find 
almost intact 
the ancient 
temples where 
the Pharaohs 
raised them 
twenty- five or 
thirty centuries 
33). 1 Fronting 
the Pyramids, 
the Moham- 
medan califs 
have erected the 
cupolas of their 
tombs. The god 
of Mahomet has 
raised up for the 1 
prayers of the 
faithful, mas- 
sive, bold, and 
rich mosques, 
like the wonder- 

The Kiosk of Philae 

Figures 32 and 33 show two monuments of ancient Egypt; 
one, the kiosk of Philae, is without doubt the master-piece of 
harmonious elegance; the other, with its "forest" of 134 
columns like those of the photograph, Fig. 33, was one of the 
hugest and most overwhelming edifices that have ever existed. 

ful mosques of Cairo, splendid witnesses of Arabic art in its 
various periods. 

1 Moreover, the excavations made in Egypt during the last twenty years have re- 
vealed a primitive Egyptian art which made use only of brick: "At the beginning 
of those far-away epochs," says Prince ,d'Arenberg, in his address on "Les Fouilles 
de la Compagnie du Canal de Suez en Egypte," before the annual public conference 
of the Five Academies, October 25, 19 n, "unbaked brick was the only material 
used in the construction of monuments, and it was only much later that limestone 
and granite were adopted for temples and tombs." 



But the Egyptian never thinks of building for his own use 
and comfort. He lives out of doors, in the open sunlight, the 
year around, and his house is only a shelter for the night. He 

Jean Brunhei 

Fig. 23>- The Columns of the Large Hypostyle Hall of 

This illustration is placed here to bring into clearer contrast the 
plain and wretched houses of earth or stone in which the Egyptian 
fellahin dwell to-day. 

must work in his field or in the field of another from January 
to December, without a day of rest, in this land that is never 
allowed to lie fallow. 1 He has no need of a shelter like that 
of the peasant of our northern countries for the long, gloomy 
evenings of the winter. He lives, in short, from hand to 
mouth. Since he has neither reserve nor provisions, and 
receives his daily pay of two piasters as he gathers the bundle 
of bersim for his ass and his buffalo, his dwelling does not need 
to be la rge enough to be used as a granary. 

1 See Jean Brunhes, V Irrigation dans la Peninsule iberique el dans VAfrique du 
Nord, p. 360. 


Furthermore, in the Delta all that would be necessary for 
constructing a solid dwelling fails him. He has neither stone 
nor lime; wood is a rare and precious thing which is reserved 
for the saquieh, or plow. All that he possesses in this land of 
the Nile is the mud from which and on which he lives. This 
mud is, moreover, the most plastic of materials; it is worked 
without difficulty with a little water, and in this region where 
the air dries out everything, it hardens quickly and becomes 
as hard as clay. It is too easy and too cheap to build thus, 
for the fellah to have recourse to other means. Often in a 
small village he does not even take the trouble to mix some bits 
of straw with his clay and to make crude little bricks; much 
less will he think of sending for a barbarin, a man of Upper 
Egypt more skillful than himself, who can build a brick-kiln and 
bake the clay. These are caprices for great proprietors or the 
better business men of modern Egypt. Rather than all those 
improvements which involve extra trouble and labor, the fellah 
prefers the clay of the Nile which his wife can knead and the 
mud hut which his wife can build. 

The Egyptian's house is thus reduced to the necessary 
minimum — four walls of pressed earth with a hole in one 
side for a door. The dimensions are irregular: neither the 
height, breadth, nor depth is fixed, and the one does not vary 
in fixed relation with the other. 

As for the roof, that is a more serious problem; in fact, it 
is the great problem of the fellah's house (Fig. 34) . In certain 
cases he gets along without it, living under the open sky by 
night as well as by day. This is rare, however, for he at least 
covers his house with palm leaves or with durra straw or sugar 
cane. But generally he makes a roof ; upon one or two beams 
or a few branches he places a network of straw which he covers 
with mud. Thus the five walls of the house have the same 
color and an entirely identical appearance; they are of the 
same material as the soil upon which the fellah walks and on 
which he makes his bed. 

In Lower Egypt the occasional rains are a further reason for 
the construction of a roof, and this roof must be built suffi- 
ciently strong so that the rain which softens the clay may 
not destroy it too quickly. The fellah has an additional 



incentive to make a flat, solid roof, since this will serve him 
as his only granary — very rudimentary it is true, but still 
a place where he may store in small piles the cakes of manure 
that serve as fuel and the sheaves of straw that he has 
gathered (Figs. 34 and 35). 

On the house of crude brick there is sometimes seen either 
a vault 1 (Upper Egypt) or a little cupola (Lower Egypt) of 
baked brick (Figs. 36 and 37). This roof is more solid, but it 
presents a smaller surface and is less useful as a granary. Care 
for the morrow being a secondary consideration with the fellah, 
in comparison with the needs of the present, he rarely has 
recourse to this method of building a roof ; he prefers to allow 

Jean Brunheg 

Fig. 34. Roofless Houses at Luxor 

In the climate of Luxor, rains are much more rare than in the 
climate of Cairo; most of the houses of the fellahin nevertheless 
are covered with a roof; but there are some that are not. 

the rain to destroy his roof many times rather than take so 
much trouble. The little cupola, for example, predominates 

x The methods of constructing this brick vault are exceptional. It is, in fact, built 
without any supporting arch; simple cords serve to guide the workman, though the 
vaults have a span of at least six feet. 


only in the small villages, or rather quarters, which the great 
proprietors of to-day build for their farm laborers (the tama- 
liehs) — villages which are called ezbes. 1 

From just below Assuan (Fig, 38), the plateaus of Nubian 

Fig. 35. The Customary Flat Roof Loaded with 
Supplies of Fuel 

Pressed-earth houses of a little village near Sakha (Delta). See 
also the flat roofs loaded with supplies of fuel in Fig. 34. 

sandstone approach nearer the river and are not so well dis- 
sected as to the south of Korosko. They appear as low, slightly 

x In a study of the geographical literature of Egypt, it is curious to note to what a 
degree the fellah's house, the ordinary house, is passed unnoticed. Little attention 
is given to this topic in C. B. Klunziger, Upper Egypt: Its People and Its Products, 
A Descriptive Account of the Manners, Customs, Superstitions, and Occupations of the 
People of the Nile Valley, the Desert and the Red Sea Coast, with Sketches of the Natural 
History and Geology, Blackie & Son, London, 1878; or in E. W. Lane, Modern Egyp- 
tians, written in Egypt from 1833 to 1835, fifth edition (edited by E. Stanley Poole), 
J. Murray, London, 187 1. A single passage of the latter, written over eighty years 
ago, shows that the fellah's house, unceasingly renewed, never changes: "Very few 
large or handsome houses are to be seen in Egypt, excepting in the metropolis and 
some other towns. The dwellings of the lower orders, particularly those of the 
peasants, are of a very mean description; they are mostly built of unbaked bricks, 
cemented together with mud. Some of them are mere hovels. The greater number, 
however, comprise two or more apartments, though few are two stories high. In 
one of these apartments, in the houses of the peasants in Lower Egypt, there is 
generally an oven (furn), at the end farthest from the entrance, and occupying the 
whole width of the chamber. It resembles a wide bench or seat, and is about 
breast-high: it is constructed of brick and mud; the roof arched within, and flat on 
the top. The inhabitants of the house, who seldom have any night-covering 
during the winter, sleep upon the top of the oven, having previously lighted a fire 
within it; or the husband and wife only enjoy this luxury, and the children sleep 
upon the floor. The chambers have small apertures high up in the walls, for the 
admission of light and air — sometimes furnished with a grating of wood. The roofs 
are formed of palm branches and palm leaves, or of millet stalks, etc., laid upon 
rafters of the trunk of the palm, and covered with a plaster of mud and chopped 
straw. The furniture consists of a mat or two to sleep upon, a few earthen vessels, 
and a hand-mill to grind the corn" (Lane, I, p. 25). 




Jean Bruulic 

Fig. 36. Vaulted Brick Roofs in- a Village Near Assuan 



*■ >.'*' — "*W r= - c - ** -* - ' 

>• r 1 ^^x v_*<L J^*S;\^ teb^ 


^ .^s? 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 37. Vaulted Brick Roofs in the Little Village of Edfu 

The vault is nowhere the only form of roof; houses covered with vaulted roofs 
are mingled with flat-roofed houses, or walls without roofs. This photograph of 
Edfu was taken from the top of the large pylon of the temple of Horus. 


convex, broadly undulating swells, resembling huge tortoise 
shells, and are separated by slight depressions which end at the 
river. In general only the bank left uncovered by the fall of the 
Nile separates the plateaus from 
the river. The houses are very 
scattered and in general lie near 
the base of the plateau, or even 
on the plateau slopes, for the 
cultivable land of the plain is 
too valuable to have houses built 
upon it. 1 The houses, cubical in 
form with a single opening in 
front for a door, are usually built 
of stone because of the abun- 
dance of that material at hand. 
Sometimes the houses are even 
excavated in the rock itself. 

Thus in this country, with a 
similar population throughout, 
the house is of two types — in 
Lower Egypt, the mud or clay 
house; in Upper, or stony Egypt, 
the stone house. 

In Middle and Upper Egypt 
the need of protecting grains 
and other provisions from the 
inclemency of the weather or 
from neighbors has led to the 
construction — always of mud 
which dries so quickly and holds 
so well — of fixed receptacles, 
such as those seen in Fig. 39. 

In this study of Egypt we have not left as yet the valley 
itself of the Nile. We have not quitted the immediate banks 
of that great river which F. Schrader so well characterized as 


- — c/lsmailia 

Delta b.irraae 7 ^.. „ . 
. V, u iii) KCairo 


SuezfL, urt Teivfik 

Medinct-d-FayiuIrV nV V 

Wadiliaiu'n reservoir. / ) Ov»kSh» 
{nollbutlt) ^j J 

£ )j^\ 


Asaiut barrar/e^\ 

> — \ -<v ^_^Keneh 

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Jcbel Silailch rcser, 

oir barrayel 
(not 4«!<<)l S ii s Heh 
Koin Ombo^J 

Assuan reserve 

r burrui/c fl'r.tL\E 

Kalabshch reservoir barrac/e/ 

(„ut '"«'oy Kalabsheh 


ngitmle East from Crccnuichj /" 

Scale= 1:90, 000 

General Outline Map of 
the Nile Valley up to Kalab- 
sheh, just South of Assuan 

Fig. 38. 

1 Between Edfu and Assuan, going up the Nile, the stony slopes approach the river 
yet do not border it, as do the banks of granite farther south between Assuan and 
Wadi -Haifa — that is, between the first and second cataracts. On this intermediate 
stretch below Assuan, some desire to be near the water and others to be near the rock. 
So we often see two lines of houses, one of mud (especially near the Nile), and the 
other of stone with brick vaults (beyond the cultivated zone and scattered in the desert). 



"generous, marshy, deadly, fertile, unapproachable, creative, 
and destructive." 1 We have yet to consider the great oasis 
of Fayum, the water and life of which come from the Bahr Yusuf , 

The Entrance to a House in the Fayum 

Above the door are the provision "sacks," large receptacles of clay, 
in the environs of Medinet-el-Fayum. 

View taken 

an affluent of the Nile. Fayum, fed by a river of relatively 
regular regime, is an Egypt with relatively great differences of 
level, though more "Mediterranean" in climate than is Egypt. 

Everything is more trim, better finished, and we might 
almost say more artistic at Fayum. The house is of the 
same type as that of Egypt; but just as its approaches and 
annexes show more care, so the arrangement and details of its 
walls of pressed earth show a more developed taste and even 
art (Figs. 39 and 40). 

When many detailed studies have been made of these rep- 
resentative and truly geographical types of human habitation, 
we shall be able to establish certain general facts concerning 
the form of the house, and to develop an exact classification. 

1 F. Schrader, Les Origines planetaires de l'Egypte {Revue de I'Ecole d' anthropologic 
de Paris, XIX, 1909, p. 16). 


Let us now consider several examples of these general facts. 

From studies made in the countries of the wooden house, it 
seems evident that secondary buildings, such as the stable and 
granary, retain the characteristic features of the ancient type 
of construction, long after the earlier wooden house has for 
some reason been replaced by a house of another style. If 
the house is not replaced, it is often repaired, and a study of 
the successive alterations made in the course of its history 
would doubtless show us some interesting changes that reflect 
geographic conditions. In the Black Forest, shingles replace 
thatch; in the Fribourg Alps, slate or flat tiles replace the 
wooden shingles (Fig. 41). Even the walls of the house are 
partially repaired, and thus in small villages of north Germany, 
we see how bricks inserted in the middle of sections of wood re- 
place the earlier loam. 

Perhaps this piece- 
meal renewal of the 
parts of the house 
would explain the per- 
sistence of certain 
characteristics and 
especially of the geo- 
graphical disposition of 
the house. Thus after 
the fire at Neirivue 
many of the new stone 
houses were placed 
upon the cellar walls 
that once supported 
wooden houses. 

It seems, however, 
that in other places 
opposite customs pre- 
vail. "According to 
the local usage," says 
Emile Auzou in speak- 
ing of the villages of the 
peninsula of Guerande, "they do not rebuild fallen houses 
on the old site; they build at a distance without even utilizing 


Jean Brunhea 

40. The Wall of a House of Pressed 
Earth at Medinet-el-Fayum 

The arrangement of the bricks and the little open- 
ing where the pigeon is seen, show ascertain art of 
construction and even of ornamentation. 


the fallen material so that the heart of the village is sadly 
filled with ruins." 1 

Certain secondary details of the form of the house, common 

Pierre Hansscn 

Fig. 41. Two Adjoining Barns at the Bugnon (Gruyere) 

The new part of the roof continues the slope of the main part, but it is covered 
with tiles. 

to otherwise wholly dissimilar and widely separated types of 
habitation, are to be explained in a similar way. In order to 
preserve their rice from rodents, the inhabitants of Imerina, 
in Madagascar, place large round pieces of wood in a horizontal 
position at the base of their rice granaries. These serve the 
same prurpose as the slabs of schist which the Valaisans place 
at the four corners of the base of their racarts, and which are 
found also at the base of the Stabbuhr in Norway. We might 
even compare with these the granaries which certain peoples 
of the north build on piles to protect their provisions from the 


The most modest human establishment is accompanied by 
visible signs of travel and trade, in the form of small trodden 
spaces or beaten paths. At the door of the most wretched 
chalet or hut of the mountains ends a line marked on the 

1 Quotation from the volume by Emile Auzou, La Presqu'ile Guerandaise, Plon, 
Paris, 1897, p. 316. 


ground, by which men and animals ordinarily reach this tiny 
center of human life (Fig. 42). 

As soon as houses are grouped, intercommunication becomes 
more intense and the street begins, more or less clearly marked 
and with a more or less regular space left between the dwellings. 
Whatever its character, it is simply an enlarged and more 
significant primitive trail, an evidence of human movement, 
transportation of goods, trade. In a small hamlet or village 
the crossroads formed by two primitive streets is but a big 
city square in embryo, or perhaps a local market, which when 
more developed we call the fair ground and with which — what- 
ever its form or size — we always associate exchange. 

Other geographers, and especially Ratzel and Hettner, 
have brought out the geographical significance of the most 
rudimentary types of roads : the footpath (Fussweg) , the mule 

Paul Girardin 

Fig. 42. The Traffic Accompanying Settlement 

Chalets in the Glandon pass which opens a passage for the Maurienne 
in the Oisan group between the Belledonne chain and the Grandes 
Rousses mountains. These chalets are situated at 6395 feet (1950 m.)- 
All about are the paths, visible signs of complex movement, scattered 
and uncertain: the less the lines of communication are improved, the 
less they are fixed. 

jtrail (Saumweg), the wagon road (Fahrweg). But perhaps 
Ratzel has not sufficiently noted the relations between the 
character of the road, especially the perfected road, and the 


geographical environment. Not only does the desert track, 
or the trail cut through the virgin forest, form part of 
the landscape and at the same time give it character; but the 
highway itself, by its construction, by its windings, by its 
slopes, by the material of which it is made, and even by 
its color, is a fact teeming with geographic interest. Even 
the city street — especially in its best developed forms — has 
geographical characteristics. The city of Toulouse, a city of 
bricks, is built upon the Quaternary gravel of a terrace of the 
Garonne. The stone that was lacking for the houses was 
also lacking for the street until recent improvements in means 
of transportation. Who does not envy and admire the 
streets of Funchal in Madeira, paved with smooth, basaltic 
cobbles, so hard and so closely fitted that the wooden, ox- 
drawn sledges used in place of the wheeled carts of other 
cities produce no dust! New cities and dead cities have 
streets which show or recall some of the characteristics of their 
material environment. 

Finally, certain roads and transportation routes are, so to 
speak, ready-made in advance by geographical conditions. 
Man has had only to change slightly the most favorable parts. 
Under this head might be classed all roads over the snow and 
ice. These are doubtless the most economical solid roads for 
long distances, as is well illustrated in the winter lumbering 
sections of glaciated North America with its miles of ice 
plains in the cold season. Regions practically impassable in 
summer are ready highways with uniform grades or even 
horizontal slopes in winter. 

It is also known how in Russia beyond the Volga, in all the 
Ural, in Siberia, and in Tibet, winter is the season of travel 
because at that season roads are available over the snow- 
covered lands or by icebound rivers and lakes. In the Alps, 
winter is the season for gathering wood and fodder. Mild 
winters with a deficient snowfall prevent the completion of 
the winter tasks, as does too early a spring. 

In many forested and rugged countries, men make use of 
chutes to transport wood from the higher to the lower and 
more accessible slopes. Similar to this type of path is the very 
steep, partially graded road found on many forested slopes. 


Almost all natural waterways, and all sheets of water, lakes 
or seas, which become waterways (Wasserwege), are physical 
features which man uses, without in any way changing their 
essential characteristics. These are certainly geographical 
facts ; but as facts of human geography they are less character- 
istic and less important than routes of travel upon land. 
Travel upon the sea never leaves a mark upon the surface of 
the waters as clear or as permanent as even the fugitive trace 
of a camel's foot in the sand seas of the Erg. 

The slightest improvement in the means of travel on land 
expresses itself by small surface facts, while improvements 
in marine travel leave the surface of the globe almost as 
unchanged as is the mass of the atmosphere by the passage of 
an aeroplane. Navigation and aviation put their marks most 
clearly on the earth at those points of contact between land 
and sea or land and air which are natural landing-places. 
Here ports and railways are developed as visible, persistent 
evidences of invisible water routes, or hangars stand as 
witnesses to air routes not only invisible but perhaps unknown. 

One very important point in reference to land travel deserves 
emphasis. If a road or route is naturally adapted to only one 7 
means of travel, a change in the method of travel brings about 
a corresponding change in the character of the road. Means 
of travel then find an echo in geography; cart wheels have 
made their ruts in the streets of the dead cities of Pompeii or 
of Les Baux, or along the historic Santa Fe Trail, as they are 
making them in the streets of recent cities. To a much more 
marked degree steam traction and electric traction have 
brought into existence strips of road of a new type. 

The development of steam as a motive power caused 
engineers to reduce the grades of old roads, which varied from 
3 or 4 up to 6 or 7 per cent. The grades of the great inter- 
national railways and the Arlberg and Mont Cenis lines do 
not exceed 3 per cent. The maximum of the Gotthard line 
grade is 2 . 7 per cent, that of the Lotschberg line and of the 
Simplon line (on the Italian side only) only 2 . 5 per cent. The 
grade of the broad-gauge road that crosses the Rocky Moun- 
tains at the highest level (11,600 feet) nowhere exceeds 4 per 
cent. Cog roads and funiculars may be built on slopes of 


almost any degree of declivity; but they are mountain or 
city railways whose zone of action is very much restricted. 
Electric traction, on the contrary, has so wide a range that 
it has been introduced partially on roads where the trains 
normally run by steam (electric locomotives draw the trains 
from Brigue to Iselle and return through the 12 miles [20 
kilometers] of the Simplon tunnel). Electricity is now used 
on some of the steep mountain roads of the Far West in the 
United States. It will become more and more the traction 
of the future, for it can be used over much steeper grades than 
can steam. 

The form and character of the road are expressions of human 
geography that show the development of mankind as closely 
and as precisely as does the house. 

Roman roads were above all built for strategic purposes and were 
destined to facilitate the sending of troops into all parts of the 
empire. The system increased as the Roman dominion increased. 
The first great road, the Via Appia, from Rome to Capua, was 
destined to assure the submission of Campania; the defeat of the 
Boii made necessary the creation of the Via Aurelia; and the defeat 
of the Gauls and the Germanic populations resulted in the construc- 
tion of an important road system in the Alps and the basins of the 
Danube and the Rhine. Little by little viae traversed all the empire 
from the center of Spain to the heart of Egypt. 1 This explains why 
the Romans, desirous above everything else of quickness of commu- 
nication and military transportation, took no account, in the con- 
struction of their roads, of the natural features of the land. Their 
roads are as far as possible straight lines. Artificial work is there- 
fore very frequent, and includes bridges over valleys, embankments 
(aggeres) in the depressions of the soil, pilework, causeways, and 
masonry in marshy lands (as in a part of the Appian Way), enor- 
mous supporting walls along the sides of ravines, cuts through the 
mountains, or even tunnels. The Romans did not content them- 
selves merely with smoothing the ground. In order to assure the 
solidity of the road, instead of opening it they built it. 

The distinctive features of streets or roads, their arrange- 
ment or their number, are notations on the surface of the 
earth of the intensity and importance of the human relation- 
ships they serve. 

If a structure, such as a monastery or a group of monasteries 

l These lines and those that follow are taken from the Lexique des antiquites 
romaincs, compiled under the direction of R. Cagnat by G. Goyau (Thorin, Paris, 
1895. PP- 304-305; the article "Via" is signed G. M.). 


(Lhasa in Tibet), becomes a center of attraction, paths and 
trails multiply about it and the road accompanies them, 
representing graphically the influence exercised by this center 
of pilgrimage. 1 In a general way the activity centering in 
every human establishment is indicated by these more or 
less definite, more or less established, lines found around it. 

Both the main roads and the secondary roads of any well- 
peopled country are, in their general character, in the details 
of their plan, and in the state of their maintenance, reflections 
of a multitude of historic and economic facts. 

Ratzel has many times pointed out the fragmentary char- 
acter of the first short railroads in any region. This frag- 
mentary character is common to all roads; and it is doubtless 
in the first stage of development of a new form of communica- 
tion that the influence of local geographical conditions upon 
man is the strongest. Take for example the valley of Visp 
at the end of which stands Zermatt, and which is to-day trav- 
ersed from Visp to Zermatt by a railroad. That valley offers 
us, from the point of view of the road, a typical case of 
interrupted communication. A strip of wagon road exists 
from Saint Nicholas to Randa which is not connected with any 
larger road system. At each end this road runs into paths 
wide enough only to accommodate the passage of a mule. 

Railroads were first built in short, disconnected sections. 
In a recent lecture Paul Girardin, speaking of the early history 
of railroads from 1828 to 1832, called attention to the fact 
that these lines were first built in England, by the joining of 
two elements, the rail, projecting or hollowed, whence the 
name "roads with ruts," and the locomotive, a Watt steam 
engine placed upon wheels and made movable. The tubular 
boiler definitely substituted mechanical traction for traction 
by means of horses and, because of the greater speed obtained, 
it allowed travelers to make use of a means of transportation 
which in the beginning seemed suited only to the carrying of 
merchandise, and particularly to the movement of coal from 
the coal fields which were then just beginning to be opened up. 
But for a long time the future possibilities of this mode of 
locomotion were not perceived, and as keen a statesman as 

1 See J. Sion, "Le Tibet meridional," Ann. de geog., January 15, 1907, p. 44. 


M. Thiers could speak, in the Chamber of Deputies, of rail- 
roads as ''playthings. " This word, which seems ridiculous to 
us, is explained if we go back to the time when it was spoken. 
What railroads were built or under construction in Europe 
in 1828-29? There were lines from Paris to Saint-Germain 
and a little later from Paris to Versailles, from Berlin to 
Potsdam, from Nuremberg to Furth, from Brunswick to Wolfen- 
btittel, from Naples to Portici, from Petrograd to Tsarskoe- 
Selo — every line uniting a capital to a royal residence. Was 
it not natural that they should seem only "playthings," just 
as to-day some cogwheel railways, engineering masterpieces 
though they be, play no economic role because they only 
make mountains accessible as playgrounds? 

Finally, every inhabited area in which little or no effort 
has been made to mark out roads is an evidence of a people 
politically or economically backward. 

In the interior of the island of Crete roads barely exist; 
the groups of human beings along the shore carry on a coast- 
wise trade by sea, but it fails to meet the needs of this isolated 
land as a whole. 1 In the Pripet marshes (Russia) certain small 
centers of human occupation communicate with each other 
only by means of boats. Here, in the midst of Europe, some 
60 or 70 miles (a little more than a hundred kilometers) from 
great industrial centers, is a region so primitive that men do 
not even know the use of the watch or of money. 

a "To my great regret I had not time to visit the interior of the island, as I had 
done in 1857; but, according to all I have heard, if I could have allowed myself the 
excursion that so strongly tempted me, I should not have found there the surprises 
which, it seems at first glance, I should have had a right to expect. The island has 
not even a suburban railroad for either of the two capitals — Canea and Heracleion. 
It has no more well-built carriage roads than it had at the time when the luxurious and 
boastful Veli Pasha, whose guest I have been, had constructed at great expense, on 
the outskirts of Canea and Candia, the beginnings of some excellent macadam roads. 
In his carriage he used to take his European visitors out for one or two miles (3 or 4 
kilometers) ; on their return to the west these visitors lauded the progressiveness of 
the reformer-pasha; but he would have been very much embarrassed if one of these 
visitors had asked him to go a little farther along the way. After the sixth or seventh 
measuring post (there were kilometer posts — I saw them), the great macadam road 
ended abruptly. It was continued by a vague trail, or a mule path. These charlatan 
tricks are no longer the fashion; but the state of the roads is scarcely more advanced 
than in the time of the Turks. Between the three chief cities of the north coast, 
Heracleion, Rithymno, and Canea, there are no easy means of communication — for 
the transportation either of people or of merchandise — except by sea, and no one of 
these cities has a port where steamboats can enter. When the weather is bad, one 
cannot, in these strange harbors, disembark passengers or unload freight. Relations 
are almost entirely interrupted for several days, sometimes for several weeks " 
(Georges Perrot, a letter dated from Heracleion, May 11, 1907, and published in 
Journal des debuts. May 23, 1907). 



Houses and streets joined in varied combinations form all 
the collective groups, from the hamlet to the great city. 
Ratzel has well noted the different historic modes of these 
agglomerations, especially in the Germanic countries: 1 Hof 
and Gehbfte (small isolated farm or large farm, equivalent to 
the royal villa or the chateau with its complement of houses 
of the "villagers," like that of Epoisses, Cote-d'Or), Zinken 
(houses on the slopes of the hill or along a thalweg), Weiler 
(hamlet) , Marktflecken (market town for fairs) , Landstadt (city 
which lives from and for its rural environs), etc. 

The true originator of this study of human groupings is 
J. G. Kohl, who published Der Verkehr und die Ansiedelungen 
der Menschen in Hirer Abhangigkeit von der Gestaltung der 
Erdoberfldche 2 in 1841. This work is the product of a very 
original creative effort. Since antiquity all the books treat- 
ing of countries and cities have spoken of geographical position 
in relation to the concentration or increase of population, and 
of the physical limits of peoples as well as of human establish- 
ments, but they have not treated of these things as the end 
and object of special and systematic investigations. It is in 
this book that we find for the first time a comparative exami- 
nation of Residenzstadte (pp. 15 ff.), Badepldtze, Wallfahrtsorte, 
Kirchdorfer, Tempelstddte, etc. 

It is well first of all to bring out the peculiar physiognomy 
of the settlement which truly represents the type of a region. 
We have already considered the house type. It is equally 
important to study the village type or the small-city type. 
Their essential characteristics are clearly seen through a 
study of the following illustrations in the text: 

Fig. 43 : A village of the upper Alpine valleys : Saas-Gr und 
(5,125 feet) in Switzerland. 

Fig. 44 : A village in the southern steppes of Russia. 

Fig, 45 : A small town along the shore of one of the lakes 
of Upper Italy: Said. 

J See Ratzel, Anlhropogeographie, II, pp. 410 ff., and Raveneau, "L'Element 
humain dans la geographie," Ann. de geog., I, p. 333. 

2 Buchhandlung, Arnold, Dresden and Leipzig, 1841. See also J. G. Kohl, Die 
geographische Lage der Hauptstddte Europas, Leipzig, 1874. 



Fig. 46 : An aoul of Daghestan (the eastern Caucasus) (p. 120). 

Fig. 47 : A small village in Palestine near Bethlehem (p. 121). 

Consult also the illustrations of the village types of Suf and 

of Mzab (Chap. VI), and notably those of the small towns 

; 1 

— *§&'* 


**T &BT3iF*?"~ 




Jean Hrunhes 

Fig. 43. 

A Village of the UpppR Alpine Valleys: Saas-Grund, 
Feet (1,562 m.). in Switzerland 


Chief place of the valley of Saas (Valais). Village of wooden houses with base- 
ments of masonry and roofs of wood. The village is both aligned and massed at 
the foot of a cone of detritus, on the sides of which spreads a checker board of small 
fields (on the right). The stone church with its bell-tower dominates and groups 
and centers, so to speak, the cluster of houses. To the right of the village beside 
the road, is a new house, one of stone, which is a hotel and expresses the economic 
evolution of many alpine villages. 

so typical of Mzab which form such a striking geographical 

The village type is in itself a geographical fact, both in the 
way it expresses the nature of a whole region and in the way 
its appearance and position depend upon its immediate 
surroundings. The picture of the village of Salo, on Lago di 
Garda (Fig. 45), might, for example, have a commentary 
like the following which applies to villages of all the wooded 
slopes bordering the lakes of Upper Italy: 

Slopes almost entirely green, of two greens combined, one 
bright, the other almost black, forming from afar one somber 
color; on this background, in no sharp contrast, are light or 


Fig. 44. 

Paul Jaccard 

A Village in the Southern Steppes of Russia 

Near the bend of the Don. Representative village, with its houses of white- 
washed loam and large roofs of thatch. Some of the hedges and some of 
barn walls are of basketwork or wattling. 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 45. A Small Town along the Shore of One of the Lakes of 
Upper Italy; Salo 

On the shores of Lago di Garda. See the commentary in the text, pages 118, 120. 



dark gray rocks. What does stand out upon these high and 
steep but harmonious slopes, what gives them life, what 
produces the opposition of shades and lines, is the white village 
against the dark background. Each village spreads horizon- 
tally along the hillside, breaking the main lines of the long 
slope, its dazzling points forming one level curved line, relieved 
and dominated by the vertical shaft of the bell tower. And 
as if to complete the harmony and to reproduce in exact 
miniature the deep, dark color scheme of the whole, each long 
white village is broken by dots of shadow formed by the 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 46. An Aoul of Daghestan (Eastern Caucasus) 

Stone village of superposed flat-roofed houses, literally veneered and as 
if hooked to the steep mountain side. Entire village or aoul arranged for 
purposes of defense. (Koubatchi, northern slope of the eastern Caucasus.) 

arcades, and the whiteness of each house is broken by the 
dark window openings. 

Along the Black Forest and on the banks of the Neckar we 
see pretty and well-grouped villages with roofs of red brick, now 
built of loam with uprights of wood, now of brick, sometimes 


of red sandstone, but always giving a reddish touch in the 
midst of a very green landscape. They are almost, with less 

** • ni 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 47. A Small Village in Palestine near Bethlehem 

On the rocky slopes of the calcareous plateau of Judea, the small stone cubes 
of the houses, well cared for and well constructed, rise above the little fields 
in terraces. This group of houses is one of the villages that can be seen from 
Bethlehem on the^side of a neighboring hill; but it resembles so many others: 
Beit-Safafa, Beit-Stir, etc., and nearer Jerusalem: Siloe, El Aziriyeh (Bethany). 

brightness, like those great red scratches on the slopes of the 
wooded hills made by the quarries that furnished the sandstone 
for the castle of Heidelberg, the cathedral of Strassburg, and 
even farther up the Rhine, the minster of Basel. 1 

1 A curious quotation from the Rhin of Victor Hugo will show us how recent is 
this critical desire to discern the nature and the role of the materials used in the con- 
struction not only of small villages (as is the case here), but also of cities and city 
monuments. On visiting Basel he is indignant that the cathedral (Minister) should 
be "painted with a red wash! Not only in the interior, as is right, but on the exterior, 
which is infamous! And, moreover, from the pavement of the place up to the highest 
tip of the towers, so that the two spires, which the architecture has made so charming, 
now have the appearance, in the day time, of two sculptured carrots!" (quoted by 
Antoine Saint- Marie-Perrin in his volume of the Laurens collection of cities famous 
for art, Bale, Berne et Geneve, Paris, 1909, p. 14). Sometimes the great discerning 
minds, especially the most illustrious of the naturalists — such as a Cuvier, and par- 
ticularly an Elie de Beaymont — have clearly perceived and noted such relationships. 
"Lombardy, close beside Liguria, which is covered with marble palaces, erects only 
brick houses. The quarries of travertine made Rome the most beautiful city of the 
ancient world; those of coarser limestone and of gypsum have made Paris one of the 
most pleasant cities of the modern world. But Michael- Angelo and Bramante could 
not have built at Paris in the same style as at Rome, because they would not have 
found the same stone" (Cuvier, Recueil des eloges historiques, II, p. 325). 



But while the village, always well grouped, presents a har- 
monious if not a very picturesque appearance, the house lacks 
embellishment and charm. The house is small with a two- 
sided, steep-pitched roof that extends only a few inches beyond 
the walls. To the traveler from Switzerland who remembers 
those magnificent roofs of the Swiss plateau, so ample that they 
seem not only to cover the house but to envelop and clothe it, 
the roofs of the middle plain of the Rhine and of the neighboring 
regions appear scanty. They are like our western clothing, 
cut just to fit, in comparison with the wide robes with which 
oriental peoples drape themselves. But here the house is 
hardly ever isolated; the unit which draws our attention is 
the village. 

The Village Type in Egypt 

Like house, like village. If the house is fragile and ephem- 
eral, the village also is fragile and ephemeral. Nowhere else 
does one see so many ruins upon ruins as in Egypt, so many 
villages which, in the course of centuries, have grown one 
above another; even to-day the houses are so fragile that one 
could easily determine how short a time it takes for all the 
houses of a village to be renewed. 

If the house is low and dull-colored, the village also is low 
and dull-colored. However, the houses have been massed 
upon slight eminences which remain above water in times of 
flood, and the accumulated ruins in one place tend always to 
increase the slight elevation. Thus the village rises like an 
isolated islet, and even the low houses grouped in it have a 
slight prominence which suffices to catch the eye, especially 
in Lower Egypt where nothing breaks the even line of the wide 
horizon (Figs. 48 and 49). 

A village which has only this brown color of the dried mud 
of the Nile would naturally pass unnoticed on a plain entirely 
of mud. But this land rarely remains bare. It is usually 
covered with vegetation, and when this gives to all the 
visible landscape a rich, strong, green color, the village in 
contrast, and in spite of its dull tint, or rather it might be 
said because of its very lack of color, manages to make a spot 
which strikes the eye. 


Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 48. A Village-type of Muddy Egypt. The Compact Agglomeration 
of Pressed-earth Houses on a Slight Eminence of Ruins 

Village near Benha (Delta). An irrigation canal in the foreground 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 49. Another Village-type of Lower Egypt with the Single Palm 
Tree and the Customary Pool 

In the environs of Korachieh (Delta). The accumulations of ruins of these fragile 
villages cause the slight relief on which the present village is built. A pool is nearly 
always to be found beside the village in a small natural depression, which has been 
artificially enlarged by the removal of the clay necessary for the construction of the 
houses; on the right, a tamarisk and a cactus. 



Even in the largest cities of Lower and Middle Egypt the 
houses are built of brownish bricks of slightly baked clay; in 
the Arab quarter of Cairo, called the Muski, the buildings 

Jean Brunhes 


jo. The Type of House Construction in the Muski, Arab 
Quarter of Cairo 

This prevailing type of city house is, with greater dimensions and improved 
forms, of the same type as that of the small towns and of the villages. In the 
background are the minarets of the numerous and very beautiful mosques of 
this great capital of Arabic art. 

are naturally taller and more solid than in the villages of the 
Delta, but their walls and their forms recall strikingly the 
houses of the latter (Fig. 50). 

Against this background, so subdued in form and coloring, 
the slightest vertical line and the smallest bit of bright color 
take on a striking value. 

The dirty white minaret of a very small mosque suffices to 
provide unity and to relieve the monotonous character of the 
Egyptian village. But mosques are rare in the villages, and 
not as in the countries where the church with its little bell 
tower is found sometimes even in the very smallest settlements, 
the mosque with its minaret is here confined to somewhat 
important centers. The mosque is not a temple, but a simple 
place of prayer, and its place may be taken by the mirab, a 
small area barely inclosed with a light wall of hardened earth, 


a prayer floor separated from the surrounding ground very 
simply, like the floor where the fellah threshes his grain. 
For this reason the village in Egypt often has no mosque, 
and perhaps only two or three modern houses a little taller 
and a little whiter than the others, stand out amid the 
brown sun-baked mass. 

In a village built thus, constructions which are merely 
details acquire a surprising importance. For example, in all 
Upper Egypt, the pigeon house, a quadrangular pyramid 
whitened at the top, becomes the prominent point in the 
village and, in relation to the house which man inhabits, rises 
like a monument. 

In this great cultivated territory the harvests, which 
succeed each other without break, exhaust the soil, and the 
fellahin strive to compensate for this impoverishment with one 
of the rare fertilizers which is at their disposal — pigeon dung. 

Fig. si. 

Jean Brunhes 

An Almost Monumental Row of Pigeon-houses at Luxor 

Compare with the pigeon-houses the miserable human dwelling in the foreground 
rising only to the "ground-floor" of the pigeon-houses. This type of structure for 
the pigeons is frequent in all Upper Egypt. 

That is why pigeons are treated with reverence and their 
dwellings cared for by men and prepared with more luxury 
than is put into their own houses. Beside the most wretched 



huts of Luxor rises an almost imposing row of pigeon houses. 
(Fig. 51.) Elsewhere the pigeon house even takes on an 
architectural appearance (Fig. 52). 

Toward the south the adobe village is replaced by the stone 
village, the village of the poorer section of the Nile banks. 
The meager and sporadic vegetation and even the houses 
have great difficulty in finding room in the midst of all these 


Fig. 52. Two Architectural Types of Egyptian Pigeon-houses 

The type on the right belongs to the Delta; that on the left (26 to 33 feet [8 to 10 m.] 
in height), which sometimes appears in groups of four or five "edifices" of the same 
order, united or contiguous, is a form peculiar to the Fayum. 

smooth and rough rocks (granite underneath with a superficial 
shell of sandstone) through which the Nile has had to break 
its way (Fig. 53). The limit of the adobe village is at 
Gebel Silsileh, where were in ancient times the first rapids 
of the Nile. 

It is beyond Assuan, and especially from El Kalabsheh 
on, that the houses are built of stone and at the same time the 
village withdraws toward the mountain. It is barely seen 
behind the curtain of palm trees which faithfully follows the 
river bank ; it is near the stone of which it is built, at the limit 
of the slender bordering plain and the mountain with its huge, 
dismantled blocks of stone (Fig. 54). While the mud houses 
of the earthen village rise in all Middle Egypt directly upon the 
alluvium of the Nile, whether in the middle of the bordering 


Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 53. The Banks and Granite Rocks at the Beginning of the First 
Cataract of the Nile 

View taken from the end of the island of Philae (some of the monuments of which 
are to be seen in the foreground on the right), and looking toward the north. Beyond 
Assuan, underneath the plateaus of sandstone, projects the granite base, and it is gran- 
ite, covered with a splendid and brilliant black patina, which borders and strews the 
first cataract. 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 54. Typical Village of Stone in the Stony Part of Egypt 

View from the left bank of the Nile between Philae and Kalabsheh. On the left, 
the houses against the granite slope are built of the same rock, have the same color 
and blend almost completely with it. 



plain or upon the edge of the river bank, the stone houses — 
though they can never be far from the river at that part of its 
course where it is shut in between two masses of sandstone 

or granite — 
seem at least 
to keep as far 
from it as pos- 
sible. On the 
Nubian bank 
of the river 
rises the sa- 
qitieh only, 
a specimen 
of the stone 
house which 
often remains 
unnoticed, a 
massive round 
tower which 
strikes the 
eye in this 
country where 
that men 
build for the 
needs of the 

present life, in the villages of stone almost as much as in 
those of adobe, is so shabby, so low, so fragile, and so 

In the Fayum only, the agglomeration of houses has, like the 
house itself (Figs. 39 and 40), something more attractive and 
more harmonious. The trees are everywhere more numerous 
and more varied. 1 The main water course, the Bahr Yusuf, 
the emissary of the Nile, has a more regular regime and this has 
allowed the inhabitants to approach close to it. In short, the 
village and the little city of the Fayum, which are of the same 
type as the village and city of Middle Egypt, are more closely 
united to the river and to the entire ensemble of a more wooded 

Fig. 55. 

Jean Brunhes 

At Medinet-el-Fayum. the Built-up Banks 
of the Bahr Yusuf 

The houses are more elegant and higher; they rise from the 
very edge of a water-course more regular than the Nile, and are 
mingled with the trees growing there. All Fayum has a singular 
beauty and charm, the reasons for which we have tried to 
analyze elsewhere (see p. 108). It is indispensable to connect 
the ornamental details of the Fayum house as they appear in 
Figs. 39 and 40, and the appearance as a whole which the groups 
of houses present in this and the next illustration. 

l Jcan Brunhes, L' Irrigation, etc., p. 352. 


landscape (Figs. 55 and 56). "The capital of the Fayum, 
Medinet, is in still closer contact with the Bahr Yusuf than 
Damietta is with the branch of the Nile. Formerly houses and 
a mosque were built even over the Bahr Yusuf, and these 
bridges of Medinet, covered with buildings, made one think 
of cities very 
far removed 
from Egypt, 
of Florence 
and of Nu- 
remberg." 1 

In the city 
or village of 
Europ e an 
countries the 
tree often dis- 
appears; it is 
swallowed up 
among the 
houses and 
can be seen 
only when 
one looks 
down upon 
the houses 
from a high 
place; even 
in cities of an 
oriental char- 
acter and 
strewn with 
gardens, like 
(City of Gar- 
dens), the old 

capital of the kahns of Crimea, which appears framed in dazzling 
cliffs of white chalk, the tree does not produce the effect that 
one might suppose. The houses are too high (even if they 

1 Jean Brunhes, L Irrigation, etc., p. 351. 

Fig. 56. 

Jean Brunhes 

On the Bahr Yusuf at Medinet-el-Fayum 

In the Fayum, the regular regime of the Bahr Yusuf has made 
it possible to build right up to the edge of the water. The trees 
are everywhere, more numerous and varied than in middle or 
upper Egypt, and the agglomeration of houses and trees has 
something more attractive and harmonious. 


end in a flat roof) and, with the exception of the poplars, the 
trees form spots without giving prominent lines to the picture. 

In Egypt, in the small human agglomeration, so colorless 
and so flat, the tree plays an extraordinary part. And as if to 
exaggerate as much as possible this part played by the tree, 
it is the date palm which is usually the associate of the fellah 
village. The inhabited huts are like low growths adorning 
the base of the tree, whose tall vertical trunk shoots up from 
the village with an added height, bearing aloft its light crest of 
notched leaves, a tuft of evergreen fringe which stands out 
against the luminous sky. 

There are in Egypt, villages without a single palm tree or a 
tree of any kind; but they are few and more wretched than 
the others. Small flat cubes of clay, straight slender trunks 
of palm trees, green crowns which spread out far above the 
ground — these are the essential elements in the physiognomy 
of the Egyptian village (Figs. 48 and 49). 

But what variety with only these elements! Now a single 
trunk with a single crown rising above an entire group of 
houses suffices to give to the whole an appearance of height 
and freedom. Now a group of palm trees close together 
emphasizes the effect which the single trunk produces. Now 
the palm trees are scattered in all corners of the cluster of 
houses and, casting their shadow over the entire village, resem- 
ble a screen set to moderate the blazing light of the sun. 
Now the palm trees, not content with rising here and there in 
the village, penetrate and multiply within it; each house 
has its palm or palms, and the trunk, instead of remaining 
stiff and straight, is bent and twisted and seems to draw near 
to the house and join more closely with men. This is the 
finest effect that the Egyptian village can produce. The trees 
everywhere present in the cluster of houses are closely asso- 
ciated with it, and from all these trunks, curving and inter- 
mingled, there is thrown upon the walls and roofs of clay a 
network of shadows which interlace and envelop the little 
buildings with that star of shade which falls from each lofty 
crown about the trunk that bears it. 

But sometimes the palm trees in the village grow side by 
side instead of being scattered here and there, and then at 


one side or the other of this mass of clay huts there is a more or 
less close curtain of tall straight trunks, more nearly parallel, 
through which pass great vertical lines of light, while the 
crowns rise in a broad, thick, undulating fringe terminating 
always in a delicate lacework against the sky. Then sometimes 
the date palm is not alone ; here and there it is accompanied by 
great lebbeks, or tamarisks, or different sorts of acacias. Beyond 
Korosko it is not even the only palm that is found ; from Nubia 
on we find the doom-palm, which shares with it ' ' the glory of 
the palms" (Chevrillon) ; but the doom-palm is isolated and 
rare. It plays a secondary role in the landscape and especially 
in the customary appearance of the ordinary village. 

On the whole the type is the anonymous agglomeration, the 
one which the tourist does not notice, the one which is not 
distinguished from any other but which for that very reason 
recalls and expresses all the others and has consequently a 
very great geographical value. 


i. The Site 

The application of a scientific method to human geography 
requires that we arrange the facts in series and then associate 
their most elementary forms, such as the isolated house, with 
their most complex urban forms. If we follow this method 
we shall find that the same natural facts which influence the 
location of the house also play their part in the location of the 
village and the city. 

The site with reference to the sun. — In all the countries of 
central Europe man seeks the sun ; his house faces, if possible, 
so that the rays of the rising sun strike it in front. 

But, though the isolated houses in a widely open basin like 
that of Grindelwald or on the Swiss plateau can and do almost 
all face toward the sun, the problem is not entirely the same 
when houses are close together. The street then often plays 
a directing part and the facade no longer turns toward the 
sun but toward the road or the street. What characterizes 
even the city, that is, any important urban agglomeration, is 
the fact that — to the detriment of hygiene — the street by its 



own direction and plan controls the orientation of the houses. 

Between the isolated house and the large village is a whole 
series of transitions in which the grouped houses now depend 
for their orientation upon the agglomeration itself, or, on the 
contrary, remain indifferent to the street and the road and 
face in the direction most favorable to them (Figs. 57 and 58). 

In other cases isolated houses on first inspection seem to be 
placed without any regard to sunlight. In the first section of 
the upper valley of the Sarine, which flows from south to north, 
the houses that are built on the two slopes of the valley face 
each other. But this phenomenon, at first surprising, is 
explicable. In high, narrow valleys with steep sides the houses 
generally face toward the river, that is, toward the valley floor ; 
for, with the shadows thrown morning and evening by the 

Jean Brunbes 

Fig. 57. Orientation of the House Independent of the Street 

Seriers, small village of the department of Cantal (arrondissement of Saint-Flour). 
At the entrance to the village, the road becomes a street, narrowing down between 
houses which do not look upon it: the windows are on the sunny side. 

neighboring heights, they may thus get a larger amount of light. 

Though village houses seem often to take less account of 

the sun than do isolated houses, the village as a whole seeks the 


sun. All through the Alps appears the contrast between 
the sunny slope and the shady slope, between the endroit 
(adret in the langue d'oc, adra in the Fribourg patois) and 


Jean Brunhe 

58. Houses Which Turn Their Backs to the Street 

The road reaching a small village of the Gramat Causse (France) expands 
into a vague crossroads before narrowing into a street. All the houses turn 
their backs to both crossroads and street. 

the envers (ubac in the langue d'oc) ; the endroit is the sunny 
side and the envers is the shady side. 

Maurice Lugeon published in 1902 Quelques mots sur le 
groupement de la population du Valais. 

The influence of exposure [says he] is evident. Statistics .... 
show us a population of about 20,000 inhabitants on the left slope 
[of the upper Rhone Valley] and 34,000 on the right. It is true that 
in this particular case the right bank, being less steep, must lend 
itself better to habitation. It is certain that this topographical 
arrangement exaggerates the difference between the number of 
inhabitants on the two slopes; however, we can show that the influ- 
ence of the sun is the chief cause of this evident difference. The 
district of Conches, or the upstream part of the valley, presents 
slopes almost equally inclined. Now the inhabitants of the sunny 
slope number about 3,000, while on the shady side live only from 


700 to 800 inhabitants. All the villages, with two or three excep- 
tions, are placed on the slope which profits most from the sun. 1 

On the whole, in latitudes where the solar heat is sparingly 
dispensed and especially in high altitudes, the urban settlement 
seeks the sun. Spreading skillfully on the sunny slopes, it tends 
to take that form which Raoul Blanchard calls picturesquely 
and accurately the "village en espalier" (a trellised village). 

The site with reference to water. — Every human settlement, 
as we have said, must have water, and very often the distribution 
of men follows closely the water distribution. Sheets of water, 
lakes and seas, exercise an influence which is shown by the 
density of the population along their coasts and banks. 

Upon the Swiss and Savoyard shores of the Lake of Geneva (Lake 
Leman) [writes F. A. Forel], we traced two parallel strips of 1.5 miles 
(2.5 kilometers) in width and of a total area of 96.5 square miles (250 
square kilometers), the first along the shore, the second entirely 
within the interior. The total population of the section along the 
shore by the census of 1900 was 246,296 inhabitants, or 1,476 per 
square mile (570 per square kilometer); that of the interior section, 
43,938 inhabitants, or 240 per square mile (93 per square kilometer) . 
The lakeside zone was six times more densely populated than the 
rural zone. Subtracting from the first, the cities, Geneva and Lau- 
sanne, there would still be 650 inhabitants per square mile (251 per 
square kilometer) ; taking away further the cities, Thonon, Vevey, 
Montreux, Nyon, and Morges, there would still remain 401 inhabi- 
tants per square mile (155 per square kilometer). 

Pierre Clerget, who quotes Forel's remarks in a study on the 
Peuplement de la Suisse ("Population of Switzerland"), adds: 

The causes of this phenomenon are the attractiveness of the 
situation resulting from the mildness of the temperature and the 
beauty of the country — two reasons of attraction for foreigners — to 
which are added the facilities offered for the cultivation of trees and 
the vine and, in particular, the advantages of fishing and navigation, 
the latter being possible in Switzerland only on the lakes. 

F. Bianchi, who has calculated the density of population in 

x Maurice Lugeon adds these observations on social geography: "There is created, 
then, in this connection, a certain aristocracy, the aristocracy of the sun. The people 
on the right slope, more favored than those on the opposite slope, are generally better 
off, and consequently better educated. They have a certain disdain, almost con- 
tempt, these proprietors of the sunny side (Sonnenseite), for the people of the shady 
side (the poor of the Schattenseile). For those who know how to analyze fine shades 
in the sentiments of the population, Reckingen, that village on both sides of the 
Rhone, presents two real castes, not very apparent, but none the less real. This was 
pointed out to me by two friends who have lived in the little center. Thus, however 
democratic education may be, the facts of nature are such that they come themselves 
to disturb peace and to create distinctions." 


the country encircling lakes Como, Maggiore, and Varese, 1 
has arrived at similar conclusions. Over a territory of 1,640 
feet (500 meters) around these lakes the density per square 
mile is 2,123 inhabitants for Lago di Como, 1,440 for Lago 
Maggiore, and 1,320 for Lago Varese, while it is only 526 for 
the entire province of Como. 

The following table recapitulates in more detail the num- 
ber of inhabitants per square mile: 

Lago di Como. . 
Lago Maggiore. 
Lago Varese . . . 


of 1 to 



of 1,500 
to 3,000 


of 3,000 
to 4,500 


of 4,500 
to 6,000 



of 6,000 

to 12,000 












One must have lived near these lakes in order to realize 
to what extent they are the means of subsistence, the center of 
local circulation 
— in a word, the 
center of life. 

However, if we 
pass from there 
to Liguria, for 
example, we see 
still more clearly 
that habitations 
must have been 
where the moun- 
tains and the 
sea suddenly 
meet. Toward 
the sea alone can 
there be wide 
horizons and 
vast hopes, out- 
let and move- 
ment; all life, turning by necessity toward the sea, becomes 
organized near it. 

] F. Bianchi, "Sulla distribuzione della popolazione nella provincia di Como," 
Rivista geog. ilaliana, XIV, 1907, pp. 79 ff. 

Fig. 59- 

Jean Brunhes 

The Coasts of French Provence 

View taken from the Trayas toward the northeast. In 
the foreground are the superb red porphyries, so delicately 
cut, of the Esterel. 




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In early times, as the kjbkkenmoddings (kitchen middens) 
indicate, the shore especially attracted our ancestors because 
of the abundance of food cast up by the waves or because of 
the available supply of shellfish. Later the chief social 
influence of 
the water 
became in- 
due to the 
means of 
tion which 
it afforded. 
About the 
nean, Plato, 
let us recall, 
saw men 
"like frogs 
around a 

It is only 
the marsh 

fevers and the caprices of the ever-moving dunes which can 
thwart this attraction and the concentration due to the 
proximity of the sea. In all latitudes the shores are chosen 
places for humanity. 

If we travel through the coast regions of the Far East, if 
we enter those rivers that are wide as arms of the sea, we find 
a mass of humanity that is almost amphibious; the waters 
are literally crowded with fleets of junks; even in the interior 
of these lands this life, which shows so clearly the peculiar 
advantage of points of contact between land and water, is 
developed with an intensity that can scarcely be imagined 
(Figs. 62 and 63). 

On the Yangtse, at its junction with the Han, three cities, 
Wuchang, Hankow, and Hanyang, face each other, forming 

Fig. 61. 

The Entrance to the Harbor of 
Cartagena (Spain) 


The heights serve as defensive posts and the interior bays as 
refuges and shelters. 

French Colonial Office 

Fig. 62. The Populated River: the Men am at Bangkok 
Sampans and rafts of bamboo 

1 mBSSmBhI 

A JL a. 

w k 


'k — < 

These two illustrations (Figs. 62 and 63) are taken from 
Asie et Insulinde, Afrioue, Busson, Fevre et Hauser. 

Fig. 63. The Divine River: the Ganges at Benares 
Chats or stairs of Benares: Ablutions in the Ganges 


one large triple city, the parts of which are almost joined 
by a multitude of junks. The city disappears, or, more 
exactly, is masked behind all this movement on the water and 
all these rows of little low dwellings on the bank. 

Let a simple example from Norway, whose people get their 
living primarily from the sea, serve as a sort of recapitulation 
of all the chief phases of the role played by water in the 
location of habitations. The population is so distributed that 
a map represents it as confined almost exclusively to a fringe 
along the shore. 
The three illustra- 
tions (Figs. 64, 65, 
66) reproduced by 
permission from a 
paper published 
by Hagbart Mag- 
nus of Bergen in 
1898 show conclu- 
sively that on the 
coast (where the 
population is dens- 
est), as well as 
in the valleys of 
the interior (where 
dwellings are 
widely separated) , 
water is the chief 
attraction. Be- 
tween these two 
zones is that of 

scale = 1:304,000 

nagbart ivmguus 

Fig. 64. 

The Grouping of Habitations along 
the Fjords of Norway 
In the interior arms of the fjords, the rocky slopes are 
the fjords, and steep and often drop perpendicularly into the sea. The 
habitations are situated either on flat spurs, or principally 
around the mouths of watercourses. Habitations in 
groups are not to be found very far toward the interior of 
the region. Wherever a more important watercourse runs 
through a relatively large valley and has formed on the 
sides an alluvial plain (ore), more considerable agglom- 
erations are situated which have in part the aspect of 
villages: Lardalsoren, for example. 

here again the 
same cause acts as 
a control. 

The site with ref- 
erence to topograph- 

ical conditions. — Let us go down one of the Swiss valleys 
through which runs an Alpine river, like the Rhone. In 
that valley, where the wide floor spreads out between steep 





= 1:376,000 Hagbart Magnus 

65. Example of the Typical Distribution 

of Habitations along Rivers in the Interior 

of Norway, (the River on the Left Is 

the Sjoa River ; That on the Right 

Is the Laagen River) 

In the large eastern 
valleys, the farms are 
ranged along water- 
courses, separated by- 
uninhabitable spaces. 
The road winds from 
farmhouse to farm- 
house. Often the rows 
of dwellings are not 
situated exactly on the 
edge of the stream, but 
lie a little higher, on 
the side of the valley, 
the slopes here not 
being so steep as in 
the interior arms of 
the fjords. 

Scale = 1 : 376,000 Hagbart Magnus 

Fig. 66. Example of the Typical Distribution 

of Habitations in the Coast Zone of 

Norway (North of Bergen) 

This portion of the 
coast region is much 
cut up and very un- 
even; sheep-back 
rocks, crags which re- 
call the Schaeren, and 
marsh. Rado island is 
a very characteristic 
small hilly region. The 
habitations (which are 
shown by black dots as 
in the two preceding 
diagrams) are scattered 
irregularly according 
to the conditions of 
relief. In this zone, 
along the Norwegian 
littoral, the habitations 
are relatively dense. 


slopes, some natural features are to be found which take 
on an exceptional value. They are first of all the great 
alluvial cones of the affluents of the Rhone. In places these 
cones are thickly wooded, like that of the Illgraben (and 
farther down-stream that of the Bois-Noir between Aigle 
and Martigny); in other places, as illustrated above Brigue, 
they have already been conquered and exploited by man. 
Here they are entirely covered with grass, cut by lines of 
trees, and dotted with houses. In the second place, the 
floor of this valley is encumbered with curious mounds, 
evidences of an enormous preglacial landslide which for some 
time barred the course of the river. In the third place, 
there appear at Sion, on the right bank, promontories of 
schist which are geologically connected with the masses of the 
left bank. 

All these topographical irregularities have offered natural 
places for habitation situated above the level of the river 
and of the alluvial plain which was annually flooded before 
the regulation of the Rhone, a work done during the nine- 
teenth century ; residuals of limestone covered by some traces 
of glacial material have furnished the site of Sierre and of 
Granges, as the residuals of schist have furnished that of 
Sion, and almost in the same manner as so many small cities 
or villages have been placed on the alluvial cones: Brigue, 
Visp, Gampel, Bramois, etc. 

In all climates, the large and also the small cones of fluvial 
or fluvio-glacial deposits have certainly rendered the very 
greatest services to the inhabitants of mountain valleys (see 
the examples of the valleys of the Andes, Figs. 178, 195, 
and 204, Chap. VII). 

All isolated elevations, whatever their origin or character, 
have a topographical value that appeals to men who seek to 
defend and fortify themselves. This is so true that cities 
built upon them come to resemble each other in spite of 
otherwise very unlike geological and geographical environ- 
ments. Compare, for example, the advantage that man has 
derived from the twin peaks of the Liassic anticlinal axis of 
Sion with that of the two steep remnants of basaltic breccias 
in Puy-en-Velay ; the photographs of these two localities, 


placed together for comparison, are very expressive (see Figs. 
67 and 68). 

There is another topographical feature of high valleys which 
has naturally exercised a great attraction for human establish- 
ments, viz., the terraces. 

Our great Alpine valleys present remarkable terraces due to 
glacial action. It is comprehensible that man has sought to occupy 
these flat spaces particularly favorable to cultivation. It is the 
terraces on the right side of the Valais which determine the altitude 
of all the villages on the slope. The most remarkable examples 
are those of Saviese, of Grimisuat, of Lens, and of Montana. These 
terraces limit the upper altitudes of permanent centers. When such 
floors are not very sharply defined, the inhabitants are inclined 
to go higher up in order to be nearer the pasture lands. Thus above 
Sierre we find Randogne and Mollens with their 300 and 285 inhabit- 
ants at an altitude of 3,937 feet (1,200 meters) and 3,527 feet 
(1,075 meters). It is, then, curious to note that from the admin- 
istrative point of view, the communes, although formed of different 
centers, are much more extensive in the regions where the terraces 
are well marked. The physical fact seems to create this solidarity. 
Compare the contrary example of Saviese with its 2,049 inhabitants 
distributed in eight hamlets of which six have an average of 300 
souls, while above Sierre we find centers just as close together, and 
often with a smaller population, forming independent communes. 
Here the terrace no longer exists, for the altitude and the slope 
separate the interests of the various groups. Each lives for itself. 
Consider the following figures, each of which stands for a distinct 
commune, and you will recognize this curious phenomenon: Ran- 
dogne, 300 inhabitants; Mollens, 285; Miege, 379; Veyras, no; 
Venthone, 446. When a fine terrace exists in ths immediate 
neighborhood, as at Lens, the population risss then to 2,2 5 4. L 

In the Connecticut River valley in Connecticut the houses, 
roads, and population are on the first terrace above flood level. 
The lower land is cultivated but not occupied, owing to the 
probability of annual floods. 2 

As means of communication are multiplied and improved, 
the advantage which results from proximity upon the same 
terrace, and even from the flatness of the terrace, decreases. 
The factor which comes into play is the number of inhabitants, 
the increasing dimensions of the agglomeration. A day comes 

, 1 Maurice Lugeon, Quelques mots sur le groupement de la population du Valais, 
Eirennes helvetiques pour 1902, Georges Bridel, Lausanne, 1902. 

2 See on Windsor, Connecticut, Martha Krug Genthe, "Valley Towns of Con- 
necticut," Bull. Amer. Ceog. Soc, Vol. XXXIX, pp. 513-544, especially pp. 522-525. 


Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 67. The City of Sion (Valais, Switzerland) Situated on the Sides 

and at the foot of an elevation of smooth schists from 

Which Rise Two Steep Eminences 

The similarity of location of this city and of that shown in the photograph below is 
striking, though geologically and geographically the environment of the two cities 
is otherwise very unlike. 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 68. The City of Puy-en-Velay (France) on the Sides and at the Foot 
of an Eruptive Elevation with Two Projections 

On the summits of the eminences in both cities are situated the castles, churches, 
etc. (or even^ colossal statues, as on the crag, Corneille du Puy, to the right in Fig. 
68) ; these cities, both small capitals, have grouped themselves about peaks of defense 
or pilgrimage, thence spreading out into the surrounding flat areas. 


when they seek and demand their independence. Since the 
work of Lugeon appeared, the four villages of the terrace and 
former commune of Lens — Icogne at 3,455 feet (1,053 meters), 
Lens at 3,806 feet (1,160 meters), Chermignon at 3,832 feet 
(1,168 meters), and Montana at 4,048 feet (1,234 meters) — 
have become four independent communes. Examples of 
villages or small cities built on large Quaternary terraces are 
Broc (in the Gruyere, canton of Fribourg) and Saint-Gaudens 
(chief town of an arrondissement of the Haute-Garonne in 
France) . 

The site and restrictive conditions. — We have seen how far 
certain facts such as the sun, water, alluvial cones, terraces, 
etc., act as favoring conditions. Other facts, and in special 
cases even those just mentioned, are restrictive in their 
influences on the establishment of human habitations. 

Destructive floods in the valleys of powerful unembanked 
rivers, such as the Rhone formerly was, prevent men from 
locating their center of habitation in the low parts of the thal- 
weg, and this restrictive factor emphasizes the influence of the 
slightest topographical irregularity. In all humid regions 
men have had to avoid lands swollen with water or strewn 
with stagnant pools. Even in temperate latitudes habita- 
tions have had to be placed on dry tracts to avoid the damp- 
ness of the flats. 

In certain cases the wind also makes impossible permanent 
human habitations. In the upper valley of the Reuss rages 
the foehn, that hot wind so terrible in its effect, particularly 
in the springtime. The villages have therefore sheltered them- 
selves from the foehn by locating in the lateral valleys. A. de 
Foville in his introduction to the Enquete sur les conditions de 
V habitation en France has an excellent passage on the part 
played by the wind. 

Avalanches constitute a periodic phenomenon, recurring so 
frequently in some high mountain valleys as to form danger 
zones avoided by man. 

Charles Biermann has studied very carefully the restrict- 
ive influence of avalanches upon human establishments in 
the higher portion of the upper valley of the Rhone, which is 
called the valley of Conches. In traveling through this 


valley one notices along the road frequent crosses set up to 
mark places where one or more unfortunates have met death 
under an avalanche. The most serious catastrophe was that 
which annihilated the village of Obergestelen, February 18, 
1720. An avalanche roaring down from the mountain heights 
toward the west leaped over the intervening forest and demol- 
ished a part of the village. Reaching the Rhone the avalanche 
blocked the course of the river, causing a flood which over- 
whelmed another part of the town ; all that remained standing 
was destroyed by the flames spreading from the fires just 
lighted by the housewives in preparing the evening meal. 
Out of 200 inhabitants 84 perished from one or the other of 
the three scourges, and 600 head of cattle were lost. Later 
when the village was beginning to rise from its ruins, a new 
avalanche from a different direction demolished it again. 

However, villages are not continuously threatened by 
avalanches. There is danger only at certain times of the 
year, after heavy falls of snow or when the foehn blows too 
violently at a time of thaw, or again when abundant rains 
cause the slipping of layers of snow. 

In some places villages have been huddled together between 
two avalanche zones so that avalanches pass them by. 
Sometimes also they have sheltered themselves beneath great 
forests, some of which have been "placed under a ban" to 
assure their conservation. Unfortunately, in order to profit 
from these seemingly inutilized properties, sheep and goats 
are pastured on them and these destroy the young growths. 
Thus the forest is but slowly reproduced; the old trees dis- 
appear little by little and what few remain no longer form 
sufficient protection for the village. 

Efforts have been made to renew the forests. A Zurich 
geologist, Escher von der Linth, left 15,000 francs ($3,000) for 
that purpose to the commune of Goschenen. This sum was 
employed in the construction of small walls of stone without 
mortar in the shelter of which were planted larches and small 
firs. In other communes similar work has been undertaken. 
But the peasants most often content themselves with arrang- 
ing their chalets and their villages so that the avalanche 
may pass above the roof without meeting with obstacles. 



2. The Dissemination or Concentration of Human Establishments 

From this dependence upon favoring and restricting condi- 
tions, there results a very unequal distribution of men and of 

Scale =» 1:271.000 

Fig. 69. The Distribution of Permanent Habitations in the Upper Valley 
of the sarine (after hanssen) 

1. Houses agglomerated into villages. 2. Zones of little hamlets of 8 to 10 bouses. 3. Regions of isolated 

Reading up the stream from the plain of Bulle, lying north of the map. we have Gruye'res. 2713 ft. (827 m.); 
En=Enney, 240S ft. (734 m.): Est = Estavennen; Or = Grand villard, 2467 ft. (752 m.); N = Neirivue; A^ 
Albeuve, 2533 ft. (772 m.) ; L = Lessoc; M -= Montboven. 2625 ft. (800 m.) : Ros = Rossiniere. 3025 ft. (922 m.) : 
C. d'Oex = Chateau d'Oex. 3150 ft. (960 m): Rt = Rougemont; S =Saanen (Gessenay). 3382 ft. (1031 m.) ; 
G=Gstad, 3445 ft. (1050 m.); La= Lauenen, 4131 ft. (1259 m.). Beyond Lauenen lie the upper valleys. 

There are three successive zones in the valley of the main water course; in the 
first, from the upper valleys to the basin of Chateau d ' Oex west of Rougemont, are 
isolated habitations and only four tiny villages; in the second, from east of Chateau 
d'Oex to below Montbovon, we find zones of considerable extent occupied by little 
hamlets of from eight to ten houses; the third zone, from below Montbovon to beyond 
Gruyeres, is occupied by large villages, quite crowded, in the midst of an empty 
country without hamlets or isolated houses. The hachured regions lying apart from 
the rest, especially in the lateral valleys, are oases lost in the wilderness of mountain- 
ous regions (the heavy black lines indicate ridges more than 4,921 feet [1500 m.] 
high). These oases are inhabited all the year. 

human establishments in the different parts of the earth. 
Here we cannot study very closely the modes and causes of this 
distribution in each particular region. Pierre Hanssen has 
analyzed these facts of distribution in the upper valley of the 
Sarine, and has represented the results obtained upon the 


topographical map of Switzerland (Atlas Siegfried, maps on 
the scale of i : 50,000 and 1 : 25,000). 

He has not published his work in extenso, but he has given 
a resume of it in the Bulletin de la Societe fribourgeoise des 
sciences naturelles, and Fig. 69 is a reduced map, showing the 
results of his work in this region where the geographical in- 
fluences are most manifest. 

Taken as a whole, the most striking general fact presented 
by the map is that humanity in high mountains is distributed 
in isolated islands. 1 

If we take account only of houses and their grouping, we 
can distinguish in the upper valley of the Sarine three well- 
defined regions: 

1 . In the first region (region of the extreme upper valley) the 
dwellings are much scattered and rise in successive steps from 


^ --wwrn 

Fig. 70. 

Pierre Hanasen 

In the Upper Valley of the Sarine. The Dispersion of Isolated 
Habitations in the Region of the Upper Stream 

View taken near Gsteig; 
of Saali. 

scattered and isolated dwellings and barns of the village 

the bottom of the valley to a rather high altitude upon the 
terraces of the northern slope. They are isolated farmhouses 

1 This phenomenon, which is pictured in detail on the map by P. Hanssen, appears 
also, in the form of several large "packets" of population separated from the rest of 
the valley, in the map of the population of Grisons which accompanies the following 
work: Ed. Bruckner, "Uber Karten der Volksdichte," Zeitschr. filr schweizerische 
Statistik, 1903; H. Zivier, Verteilung der Bevolkerung im biindnerischen Oberrheingebiet 
nach Hirer Dichte. 



with hay barns or stables attached or close by, and are situated 
upon the flat stretches which are large enough and fertile 
enough to allow cultivation. This is the case for the basins of 

Fig. 71. The Dispersion of Habitations in a High Tributary Dale 
of the sarine 

Several houses of the Turbachthal, some with barns attached, others with barns 
separate, but in scattered locations. 

Gsteig, Lauenen, Gessenay, and even of Rougemont (see Figs. 
70 and 71). 

2 . In the second region, the habitations are gathered together 
in little groups (hamlets) placed on narrow terraces, with a 
center on the main road. These centers are composed almost 
exclusively of private houses or those of tradesmen and 
merchants. This is observable in the region extending from 
Chateau d'Oex to Montbovon. 

3. The third region, which extends from Montbovon to 
Gruyeres, has dwellings gathered in villages with all their 
dependencies — barns, hay barns, stables. The fact that the 
valley is very wide but is readily overflowed by the violent 
floods of the Sarine explains the necessity for this arrange- 

Different influences have fixed the site of the habitations. 
There is a preference for the more sunny northern slope, and 


here the houses rise to a higher altitude than on the southern 
side. They are built near springs, in the shelter of a curtain 
of forest protecting them from avalanches and falling stones, 
and, if possible, in the center of the property. They are 
always built upon the better lands, that is, upon the alluvial 
cones. Example: Les Moulins. 

In the Fribourg valley, from La Tine to Gruyeres, this is 
not so. There the valley is narrow, the bottom is dangerous, 
the terraces are steep, and the habitations are necessarily 
gathered together into villages where all advantages are 
concentrated. The houses of these veritable little cities are 
built of stone but still are often covered with shingles (Fig. 72), 
while the isolated and uninhabited buildings are all entirely 
of wood. 

The sun, however, here claims all its rights and exercises 
all its influence. The more sunny left bank is the more 

Pierre Ransaen 

72. Stone Houses of Grandvillard, in the Region of Villages 
Without Isolated Habitations 

Grandvillard is one of those large massed villages of Gruyere in the valley of the 
Sarine, which suddenly seem large and appear as real little cities. The houses are of 
stone, with shingled roofs, which are extended over the entrances. 

populated, so that everywhere, in the Pays d'En-Haut as in 
Gruyeres, we find an orientation of the habitations toward the 
south — toward the sun, which is the dominant factor in the 



question — and this is true even for the two rows of houses 
forming a village street (Figs. 73 and 74). 

Hermann Walser has studied the facts of the scattering 
and grouping of habitations in a part of the Swiss plateau. 1 

The Bernese Mittelland is that part of the Swiss plain 
which is comprised in the canton of Bern, between the Jura 
and the Alps. In this region are isolated farmhouses (Einzel- 
hofe) and villages (Dorjer). There are six natural regions: the 
Seeland, the plateau of Frienisberg, highland Aargau, the 
Emmenthal, the transverse valley of the Aar between Thun 
and Bern, and the Bernese Uechtland. 

The Seeland, which is the least elevated part of the Mittel- 
land, seems to have been colonized first. The lake of Bienne 
distinctly separates two different regions of colonization, 
On the north bank are situated very ancient villages with 
narrow streets and stone houses (Gassendorfer). The south 

Pierre TTanssen 

Fig. 73. In the Region of Hamlets: a Type of Double Wooden House, 
Placed to Face toward the South 

Double wooden house, at the Frasse, near Chateau d'Oex. in the second region 
[see page 148] of the upper valley of the Sarine. 

shore of the lake has a different aspect. Bernese farmhouses, 
with great roofs overhanging the building on four sides (Fig. 
24, p. 87), are scattered over a region rich in meadows and 

!Dr. Hermann Walser, " Dorfer und Einzelhofe zwischen Jura und Alpen im Kan- 
ton Bern," Neujahrs-Blatt der litterarischen Gesellschaft Bern anf das Jahr iqoi. 
Reviewed by Pierre Hanssen in La Geographic December 15, 1902. 


woodlands. All along this shore, where formerly were at least 
eight lacustrian villages, we see to-day only two or three small 
hamlets. South of the lake of Bienne we enter a second 

Pierre Hanssen 

Fig. 74. Line of Scattered Houses Facing the South 

Near Gessenay (Saane), in the upper region of the Sarine, the houses turn their 
backs to the street in order to take advantage of the sunshine of mid-day. 

depression, which is that of the Grand-Marais. This region is 
characterized by the organization of its villages. Around 
each village stretch meadows, potato fields, and vast grain 
fields. The meadows and the fields are arranged in long, 
narrow strips. The long house is the prevailing type, with 
its widely overhanging thatched roof sheltering the dwelling- 
house, the barn, and the stable. It is further to be noted 
how much trouble is taken to preserve in the new tile roofs 
the old form of the thatched roof. 

The plateau of Frienisberg shows all the intermediary forms 
between the isolated farmhouse and the village of average size. 
Villages of about ten farmhouses are the most frequent ; groups 
of from four to eight villages form a commune. Their name 
and their site indicate an ancient colonization. The wide, 
uncultivated valley extends from Fraubrunnen to Burgdorf, 


a valley which in its principal features resembles the Grand- 
Marais. We find here groups of two villages so near together 
that it must be admitted that one grew up by colonization 
upon the edge of the other. These are double villages (Doppel- 
dorfer) such as Riidlingen, Alchenfluh, Fraubrunnen, etc. 

Highland Aargau can be divided into two parts: (a) To the 
north extends a great plateau crossed by two large valleys. 
Where the valleys cross each other there are often small plains 
which furnish the sites of numerous villages. (6) To the south 
extends a rocky region furrowed by a large number of small 
valleys where isolated farmhouses predominate. Nowhere 
in the canton of Bern is there a more marked contrast between 
grouped and scattered habitations. Everywhere we find the 
ancient house of wood; almost all the isolated farmhouses are 
still roofed with thatch, while in the villages at the present 
time the tile roof predominates. 

The Emmenthal, interrupted by countless small valleys, 
is the most uniform and the most characteristic region of 
isolated farmhouses in Switzerland. However, where the 
valleys have widened out sufficiently, a certain number of 
villages have been established and they might be grouped in 
three categories: (a) The very small villages, which are 
villages only in a certain sense, since they hardly correspond 
to the idea of a rural organization. They are situated in the 
very restricted flat bottoms of certain lateral valleys. Here 
are built the church, surrounded by a few houses, the priest's 
house, the school, a store, an inn, and sometimes also a few 
farmhouses. These villages are nothing else than the center 
of a commune with the public buildings which meet the needs 
of the district. They are like the Kirchorte of Westphalia 
and the Kirkepladser of Norway. (6) A second group of 
villages are the Schachendorfer. The Schachen (formerly 
communal pasture grounds) are the level and dried-up bottoms 
of certain wider valleys which were exposed to frequent floods. 
Old and new houses, small and large farm buildings, numerous 
small estates, houses of workmen, etc., form the mixed whole 
of the Schachendorfer. (c) Finally we have in the Emmen- 
thal a certain number of true villages such as Riiderswyl, 
Ranfluh, etc. 


The transverse valley of the Aar, between Thun and Bern, 
is a valley where villages predominate. But here and 
there may be noted a few small islands of isolated farm- 
houses, as for example on the Belpberg and on the plateau 
near Blumenstein. 

The Bernese Uechtland, like the Emmenthal, is a region of 
active erosion, dissected by numerous valleys. High plateaus, 
however, are more numerous here than in the Emmenthal. 
The principal valley is the Schwarzenwasserthal, which, like 
the others, resembles a sort of canyon. The Uechtland is 
the second great region of isolated farmhouses of the Bernese 

To sum up, the region of the north, that which is more 
unbroken and which is situated at the lowest level, is the zone 
of the Mittelland where the system of villages predominates, 
while the great tableland of the south, cut in all directions by 
narrow and deep valleys, constitutes the domain of isolated 
farms. On the other hand we find a mingling of these two 
types on the plateau of Frienisberg, in the Uechtland, and in 
the wide valley of the Aar between Thun and Bern. 1 

Let us take still another example somewhat farther away 
and involving a larger area. The contrast between the 
sparsely populated highlands of Scotland, and the lowlands 
where the average density reaches 337 inhabitants per square 
mile (130 per square kilometer), is well known. Sixty-five 
per cent of the inhabitants occupy 30 per cent of the total area. 
The different counties of Scotland have a density of population 
which varies from 10 to 1,080 inhabitants per square mile 
(4 to 417 per square kilometer). Apropos of each of the three 
great divisions, Southern Uplands, Highlands, and Lowlands, 
P. Privat-Deschanel investigates, analyzes, and shows in 
detail not only the irregularity of distribution of the inhabitants 
but also the different geographical causes, natural and human, 
upon which all these great facts of population depend. 2 

*See also, Everhard Schmidt, Die Siedelungen des nordschweizerischen Jura, Wester- 
mann, Braunschweig, 1909; and some interesting generalities in F. Nussbaum, Die 
Tiller der Schweizeralpen, Eine geographische Studie, Bern, 1910, pp. 106-112. 

2 See Paul Privat-Deschanel, who published in the Bulletin de la Societe de gio- 
graphie de Lyon a study of the distribution of the population in Scotland, translated in 
full in the Scottish Geographical Magazine, November, 1902, pp. 577-587, under the title: 
"The Influence of Geography on the Distribution of the Population of Scotland." 



We might enumerate and examine critically all the attempts 
that have been made to represent the exact distribution of 
population graphically or through maps. Only by an examina- 
tion of the actual conditions of concentration or of dispersed 
population can we reach true conclusions. But where does 
concentration begin? Logically and strictly speaking, are 
there any isolated houses, Einzelhofe? There are only houses 
more or less separated. Consult in particular the valuable 
article by Olinto Marinelli on the distinction between con- 
centrated population and scattered population. 1 

One must have struggled against the difficulties which are 
met in trying to represent the facts of population graphically 
in order to appreciate at their full value the labors and the 
maps of Ravn or of Turquan, of Sprecher von Bernegg, 2 etc., 
and, in a direction that lies nearer to our own critical interests, 
a study like that of A. Hettner, 3 or attempts like those of 
Friedrich, A. Grund, 4 or E. de Martonne. 5 

In the light of the simple examples, carefully localized, which 
we have just given, it is easy to reach a conclusion such as 
Behm has already formulated (Pctermanns Mitt., Erganzungs- 
heft, No. 35), and which Ratzel has taken up with so much 
vigor : ' ' The topographical map is the most exact and faithful 
expression in all its details of the distribution of population." 6 

l O. Marinelli. "Sulla distinzione fra popolazione agglomerata e popolazione sparsa, 
e sulla opportunity che nel prossimo Censimento e nelle relative publicazioni sia 
considerata separatamente ciascuna localita abitata," VI Congresso Geografico 
Italiano, Venice, 1907. 

2 For the numerous attempts made, especially in Germany, see the article by 
B. Auerbach, "La Repartition geographique de la population sur le sol allemand," 
Ann. de geog., V, 1895-1896, pp. 59-71 and 469-482. 

3 A. Hettner, "Uber die bevolkerungstatistischen Grundkarten," Geog. Zeitschr., 
VI, 1900. 

4 Read in particular the whole chapter entitled "Die Siedelungsverhaltnisse der 
Gegenwart," and the map showing the density of the population, on pp. 160 ff., in 
A. Grund, " Die Veranderungen der Topographie im Wiener Walde und Wiener 
Becken," Geog. Abhandlungen von Penck in Wien, VIII, Vol. I, Teubner, Leipzig, 1901. 

5 Recherches sur la distribution geographique de la population en Valachie, avec une 
etude critique sur les procedes de representation de la repartition de la population, Bucha- . 
rest and Paris, 1903. 

6 One can conceive also how this positive way of visualizing the population allows 
one to analyze and discover the true relationships between the phenomena of popula- 
tion and facts of the physical order. See the excellent "geological" studies of the 
population of Sweden by Hoegbom, Ahlenius, and Per Stolpe, reviewed by Charles 
Rabot in La Geographie, XI, 1905, pp. 359-367, "La Distribution de la population 
en Suede en fonction de la constitution geologique du sol." See also the studies of 
human geography undertaken in Servia under the direction of the geologist and geog- 
rapher, Cvijic, and reviewed by Jovan Erdeljanovic in the Ann. de geog., XIV, 1905, 
pp. 424-432, under the title, "Les Etudes de geographie humaine en pays serbe." 


Outside of large-scale topographical maps some very happy 
attempts have been made, first to substitute natural areas for 
conventional administrative areas and then to show the facts 
of population by suitable colors and signs. Earlier represen- 
tations paid too little attention to the geographical reality. 
In general, progress is shown by a tendency to abandon the 
purely statistical representation and by a more or less success- 
ful effort toward showing definitely, with the aid of lines and 
colors, the actual geographical reality. 

It is none the less true that the principle formulated by 
Ratzel is entirely sound. While the population of slight 
density is by nature unequally distributed, a very dense 
population tends to represent more and more the statistical 
condition and loses more and more its specifically geographical 
characteristics. 1 

3. The Limits of Human Establishments 

It is important in every geographical question to consider 
and fix limits: the snow line, limits of zones of vegetation, etc. 
This is equally true for the facts of human distribution, which 
must be limited as to latitude and altitude. 

The highest Alpine villages in Switzerland are : 

Altitude Number of 

in Feet Inhabitants 

Cresta 6,417 33 

Juf, near Cresta 6,998 24 

Findelen (Valais), summer village 6,890 

Chandolin 6,352 123 

Lii (Munsterthal) (Grisons) 6,293 59 

Arosa 2 6,207 1,071 

Saint-Moritz 3 6,024 i,3^ 

Pierre Hanssen, in his study of the house in the upper valley 
of the Sarine, has shown that the groups of permanent habita- 
tions, which are not found at altitudes higher than 2,600 feet 
(800 meters) in Gruyere, reach 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) at 
Gessenay, 4,900 (1,500 meters) at Gsteig, and even 5,400 (1,650 

l Anthropogeographie, II, p. 240. 

2 Arosa owes its large number of inhabitants only to the fact that this village has 
become an important resort. In 1888 Arosa had only 88 inhabitants. 

3 AU these villages, with the exception of Findelen, are Kirchdbrfer or W inter dor fer, 
in contrast to the ecarts — simple groups of permanent habitations. The importance 
of these figures is rendered more significant by the fact that, in the Carpathians of 
Wallachia, the average limit of habitations, permanent and isolated, is only between 
3,300 and 6.600 feet (1,000 and 2,000 meters). 



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meters) in the high valleys of the affluents of the upper Sarine. 

Along with permanent habitations we can and must consider 
those more or less comfortable structures used only during 
some weeks of the year, that is during the period of summer 

Otto Fliickiger has investigated the upper limit of temporary 
habitations in Switzerland 1 and finds it to be 8,152 feet 
(2,485 meters) in the Val d'Anniviers. 

It is to Olinto Marinelli that we owe the most suggestive 
observations as to the limits of the different types of temporary 
habitation (eastern Alps and particularly Venetia). His 
results are so important that they are presented here somewhat 
fully. 2 He shows us that, if the house is the primary object 
of observation, if it is sometimes the simplest and most barren 
of the facts of human geography, yet in studying it we are 
inevitably led to approach other series of connected facts, 
and not only facts of circulation, but facts of cultivation or 
of pastoral life. 

Nomadism has been much more often studied in the steppes 
and plateaus of Asia than in the Alps. And yet it is here just 
as interesting if not more so. This Alpine nomadism is 
intimately bound up with property (communal or private), 
with the proximity of permanent habitation, and with pasture 
lands, the area of which is infinitely more restricted than those 
of the great steppes. The tents of the Asiatic nomads are 
therefore replaced by constructions which, though stable, yet 
always retain the character of temporary habitations. Under 
this name Marinelli includes not only those structures inhabited 
for a longer or shorter part of the year, but also those that 
serve as a refuge for the cattle and a temporary storehouse 
for hay, and whose location depends upon the distance from 
the village — that is, upon the altitude. 

Starting with the permanently inhabited village (Fig. 75, 
p. 156) there is a gradual succession on the mountain sides 

1 Die obere Grenze der menschlichen Siedelungen in der Schweiz, abgeleitet auf Grund 
der Verbreitung der Alphiitten, Stampfli, Bern, 1906. 

2 0. Marinelli, "Per lo studio delle abitazione temporanee nelle nostre Alpi," In 
Alto, Cronaca della Soc. Alpina Friulana, A. XI, Udine, 1900; "Studi orografici nelle 
Alpi orientali," Boll, della Soc. Geog. Italiana, VIII, IX, and X, Rome, 1902. See 
also "Salita al Monte Cavallo," In Alto, XIII, 1902; Studi sopra ilimiti altimetrici, 
I, / limiti altimetrici in Comelico, Mem. geografiche, etc., G. Dainelli, Florence, 1907. 


in the Alpine valleys of eastern Venetia (Carnic and Cadoric 
Alps) of the following types of temporary habitations: 

A. The stavoli (from Latin stabulum), are very common in the 
Carnic Alps, rarer in Cadore. They are constructions utilized 
generally twice a year, in spring and in autumn, as a stopping- 
place for the cattle for a longer or shorter period, when they 
go up to and when they come down from the Alpine pasture. 

In general the stavolo is composed of three parts, which 
correspond to the dwelling-house, the stable, and the hay barn. 
It is a single building, sometimes entirely of wood, but more 
often with a base of masonry and almost always roofed with 

B. The fenili, very common in Cadore but much rarer in 
the Carnic Alps, are designed for storing hay temporarily 
and are inhabited only during the haymaking season. In 
general the fcnil is built entirely of wood and roofed with 
shingles and the bark of trees; sometimes it is raised above the 
ground and rests upon wooden supports or a base of hard stone; 
it has no windows, but the peculiar construction of the walls 
allows the air to circulate freely. In fact, the walls are 
generally made of trunks of trees roughly squared and roughly 
joined (Fig. 22, p. 85). 

C. The casere are designed for the preparation of milk prod- 
ucts and as a dwelling for the shepherds, or more exactly, 
the armaillis, during the summer use of the high pasture 
lands. Generally they are communal property. Each family 
of the commune sends thither its cattle, the milk is handled in 
common, and the products are divided among the owners of 
the cattle in proportion to the number of cows and to their 
yield of milk. The casere might be considered as cooperative 
Alpine dairies. 

The casera is a group of buildings in the center of the pasture ; 
it is composed of the casera proper and the logge or tettoie 
(Figs. 76, 77). 

a) The casera proper is usually in large part of masonry; 
those entirely of wood are rare; the roof is generally made of 
shingles. Originally the casera seems to have consisted of a 
single room which served for all purposes, but this primitive 
simplicity has been maintained only in very rare cases. 


To-day the casera is almost always composed of three rooms 
(or even four if it has two stories). 

b) The logge or tettoie (sheds) are stables for sheltering the 
cattle during the night. Very long and closed only on one side, 

Fig. 76. A Type of Casera in the Italian Alps 

O. Marinelli 

they are in general of wood, rarely of masonry or dry stone; 
the roof is always covered with shingles and has only a single 

When there are also sheep or goats, logge are not built for 
these animals, but a simple inclosure is constructed (a palisade 
or a wall of stone without mortar). 

D. The ricoveri belong in general to the region which is still 
higher than that of the casere; they are not used exclusively 
by the shepherds, but in nearly every case also by wood- 
cutters, hunters, and others. They fall into two categories: 

a) The baite are small temporary buildings constructed 
for some definite work (haymaking, making of charcoal, 
etc.). They serve as a shelter for storing the wood used 
for burning, or for storing charcoal or hay; often too, but 
for some few nights at the most, shepherds and hunters 
find a refuge there. The form of the baite varies, since in 



their construction an attempt is made to utilize as far as 
possible natural conditions (a wall of rock or a cave-like 
hollow) . The roof has in some cases two slopes and in others 
but one; it is covered with the bark of trees, with branches 
of fir, or with shingles. 

b) The casoni, while serving aimost the same purposes as 
the baite, are more stable. Generally they are shaped like 
fenili, but they are of larger dimensions and the walls are 
solid, with no cracks left for ventilation. 

The casere are generally isolated. There are, however, 
some exceptions, notably in the mountains of Belluno where 

Fig. 77. A Type of Casera in the Comelico 

In the illustration (Rinfreddo, in the Comelico, at an altitude of 616S feet, 1880 m.), 
we see (1) on the left the casera proper (the part with the extension is the kitchen, 
while the more elevated portion consists of two stories, the store-room for cheese below 
[zellei] , the herdsmen's dormitory above) ; and (2) in the middle of the illustration, 
the sheds for the animals (logge). 

three or four casere are grouped on a single pasture ground; 
this is due to the fact that the pasture ground is parceled 
out to several families. A similar fact may be observed in 
the valley of the Resia and among the Slavs of the valleys of 


the Torre and of the Natisone, where the communal pasture 
lands are ordinarily rented to a certain number of families 
each of which has its own casera and handles its own milk 
instead of handling it in common. All these casere, each 
standing apart from the other, form an ensemble which gives 
the impression of a primitive village; and in the case of these 
valleys it is permissible to speak of summer villages in contrast 
with winter villages (permanent habitations). 

Analogous facts may also be observed in the valley of the 
Gail and even in certain regions of Corsica. 

By means of diagrams and detailed statistical tables, Mari- 
nelli shows in a clear and ingenious manner the distribution 
and altitude of the types of habitation which characterize the 
three zones of pasturage, namely: the houses of the villages, 
which constitute the winter dwellings; the stavoli, spring and 
autumn dwellings; and the casere, summer dwellings; and he 
groups the eight regions of the territory which he has studied 
in three categories : inner regions, middle regions, and outer or 
pre- Alpine regions (Figs. 78, 79, 80). 

He thus reaches the following conclusions which follow 
naturally from these tables: 

1. The zones become lower as they proceed from the inner 
regions toward the outer. 

2. In the pre-Alpine region the zone of the stavoli is much 
restricted and that of the casere is at a very low altitude. 

3 . The zone of the casere is cut in two by a wooded zone ; the 
upper zone consists of the primitive pasture grounds, while the 
pasture grounds of the lower zone are the result of deforestation. 

4. The zone of the baite, which characterizes the meager 
pasture grounds above the zone of the casere, rarely reaches, in 
the pre-Alpine region, 6,560 feet (2,000 meters), while in the 
Alps it sometimes exceeds 7,874 feet (2,400 meters). 

For the Comelico, which belongs to the inmost and most 
northern part of the high mountain region examined, Marinelli 
notes the following facts: 

The density is fairly great; it is 164 inhabitants per square 
mile (63 per square kilometer) ; in all, in 1901, 9,300 inhabitants 
were living upon 56.7 square miles (147 square kilometers). 
But the zones of altitude are even there much lower than in 


other regions of the Alps. The houses of the highest village 
reach exactly 4,583 feet and a fraction (1,397 meters). 

Here are the exact altitudes of all the highest stavoli of the 
Comelico, grouped according to their exposure: 

Stavolo above Costal ta 5,269 feet — exposure to southeast 

Stavolo above Masdavoi 4,9 2 4 feet — exposure to southeast 

Stavolo above Lake Campo 4,672 feet — exposure to southeast 

Stavolo above Dosoledo 4,836 feet — exposure to southwest 

Stavolo above Costalissoio 4,35° feet — exposure to southwest 

Stavolo above Casamazzagno . . . 5.259 feet — exposure to south 

Stavolo above Costa 5, l 77 feet — exposure to south 

Stavolo above Vantadei (Danta) 4,721 feet — exposure to south 

The limit of the casere of the Comelico varies from 5000 
to 6000 feet : 

Casera Coltrondo 6,168 feet — exposure to south 

Casera Silvella 5,994 feet — exposure to south 

Casera Pian Minoldo 5,981 feet — exposure to south 

Casera Melino 5,6oo feet — exposure to south 

Casera Ajarnola 5,282 feet — exposure to east 

Casera Selvapiana 5, io 5 feet — exposure to south 

Marinelli has studied more especially 107 fenili of this 
region and he thus sums up their altimetrical distribution : 

8 fenili are found between 3,935 and 4,265 feet (1,200 and 1,300 meters) 

6 fenili are found between 4,265 and 4,595 feet (1,300 and 1,400 meters) 
25 fenili are found between 4,595 and 4,920 feet (1,400 and 1,500 meters) 
23 fenili are found between 4,920 and 5,260 feet (1,500 and 1,600 meters) 
21 fenili are found between 5,260 and 5,578 feet (1,600 and 1,700 meters) 
17 fenili are found between 5,578 and 5,905 feet (1,700 and 1,800 meters) 

7 fenili are found between 5,905 and 6,235 feet (1,800 and 1,900 meters) 

As for the baite, two only have been observed — at 6,300 
feet (1,920 meters) and at 6,783 feet (2,070 meters). 

Marinelli then establishes other relations between the 
habitations and some other facts for the entire section of the 
eastern Alps under consideration: 

1. The zone of permanent habitation corresponds to that 
of certain fixed crops of which the type is maize. 

2. The zone of the stavoli is devoted to a variety of crops, 
a zone which ends with the cultivation of the potato. 

3. The principal zone of the casere corresponds almost every- 
where to the zone where full-grown forest trees predominate. 

4. The- upper zone of the casere coincides with the zone of 
shrubs and small trees which is also the zone of glacial cirques 
and morainic lakes. 



From the point of view of means of communication, the 
lower zone is characterized by roads, the middle zone by mule 
paths, that of the casere by the numerous paths followed by 
the cattle, and the highest by still more indefinite footpaths. 
However, the correspondence between the zones 
and the phenomena cited does not imply so close a 

8530 ft. 

8202 ft. 
'7874 ft." 

Scale = 1:115,000 for the height and 1:23,200 for the width 

Fig. 8o. Diagram of the Altimetric Limits of the Forest and of Human- 

The space between the two outside curves is in proportion to the surface corre- 
sponding to each altimetric zone; it is divided into two parts, one covered with forest 
and the other bare. 

bond as one might think. Thus, to cite but a single 
example, with the opening of a new road there is not always 
a corresponding modification of the zone of permanent habi- 

The presence of temporary habitations does not depend 
alone upon altitude, but also upon geographical factors. A 
rock which is a shelter from the wind, the neighborhood of 
a spring, etc., play a part in the distribution. 


Besides the intelligent modification which man brings about 
in pasture land with a view to its exploitation, he further 
contributes to the diffusion of plants and the lower animals 
by transporting species from the zone of permanent habitation 
to the zone of the casere, or vice versa. 

It is important to realize this bond which connects the house 
with all other modes of human activity. To begin with the 
house, then the road, then to proceed to the facts of plant 
and animal conquest or the facts of destructive exploitation, 
is to follow a convenient order of increasing complexity; but 
this method of observation, far from establishing false boun- 
daries between these different orders of phenomena, by the 
analysis of the first and most simple, brings us in touch with 
all the other related phenomena. 

The house in its very form undergoes the influence of man's 
work, and many exact observations may be made analogous 
to the following: 

"While in certain large agricultural plains the granary 
seems to crush the house by occupying three quarters of its 
height, here [in the vine country] on the contrary the house 
seems uplifted by the cellar." 1 

The hop-house in Franconia has ground floors of the height 
of several stories for drying rooms. 2 

Other properly human elements act upon the location of 
human establishments, and one cannot emphasize too fully the 
part played by these human factors, historical, religious, etc. 

An intense historical life maintains a city in an environment 
which is geographically abnormal. Jerusalem no longer has 
its vast aqueducts; the reservoir called "wells of Solomon" no 
longer flows — it possesses but two little insignificant springs, 
and the past of Jerusalem keeps there upon the harsh plateau 
of Judea 40,000 inhabitants who have at their disposal only 
the water of cisterns! Still further, a definite political interest 
may create an entirely artificial establishment. Aden is in a 
position which England jealously guards, in an environment so 
inhospitable that all fresh water must be brought by sea. 

iFrom Demangeon, "Le Kaiserstuhl" (Brisgau), Ann. de geog., March 15, 1902, 
p. 152. 

2 See Louis Arque, "Les Cultivateurs de houblon en Franconie," La Science sociale, 
23d year, December, 1908, pp. 217-328. 


Finally there are cases where men, with deliberate purpose, 
create a settlement in a new country precisely in order that there 
may be no bonds with any earlier political interests. Although 
great care was taken to realize all the best physical conditions, 
relief, springs, vegetation, picturesqueness, ease of communica- 
tion with a port, 1 etc., the Australian Confederation in choosing 
in June, 1909, as a place for the new federal capital, the site 
of Canberra on the Molonglo, created by decree the geographi- 
cal fact as one might fix by decree or by treaty an adminis- 
trative division. 2 

By the sudden and unexpected fact of the decision of the 
King of England, Emperor of India, proclaimed at the time 
of the Durbar celebration, December, 191 1, the capital of 
English India is henceforth no longer Calcutta, and the old 
city of Delhi has recovered its political primacy. 

Our interest is more strongly attracted by less conspicuous 
and more complex historical phenomena such as the following : 

When conditions are unfavorable to an urban establishment 
it seems that a more ingenious necessity and a more con- 
siderable human force are alone capable of overcoming the 
difficulty. It is then no longer a village, but a city, which will 
be the exception; a slighter effort would not have succeeded. 

J See "The Capital of the Australian Commonwealth." Geog. Jour., March, iqio, 
pp. 318-321, with three maps or charts; and J. Taylor, "The Evolution of a 
Capital: A Physiographic Study of the Foundation of Canberra, Australia," Geog. 
Jour., 1914, pp. 536-554- 

2 To show to what an extent this establishment of the capital is an artificial and 
carefully planned fact, we reproduce here the advertisement which the leading papers 
of the various countries published in the second half of the year 1911: 

Contest of Plans 

For the Capital City 

of THE 

Australian Confederation 

The government of the Australian Confederation requests the submission of plans 
for the capital city of the Confederation, and the following prizes are offered: 

For the plan given first place £1750 $8,516.37 

For the plan given second place 750 3,650.00 

For the plan given third place 500 2,433. 25 

The conditions ruling the contest, as well as all information and details, plans 
and instructions, may be obtained from the British Ambassador at Paris. 

The plans will be received at the Department of the Interior, Melbourne (Aus- 
tralia), up to January 31, 1912. 

King O'M alley 
Minister of Slate for the Interior 
May 24, 191 1 Australian Confederation 


Thus in the valley of Graisivaudan, obstructed and swept by 
the floods of the Isere, groups of human beings have lodged 
themselves upon the terraces and alluvial cones. One single 
human group escapes the rule and that is the chief one, Gre- 
noble. 1 Likewise along the Sarine, shut in by a canyon with 
abrupt walls from the bridge of Thusy to Laupen, men have 
not established themselves. Here we find an old castle, or a 
watch tower, there an old monastery, here again houses grouped 
about a quarry ; but in general the Sarine flows deserted. There 
is a single exception and that is the chief city, Fribourg (ancient 

-Raoul Blanchard, in a lecture on Dauphine given before the general assembly 
of the Touring Club of France, December 3, 191 1, said: "The appearance of that 
great valley of the Isere, especially between the frontiers of Savoy and Grenoble, 
where the cliffs of Chartreuse and the needle-like peaks of Belledonne tower close 
above it, is one of the most characteristic features of Dauphine. On each side, are 
steep walls which seem to defy ascent. At the bottom is an alluvial plain, from two 
to three miles wide, through the middle of which meanders the dyked Isere. On the 
banks are sloping heaps of debris fallen from the hillsides, or alluvial cones — flattened 
by accumulations of material brought down by tributary streams. The level rises but 
slightly, varying along the Isere from 600 feet (210 m.) down stream, to 800 feet 
(250 m.) farther up; and thanks to this very slight elevation, a very mild temperature 
can prevail, even in the heart of the mountain. The orientation, however, produces, 
on one side and the other, a great variety of aptitudes. The right bank, exposed to 
the southeast, that is, to the rays of a burning sun, forms, on the limestone flank 
of Chartreuse, which protects it from cold, damp winds, a gigantic trellis. This is 
the domain of fruit trees, of the vine, of the mulberry, the region of chateaux and of 
pleasure houses. Large villages, scattered on the slopes of talus, follow each other 
without a break, from Grenoble to the border of Savoy. The left bank, which looks 
to the north and east, is less happily placed for agriculture; the slopes are wooded, 
while cultivation is concentrated on the alluvial cones. But this bank is admirably 
adapted to industry. There issue great torrents, descending from the snowy heights 
of Belledonne, which by their volume and the steepness of their fall lend themselves 
remarkably to the establishment of hydraulic factories. The "white coal," or the 
utilization of the motive force of Alpine streams, had its birth on this side of Gresivau- 
dan, and great paper and metal factories are installed at the mouths of the chief 
affluents — at Pontcharra, Froges, Brignoud, Lancey, and Domene. The villages 
established within their range, on the alluvial cones, are increased by a considerable 
population of factory workers and tend to become cities. Finally, between the two 
flanks, the low plain, still damp in spite of the drainage canals, lends itself admirably 
to the cultivation of thirsty plants, formerly hemp, now tobacco. Thus this sub- 
alpine depression presents a remarkable variety in its adaptability to agriculture and 
to industry. It has also a commercial role, which is no less important. From that long 
cleft emerge all the great Alpine routes, those which come down from the interior of 
the chain, through upper Isere, Arc, Romanche, and upper Durance; those which 1 ead 
out of the mountains through the passes of Chambery and Annecy, low Isere, and 
lower Durance. All these routes cross and connect with each other in this depression. 
Here is the heart of the Alps. Through this valley the railroads have made their 
way; here have grown up commercial cities — stopping places, and markets through 
which the products of the mountain are exchanged for those from outside regions: 
Gap and La Mure to the south, and Chambery and Albertville to the north. But 
Grenoble is the most important of all. Situated at the junction of the Drac and the 
Isere, commanding the routes from the Alps toward Lyons, it is the true capital of 
the French Alps, and especially of the Alps of Dauphine — an industrial capital which 
utilizes the products of the mountain in its glove factories and cement works and 
furnishes the hydraulic factories with turbines and pipes; a military capital which 
guards the passes; an intellectual metropolis; finally, the point of departure for 
tourists, who start from there for the conquest of great summits whose proud line 
unrolls its snowy peaks above the valley." See also, by the same author, Grenoble, 
Etude de geographie urbaine, Colin, Paris, 191 1, p. 162. 


ford, then bridge, then burg built up at the point of passage). 1 
We hasten to add that many complex facts of the human 
order have cooperated in these obscure, almost unconscious 
choices of certain points as sites for cities. Ease of exchange 
on the borderland of very unlike natural regions has, as it were, 
given birth to lines of cities. Many examples might be cited 
(see Fig. i.) In the Vosges, it is on the borderland between 
the plain and the mountain that have been established the 
markets, Raon-1'Etape, Senones, Gerardmer, Saulxures, Bus- 
sang, etc., where from an early date cattle and products of 
mountain industry have been exchanged for the grain and 
the wool of the lowlands, and at a new turn of economic 
evolution these markets very naturally have become active 
little industrial centers. 

In the United States, Denver and Pueblo, Colorado, have 
grown up on the edge of plains near accessible pathways to 
the high mountains, and have become not only distributing 
centers for goods from or to the mountains, but industrial 
centers dependent in part on raw materials from the mountains. 
Along with the other conditions of situation and the question 
of defense, etc., the economic activity of men and the principal 
economic activity of each group play their part. For example, 
men who spin, weave, and dye will establish themselves near 
pure running water, as at Lyons, France, or Paterson, New 
Jersey. A. Hettner even remarks justly that it is these 
geographical factors, connected with a certain mode of eco- 
nomic activity, that are called upon to play the leading part in 

J Paul Girardin has devoted to Fribourg a very remarkable study of human geog- 
raphy, the conclusion of which is as follows: "Three times in succession in the course 
of the nineteenth century, Fribourg has almost been prevented from growing, or has 
just escaped leaving parts of the city behind the others in development: the first 
time was when it was a question of bridging the Sarine; the second time it was the 
cutting of the ravines; and the third time it was the difference in level between differ- 
ent parts of the city — a fact which in the Middle Ages did not press so heavily on 
the city organism. Each time it was necessary to find some technical improvement 
to surmount the obstacle, and in particular to have the courage to apply it. Each 
of these obstacles was caused by nature; each of these problems was set by geography. 
Human initiative solved or eluded them, one by one. There was here, however, a 
strange turn of affairs, which brought it to pass that the influencing conditions — 
which in the beginning determined the choice of the city's situation — have changed 
their role in the course of time, and have become restrictive, hindering either the growth 
of the city or the uniting of its different quarters. It is man, in this struggle with 
nature, who has had the last word. From the greatest of the Zaehringens to his 
successors, it has been human wills that have created Fribourg, that have developed it, 
and now maintain it." ("Fribourg et son site geographique, Etude de g£ographie 
urbaine," Bui. Soc. neuchdteloise de geog., XX, 1909-1910, pp. 1 17-128 and 2 plates.) 


the further development of the center of human establishment. 1 
It is proper to add that there is not a city or a road which 
bears within itself alone all the reasons of its development. 
From the moment of its existence, it shares in relations which 
taken together hold the secret of its future. The more the 
phenomenon grows, the more it is dependent upon its environ- 
ment, and this environment, of which the chief factor is the 
ease and rapidity of communication, is always more or less 
shaped or modified by human will. 





The concentration of habitations keeps pace with the con- 
centration of paths of communication. The larger a city, the 
finer the network of roads which surround it. Inversely, the 
more physical conditions favor the concentration of roads at 
one point, the more possibilities of growth a city has. The 
essential needs of the inhabitants demand for their satisfaction 
a fine network of paths of communication. One must think, 
for example, of what is consumed every day by an urban center 
of two and a half million inhabitants like Paris and what must 
be brought every day to its city markets, in order to com- 
prehend how much space is taken up in Parisian suburbs by 
railroads, highways, or streets. 2 This is even more notable in 
the case of La Paz, whose 60,000 inhabitants are supplied 
largely from a vast semi-arid plateau to the west and tropical val- 
leys to the east. Hundreds of mule trains daily enter its squares, 
bringing barley and potatoes over scores of mountain trails. 

1 A. Hettner, "Die wirtschaftlichen Typen der Ansiedlungen," Geog. Zeitschr., VIII, 
1902, p. 98. 

2 Paris consumes annually, according to the calculations of D. Zolla, about 
661,380,000 pounds (3,000,000 quintals) of wheat flour (D. Zolla, Le Ble et les 
cerecles, p. 219). It consumes also 440,920,000 pounds (2,000,000 quintals) of meat, 
100,970,680 pounds (458,000 quintals) of fish, etc. From the geographical point of 
view, one should above all investigate and see by what material means these various 
foodstuffs actually reach the city: 26,417,500 gallons (100,000,000 litres) of milk 
through the system of lines from the west; 17,636,800 pounds (80,000 quintals) of fruit 
and vegetables by the railroad running from Paris to Arpajon; of the 1,789,000 sheep 
brought to Paris in 1906, a million and a third of them came in on foot through the 
gate of the rue d'Allemagne, etc. These figures are those of 1906, according to 
Edouard Payen, " Comment s'alimente une grande ville," Rev. econ. internal., February 
15-20. 1908, pp. 370-391. Great loads of coal come to Paris by the system of lines 
to the north and especially by the canals of the north and the navigable Oise, etc. 




Scale = 1:336.540 

Fig. 8i. The Radial System of Roads About a Center 
From Buena Vista Lake Quadrangle — Calif. U. S. G. S. 

Great empires have always expressed themselves by roads: 
the Roman Empire and the old empire of the Incas, as well as 
the recent empire of Napoleon. Economic or political capitals 
form the center of a "star" of roads; the phenomenon may be 
verified on a large or small scale (see Fig. 81). 


In attaching roads to itself the city commands and main- 
tains them. While a simple trail like that followed by the small 
caravan across the plains of Galilee in Figure 82 may be very 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 82. A Shifting Trail Across the Plains of Galilee 

easily displaced, every great city, by becoming an almost 
necessary point of arrival and departure, fixes roads at least 
for a long time and gives a certain permanence to the main 
directions successively adopted by more and more modern 
types of paths of circulation. 

A pass in the high mountains is naturally suggested as a road 
by the general conditions of the relief. But if this pass does 
become a road, it needs, in order to remain so, urban centers 
which safeguard it and which, by exercising their influence 
from afar, keep the road passing at this naturally favorable 
point (Fig. 84). 

The road leads toward the urban center and depends upon 
it; but this constructed center also depends upon the road. 
The city creates the road ; the road in its turn creates the city 
or re-creates it — that is, displaces it or changes its form. 
Sometimes the agglomeration slowly extends downward little 



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b.y little (see Fig. 83). Sometimes the phenomenon is more 
complex and more radical in its consequences. Bergamo was 
built as a fortress upon one of those eminences which form the 
outposts of the Alps toward the Lombard Plain. Little by 
little the city has, so to speak, come down the slopes, and 
suburbs have grown up right and left at the foot of the fortified 

Y jaf^f^^^H 

, V^^JJ(IjBU8I | "J' **it*'-**: Ul^S^J^ 

yl»te e< Tnsulinde, Busson, Fevre et Hauser, Paris 

Fig. 84. A Caravan from Kabul Crossing Khyber Pass 

Peshawar and Kabul sustain the importance and value as a road 
of Khyber Pass, in the Sulaiman mountains, between the plain of 
the Indus and Iran. 

hill. Finally the railroad and the station were located between 
the suburbs in the plain in front of old Bergamo. The road 
thus unites and concentrates around the station the new city 
which, with its great central avenue and by the aspect of its 
buildings, is going to give birth to a new Bergamo at the 
foot of the old. The city of Quebec has already passed 
through this cycle and the new city at the base of the fortified 
heights transcends the old (Fig. 85). 

How many cities and villages have been controlled in their 
plan by the road and by the waterway as well as by the 
land road! (Figs. 86, 87.) The Rhine and its tributaries, the 
Moselle and the Lahn, cross the Rhenish plateau and flow 
generally at the foot of steep slopes which extend from the 
present river beds to the upper level of the old peneplain. 
This arrangement of surface features, by consigning the 



Win. Notman A Son. Montreal 

Fig. 8$. The New Town of Quebec. Lying Along the Water Front at 

the Base of the Precipitous Fortified Bluff, is the 

Seat of Commerce 

Jean Brunhea 

Fig. 86. Braunlage (Harz"). Note how Visibly the Human Settlement 
is Cutting into the Forest 


houses to the base of the slopes and to the line of contact 
with the water courses, has multiplied such typical cases upon 
the two banks (Fig. 88). 

The village, representing a smaller effort at human establish- 
ment, is still more sensitive to the influence of the road than 
is the small city; in many villages and hamlets the houses 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 87. St. Goar and St. Goarshausen, on the Banks of 
the Rhine 

The houses are aligned along the river- road, the villages or cities succeeding 
each other along the banks. 

are placed side by side along the route of travel. To this 
characteristic arrangement the Germans give the name of 
Strassendorf or even of Gassendorf: road-village or street- 


There are many examples of inhabited centers created by 
the road. 1 As a consequence of the construction of the St. 
Gotthard in Tessin, a village, Lavorgo, grew up between Faido 
and Giornico, while Dazio began to fall into decadence and 
farther on the little port of Magadino, at the head of Lago 

iThis fact of human geography associated with human occupation may well be 
called the "political road," giving to this word its etymological meaning from the 
Greek word TtoXi. If we find constant relations connecting the house and the road, 
it must be admitted that it is the urban center which is the concentrated and pre- 
eminent expression of this connection. 



Maggiore, played henceforth only an insignificant part. At 
the Red Sea mouth of the Suez Canal, Port Tewfik has been 
built, while the older Suez has become a slowly dying city, 
abandoned, dirty, and nauseating. In Fort Francis, Ontario, 
the older town faces the Rainy River, the highway in the days 
of the fur trade and in the later lumbering development. 
The newer town has turned its back on the river and is 
attached to the railroad which was built on the outskirts of 
the original town. 

In old cities it often happened that bridge and house were 
so closely associated that the bridge was itself covered 
with buildings. This was the case in old Paris (bridge of 

St. Michel) and 
may still be 
and at Kreuz- 
nach 1 (Fig. 89). 
The large city 
deserves to be 
studied in itself 
and for itself 
as an excep- 
tionally impor- 
tant fact of 
human estab- 
lishment. Meu- 
riot has made 
a comparative 
study of the 

Fig. 88. The City of Ems 

The houses are lined along the two banks of the Lahn, between great Urban 
the river and the foot of the wooded slopes. & 

of Europe. 2 Under the direction of the economist, Bucher, 
and with the collaboration of such men as Ratzel, a group of 

J See also what has been said above of Medinet and the Fayum, p. 129. 

2 P. Meuriot, Des Agglomerations urbaines dans V Europe contemporaine, Belin, 
Paris, 1897. See also Adna Ferrin Weber, The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth 
Century, a Study in Statistics, New York and London, 1899; and the chapter by 
Georg von Mayr, "Die Bevolkerung der Grossstadte," in the volume Die Grossstadt, 
cited below; also F. P. Gulliver, "Vienna as a Type City," Jour. School Geog., IV, 
1900, pp. 175-179. 


suggestive studies has been published entitled : Die Grossstadt. 1 
These studies are not all equally geographical. The city, 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 89. The Old Built-up Bridge of Kreuznach 

This part of the road, the bridge, literally carries the houses 

like the village, the hamlet, or the house, must be treated as 
a sort of natural being to which may be applied the methods of 
comparison of the observational sciences. This comparison 
must be applied to the whole as well as to the essential elements 
which compose the large agglomeration. 

O. Schluter has made an effort to renew the tradition of 
J. G. Kohl; 2 he has even commented with keen interest 

l Die Grossstadt, Vortrage und Aufsdtze zur Stddteausstellung, by K. Biicher, 
Friedrich Ratzel, Georg von Mayr, H. Waenting, Simmel, Th. Petermann, and 
D. Schaefer, Gehe-Stiftung zu Dresden, Winter, 1902-1903, von Zahn und 
Jaensch, Dresden, 1903. 

Very detailed monographs have been written upon cities, of the first rank such as 
Paris and London, and their progressive development has been analyzed with a remark- 
able attention to geographical conditions. The Geographical Dictionary of Switzer- 
land, owing chiefly to the activity of the geographer, Knapp, contains a large number 
of plans drawn by Borel which show in different colors the successive zones of develop- 
ment of the largest cities. Finally, very many eminent observers and writers 
have tried to describe the physiognomy and the most expressive characteristics of 
all the significant cities. 

2 " Bemerkungen zur Siedelungsgeographie," Geog. Zeitschr., V., 1899, pp. 65-84. 


upon the studies of Stubben and of J. Fritz. 1 The principles 
of grouping and classification should be more boldly and 
further extended; in the second place, it is important that 
geographers should remain always geographers rather than 
statisticians or historians. 

However, among the good works consecrated to the 
geography of cities let us cite further a little book by Kurt 
Hassert, 2 and the remarkably illustrated article by Eugen 
Oberhummer. 3 

The second is especially devoted to the study of city plans, 
and it is in this article that the author makes the suggestion 
— which he later caused to be adopted at the International 
Geographical Congress at Geneva 4 — that city plans should 
be given a real geographical value by having them show 
also relief by means of curved lines or cross-hatching. 5 

Ratzel had shown particularly the part played by the situa- 
tion 6 in the history of a city's development. Oberhummer 
considered especially the plan of cities as projected on a 
plane surface. 7 Hassert described the city finally in its total 

^'Uber den Grundriss der Stadte." Zeitschr. der Ges. fur Erdkunde zu Berlin, 
XXXIV, 1899, pp. 446-462 and 10 plans. 

2 Kurt Hassert, Die Stiidle, geographisch betrachtet, Teubner, Leipzig, 1907. 

3 E. Oberhummer, " Der Stadtplan, seine Entwickelung und seine geographische 
Bedeutung," Verh. des XVI. deutschen Geographenlages zu Niirnberg, 1907, D. Reimer 
(E. Vohsen), Berlin, 1907, pp. 66-101 and 21 figures. 

4 E. Oberhummer, "Die Geographie der grossen Stadte." Compte rendu du 
neuvieme Congres international de geographie, Geneve, 1908, published at Geneva, 1909, 
pp. 464-466. 

5 See a very good article by G. A. Hiieckel, " Les Plans de villes instruments de 
travail," Rev. scientifique, May, 1909, pp. 683-689. See also Camillo Sitte, IS Art 
de bdtir les villes; Notes el reflexions d'un architecle, translated and completed by 
Camille Martin, Eggimann, Geneva, and Renouard, Paris; many small plans reduced. 

6 In a more detailed study it would be necessary to distinguish between and to 
consider in turn the situation or general geographical position, and the situation or 
local topographical position; the first might be (or become) excellent and the other 
bad, or inversely. For the influence of situation on the destiny of a city, see A. Vacher, 
" Montlucon: Essai de geographie urbaine," Ann. de geog., XIII, 1904, pp. 334-347, 
and the monographs cited on pp. 178 and 179. 

7 The comparison of the plans of cities, especially if one could put them in the 
same scale, would suggest a very great number of historical, economical, or social 
observations. The great city of ancient times included gardens, cultivated tracts, 
and scattered houses. Thus it is that, according to information given by Herodotus 
(I, 178), translated by Karl Bucher, we can understand that ancient Babylon, with a 
much smaller population, covered a surface equivalent to that of Berlin to-day. 
(Ratzel, "Die geographische Lage der grossen Stadte," in Die Grossstadt, p. 37). 
See especially the remarkable article on urban geography by Mark Jefferson, "The 
Anthropography of Some Great Cities. A Study in Distribution of Population," 
Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc, Vol. XLI, September, 1909, pp. 537-566. See also Arthur 
Schneider, " Stadtumf ange in Altertum und Gegenwart," Geog. Zeitschr., I, 1895, 
pp. 676-678. 


physiognomy, which comes in large part from the style of its 
houses, from the silhouette of its monuments on the horizon, 
in short, from the height of its constructed parts. These then 
are the three essential factors which cooperate in making the 
city a geographical phenomenon. These are evidently not 
the only factors, but they are the chief ones. 

It is first of all a duty of geography, as Hettner well says, 
to describe human establishments in their economic role, in their 
dimensions, their form, their geographical situation, their plan 
of construction, in the materials of which they are built (let us add, 
especially, the form and character of their roofs with their gutters, 
chimneys, etc.), and in their other peculiarities; and it is chiefly a 
duty of general or comparative geography to compare the estab- 
lishments of different countries from these points of view and to seek 
the causes of their diversity (or of their resemblance). 1 

Merely by their position, cities may belong to the same type. 
For instance, at the extremity of the lakes of Zurich, of Lucerne, 
of Thun, and of Geneva, and astride the water course which 
is the outlet of each of these lakes, are Zurich, Lucerne, Thun, 
and Geneva. 

He who looks at three cities of the Mediterranean coast, 
such as Ventimiglia, Menton, and Antibes, cannot fail to be 
struck by their "relationship." But these analogies are found 
even between cities which are far distant from each other. 
Luxemburg, which rises above the intrenched valley of the 
Alzette, resembles Fribourg (Switzerland), proudly perched 
upon a promontory of the canyon of the Sarine, almost as 
much as Fribourg resembles Bern (which had the same founder) 
and more than it resembles other Swiss cities of analogous 
situation, such as Aarburg or Burgdorf. 

Cities which do not resemble each other in their exterior 
appearance can still express in an analogous manner certain 
necessities to which they are subjected. 

When a settlement is restricted as the result of either natural 
or human causes, the house rises in height; the stories are 
piled upon each other. In a small oasis of the Ziban (South 
Algeria) surrounded on all sides by the precious palms which 

X A Hettner, "Die Lage der menschlichen Ansiedelungen," Geog. Zeitschr., I, 1895, 
p. 361. This interest in comparison has been met by expositions of city plans, such 
as that which was held at Zurich in the spring of 191 1, or the magnificent exposition, 
La Transformation de Paris sous le second Empire, organized in 19 10 by the Service 
historique de la ville de Paris. 




they are loath to sacrifice, the houses of dried earth boldly 
risk two and three stories (Lichana), just as in the Spanish 
city of Cadiz, shut in by the sea at the extremity of its penin- 
sula, the houses rise very high. At Lyons, at Genoa, etc., we 
see the same effect. Again, a simple river, the Bourne, skirting 
the steep bluffs of Vercors, obliges the house of Pont-en-Royans 
to rise up straight above the water (Fig. 90) . And colossal New 
York, where land is limited and costly, holds the record for 
steel "skyscrapers," buildings which reach nearly 700 feet 
(213 meters) in height. Even in sections of the city devoted 
to dwellings, apartment houses holding many families range 
from six to ten or twelve stories in height. So characteristic is 
this layered arrangement of homes in New York that, in order 
to attract the attention of possible buyers in the upper stories, 
display signs are placed on the tops as well as the sides of the 
delivery wagons of milk dealers, bakers, and other merchants. 

There are cities which so resemble each other in their 
essential elements that they form a sort of family. Venice, 
Amsterdam, Danzig, etc., are cities built on or near the water. 
They have the common characteristic of being canal cities; and 
they certainly deserve to be grouped together and compared 
(Figs. 91, 92, 93). The great advantage of such a grouping 
based upon essential qualities is that we can compare these 
perfect and homogeneous types with small portions of other 
cities which have similar geographical features (Strassburg 
with its little corner Klein Frankreich, Hamburg, Bruges, 
Metz, etc., see Fig. 94). 

Likewise, cities in different parts of the world have the 
common characteristic of being created in a factitious manner, 
so to speak, with a view to housing inhabitants who are only 
transient, cities which have at the same time needs that are 
very compelling even if intermittent ; such are the hotel cities : 
Zermatt, Interlaken, Territet, Le Mont Dore, Atlantic City, 
Palm Beach, etc. 

Cities built to meet the same political purpose and reflecting 
similar points of view and tastes are often strikingly alike even 
in details. A. Metin has well caught and expressed the 
similar aspect of English cities in India. 1 

X A. Metin, L'Inde d'aujourd'hui, pp. 178-180. 



From the military cantonment to the "residence" of the capital 
of a native prince, from the smallest chief town of a district to 
Bombay and Calcutta, all the English cities are of the same type; 

Fig. 91. A Canal City 

Jean Brunhes 

The Situation of Venice in the Middle of 
the Lagoon 

This perspective allows the whole of the situation (see p. 184) to be observed; we 
can distinguish the S of the Canal Grande, in the background the bridge of the 
railroad which unites the city built on piles with the mainland, and in the foreground 
the little islands of the Giudecca and of San Giorgio Maggiore. A child, noticing the 
outline of this illustration, said: "the fish city." 

only the dimensions change. The Englishman never dwells in the 
native city — he even affects to despise it. The wives of officials 
who have been in the country for several years claim that they have 
never entered the Indian quarters, under the pretext that they have 
nothing interesting to offer or that they are too dirty. Tradition 
obliges the* English staff, civil or military, to reside in villas sur- 
rounded by gardens and strung along the wide avenues bordered by 
trees which make of the English city an immense labyrinth without 
other landmarks than the church steeples. It seems that they have 
wished to realize the dream of William Morris, of dwellings lost in 
verdure and separated from each other by lawns and parks. The 
English quarter is almost always so far away from the native quarter 
that the one cannot be seen from the other. An immense space 
is required for the avenues and the gardens. Lahore and Madras 
have an area almost equal to that of Paris, and nine-tenths of 
it, like the fashionable sections of English cities, is occupied by 
the small British colony, while the enormous native population is 


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/ ''-V /JJ.nrnrr-j // . ¥'!>, w,.;ai I 

Scale = 1:70,000 

Fig. 92. A Very Large Canal City: The P-Lajv of Amsterdam 

Arrangement of the built-up portions and of the ways of communication in this 
huge city conquered from the water in the midst of cultivated fields likewise gained 
by human effort (polders). 

From sheet 23, Amsterdam, of the official Dutch map, 1:50,000 



concentrated upon a space of some acres in the overcrowded houses 
and the narrow streets of the old city. The ports of Bombay and 
Calcutta have in their center a business quarter, a sort of "city" 
analogous to the city of London, which is the ancient company 
"fort." But here are found only offices occupied during the day; 
when evening comes all the English are to be found in their country 

The mountain stations where the high officials and people of 
leisure take refuge during the hot season, especially Simla, the 
summer residence of the Viceroy, attract a public similar to that 
of fashionable watering-places or seashore resorts. The women 

Copyright by Underwood & Underwood, N. Y. 

Fig. 93. The Grand Canal, Venice. Circulation in a City of Canals 

The Grand Canal is one of the 150 canals or water streets of Venice. Means of 
circulation are the specially adapted boats (gondolas). 

particularly resort to them, leaving their husbands to continue their 
civil or military duties in the burning plains. 

There is another modern type of city, the great manufac- 
turing town, and this type must be boldly charged to the 


account of coal — not that it rises on the site of the coal 
field, but the logical place for its study is after the geographical 
facts which are the result of the exploitation of this mineral. 
This type of 
city will thus 
receive further 
(See chapter 

v, § 4 .) 

The countries 
which have no 
coal and which 
have become 
industrial are 
almost unac- 
quainted with 
this type of 
In the north- 
ern part of 
Italy, for ex- 
ample, the fac- 
tories are scattered everywhere, near little railroad stations, 
in the open country; they are close neighbors of the almond 
and mulberry trees ; here and there they seem to be scattered 
over the wheat and maize fields. This distribution of indus- 
trial life is far removed from that concentration which has 
particularly marked the beginnings of the coal era, and which 
remains the genuine echo of it. It indicates on the contrary 
rather what industrial geography may more and more become 
as the exclusive reign of coal dies out. 

These modern industrial cities have an ugliness that is 
often misinterpreted and charged to causes which are not 
responsible for it. 

What more monotonous and vulgar than the huge factories 
of our large and populous cities ! A given factory of Warsaw 
resembles the factories of Cologne as well as those of Roubaix 
and Birmingham. We hastily build vast barracks of some 


Fig. 94. A Canal of the Old City of Bruges 


cheap material like bricks, and we give little attention to the 

That is why brick has had to serve in building modern 
industrial cities; but why blame it for the vulgarity of our own 
tastes? We have compromised brick and we should like to 
make it bear the blame for the disgrace which we have imposed 
upon it. Of all materials of construction it is the one that 
adapts itself most easily to all our conceptions, to all our 
fantasies; it has an incomparable flexibility, and if it is less 
capable than marble or wood of giving a certain air of grandeur 
or coquetry to structures inspired by no lofty or delicate idea, 
it is ever ready to reflect sincerely and eloquently all ncble 
ideas and all ingenious thoughts. Without going back to the 
Assyrians, recall such striking and beautiful brick structures 
as the following : the caissons of the Basilica of Constantine or 
the Baths of Caracalla of Rome, the Giralda of Seville, the 
Roman Basilica of Saint-Sernin at Toulouse, the Gothic 
churches of Belgium or those of Lubeck, a wing of the Chateau 
of Versailles (Louis XIII), the Chateau of Blois, the inclosure 
walls of the Kremlin at Moscow, etc. 

The use of brick as well as of concrete is becoming gen- 
eral. Both lend themselves to forms of great variety and 
meet the sometimes contradictory demands of different 
regions. They make it possible even to revive types which 
are disappearing and revive them without servile copying. 
They will maintain, if we wish, in the house and in the city 
their geographic originality while safeguarding their artistic 

The Great Cities of the World Situated above 5,000 Feet 
(1,500 Meters) 

We should further group city phenomena according to other 
similarities. We might, for example, compare the conditions 
of the large cities of the world situated above 5,000 feet 
(1,500 meters). 1 

In general in the countries of temperate Europe, human 

1 Louis Gobet made a study of this kind; unfortunately he was able only to for- 
mulate the question in a general article in the Rev. de Fribourg (January - February, 
1913); at least from some of his pages and notes one can understand in what spirit 
the subject should be approached and what a remarkable study in comparative 
geography might be drawn from it. 


establishments become more and more sporadic and the 
population less and less dense as we rise in altitude. Ratzel 
insisted upon this rarefaction in high altitudes 1 and cited the 
typical example of the distribution of population in vertical 
zones in the Erzgebirge: 2 

3,300-3,600 feet 15 inhabitants = 10.00 per square mile 

3,000-3,300 feet 1.507 inhabitants = 146.20 per square mile 

2,700-3,000 feet 6,440 inhabitants = 135-50 per square mile 

2,400-2,700 feet 31,293 inhabitants = 113.20 per square mile 

2,100-2,400 feet 63,291 inhabitants = 238.48 per square mile 

1,800-2,100 feet 138,534 inhabitants = 334.89 per square mile 

1,500-1,800 feet 172,190 inhabitants = 318.25 per square mile 

1,200-1,500 feet 281,362 inhabitants = 496.01 per square mile 

900-1,200 feet 512,346 inhabitants = 1,269.02 per square mile 

In Switzerland, which is the country of Europe that has 
the highest average altitude, this altimetric or vertical distribu- 
tion is verified; in 1888, only 5 per cent of the total population 
were living above 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), and even in a 
canton in the midst of the mountains such as Valais, 44 per 
cent only were above this limit. The canton of Grisons alone, 
which comprises, it is true, the upper valleys of the Rhine and 
the upper valley of the Inn (Engadine), has more than half of 
its population above 3,300 feet ( 1 , 000 meters) . The altitudinal 
distribution of the population of the canton of the Grisons, 
based, as always, upon the distribution of dwellings and 
dwelling groups, is as follows: 3 

Zone of Altitude Percentage of the Population 

of Grisons 

Up to 900 feet 1.6 

900-1 ,800 feet 20 . 7 

1,800-2,700 feet 19 -8 

2,700-3,600 feet 18.4 

3,600-4,500 feet 21.6 

4,500-5,400 feet 14 o 

Above 5,400 feet 3-9 

Not even one-fifth of the habitations in Grisons are situated 
above 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). 

*But the contrary may be found to be true in tropical mountains and plateaus. 
See pp. 189-196. 

2 Ratzel, Anthropogeographie, II, p. 210, and in general, chapter VII, pp. 209-222. 

3 Pierre Clerget, "Le Peuplement de la Suisse, Etude de geographie humaine," 
Bull, de la Societe royale beige de geographie, 1906, No. 2, reprinted with additions 
in his book La Suisse au XX e siecle. Etude economique et sociale, Armand Colin, 
Paris, 1908. See, from another point of view, R. v. Schlagintweit, "t)ber den Ein- 
fluss der Hohe auf den menschlichen Organismus," Zeitschr. der Gcs. fiir Erdkunde zu 
Berlin, I, 1866, pp. 332-342. 


At still higher altitudes, man treads vast snow fields and 
glaciers, and the tourist finds no other shelter than the isolated 
huts of the Alpine Club. Yet at the same altitudes in 
certain other parts of the globe, conspicuously in the tropics, 
are very dense groups of population and even important cities. 
Whereas the lofty plateaus in Europe have a restraining 
influence on human establishments, it is the high plateaus in 
other regions that have become the rallying points. 

Consider the great plateau of Abyssinia in Africa: where 
are the chief cities? They are situated thus: 

Harrar at 6,089 feet 

Adua at 6,398 feet 

Gondar at 7,447 feet 

Adis-Abeba at 7,953 feet 

Ankober at 8,530 feet 

The populated zone is almost entirely between 6,000 and 
8,500 feet in altitude. 

If we cross the Red Sea to Arabia we find in the Yemen a 
city, Sana, situated at 7,054 feet (2,150 meters). The plateau 
of Iran offers us still more characteristic facts: Teheran, the 
capital of Persia, is situated at 3,707 feet (1,130 meters) and 
has 280,000 inhabitants; Hamadan, the ancient Ecbatana, 
shelters 35,000 inhabitants at 5,905 feet (1,800 meters); 
Ispahan at 5,200 feet (1,585 meters), has 90,000 inhabitants; 
and Kabul, one of the keys of India, which has nearly 150,000 
inhabitants, is at about 5,905 feet (1,800 meters) altitude. 

Let us take next the classic country of the great lamaseries. 
Going down the valley of the Tsang Po, we find the city of 
Shigatze, which has a considerable commerce with India; it 
is situated at 12,861 feet (3,920 meters). A little lower is the 
capital, Lhasa, with its huge convents inhabited by 20,000 
Buddhist priests, and the famous Buddha- La (Fig. 95); it is 
situated at 11,647 feet (3,550 meters), that is at an altitude 
which surpasses that of any peak of the Pyrenees. Gyangtse 
is at 13,123 feet (4,000 meters) and Phari at 14,272 feet 
(4,350 meters). 1 

But the New World, extraordinary from so many points of 
view, will astonish us still more. Over a strip of land several 

J See the study by J. Sion, "Le Tibet meridional," Ann. de geog., January 15, 
1907, p. 36. 


thousand miles in length, extending from Mexico to Chile, 
we find that the populated zone remains constantly in the high 
regions. With the exception of a few ports on the Pacific, the 
most considerable cities are nearly always found above 6,500 
feet (2,000 meters). The city of Mexico is situated at 7,730 
feet (2,356 meters) and has a population of more than 470,000 
inhabitants. On this same plateau is a series of cities, such 
as Leon, San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara, Puebla, all of which 
have from 60,000 to 100,000 inhabitants. 

The same facts are repeated on the other side of the Isthmus 
of Panama. In Colombia, Bogota, with a population of more 

boto sent by the Geographical Society of Petrograd 
and engraving kindly loaned by H. Busson 

Fig. 95. The Buddha-La of Lhasa, at an Altitude of More 
than 11,500 Feet (3,500 Meters) 

Mountain of Buddha (near Lhasa) on which are built the temples, 
palace and residence of the Dalai Lama. 

than 120,000 inhabitants, lies at an altitude of 8,678 feet 
(2,645 meters), and many cities with a population varying 
from 10,000, to 20,000 are found on plateaus between heights 
of 5,906 feet (1,800 meters) and 9,842 feet (3,000 meters). 

Toward the south the interior plateaus of the Andes rise 
in height and the cities follow the same upward march : 

Altitude Population 

Ibarra 7,293 feet 10,000 inhabitants 

Quito 9,35° feet 70,000 inhabitants 

Cuenca- 8,464 feet 50,000 inhabitants 

Loja 7,283 feet 10,000 inhabitants 

In Peru the most inhabited zone lies between 4,900 feet 
(1,500 meters) and 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) altitude and most 


of the cities are found above an altitude of 6,560 feet (2,000 
meters) : 

Arequipa, with 35,000 inhabitants. . . 7,874 feet 
Cuzco, with 15,000 inhabitants. . . 10,499 feet 

Sicuani, the paradise of Peru 1 1,588 feet 

Oroya 1 1 ,926 feet 

Puno 1 2,664 feet 

Crucero 12,959 feet 

Finally, Cerro de Pasco, with 13,000 inhabitants, is at 
14,270 feet (4,350 meters), more than a half mile above the 
timber line. 

Let us close with Bolivia, where the Andes spread out and 
form a vast plateau: 

Population Altitude 

Cochabamba 30,000 inhabitants 8,399 feet 

Sucre 29,000 inhabitants 8,858 feet 

La Paz 100,000 inhabitants 12,139 feet 

Oruro 22,000 inhabitants 12,188 feet 

Potosi 29,000 inhabitants 13,123 feet 

Huanchaca, which is growing in importance. . .13,452 feet 

What gives these facts their particular value is that we are 
not dealing with a few habitations lost in the midst of snows 
or mosses and which would serve to shelter man only for some 
months of the year, but rather with flourishing cities whose 
population runs from 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants and in 
certain cases reaches 450,000. This distribution of population 
is not a fleeting fact due to a chance circumstance. The high 
plateaus of which we are speaking have seen brilliant civiliza- 
tions, which have disappeared in part to-day, it is true, but 
to the development of which certain monuments still bear 
witness. (The Aztecs in Mexico, the Medes and Persians in 
the Iran, the Quichua and the Aymara in Bolivia, and Peru 
under the rule of the Incas.) 

Finally, as if to make the contrast still more striking, the 
region below 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) in altitude is, in general, 
very moderately populated. 

What can be the cause of facts so contrary to those which 
we observe in European regions? Why has man withdrawn 
from the lower plain? Could it be perhaps the impossibility 
of finding upon an ungrateful and arid soil the resources neces- 
sary for his existence? No, that is generally not the case. In 


most of these countries, almost all within or near the tropics, 
a hot sun combined with abundant rains favors an exuberant 
vegetation, and men can harvest almost without cultivation. 
Banana, cacao, coconut, vanilla trees and manioc bushes 
crowd the lower land. Man would find here material for 
lodging, food, and clothing, and yet none of these regions con- 
tains population groups of noteworthy density. Man has fled 
these plains where fever reigns eternally. Because of the loca- 
tion at or near the equator and the abundance of the rainfall, 
the temperature of a hothouse prevails, a moist and unheal thful 
heat, favorable doubtless to plant life, but almost invariably 
fatal to the European and dangerous even for the native. 

In the tierras calientes of Mexico, of Central America, and of 
Venezuela people succumb to the attacks of fever, of the 
vomito negro. Vera Cruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, was long so 
unhealthful that the Mexicans themselves have called it Ciu- 
dad de los muertos ("City of the Dead"). The same dangers 
are found in Peru, where the coast region is unhealthful; in 
Arabia and in the Iran, where the regions along the coast are 
haunted by cholera; in the Abyssinian kolla, where the depths 
of the valleys are so filled with miasma that the inhabitants 
of the high plateaus do not descend below 3,200 feet (1,000 
meters) during the rainy season. 1 

Driven from the plain, men sought in these countries more 
favorable regions ; they had only to go higher up the mountain 
sides or to penetrate into the high plateaus of the interior 
to find abundant resources and a pure and healthful air. 

In Mexico, leaving the hot and unhealthful lands of the coast, 
man had before him the temperate and the cold lands where the 
temperature is remarkably favorable. On these plateaus, more 
than 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) in elevation, the mean tem- 
perature for the year is 14 C. (57 F.); variations from one 
season to the other are much less marked here than in our own 
regions. The air is in general keen, dry, and salubrious ; where 
water is not lacking the vegetation is rich. Here the greater 
part of the population lives and here, as we have seen, are 
found the most important cities. 

x Exactly the opposite reason has prevented population of the southern coast of 
Peru and the northern part of Chile: the dryness of the air has made this region a 


We find identical facts in South America. The city of 
Popayan, in Colombia, situated at 5,900 feet (1,930 meters) 
altitude, has a mean temperature of 17 C. (63 F.) Higher 
still, at 8,330 feet (2,540 meters), the city of Santa Rosa de los 
Osos, built on a plateau exposed to all winds, enjoys a mean 
temperature of 14 C. (57 F.) and a perfect salubrity. "No 
one dies here except of old age or by his own hand," according 
to a local saying. Quito, at about 9,350 feet (2,850 meters), 
but on the equator, has an almost constant mean temperature 
of from 13 C. (56 F.) to 15 C. (59 F.). The cities of Abys- 
sinia, situated in the voina-dega or the dega, that is, at more 
than 6,550 feet (2,000 meters), have mean temperatures that 
do not remain below 14 C. (57 F.). 

Great as its influence may be, however, climate cannot 
in itself explain the peopling of high regions; men must have 
found there resources permitting them to subsist and to 
develop. The products of the temperate regions of Europe 
are here found along with those of the south or equatorial 
regions, and this is the case for the greater part of the countries 
we have just noted. 

If we penetrate to the high plateau of Mexico, at an altitude 
at which the Alps, subject to a polar temperature, produce 
hardly anything but mosses and Alpine plants, we see fields 
of barley, of wheat, of maize the stalks of which reach a height 
of 9 to 13 feet (3 or 4 meters); sugar cane is also found and 
the palm tree grows in the gardens of Mexico. 

In Colombia the banana tree and sugar cane are found to an 
altitude of 6,500 feet (2,000 meters); higher still are fields of 
wheat, barley, and potatoes. Bogota, situated at 8,530 feet 
(2,600 meters), on a plateau where trees are both scattered 
and poor, is surrounded by vast stretches which lend themselves 
to grazing and to the cultivation of cereals; the same thing 
is true on the high Andean plateaus of Ecuador, Peru, and 
Bolivia. On the Amazon slopes, because rain is more 
abundant there, the city of Tarma, situated at 10,007 feet 
(3,050 meters), has fields of coffee and sugar cane; Jauja and 
Huancayo at 11,150 feet (3,400 meters) gather abundant 
harvests of fruit and vegetables; finally Sicuani, at 11,500 feet 
(3,500 meters), one of the privileged and famous sections 


of Peru, has broad fields of maize and numerous orchards. 

The voina-dega of Abyssinia produces plants of the Mediter- 
ranean region : olive and lemon trees, the vine, maize, etc. ; and 
up to 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) tropical plants as well: cotton, 
coffee, etc.; the dega, above 8,200 feet (2,500 meters), has pas- 
ture lands which feed large herds. 

But there are inhabited regions higher still. In Peru and 
Bolivia, in particular, populations have grouped themselves at 
amazingly high altitudes. Thus La Paz, which has 100,000 
inhabitants, and Oruro, which has 22,000, are situated above 
12,000 feet (3,700 meters). Cuzco is at 10,500 feet (3,200 
meters) and has 15,000 inhabitants. Potosi is at 13,100 feet 
(4,000 meters); it has to-day only 29,000 inhabitants, but at 
the time of the great mining operations there were as many 
as 150,000. Let us cite in closing, Cerro de Pasco, which has 
13,000 inhabitants and is situated at 14,275 feet (4,35° meters). 
No peak of the Bernese Alps is so high. 

At these altitudes the mountaineers contract diseases caused 
by the rarefaction of the air and the lack of oxygen. Almost 
all visitors who go up to Cerro de Pasco or to some other city 
of the high plateaus are attacked by the soroche, or mountain 
sickness, which seems to affect them in a different manner and 
with greater or less severity in different regions. 

"Whatever precautions are taken in white families," says 
a traveler, ' ' out of three children born at Potosi scarcely more 
than one survives beyond a few hours and is brought up with 
much difficulty. Those who reach man's estate would have 
been athletes in other countries and these chosen specimens 
at Potosi are able to form only a puny and stunted 
population." 1 

The water of the Puna de Atacama is almost everywhere 
salt ; there is no drinkable water except in small streams before 
they come out of the mountains and in springs often 30 miles 
apart (50 kilometers). The climate is dry and rather cold; the 
temperature goes down almost below freezing during the night, 
even in summer. On the other hand, the sun is burning hot. 
The winter season lasts from June to August, the summer from 
December to February. According to a series of observations 

1 Reclus, Geog. univers., XVIII, p. 681. 


at Cochinoca (11,483 feet, 3,500 meters, altitude) the mean 
barometric pressure would be 19 inches (491 millimeters). In 
spite of this extreme rarefaction of the air the Indians of the 
high plateaus are capable of doing heavy work. On the other 
hand, newcomers suffer from oppression and palpitation of the 
heart at the slightest exercise. 1 

Even the high Bolivian plateau or altiplanicie , which is 
situated farther north, is strangely poverty-stricken. "Here 
and there are clusters of wretched-looking mud huts thatched 
with straw and set down upon a cold, semiarid, treeless plain. 
Moss and dry resinous bushes, of which the tola is the most 
numerous, are used as fuel, besides dry llama dung (called 
taquia) which is collected in the stone corrals of the mountain 
shepherds. Only the potato will mature. Barley and corn 
will not ripen, though they are raised in favorable sections for 
winter forage." 2 

These regions are relatively little inhabited: 

Bolivia has only 3.38 inhabitants per square mile 
Peru has only 6.6 inhabitants per square mile 

Ecuador has only 17.0 inhabitants per square mile 
Colombia has only 11.5 inhabitants per square mile 

If we compare these figures with those furnished by certain 
countries of Europe or even North America, such as the high 
plateaus of Mexico, for example, we shall be forced to confess 
that these Andean republics are desert countries. 

It is true that these low figures admit of some further 
explanation. It is to be noted first of all that there are here 
vast uninhabitable stretches, such as the chains of the Andes 
and even certain lower regions of the costa and of the Montana, 
too marshy or too woody. 

It is certain, on the other hand, that it is not toward these 
high plateaus that the flood of European emigration turns in 
spite of the mineral riches which might attract adventurers. 
This is a very natural fact which we should find elsewhere. 
California, for example, in spite of an admirable climate and 

J Dr. L. Laloy. " Ethnographie du haut plateau argentin," La Geographie, XXI, 
1910, p. 172, after one of the volumes of the Mission scientifique, G. de Cr6qui- 
Montfort and E. Senechal de la Grange: Eric Boman, Antiquites de la region andine de 
la Republique Argentine el du desert d'Atacama, II, Le Soudier, Paris, 1908, 557 pages, 
1 map, 51 plates, and 45 figures in the text. 

2 A. Dereims, "Le Haut Plateau de Bolivie," Ann. de geog., XVI, 1907, p. 357. 


a fertile soil, receives a much smaller number of immigrants 
than regions situated east of the Rocky Mountains. In South 
America the vast plains of Brazil and the Argentine Republic, 
which are rich regions and easy of access, can still receive 
millions of immigrants before they will be obliged to cross the 
Andes and install themselves among the high plateaus where 
they are, so to speak, separated from the rest of the world in 
spite of new roads. It is no small labor to fling railroads up 
mountain sides and across heights of from 9,800 feet (3,000 
meters) to 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). One must reckon with 
the scarcity of water* and the difficulty of all labor in such high 
altitudes. Engineers can do wonders if they are well supplied 
with capital, but after the road is built the bills must be paid. 
Man can conquer even the heights, but he wins at a price. 
Our boasted conquest of nature is after all a conditional 

The Antofagasta-Oruro line over Chilian and Bolivian ter- 
ritory crosses the desert of Atacama and reaches an altitude 
of more than 13,000 feet (4,000 meters). The Callao-Lima- 
Oroya-Cerro de Pasco line, opened on September 28, 1892, has 
63 tunnels and in a distance of 86.9 miles (140 kilometers) 
rises to 12,220 feet (3,725 meters); at three points it goes 
above 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) in altitude and reaches the 
highest elevation of any railroad on the globe: 15,663 feet 
(4,774 meters). The new Duran-Quito line reaches 13,451 
feet (4,100 meters) and the Mollendo-Puno line, 14,580 feet 
(4,444 meters). 1 

Here as everywhere the way of communication accompanies 
the city. To the paradoxical city corresponds the almost 
paradoxical railroad. But here true "roads" are still more 
rare than "houses," and all future economic development can 
result only from a multiplication of the roads. 2 Now to raise 
ten tons to a height of 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) demands the 
same expenditure of coal or electrical energy in Andean America 
as in the Dauphine or in the Engadine, and this so painful 

1 In connection with the great transandine routes, we recall that in 1910 they had 
completed and opened to traffic the Buenos Aires-Valparaiso line, the highest altitude 
of which is at 10,486 feet (3,196 meters) above sea level {Scottish Geog. Mag., XXVI, 
1910, p. 39)- 

2 See the conclusions of the article already quoted, by A. Dereims, Ann. de geog., 
XVI, 1907, pp. 358-359- 


and costly a task of circulation will in itself very rigidly limit 
the development of these very remarkable agglomerations in 
high altitudes. 




There is doubtless no human fact which has more quickly 
and powerfully changed "the face of the earth" than the 
recent and prodigious growth of cities. Let us look at the 
reality more closely; it is not a simple modification in appear- 
ance — it is a profound, a topographical modification, which 
turns aside streams, fills up depressions, levels reliefs, etc. 1 

Now what we have said of the necessity of grouping the 
material surface facts (which compose the large agglomeration) 
according to their analogies, we may say likewise of the parts 
which form this whole. That the reader may clearly under- 
stand our meaning let us try to detach one of these urban facts 
and show the interest that a comparative study of it might 

The city street deserves to be regarded as a geographical 
fact as well as the road proper. 2 F. Ratzel, in the second 

1 See, for example, Hugo Hassinger, " Uber einige Aufgaben der Geographie der 
Grossstadte, mit besonderer Beriicksichtigung Wiens," Geog. Jahresbericht aus Oster- 
reich, VII. On the other hand, Etienne Clouzot groups some typical facts as follows: 

'" Made land' and excavations have, in all regions, softened the relief of the soil 

The continual paving of streets and avenues has everywhere raised the level of the ground 
a little .... At Paris, the island of the Cite, which, according to P. Dupuy's 
expression, forms a breakwater in the middle of the Seine, has throughout its whole 
expanse been built up from 22 to 26 feet (7 to 8 meters). At Boston, of the three hills 
on which the primitive locality of Trimountain was established, there remain only 
two. Beacon Hill was leveled in 1795, to give place for the State House. The same 
is true of many water courses, small or great, such as the Flon at Lausanne: they 
disappear. Rivers have been turned from their courses, canals have been dug to 
conduct water through the city; then, when abuse or indiscriminate dumping reduced 
them to the rank of mere sewers, ingenuity was taxed to turn them back to their origi- 
nal course, to cover or do away with them. At Cairo, the Kaligh, diverted from the 
Nile and still in sight a few years ago, has totally disappeared to-day. At Paris, the 
Bievre, conducted in the twelfth century to the neighborhood of the Place Maubert, in 
the fifteenth century reduced to the elevation of the wine market, and at the end of 
the seventeenth century restored to its original mouth not far from the Austerlitz 
bridge, has just been completely covered over and wiped off the map as a Parisian 
river. At London, the Fleet River is now nothing but a memory. Was it not but 
a short time ago that the Paillon at Nice was hidden from view, and at Paris a part 
of the canal Saint- Mart in?" (E. Clouzot, "Le Probleme de la formation des villes," 
La Geographie, XX, 1909, p. 174). See also Mark Jefferson, "How American Cities 
Grow," Bull. Am. Geog. Soc, January, 19 15. 

2 We have taken great pains never to separate the "urban road" from the road 
with no qualifying word at all, and that since the first glance at "The material 
characteristics of the street and the road" (see above, sec. 2, and especially Fig. 42, 
p. in). 


volume of his Anthropogeographie, has devoted an entire 
chapter, a chapter both geographical and philosophical, to 
Wege (roads); 1 what Ratzel has done for extra-urban roads 
which connect population groups may be attempted also 
for urban " roads." The multiplicity, the regularity, and a 
certain physiognomy of streets correspond to different stages 
in the development of civilization. In the same way a definite 
differentiation is the sign of a progressive evolution; the 
carrefour (crossroads), for example, is a type of urban " space," 
a passing intermediary between the street proper and the 
square proper, which tends inevitably to disappear. 

Then, too, even the most modern cities, and older cities 
with all the more reason, are lacking in space set apart for 
the ever-increasing needs of circulation. There is no longer 
room enough for the excessive movement of individual or 
collective vehicles ; the streets are too narrow. Just as human 
dwellings have been placed above each other, that is, just 
as the house has multiplied its stories in cities of restricted 
area, so do paths of circulation tend toward superposition, one 
above the other. Thus have arisen subterranean or elevated 
roads (New York, London, Paris, Berlin, etc.). The streets 
of the future will doubtless consist of several stories. Even 
to-day the basements of some New York stores near large 
subway stations have been extended to the subterranean road 
so that the subway traveler may here and there look into 
well-lighted exhibition windows, underground drug stores, and 
small shops of many different kinds. 2 

The great railroad systems penetrate as far as possible into 
the cities in close touch with the electric cars and the urban 
railroads. All these are problems which have a geographical 
aspect. 3 

What a truly geographical picture is that of the small and 
large streets in a typical city, such as Genoa, which has hardly 

1 Anthropogeographie, II, chap. XVI, pp. 525-526; and I (2d edition, 1899), passim, 
especially p. 129. 

2 Ellsworth Huntington, "The Water Barriers of New York City," Geog. Rev., II, 
1916, pp. 169-188. 

3 See, for example, Ernst Egerer, "Die Entwickelung der stadtischen Personen- 
verkehrsmittel," Deutsche geog. Blatter, XXIX, 1906, pp. 154-176); and a good 
chapter on "Les Moyens de transport urbain," in the 5th series of the Mecanisme dela 
vie moderne, by Vicomte d'Avenel (Colin, Paris). 



had room to grow and none to change! What an abundance 
of small passages between the tall houses and what an abun- 
dance of varied names to designate their different kinds: via, 
street; vico, alley; vico chiuso, blind alley; salita, a little steep 
path; scaletta, little street in the form of a stairway; corso, 
courtyard; mura, rampart. 1 

In a large number of cities in Italy, Spain, France, Switzer- 
land, Greece, etc., which are grouped upon heights or around 
heights, we find real stairways, covered or uncovered, or 
streets in the form of stairways; in the Mediterranean countries 
this is particularly frequent, as at San Remo, at Genoa, at 

Naples, at Gir- 
genti (Fig. 96), at 
Jerusalem, and 
at Algiers. In 
the cities of the 
Middle Ages the 
street was rarely 
rectilinear and 
the houses along 
the street rarely 
in a straight line; 
cities of which 
certain quarters 
have kept their 
ancient character 
still furnish a liv- 
ing witness to 
this: Toledo and 
Cordova, Blois 
and Morlaix, Bru- 
ges and Ghent, 
Nuremberg and 
Ratisbon , etc. 

In the way of example we shall merely call attention to the 
special characteristics of those roads which, in most cities in 
France, are called boulevards. 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 96. A Street of Stairs at Girgenti (Ancient 
Agrigente, Sicily) 

These streets of stairs are accessible even to loaded 
animals, as can be seen by the mule which is completing 
the ascent of the steps. 

^ee, on the names given to the principal streets of various large or small cities, an 
article in the Austrian review. Zeitschr. fur Schul-Geographie. by L. G. Ricek, 
"Strassen," XXIX. 1908, pp. 371-377. 


The "Boulevard," "Avenue," "Paseo," "Anlage," "Corso," 
etc. (in French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, etc.), that 
is, the broader city street often planted with trees, is a charac- 
teristic: (a) of entirely modern cities recently built (see in 
particular the plans of American and Australian cities, of 
Johannesburg, and even of cities somewhat less recent such 
as Berlin, Odessa, Petrograd) ; or (b) of the newly built parts 
of old cities (the new sections of Cairo, Barcelona, Brussels, 
etc.). In the largest cities of to-day there is an ever-growing 
need of laying out and reserving, in the monotonous checker- 
board of streets cutting each other at right angles, some 
broader ways which become the main arteries of circulation. 1 
But the "Boulevard," "Avenue," "Anlage," etc., although 
always of recent creation, may be of more ancient origin and 
may have therefore a richer historical meaning and more 
interesting geographical characteristics. 

If we glance, for example, at a map of Paris, we are struck 
by the circular plan of that line of boulevards girdling the city 
which runs from the Bastille and the old Saint Antoine gate 
to the old gates of Saint Denis and of Richelieu: it is simply 
a plan of a part of the wall of Paris under Louis XIV. 2 

In fact, the "boulevard" represents very often the only part 
of ancient cities which, without too much demolition, could 
be changed into a broader street or series of streets; that is, 
it represents the line of ancient ramparts. These features of 
course often reproduce inexactly the ancient outlines of the 
fortification; the angles, the characteristic zigzags of certain 
types of ramparts, have disappeared to give place to a less 
complicated, less broken general direction ; but these boulevards 
as a whole emphasize in a new form essential traits of a past 
that has vanished (Moscow, Cracow, Prague with its Graben, 
Vienna with its Ring, Milan, Trent, Bruges, Namur, Cologne, 

1 George G. Chisholm, the eminent English geographer, has stated: "It is. how- 
ever, interesting to note that in ancient times cities were built with broad, rectilineal' 
streets. The Roman colonies were built on the model of the Roman camps. An 
English city such as Chichester still bears, in this respect, the Roman imprint, although 
it was not really a 'colony.' Some Greek colonies of Asia Minor have the same 

2 See the plan of Paris a Vavenement de Louis XIV, d'apres Gomboust, 1652, and 
other plans of Paris at various epochs, such as Paul Dupuy has successfully brought 
together for comparison in the Atlas Vidal-Lablache, Maps 46 b and 46c. See also 
the article by Paul Dupuy, "Le Sol et la croissance de Paris," Ann. de geog., IX, pp. 



Saragossa, etc.). In France there are abundant examples of 
large and small cities which to-day have boulevards on the sites 
of their ancient ramparts: Amiens, Rouen, Chartres, Dijon, 
Auxerre, Montlucon, etc. We shall call attention particularly, 
as showing this geographical fact in a distinctive manner, to 
the little city of Brive (Fig. 97) and to that of Beaune. 

An important characteristic of the city is the fortification 
which shows itself by walls and by the hollows of canals. 
What is the fortification but the contrary of the road, the 



Fig. 97- 

Brive (France); The Belt of Shaded Boulevards on the 
Site of the Ancient Ramparts 

Type of boulevard of historical character, the design of which preserves a former 
feature of urban physiognomy, that of the fortifications. 

geographical expression of the struggle against circulation? 
An urban center, because of this inevitable bond between its 
construction and the paths of communication, must be rich in 


ways of approach, and in so far as it profits from such abundance 
it is obliged to protect itself against the dangers of possible 
invasion and surrounds itself with works of defense. 

The most unpretentious facts of circulation on the earth 

Fig. 98. 

Jean Brunhes 

At Chateau d'Oex. A Fence Made of Split Rails Driven into 
the Ground and Crossed 

This very pretty type of fence was photographed in the mountains of Switzerland, 
and is quite common in Swiss and Austrian alpine regions; by its character it belongs 
to the geographic nature of forest zones, and it even uses up so much wood that in cer- 
tain districts in Austria there is a movement to replace these natural and geographic 
fences by barriers of other materials. 

are accompanied by other unpretentious facts of defense 
against "invasions" of circulation; pastures, fields, or gardens 
are inclosed with fences or walls. These fences or walls 
might be studied, from the geographical point of view (Figs. 
98, 99), in their mode of construction and their distribution 
just as we must study the most striking and colossal "con- 
tradictions" of circulation: the Great Wall of China or those 
walls of several miles in length in the south of Russia on the 
banks of the Dnieper (Smievy Vali, [ramparts of the serpent], 
Veliki Vol, etc.), the entire collection of old cities surrounded 
by walls and notably those which are still in existence, cities 
dead yet still alive, marvelously preserved jewels such as 



Fig. 99. The Walls Which Inxlose the Gardens of Damascus 

In the magnificent oasis of Damascus, the wood of the fruit trees is too valuable to 
be used in making fences; instead broken stone from the cones and from the terraces 
of the seven-armed Barada River furnished the essential elements for a sort of concrete 
out of which are made the large slabs that are used in building the protecting garden 

Fig. 100. 

Jean Brunhea 

Gates, Walls, and Towers of Old Aigues-Mortes 

What gives special interest to this city, the walls of which are so perfectly preserved, 
is that inside or in the shadow of these walls and towers still live some hundreds or 
thousands of inhabitants. The city is nearly dead, like a museum specimen, but in 
the center of all these masses of stone, now without use or reason, life endures, though 
reduced and diminished. 


Aigues-Mortes or the old city of Carcassonne (Figs, ioo and 
101), and finally the fortified castles of former times and 
the strongholds of to-day. 

We might undertake, in the same spirit, a critical geographi- 
cal comparison between the numerous castles of France. 

Fig. ioi. A City Dead Yet Alive: An Exceptional Type of Fortifications 
for Defense against Circulation. Plan of the City of 
Carcassonne, by Michel Jordy 

A thousand inhabitants still live inside the walls, where the castle and the great 
church of Saint Nazaire are located. The wall is double: the line of the interior wall 
is 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) in length; the exterior wall is 4,921 feet (1,500 meters). 
Between the two there is a protected and continuous circulation zone called "lists": 
"upper lists" and "lower lists"; in reality the two walls and the lists constitute a sort 
of city apart, completely separated from the interior city, and equipped to house and 
feed all the defenders (bake-houses, store-houses for food, etc.) At each gate are 
various defensive works. It is a real museum of the art of fortification, of which 
certain parts go back to the era of the Romans, of the Visigoths or of the Arabs, while 
others belong to the feudal or royal era. Here, one over the other, are the traces of 
more than a thousand years of history (from the first centuries of our era to Saint 
Louis and Philip the Bold in the 13th century.) 

According to their purpose and their date, each has taken 
advantage of certain natural facts, isolated heights, terminal 
tongues of lava flows, edges of plateaus, marshes or water 
courses, etc. Instead of examining the existing or ruined 
castles from the historical or artistic point of view, as has often 
been done, it would be interesting to introduce into this type 



of questions a principle of coordination that would be properly 
geographical. For this purpose, France, with its long historic 
past and the astonishing geological and geographical variety 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 102. Types of Elemental Agglomeration at the Foot and in the 
Shadow of a Castle: Sailhans (Dept. of Cantal) 

On the spur of basalt attached to the plateau of Planeze (arrondissement of Saint- 
Flour), stands an old castle which has been recently rebuilt and enlarged. A village 
of some houses has grown up at the foot of the short but steep slope, so well adapted 
and as if predestined for the establishment of a defensive post. Other houses, like 
those shown here, and even a little more numerous, border the foot of the rock on the 
other side. 

There are several other places of the same type at the end of lava-flows in the heights of the Auvergne 
Mts. ; see M. Boul and L. Farges, Dept. of Cantal, Guide for the Tourist, Naturalist and Archaeologist, Paris. 
Masson, 310 p., 85 illustrations and 2 maps in color. 

of its soil, would offer a field and a material of high value. 

Such researches would have an import all the more general 
because many villages and cities have sprung up or developed 
later in the shelter of and sometimes literally in the shadow 
of a castle 1 (Fig. 102). 

We have just thrown in purposely a sort of parenthesis in 
order to show once more how timely and how rich in results 
would be the study of the phenomena of human geography 

*On the complex, varied, and continuous role played by the chateaux, see E. 
Clouzot, "Le Probleme de la formation des villes," La Geographic, XX, 1909, pp. 
170-17 1, as well as Camille Jullian, " Les Villes fortes de la Gaule romaine," Journal 
des savants, February, 1908, pp. 72-79. See also A. Vacher, "Montlugon: Essai de 
geographie urbaine," Ann. de geog., XIII, 1904, pp. 121-137 and Plates V and VI. 


from their embryonic to their developed forms. The divisions 
in categories founded upon dimensions are much less instructive 
than "organic" divisions. If in the city the great fence of 
the rampart is bound to the road which it is destined to keep 
watch over or even to oppose, Fig. 98 shows also how the 
rudimentary fence and the smallest road, the path, are already 

Let us return to the relations between the city fortification 
and circulation. 

It will be interesting to study the historic type of boulevards 
in different countries. In Germany the types representing the 
different stages of the change seem exceptionally varied and 

First of all, certain German cities, like the cities just men- 
tioned, have visible traces of their ancient ramparts shown in 
the modern city by a belt of wide streets. At Dresden the 
ancient zone of fortifications is to-day marked by bands of 
great streets in two parallel lines. From this circular zone, 
running from the center toward the circumference, radiate 
broad, straight streets — Wettiner Strasse, Prager Strasse, 
Grunaer Strasse, etc. — boulevards with no historic value — 
which, diverging from one another with geometrical regularity, 
stretch away to those new sections where the street is planned 
before building begins, where the street precedes the house. 

Dresden is then a good specimen of an ordinary type which 
is frequently met with outside of Germany. But there are 
many other German cities which, from our present point of 
view, are rather original. It should, moreover, be noted that 
in general the name boulevard does not exist in Germany. 
This is rather a curious fact, for the word is of Germanic origin, 
and in its etymological meaning, bollwerk, recalls the historical 
genesis of this geographical feature of modern cities. 1 

In German cities on the site of the ramparts we find but 
rarely a street, properly so called, extending between two 
rows of houses as at Dresden ; but we find rather a promenade 
which often bears the name of Anlage or of Promenade; some- 
times, but much less often, the name of this promenade is 

x It is for this very reason that it seems well to us to adopt it as a general term, 
covering all the different terms which serve to designate the same fact. 


Avenue, the name more particularly used in English or Ameri- 
can cities. Finally, it sometimes happens that transformed 
parts of the ramparts have kept the name of Graben. 1 

But where the phenomenon becomes more typical as a 
geographical fact is this: The promenade remains often at 
the level of the ancient patrol road, 9, 13, or 16 feet (3, 4, 
or 5 meters) above the city which it surrounds. At Lubeck 
and at Stargard in Pomerania, for example, the former ram- 
parts have not been leveled and the Wallstrassen dominate 
these cities. At Gottingen the ramparts form a promenade, 
a celebrated "walk" near which is seen the house in which 
Bismarck lived as a student. 

At other times the moat, if not the embankment, of the 
ancient fortifications has been preserved. This moat exists 
more or less entire at Ratisbon, at Nuremberg, etc.; it is, 
moreover, accompanied by a road which follows it sometimes 
on the side toward the city, sometimes on the other side. 
Finally, the physiognomy of this type of "boulevard" is 
completed by walls, when they have been preserved, as at 
Nuremberg. It is seen that this type approaches very 
closely to the ancient ramparts themselves, but it is already 
a "boulevard." If the type were more perfect — if, for 
example, instead of being dry and occupied by the market 
gardens at Nuremberg, the moat were still filled with water 
like the famous Graben of the Oker, at Brunswick, and 
if there were no recent transformation for the sake of traffic — 
we could hardly speak of a new kind of road. We should 
have before us the ancient historic city, carefully preserved; 
we should no longer have to do with the boulevard, but with 
a rampart, and that would belong rather to the geography of 
fortification. 2 

^o it is at Frankfurt-am- Main: a little skating pond is called Bechner Graben. 
The ramparts of Frankfort have been replaced by Anlagen which follow the ancient 
angular design of the walls; and the old ramparts develop in proportion as there are 
places where remains of them still exist with vestiges of old moats before them. 
Similar observations could be made about many of the cities of German Switzerland. 

2 If one could go into great detail, one would take pains to distinguish between the 
cities which have long since spread beyond the boundary of their encircling walls and 
those which are still shut up within that circle, like Brunswick (following the 
example of Aigues-Mortes and of Carcassonne; it is. in fact, a question of examining 
two quite different cases: the deliberate change of the ramparts, accompanied by that 
desire which people have to-day to preserve ancient things, and the natural trans- 
formation, such as took place at a period when no care of that sort was exercised. 


We have said enough to indicate the fundamental difference 
between the two types of boulevard : the type which is generally 
rectilinear and the type usually winding or more or less com- 
pletely circular. 

Certain cities which are without parks will perhaps have 
the unexpected good fortune to obtain air, trees, and open 




ft <acn i illt 

Fig. 103. The Plan of the Future Belt of Parks in Paris on the Site of 
the Present Fortifications and Military Zone 

spaces by the transformation of their belt of fortifications. 
Paris is much less rich in public gardens than London; 1 but 
an imposing project, practical and beneficent, plans to trans- 
form the zone of fortifications and part of the military zone 
into a chaplet of playgrounds and parks, eleven in all, four 
of which are to be of large size (Fig. 103). If Paris some 
day receives this magnificent and peaceful halo of green she 
will owe it to the material precautions and guarantees which, 
through long years, threats of siege and invasion have forced 
her to take. 

1 See on this subject Eug. Henard, "Etudes sur les transformations de Paris," 
brochure 3, Les Grandes Espaces libres; les pares et les jardins de Paris et de Londres, 
H. Champion, Paris, 1903, reviewed and in part reproduced in La Geographie, IX, 
1904, pp. 197-204. 



Through these several lines of approach we are brought 
once more to the general geography of circulation. This 
phase of human geography has certainly received the fullest 
and best treatment. It is besides the core of economic 
geography, which hitherto has received more attention as a 
whole than human geography. Hence we need note here only 
its cardinal points. 

Can and must all economic facts touching on circulation, 
including even cost of transportation, commercial treaties, and 
free ports, be connected with the geography of circulation? 
And yet there is a method of studying, from the geographical 
point of view, even such complex problems as the international 
use of transalpine routes of travel and trade. 1 Geographers 
cannot forego their special part in such discussions nor their 
own particular interpretation of the physical and economic 
facts which are connected with the establishment of roads 
with greater or less gradients, the boring of great tunnels, 
the choice of certain routes. 

If it is a question of maritime circulation, the decisive 
predominance of the commerce of the Atlantic Ocean surpasses 
all other considerations. In 1903, according to Max Eckert, 
the commercial shipping of the world involved 46,000 vessels, 
with a registry of 2,723 million cubic feet 2 ; 44,000 vessels 
(of which 17,000 were steamers), with a registry of 2,645 
million cubic feet, belonged alone to the Atlantic Ocean and 
what might be called its maritime dependencies. 

In general, "for about twenty-five years vessels and ports 
have been passing through a crisis of growth the intensity 
of which surpasses the boldest prophecies and upsets all 
calculations." 3 

^ee Jean Brunhes, "La Question des voies d'acces au tunnel du Simplon," Rev. 
icon, internat., October 15-20, 1904, and especially "Les Relations actuelles entre 
la France et la Suisse et la question des voies d'acces au Simplon," 55 pages and 9 
maps or charts (a study which first appeared in Rev. icon, internat., February 15-20, 
1906), the conclusions of which agree with the results of the two international con- 
ferences of Berne in 1909 and with the clauses of the two international conventions 
which have resulted from it. 

2 Max Eckert, Der atlantische Ocean als handelsgeographisches Miltelmeer betrachtet, 
Ratzel Gedenkschrift, Seele & Co., Leipzig, 1904, pp. 41-60. 

3 Louis Fraissaingea, Le Probleme de la marine marchande, Larose, Paris, 1909, 
p. 2. See the documents, observations, and just conclusions which Marcel Dubois 
has gathered together in La Crise maritime, Guilmoto, Paris, 191 1. 


This is particularly true if we take under consideration the 
regular steamship lines, which J. Russell Smith, in his article 
on the "Organization of Ocean Commerce," separates into 
four groups: 1 

i. The fast passenger lines, whose freight business is merely 
incidental to their main purpose. Superiority in speed or 
at least regularity of speed is their first and almost their 
only aim. The North Atlantic Ocean is the predominant 
and even omnipotent center for these lines especially, and 
it is for the North Atlantic service that these gigantic human 
dwellings, provided with all the necessary equipment for 
practical, intellectual, artistic, sporting, and social life, have 
been constructed. 2 

2. The freight lines, less fast but less expensive, having a 
great relative importance in ports which do not seek to hold 
the first place in the transportation of travelers. 

3. Lines of steam navigation which are prolongations of 
railroads; where the railroad ends at a port which is the 
center of numerous lines of navigation, the railroad company 
does not think of establishing a line for its own service and 
correlated with its own service. "New York has no trans- 
atlantic line which is a prolongation of a railroad, while 
Philadelphia, Newport News, Pensacola, Portland, and Boston 
all have them." The Canadian Pacific maintains lines to 
Great Britain, a line on the Great Lakes, and a very impor- 
tant line of navigation from Vancouver to Japan, China, and 
Hong Kong. 

4. Private or industrial lines of navigation, destined pri- 
marily and sometimes even exclusively for definite kinds of 
transportation, of which a very striking example given by 

] See J. Russell Smith, "Les Transports oceaniques," Rev. icon, internat., March 15- 
20, 19 1 1, pp. 446-469; The Organization of Ocean Commerce, "Publications of the 
University of Pennsylvania, Series on Political Economy and Public Law," No. 17, 

2 The giant of the world was the Titanic, which, like the Olympic, belonged to the 
White Star Line. At the time of its first passage from Southampton, to New York 
in the night between the fourteenth and the fifteenth of April, 19 12, it collided with an 
iceberg and sank. Of the 2,200 passengers and crew of this veritable floating city, only 
a third could be saved. The Titanic measured 979 feet (268 meters) in length and 
displaced 51,037 tons; it cost $8,878,000 (46,000,000 francs). In 1913 the German 
company Hambourg- America launched the Imperator, with 55,115. 5 tons displacement. 
In April, 191 2, the Compagnie generale transatlantique placed in service the largest of 
its packets, La France, of 29,762 tons displacement, 712 feet (217 meters) long, capable 
of carrying 2,529 people, crew included. 


J. Russell Smith is that of the importation of bananas into 
the United States. 

This fruit forms by far the most important exportation in quantity 
from the Central American coast, Jamaica, and Colombia, and there 
are numerous ports which export almost nothing else. Moreover, 
it requires vessels of peculiar construction and with a speed rather 
superior to that of the tramp steamer. The perishable character of 
the fruit necessitates very careful organization for its handling and 
delivery in good condition, 1 factors which have served to bring about 
a consolidation of the business and the use of more than a hundred 
vessels by a single company which has a number of lines between 
ports of the United States on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico 
and the banana ports of the different coasts of the Caribbean Sea. 
In this particular case consolidation has gone still farther; the com- 
pany has found itself obliged to buy plantations, to cultivate bananas 
for transportation by its steamers, and to build railroads to trans- 
port the banana from the plantation to the port. Then, thanks to 
the speed of the banana vessels, it is easy to add a few cabins for 
passengers. Finally, the attractions of the coasts of the Caribbean 
make them a favorite objective point, so that a transportation com- 
pany for bananas has become, to a certain extent, a transportation 
company for travelers. To care for the travelers it has had to build 
hotels and thus complete a considerable group of industries centering 
about a particular enterprise in steam navigation. 2 

But if we should examine carefully maritime circulation 
on the globe as a whole, we should see alongside all these 
regular lines the literally innumerable multitude of isolated 
boats, vagabonds, tramp steamers, which, for the transporta- 
tion of merchandise, are the formidable competitors of the 
regular boats. 

The larger part of the world's freight comes from numerous 
little ports, often unknown to all those whom the nature of 
this freight does not directly interest. These small ports 
habitually load for only one direction, and often only one or 
two articles, ordinarily raw materials. 

Thus Galveston (Texas) exports by sea twenty times as much 
freight as it receives by sea, and the vessels leaving this port for 
foreign lands are almost as numerous as all those leaving the United 
States for South America; Brunswick (Georgia) exports large 

J 0n the general import of this question, from the point of view of circulation, see 
Henri Hitier, " Le Progres du commerce international des denrees perissables," Ann. 
de geog., XXI, 1012, pp. 109-117. 

2 Rev. icon, internat., March 15-20, 191 1, p. 463. 


quantities of building wood, as does Humboldt (California), while 
the insignificant localities of the custom house district of Pearl River, 
which has less than 100,000 inhabitants and of which the commerce 
almost exclusively consists of 350,000,000 feet of building timber 
per year, export more than 350,000 tons of maritime freight per 
year — a figure almost equal to that for Portland (Maine); Tampa 
(Florida) exports numerous cargoes of phosphate and Norfolk exports 
coal, while Santiago (Cuba) exports hundreds of thousands of tons 
of iron ore per year. The characteristic of hundreds of small ports 
scattered over the world is to load entire cargoes of one or two 
articles only for countries importing raw materials. The ports for 
building timber in the Gulf of Mexico have their counterpart in the 
Baltic, and the West Indian ports which exist on ore shipments have 
their counterparts in those of the Mediterranean. Besides the fact 
that small ports load great quantities of one or two commodities only, 
the organization of the traffic is made still more difficult by the irregu- 
larity of the season. Thus the wheat at Galveston is ready to be 
exported before that at Montreal; the season differs again for the 
Argentine, California, and the Indies; Hawaiian sugar is loaded at a 
different time from Java sugar, and the Cuban season differs from 
the season of German exportations. The season for loading cotton 
follows immediately after its harvest season, and even mineral 
sodium nitrate has its rush season because of its large consumption 
by establishments which manufacture fertilizers to be used in the 
spring sowing season of the Northern Hemisphere. The transpor- 
tation of building timber from the regions of the Baltic (northern 
Europe) to the consuming countries of western Europe gives rise to 
a traffic reaching more than twelve millions of tons per year and 
far surpassing in quantity the exportation of grain from America. 
Almost all the ports of the Baltic being blocked in the winter, nearly 
all of this transportation must be done in the warm months of the 
year. 1 

And yet, for very many of the heavier products, like iron 
ore, coal, etc., the time and duration of transportation are 
almost matters of indifference. These are the materials that 
aid preeminently in making up the cargoes of "tramps," 
which, according to their need and the necessity of stops, 
can offer reduced tariff. 

In the matter of the well-known rivalry, upon which there 
are such widely different comments, between the railways 
and the waterways, there are still facts which force themselves 
upon the attention, whatever be the conclusion that we may 
wish to draw from them. 

*J. Russell Smith, "Les Transports oceaniques," Rev. icon, internal., March 15-20, 
191 1, PP. 477-479- 


Yves Guyot has tried many times to show that a crisis in 
transportation by water exists everywhere. In England 
railroads are being used more and more. In the United 
States the phenomenon is still more striking. The Mississippi 
and the Missouri, a wonderful navigable system of nearly 
6,210 miles (to, 000 kilometers) in length, are becoming less 
and less used. 1 Ask any railroad man about the Mississippi 
and he will tell you that on account of its floods, the expense 
of bridging it, and the difficulties raised by terminals at towns 
on its banks, he would wish the "Father of Waters" into 
oblivion ! 2 

This deterioration in river commerce is increasing; there 
are now few boats on the Missouri. It should be added, 
however, that the Panama Canal makes possible a productive 
renewal of the entire system of navigation of the Mississippi 
and that the central and southern states are not neglecting 
to prepare for it. 

The United States has also in the north an admirable inland 
sea, a "Mediterranean," formed by the Great Lakes. From 
July, 1014, to July, 191 5, out of a net tonnage of 8,389,429 
tons for the commercial fleet of the whole country, more than 
two millions of tons (2,818,009) belonged to the Great Lakes, 
while the maritime tonnage was more than five million tons 

River traffic, properly speaking, is caught between the 
double necessity of being closely connected with maritime 
navigation, that is, of allowing few transshipments, and of 
having at its disposal in the interior good water stations to 
which railroad lines run. But it has in its favor the incom- 
parable advantage of cheapness for the transportation in 
bulk of heavy material. 

For quick transportation of travelers and mails the boat is 
being replaced by the railway; for example, the Indian Mail. 
In the second place, there is a tendency to avoid all trans- 
shipments by running an entire train upon the deck of a 

1 Guyot, La Crise des transports, Paris, 1908, and " Problemes des transports, 
La voie d'eau et la voie de terre," Rev. econ. internat., August 15-20, 1908, pp. 235- 

2 Isaiah Bowman, "Water Resources of the East St. Louis District," III. Geol. 
Survey, Bull. No. 5, 1907, pp. 4-6. 


properly adapted vessel called a ferry-boat, as for instance 
the quicker communication between the Danish Islands and 
the Continent. This sort of advantage in favor of rapid 
land circulation is so great that the chains of small islands 
which form a continuation of Florida have been joined by a 
continuous railroad and that now the 180 miles of ocean rail- 
way make it possible to reach Key West from the mainland 
without changing cars. 

Finally, in the matter of external and internal commerce, 
there exist striking differences between new countries and old 
countries with an ancient civilization where each district, for 
long centuries, has had to strive to be self-sufficient in the 
production of the necessities of life. In the young and new 
countries, on the contrary, specialization on a large scale in 
cultivation and in all productions is the rule. In the United 
States, for example, entire sections justly deserve the names 
of cotton belt or corn belt; thence comes an indispensable 
exchange between the different provinces that is striking in 
bulk and activity. Much more so than in the European 
states, interstate commerce by far surpasses foreign commerce. 
The statement is made by American schoolbooks, wrote 
H. Hauser in 1905, 1 that "our own products, transported from 
one point of the country to another to be sold at home, are 
worth about twenty-eight billions of dollars per year, or 
thirteen times the value of all our foreign commerce." The 
same idea may be expressed by saying that every citizen of 
the Union buys forty dollars' worth of domestic products to 
one dollar's worth of foreign. 

Geography will find a place in all these questions which 
concern commercial routes, 2 not as furnishing the only data 
but often the fundamental data, and as explaining the estab- 
lishment and development of the points chosen by man as 
points of contact between circulation by water and circulation 

X H. Hauser, "Le Commerce interieur aux Etats-Unis," Ann. de geog., XIV, 1905, 
p. 94. 

2 See the following: George G. Chisholm, Handbook of Commercial Geography, seventh 
edition, with an additional chapter on "Trade Routes," London, 1908; also, for an 
article on the geographic role of railroads, Hugh Robert Mill, "The Development 
of Habitable Lands: An Essay in Anthropogeography," Scottish Geog. Mag., February, 
1900, p. 128. See also George G. Chisholm, "The Geographical Relation of the 
Market to the Seats of Industry," Scottish Geog. Mag., April, 1910, especially pp. 176- 
177, and "Inland Waterways," Geog. Jour., July, 1907. 


by land. 1 There are ports and ports, and there are many 
ways of looking at and representing their value, their technical 
condition, and their zone of influence. 2 

If a port such as Hong Kong handles, counting the total 
entries and departures, about as many tons of merchandise 
as London or Antwerp, and three-fourths as many as New 
York, 3 that fact cannot fail to have a very great significance 
and we must imagine what such an entrepot represents at the 
entrance and outlet of the more populated zones of the world; 
but that cannot be the only measure of economic reach and 
power. Thus in the history of the towns of the Hanseatic 
League 4 there has not always been a rigorous correspondence 
between the bare statistical facts of a port and its historic 
or geographic significance. It is nevertheless true that, the 
farther we go, the more the numerical expression of gross 
tonnage becomes the mark and, as it were, the standard of 
economic or even political victories. 

The more the processes of technical construction are per- 
fected, the larger become the units of maritime traffic. The 
more colossal these units become, the smaller in number are 
the large ports. Ports are like clothes; they must not direct 
or stop growth — they must submit and conform to it. All 
history shows us, as a strict application of this law, a pro- 
gressive decrease in the number of the great available ports, 
true centers of economic influence. For the vast volume of 
maritime traffic and for the huge vessels which are the mani- 
festation of this colossal traffic, there are fewer ports to-day 
than there were yesterday; there will be fewer to-morrow 
than to-day. This is a formidable prospect for nations which 
possess only numerous medium-sized ports, but it is a prospect 

J See the collection of monographs published by the Scientific Society of Brussels 
on"Les Ports et leur fonction economique," Louvain, 1906, 1907, etc., and a number 
of regional, or special, studies: Arthur Raffalovich, " L'Amelioration des ports en 
Russie," Assoc. Internationale de la Marine, Congres de Copenhague, 1902, Paris, 1902, 
pp. 831-837; Paul de Rousiers, Les Grands Ports de France, leur role economique, 
A. Colin, Paris, 1909; etc. See also Ellen Churchill Semple, Influences of Geographic 
Environment, London, 1911, pp. 263-264, and chaps. VIII and IX. 

2 See, for example, Paul Langhans, " Die wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen der 
deutschen Kusten zum Meere," diagram on scale of 1: 1,500,000, Pelermanns Mitt., 
XLVI, 1900, Vol. X. 

3 Albrecht Penck has published a remarkable discussion of New York harbor, 
"Der Hafen von New York," in the collection Meereskunde, IV, Berlin, 1910. 

4 Ellen Churchill Semple, "The Development of the Hanse Towns in Relation 
to Their Geographical Environment," Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc, Vol. XXVI, 1899, No. 3. 


which is the result of a sort of unavoidable necessity both 
material and geographical. 

If we extend the domain of geography too far, we run great 
risk of leaving it altogether and running more than once into 
political economy and history. The Politische Geographie of 
Ratzel would require reservation on this point in more than 
one place. Just because a certain " geographical spirit" 
ought to inspire certain studies, it does not follow that such 
studies must be incorporated into geography — even human 

G. A. Hiickel, in coordinating them, has made a remark- 
able resume of a good share of the properly geographical 
theories of Friedrich Ratzel on the general geography of circu- 
lation. 1 

Modern progress in the ways and means of communication 2 
has determined: 

i . The multiplication of roads. 

2. Their development with regard to distances reached, as an 
effect of great discoveries. 

3. Their reduction to the shortest lines. 

4. The substitution of regions imposed by nature for regions 
and points accidentally chosen. 

5. The increase in extent of the space conquered and the increase 
in the possibility of transportation in bulk. 

6. The transportation of a large part of the continental traffic by 
river or sea; and for the systems of river traffic, the cutting of trans- 
verse canals from one basin to another. 

There is scarcely need of insisting on the originality of this 
theory, a theory as complete as that in reference to the evolution 
of a river system, and with which it has many analogies though 
there are also many important differences. 

The comparison does not stop there. Corresponding to the 
period of old age in a river system is the period of decadence 

1 Hiickel, "La geographie de la circulation selon Friedrich Ratzel," Ann. de geog., 
XV, 1906, pp. 401-418, and XVI, 1907, pp. 1-14. See also the important articles by 
A. Hettner in Vol. Ill of the Geog. Zeitschr. (1897) under the title " Der gegenwartige 
Stand der Verkehrsgeographie." 

2 See also Alfred de Foville, La Transformation des transports et ses consequences 
economiques et sociales. See also the report by E. Levasseur, Des changements sur- 
venus au XIX e siecle dans les conditions du commerce far suite du progres des votes et 
moyens de communications, a report presented to the International Congress of Eco- 
nomic and Commercial Geography, 1900, Paris, Society of Commercial Geography. 
On the development of means of transportation, consult the posthumous work, by 
Ferdinand von Richthofen, Vorlesungen iiber allgemeine Siedlungs und Verkehrs- 
geographie, edited by Otto Schluter, Dietrich Reimer (E. Vohsen), Berlin, 1908, pp. 


in commercial routes; it may be either the breaking up of 
the system by the exhaustion of the main artery of circula- 
tion which completely destroys the strength of the small 
arteries, or it may be, on the other hand, the weakening of 
the smaller routes through the gradual diminishing of popu- 
lation thus causing them to cease to feed the main channels 
of trade. The great arteries consequently weaken or dis- 
appear entirely. 

The many parts of a great system of trade routes are as 
delicately interrelated as are the many branches of a river 
system. A quickening of movement in the central artery 
has the effect of accelerating the movement in all the trib- 
utary lines. The opening of the Suez Canal and of a trade 
route by way of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea caused 
the creation and improvement of railroad lines crossing the 
Alps, the boring of the Saint Gotthard tunnel, the use of more 
powerful engines, and an increase of speed upon all the systems 
of Europe north of the Alps. 

The law of the "historic movement" is likewise a law of constant 
increase in rapidity of communication. 1 The transition from one 
mode of locomotion to another has of course not taken place without 
sudden jerks, but the harmony of a higher law has never failed to 
soften these transitions. After the establishment of railroads, the 
highways of Europe did not cease to be alive, and the activity upon 
them has even gained in importance in so far as they are properly 
adapted to the new system and feed the traffic of the railroads. 2 
In Siberia, on the contrary, the railroad, by taking the place of a 
system of traffic which used only a few sections of the highways, has 
caused a revolution by putting an end to the long caravans bearing 
tea, silk, etc. 

Transit and "entrepot" countries (Stapellander) . — The peoples that 
are most backward in developing their own trade grant to foreign 
merchants certain trade privileges. Some nations have awarded to 
themselves the privilege or the monopoly of trade; others have 
limited themselves to the role of intermediaries or middlemen. Here 
we find once more the transit region already mentioned; in certain 
cases the entire country plays the part of a market. In the 

iRatzel refers here to the work by W. Goetz, Die Verkehrswege im Dienste des 
Wellhandels (Stuttgart. 1888), where the subject of circulation has been treated by the 
purely historical method (criticized by A. Hettner, Geog. Zeitschr., Ill, 1897, p. 625). 

2 Add to this the development of automobiling and cycling, which have revived 
the incomparable value of the system of roads which France established in the first 
half of the nineteenth century. See the Minister of Public Works, Album de statis- 
tique graphique de igoo. Imp. nat., Paris, 1906, Plates 2 and 3. 


countries which Ratzel calls so strikingly Stapellander or entrepot 
countries (anciently etaples or landing-places), the inhabitants 
receive the imports and transport them at the farthest from one 
frontier to another. There were thus successively distinct series of 
numerous intermediate stations. In the Middle Ages, Arabia, 
Armenia, Persia, Greece, Italy, France, Flanders and Bruges, 1 and 
north Germany played this part of transit regions. The effect of 
each new development was to eliminate (ausschalten) an intermediary 
that had become superfluous and thus to cause the ruin of a com- 
mercial city or state (the Hanse towns, Flanders and Venice, which 
rose again at least as maritime powers, the Sabseans, the Bulgarians, 
the Armenians). In ancient times the enormous distance between 
the different centers of civilization favored the multiplicity of regions 
of transit: Arabia and Asia Minor. The Semites and the Greeks 
were, like the Italian republics in the Middle Ages, the great middle- 
men of commerce. 2 

It is particularly important in such a study to consider 
the following three types of regions in their distribution — 
exporting areas, importing or market regions, and transit 
regions. We can also divide the world into regions having 
analogous or slightly differentiated characteristics as far as 
the ways and means of transportation are concerned; these 
are the Verkehrsgebiete or trade regions. 

We can also consider the progressive development of trade 
and the new conditions, regional or local, which arise from it, 
in the same provinces of human geography. There are modes 
of traffic which result from the means utilized. A railway is by 
definition fixed; the train is bound to a fixed route and fixed 
stations; it must discharge or transship merchandise at its 
stopping-places. What a revolution this is in comparison with 
the ancient means of transportation, which were more primitive 
but also more pliable! The camel walks slowly, but he can 
be brought directly before the hut, the tent, or the bazaar of 
the one who desires the products he carries. It is facts of 
this sort which explain the resistance, not without reason, 
of certain groups to the progress of locomotion. For many 
years a group of camel caravans held in check the railroad 
company from Beirut to Damascus and confiscated to its own 
profit a large part of the traffic. 

1 Raoul Blanchard, La Flandre, Danel, Lille, 1906. 

2 Huckel, article quoted, Ann. de geog., XV, 1906, pp. 412, 413. 




We might further consider the very skillful adaptation to 
geographical conditions of the birch-bark canoe in the North 
American forest or of the sealskin kayak of the Eskimos, a 
slender skiff which seems one with its occupant, 1 or of the 
pirogue with its outrigger (Fig. 104); or the important part 
played by the wheeled cart or wagon, that marvelous instru- 
ment of transportation which was known in ancient times 
only in southern Asia (Fig. 106, p. 221) from China to Asia 
Minor and around the Mediterranean and which has sub- 
stituted the much diminished resistance of rolling for that of 
dragging or sliding. We might examine all the ingenious 
methods that man has discovered for facilitating transpor- 
tation on men's backs (baskets, etc.), or transportation with 
the help of animals. 2 

But the unparalleled superiority of the new means of 
transportation lies, not in their rapidity (the value of which 

Fig. 104. Pirogue of the Kanakas of New Caledonia 
Equipped with Outrigger and Sail 

is appreciated only by means of education), but in the weight — 
that is, the maximum and total weight — that can be trans- 
ported per unit. Formerly only precious products, such as 
incense, gold, and silk, could be transported any great distance. 

J See also an interesting note on David MacRitchie's Le Kayak dans V Europe 
septenlrionale, by Rabot in La Geographic, September 15, 191 1, pp. 186 180. 

2 See M. Haltenberger, "Primitive Carriers in Land Transportation," Bull. Amer. 
Geog. Soc, Vol. XLVII, 1915, pp. 729-745. 


Here is a rough comparison which explains the entrance into 
traffic of so many heavy materials and the unprecedented 
power of modern means of traffic: 

Approximate Equivalents of the Weights Transportable by 
Different Maritime and Terrestrial Means 1 

A great transatlantic steamer (merchandise 

transport) 22,050 tons 

An ordinary steamer 5,515 to 6,615 terns 

A large sailboat 3,307 to 5,515 tons 

A Rhine boat 1,102 tons 

A wagon for merchandise. ...... 1 1, 13, or 16 tons 

An automobile truck 2.7 to 5.5 tons 

A horse draws 2,205 pounds 

An ordinary aeroplane 2 carries 300 pounds 

An elephant carries 882 pounds 

A camel carries 441 pounds 

A horse or a mule carries 331 pounds 

An ass carries 165 to 220 pounds 

An eskimo dog draws 99 pounds 

An ass (in India) draws 55 pounds 

A sheep or a goat (in the Himalayas) carries .... 26 to 35 pounds 
A porter (in Africa or Asia) carries 55 to 66 pounds 

Of the two transportation animals of early America, the 
dog of the Eskimos in the extreme north and the llama in 
South America, the first can draw 99 pounds (45 kilograms) 
and the other carry 66 pounds (30 kilograms). At the time of 
Shackleton's expedition to the Antarctic, the sturdy Man- 
churian ponies, to which the explorers owed in part the success 
of their attempt, drew from 551 to 661 pounds (250 to 300 
kilograms). According to these figures, it takes about 10 
horses to draw the weight of ten tons carried by a small dray, 
and 45 camels, 60 horses, 100 asses, Or 330 men to carry this 
same weight. 

All the general geography of trade and traffic will describe 
in more or less detail the surface picture which results from the 

l A considerable number of figures in this table are borrowed from Max Eckert, 
Grundriss der H andels geographic , I, p. 143. 

2 An ordinary aeroplane carries, in reality, its pilot (165 lb.) (75 kilos.) and fuel 
enough for several hours of travel, which means 100 lbs. as a minimum. The 
development of aeroplanes has been so great since 1914 that one cannot really 
compare their possibilities with other means of transport. In 1919 an aeroplane 
carrying two men successfully crossed the Atlantic as a feat of endurance. In 
practical use, however, the radius of service is limited by many conditions. Dirigi- 
bles by virtue of being lighter than air, are not so strictly limited, and the weight 
carried depends on the volume; the cubic capacity of some of the destroyed Zeppelins 
was from 530,000 to 630,000 cubic feet (15,000 to 18,000 cubic meters), and they could 
carry as much as 6,000 lbs. (3,000 kilos.) — that is, about 40 persons. The British 
Dirigib'e B-34, which had a gas capacity of 12,000,000 cubic feet, and which in 1919 
made the first round trip from the British Isles to the United States, carried a total 
load of 68,640 pounds and was 75 hours in the air on its return journey. 




connection of facts on the earth. It will show the zones or 
points on the surface of the earth which are the chosen places 
of trade and it will show them as large or small, general or 

Fig. 106. At Colombo. 

V6rascope Richard 

The Wheeled Cart of Southern Asia 

local, with their characteristic equipment of means and 
agents of transportation (Figs. 105, 107, 108, pp. 220, 222, 
224). It must even see, as it were, in all their reality, phenom- 
ena of larger dimensions, the whole of which our eyes cannot 
actually grasp: the close cluster of maritime commercial lines 
in the North Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean; the points 
of the earth's crust where all these more or less divergent lines 
approach to join and mingle, either ending at a great port or 
passing through a narrow way, such as the Suez Canal, etc.; 
the world system or local systems of telegraph or telephone 
wires, the network of submarine cables, etc. 1 

x With regard to cables, see especially Th. Lenschau, Das Weltkabelnelz ange- 
wandte Geographie, I, i, Halle, 1903; and Maxime de Margerie, Le Reseau anglais de 
cables sous-marins, A. Pedone, Paris, June, 1910. See, too, the Nomenclature des 
cables formant le reseau sous-marin du globe, published by the International Telegraph 
Bureau at Bern. For the Suez Canal, the success of which has surpassed all expecta- 
tions, consult the articles in Rev. de Paris, October 1, October 15, and November 1, 
1899), as well as J. Charles-Roux, L'Isthme et le canal de Suez, historique, etat actuel, 
Hachette, Paris, 1901, 2 vols, of more than 500 pages, 268 figures, and 18 plates. 
For the Panama Canal, see Haskin, The Panama Canal, 1914; E. R. Johnson, The 
Panama Canal, 1916. 



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From this point of view, how different is the actual physiog- 
nomy of the various continents! 

Asia [says Hiickel 1 in summing up], with its belt of high plateaus, 
steppes, and deserts, forces the great routes to turn to the north 
(trans-Siberian railroad) 2 and to the south (Suez Canal, Bagdad 
railroad). It is less favored than America with its great trans- 
continental communications (railroads of North America, the 
Panama Canal). 

Africa, a country of plateaus, without peninsulas, obliges trade 
to follow the great hydrographic systems such as that of the Nile 
and is but lightly touched by the great lines of ocean commerce. 
Finally, Australia, an isolated continent, ten days from Singapore 
and fourteen from Ceylon, is of such character in the interior that 
its states were long compelled to communicate with each other only 
by sea and are really bound together — and here not closely — only in 
the east. 

In Europe the trade systems are particularly crowded toward the 
west. From the strip of central Europe, limited on the north by 
the Warsaw-Berlin-Cologne-Brussels line and on the south by the 
Budapest-Vienna-Munich-Paris line, are clearly distinguished the 
insular and peninsular countries situated north of 55° and south of 
45 N. latitude. The paths of trade, which diverge toward the east, 
approach each other in the west at Hamburg, Antwerp, the ports of 
France, and Lisbon. 3 

Along with these currents of trade of which the direction is 
"latitudinal" must be mentioned the oblique currents passing 
from London to the Mediterranean Sea and especially that 
very active strip that runs from Paris to Marseilles. It is 

1 Article quoted, Ann. de geog., XV, 1906, p. 406. 

2 Trans-Siberian: the International Company of Sleeping-Cars before 1014 main- 
tained a combined service of sleeping-cars of the first and second class which placed 
Paris but fourteen days from Japan. From London, from Brussels, or from Paris one 
could reach Berlin by the Nord-Express; then leaving Berlin on Tuesday, between 
7:00 and 8:00 in the morning, arrive at Moscow Wednesday evening, at Omsk 
Sunday morning, , at Irkutsk Tuesday night, and at Vladivostok the following 
Saturday at 9:25 in the evening (Kharbin time), or at 3 o'clock in the afternoon 
(Petrograd time). 

3 See J. Partsch, Mitteleuropa (Gotha, 1904), pp. 408-410. P. Vidal de la Blache, 
Tableau de la geographie de la France (Paris, 1903, pp. 31-32), shows that the ancient 
routes of migration and the prehistoric zones of settlement correspoxid with several 
avenues which traverse Europe from east to west: first, through the valley of the 
Danube, ending in Burgundy; second, through the German plain and Belgium, ending 
in Picardy; third, through the alluvial plains along the shore of the North Sea, as 
far as Flanders. 




represented on the ground to-day, almost from one end 
to the other, by four lines which are hardly sufficient to bear 
the trafhc. 

It is impossible also not to note the great diverging fan of 
railroad tracks which has its center in the plain of the Po and 
the lines of which cross the Alps through the great transalpine 
tunnels and stretch away to the extremities of Europe — to 
London in the west and Petrograd in the east. The old 
attraction of the Mediterranean and of Italy, which is pre- 
eminently the historical embodiment of the " empire" of the 
Mediterranean, is shown by this design in steel, one of 
the most expressive in Europe. 

Switzerland has profited from this attraction in large 
measure, and, but for the concentration of trade brought 
about by the bow-like form of the Alps and the activity of 
the Italians of the north, she would doubtless have remained 
outside the great economic currents instead of being master of 
their subterranean gates. It seems, however, that a certain 
movement is taking shape which aims at independence of 
this concentration of lines in upper Italy and which, while 
awaiting merchandise, is beginning by turning aside some 
thousands of travelers. 1 

In 1909 Austria inaugurated the line and tunnel of the 
Tauern which bring Hamburg, Berlin, and Munich respectively 
within 801, 1,120, and 323 miles (1,290, 1,804, and 520 kilo- 
meters) of Trieste, instead of the 892, 866, and 502 miles 
(1,436, 1,395, an d 808 kilometers) which separate them from 
Genoa by way of Saint Gotthard. Toward the west a train 
de luxe was formed, the Riviera Express, which ran from 
Berlin to Ventimiglia in less than thirty-two hours. This 
line not only goes around the western curve of the Alps but 
passes through Mtilhausen, Belfort, Besancon, Bourg-en- 
Bresse, and Lyons, avoiding Swiss territory. 

Let us go still farther. All the facts of traffic must be looked 
at in themselves and for themselves exactly as the facts of 
installation were considered (Sec. 4, p. 1 3 1 ) . They are localized ; 
it is therefore proper, after having denned their typical form 

^Merchandise is more rigorously faithful to certain lines of circulation and more 
strictly bound to certain laws of transit, such as the law of the shortest distance 
in miles. 




and appearance, to seek to determine: (i) their site (zone of 
extension); (2) their dissemination or concentration; and 
especially (3) their limits. 

The systems of inland paths of navigation and the rail- 
road systems, whether in each country or in the world as a 
whole, present themselves to us with zones of maximum 
density 1 and with limits. It will always be one of the real 
concerns of geography to determine these maxima of density 
and to fix these limits: limits in latitude (examples for rail- 
roads: the most northern line in the world is the Scandi- 
navian line which runs from Gellivara to Narvik and to the 
Ofoten Fjord and which reaches 68° 27' N. latitude; the most 
southern system is that of New Zealand) and limits in altitude. 
For maximum altitudes in South America, see the figures given 
apropos of the large cities of the world above 4,900 feet (1,500 
meters), pp. 188—195; maximum altitudes of the cog railways 
in use in Switzerland: the terminal station of the Gorner Grat, 
9,902 feet (3,018 meters); the Eismeer station, which is only 
a temporary terminus of the Jungfrau Railroad, 10,371 feet 
(3,161 meters); higher altitudes of North American railroads: 
the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, 11,329 feet (3,453 meters) ; 
the Pikes Peak Railroad, 13,976 feet (4,260 meters); the 
Moffat Road, 11,660 feet (3,554 meters). 

From the local point of view, as far as the method to be 
followed is concerned, we know of no better model than the 
article by H. Baulig, "Sur la distribution des moyens de trans- 
port et de circulation chez les indigenes de l'Amerique du 
Nord," an article that is all the more remarkable because it is 

x The calculation of what is called the density of a railroad system is delicate and 
susceptible of various critical interpretations; see Geog. Zeitschr., VI, 1900, pp. 220- 
223, 395-396, and 635-639. At the end of 1909, Europe with its 146,000 miles (235,- 
000 kilometers) of railroad, North America with its 300,000 miles (485,000 kilometers) 
and Asia with its 48,500 miles (78,000 kilometers) represented respectively 35 per cent, 
50 per cent, and 8 per cent of the total of the railroads of the world. But these absolute 
values are insufficient to represent the human value of these means of communication. 
The United States, for example, have built 228,528 miles (368,000 kilometers), but 
this makes only an average of about 241 miles (389 kilometers) for a surface of 3,861 
square miles (10,000 square kilometers); for a similar surface of 3,861 square miles 
(10,000 square kilometers), see the length of railroads constructed in some typical 
states (according to the Geog. Statistische Tabellen by v. Juraschek) : 

United States 242 miles 390 kilometers 

France 460 " 740 

Germany 670 " 1,080 

United Kingdom 732 " 1,180 

Switzerland 739 " 1.190 

Belgium 1.577 " 2,540 " 


primarily the explanation of, and a commentary for, a map 1 
(Fig. 109, page 226). 

Let us conclude with a reflection of more general import 
and one which may serve as the real bond between this chap- 
ter and those to follow. Traffic or circulation is brought 
about by all the characteristic forms of destructive economy 
and the necessary migrations which result from them (see 
chapters IV and V), and, above all, by trade. Trade tends 
to bring raw materials or manufactured products to those 
places where there is a demand for them or where they are 
useful. Moreover, physiological appetites and needs of food 
among men are not all; there is something more than the 
stomach; human society has other needs; there is notably 
the need of labor which has been the explanation of so many 
transplantings of human beings (see chapter IV). How 
many currents of continuous immigration or how much of 
the ebb and flow of periodic migrations are determined and 
directed by calls for labor! From this point of view, the 
demands, repeated each year, which bring down the moun- 
taineers of the Ligurian Appenines to the rice fields of Novara 
or Vercelli are the equivalent of those indispensable demands 
for Italian labor which arise whenever a great transalpine 
tunnel is to be dug, or again of those more or less lasting 
transplantings under the influence of intermittent industrial 
exploitations of which German brickyards furnish a typical 
example. The brick industry (which to-day tends to become 
a permanent industry) remained for a long time, and is still 
in large part, a matter of season, and it is migrating work- 
men who furnish the necessary labor: before 19 14 Russians 
and Poles had penetrated to the brickyards of the Weser and of 
the Elbe; Czechs had invaded the brickyards of Saxony; 
Walloons and Dutch worked in those of the Rhinelands 
and Westphalia; and Italians came naturally to offer them- 
selves to the brickmakers of southern Germany. 2 

1 Ann. de geog., XVII, 1908, pp. 433-459, a study based principally on the docu- 
ments published by O. T. Mason in the various collections of the Smithsonian In- 
stitute. The map reproduced here is from the map by H. Baulig, published in the 
Annales, p. 435. 

sSee Bruno Heinemann, Die wirtschaftliche und sociale Entwickelung der deutschen 
Ziegelindustrie unter dem Einflusse der Technik, Werner Klinckhardt, Leipzig, 1909; 
and by the same author, "La Briqueterie allemande," Rev. Scon, internat., April 15-20, 
1910, pp. 116-131. 


As a synthetic expression of all these needs and as a result- 
ant of all their first experiences in exploiting and exchange, 
men learn to conquer space — free space and, especially, space 
populated by human beings — and they acquire more and 
more the spirit of conquest. In this sense circulation, or the 
movement of trade, becomes the conqueror of space. No 
true power results from space alone, from naked space. 
Space has value only through its connections with life. 







/. The geography of plants and animals in their relations to 

the important facts of climate. 
2. Origin, importance, and number of cultivated plants and 

domesticated animals, 
j. The principal cereals chosen as types of cultivated plants: 

wheat, rye, barley, oats, maize, and rice. 

4. Other types of plant production. 

5. Plant and animal types of textile products: cotton, silk, 
and wool. 

6. Pastoral nomadism: typical forms; varied farms; weakened 
forms; semi-nomadism. n 




From the geographical point of view, the geography of 
plants is still more significant than the geography of animals. 
Plants do not move ; they are fixed in the ground and therefore 
cannot avoid certain extremes of temperature or of insolation 
which animals can easily escape by a change of place. Fur- 
ther, plants are really the fundamental part of human food. 
The animals upon which man feeds live upon plants or upon 
other animals which are herbivorous. The distribution of 

1 References: A. R. Wallace, The Geographical Distribution of Animals, 2 vols., 
London, 1876; Angelo Heilprin, The Geographical and Geological Distribution of 
Animals, London, 1887; W. L. and P. L. Sclater, The Geography of Mammals, London, 
1899; E. Warming (English adaptation by Percy Groom and J. B. Balfour), Oecology 
of Plants, Oxford, 1909; F. E. Clements, Plant Physiology, and Ecology, New York, 
1907; M. E. Hardy, An Introduction to Plant Geography, Oxford, 1913; M. I. New- 
bigin. Animal Geography, Oxford, IQ13; V. C. Finch and O. E. Baker, Geography of 
the World's Agriculture, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C, 1917. 



cultivation therefore lends itself to geographical analysis to 
a degree much more striking than the distribution of domestic 

For this reason, while not ignoring the subject of animal 
conquest, we shall deal more particularly with that of plants. 

Plants form organic groups which reflect the strong influence 
of the environment in which they live. The earlier classi- 
fications of botanical geography gave too much importance 
to climate alone and to certain particular factors of climate. 
This notion has given place to a much truer and more exact 
idea — the idea of environment. We must take into con- 
sideration the entire environment — climate, soil, and, finally, 
the living beings and the other plants beside which and among 
which a certain plant is obliged to develop. Certain plants 
live together in groups, even while belonging to different 
species; they join together because they happen to be adapted, 
in a somewhat similar manner, to the general conditions of 
that part of the earth in which they grow. 

A plant is in itself a complex. It is composed of different 
organs which endure in a different manner a given phenomenon 
of temperature, and each of the reproductive or vegetative 
organs of the plant has an annual evolution which causes it 
to feel differently the effects of the succession of the seasons. 
The ideal for a plant will be the climate, the soil, and the 
biological environment which will correspond each moment 
to the progressive demands of its organization and its life; 
thus is formed the idea of biological optimum. Theoretical 
analysis cannot tell us a priori how a plant will act with refer- 
ence to a given soil. 

Certain soils are rich in salts which the plant requires, but 
these salts occur in an insoluble or unassimilable form and the 
plant then finds itself in the same condition as if these salts 
did not exist. Inversely, some plants (halophilous, calciphi- 
lous, and others) seem to seek soils rich in mineral elements 
(sodium chloride, carbonate of lime, etc.). They simply have 
an organization which enables them to endure these salts 
in quantities that to other species would be iniurious or 
even fatal. 

The learned Belgian specialist in agronomy, A. Proost, 


has demonstrated theoretically and by many experiments 
the value of what he calls the "analysis of the soil by the 
plant/' 1 

Regions of the earth may be rich in precipitation, as New 
Zealand or certain islands on the coast of Brittany or Fries- 
land; yet the strong, continuous winds may cause such evap- 
oration that the plants, though receiving more than 6 or 10 
feet (2 or 3 meters) of water per year, are compelled to protect 
themselves against evaporation exactly as in a desert region. 

A phenomenon of the same order is sometimes found magni- 
fied in a still more typical fashion when we reach the regions 
of the far North. For example, on the western coast of Green- 
land, plants have been found which protect themselves from 
evaporation by the same processes and often with the same 
outward behavior as certain plants in the middle of the 
Sahara. 2 

In western Europe precipitation takes place during the 
winter season, but in a form and at a temperature such that 
the plant cannot profit by it; and that is why the organs 
of respiration and transpiration disappear : the trees lose 
their leaves. In other words the plants adapted during a part 
of the year to a damp climate (plants called hydrophytes) 
become during the remainder of the year practically different 
plants and as if suited to a dry climate (such plants being 
called xerophytes); and such changing plants are known as 

Finally, soil has no value for plants except in connection 
with climate, and, inversely, climate only in connection with 

x " In a blackish, earthy alluvium, along the banks of the Dyle at Ottignies-Mousty, 
there is, in places, a profusion of plants containing potassium, although this alluvium 
is in itself very poor in potassium. This anomaly is explained by certain mixtures 
of glauconiferous sands, the green or black grains of which contain, as we know, some 
soluble potassium in the form of carbonate. In the same way, feldspar and mica also 
yield a certain amount of potassium, which is not revealed by the usual laboratory 
analyses" (Carte agricole de la Belgique, Proces-verbaux des reunions consultatives, 
Brussels, 1901, p. 33). On the subject of plants as showing the composition of the 
soil, see E. W. Hilgard, Soils, Their Formation, Properties, Composition, and Relations 
to Climate and Plant Growth in the Humid and Arid Regions, Macmillan. New York, 
1906, as well as the article devoted to this book by A. Woeikof in Ann. de geog., XVI, 
1907; read especially pp. 386 and 398. 

2 The soil of the Arctic regions, because of the prevailing low temperatures which 
do not allow absorption of moisture by plants, ought really to be considered as being 
almost always physiologically dry. On this subject see M. Rikli, Die Pftanzenwelt 
des hohen Nordens in ihren Beziehungen zu Klima und Bodenbeschaffenheit, St. 
Gallen, 1903. 


soil. 1 Certain limestones exclude certain families of plants 
in damp regions, while the same limestones are very favor- 
able to these same plants in regions such as that about the 
Mediterranean. There rain is rarer in spring and summer 
and occurs only in the form of passing showers; the quantity 
of carbonate of lime which is thus placed at the disposition 
of the plant is not likely to be so abundant as to stifle it, 
something which occurs normally in limestone regions watered 
by fine and continuous rains. 

All these phenomena show us how insufficient is analysis 
alone to enable us to understand the conditions of life on the 
earth as a whole. We must consider the entire group of natural 
conditions in the many delicate and almost imperceptible 
connections existing between these different factors which 
form the environment. One can easily see then that the plant 
should be considered as a sort of telltale mark of these groups 
of conditions. 

Since we thus arrive at the fundamental notion of environ- 
ment, we cannot insist too strongly upon the importance of 

1 This is so emphatically true that, at the first Agrogeological Conference of Buda- 
pest in 1909 (the second was held in 19 10 at Stockholm), the compilation of a "soil map 
of Europe on a climatic basis" was discussed. In summarizing the chief points of 
a report on this subject made by Treitz at Budapest, Th. Bieler-Chatelan communi- 
cated to the Society of Natural Sciences of the canton of Vaud the following curious 
and typical observations: "In the plain of the Rhone, above Martigny (Valais), it 
is an established fact that in several places, especially at Saxon, Econe, Sion, and 
Granges, the soil during the dry season becomes covered with saline efflorescences. 
These salts, whether sulphate of sodium (as at Econe) or sulphate of magnesium 
(as at Saxon), form sometimes quite extensive beds, very harmful to vegetation, 
especially when they produce at the surface of the soil a crust capable, so to speak, of 
strangling young plants. This formation seems at first sight surprising in a region 
where the annual rainfall (600 mm., 23 .68 inches), although the lowest in Switzerland, 
yet considerably surpasses that of regions with an arid continental climate. It would 
be truly surprising if the air remained motionless; but this is not the case. In the 
valley of the Rhone there is a constant wind that accelerates the evaporation of the 
soil and thus causes the saline solution to rise to the surface, where it is concentrated 
and forms a crust of considerable hardness as it dries. We have found proof of this 
in measuring the salinity of the soil at different depths, at the School of Agriculture 
at Ec6ne (near Riddes), where the beds are formed of sulphate of sodium: 


Crust at the surface 42 . o per cent 

at 3 . 9 inches 4.6 per cent 

at 7 . 8 inches 9 per cent 

" at 1 1 . 8 inches 5 per cent 

"There is, then, a very distinct progressive increase in salinity from the depth toward 
the surface" (minutes of the session of April 20, 19 10, Societe vaudoise des sciences 
naturelles). So, a short distance from the high snow peaks and the glaciers of the 
Swiss Alps, at the bottom of that depression in Valais, certain local climatic conditions, 
when the valley is overheated and dry, produce saline efflorescences similar in every 
way to those which appear in desert territories. See Brunhes, L' Irrigation, p. 235, 
Fig. 22, and p. 325, Fig. 44- 



the human environment, its density, and its quality from the 
point of view of cultivation. Cultivated plants depend upon 
the number of men, upon the strength and fitness of human 
muscles, as much as upon the climate and the soil. These 
factors have been too often neglected, not only in strictly 
agronomic studies, but also in economic studies. One of the 
purposes of human geography is to make clear this factor of 

The geography of cultivated plants and domestic animals is 
then directly connected with the general geography of climates, 
and in order to localize either it is indispensable to distinguish 
on the earth's surface the chief climatic zones. By reference 
to these zones we shall be able, in the following pages, to 
indicate clearly to what sections certain plants and animals 

Among the natural classifications of the climates of the earth 
there is one in particular which imposes itself upon us — 
that of Koppen. Climate being above all a very complex 
fact, we run the risk, if we consider separately temperature, 
pressure, or rainfall, of failing to understand the synthetic 
reality which is the result of the combination and reciprocal 
reactions of these different factors. The plant, on the con- 
trary, which forms a part of the natural vegetation of a 
region, being obliged to undergo the complex and combined 
effects of all the factors of climate, constitutes a recording 
apparatus which can show to a remarkable extent, if it be 
well chosen, the cumulative effects of the different climatic 
phenomena. Such a classification based upon facts of vege- 
tation will be all the more valuable for us as we proceed to 
consider in what natural regions can live and develop (i) 
plants which are cultivated and (2) animals living upon plants. 

Flahault 1 has simplified the work of Koppen. 2 We take 
the liberty, for our present purpose, of restricting the number 
of natural provinces and of reducing the general table to a few 
simple and fundamental features which may serve us as guides 

J See Ch. Flahault, "Le Progres de la geographie botanique depuis 1884, son 6tat 
actuel, ses problemes," Progressus rei bolanicae, I, 1906, pp. 276-284. 

2 See W. P. Koppen, " Versuch einer Klassifikation der Klimate, vorzugsweise nach 
ihren Beziehungen zur Pflanzemvelt," Geog. Zeitschr., VI, 1900, pp. 593-611, 657- 
679, and Plates 6 and 7. 


for the studies to follow. We give here first of all this simplified 
classification as a whole: 

Climates of the Earth 
Simplified Synthetic Table, according to Koppen and Flahault 1 k 

A. Megathermal (warm and humid) : 
i. Climate of the lianas 

2. Climate of the tropical savannas 

B. Xerophilous (dry): 

i . Climate of the date palm 

2. Climate of the saxaul 

3. Climate of the herbaceous steppes 

C. Mesothermal (middle zones) : 

1 . Climate of the olive tree 

2. Climate of the maize 

3. Climate of the camelia 

4. Climate of the high savannas 

D. Microthermal (moderate cold) : 

1 . Climate of the deciduous oak 

2. Climate of the birch 

E. Hekistothermal (cold) : 

1. Climate of the white fox (arctic tundras) 

2. Climate of the penguin (antarctic tundras) 

3. Climate of the yak (Tibet) 

4. Climate of the chamois (Alps; 

A brief commentary will suffice to outline the characteristics 
of each of these provinces of the earth. 

A. Megathermal Climates 

Megathermal climates are the warm and damp climates 
of the equatorial regions, or regions which have similar 
characteristics, like those which are watered by the heavier 
summer rains of the monsoons. 

Among these climates we distinguish two main groups of 
natural provinces: 

1. The first is that of typical equatorial regions {climate of 
the lianas with no dry seasons and more than 7 5 inches of annual 
rainfall). The forests are very tall, always green, and full of 

1 Some time before Koppen, A. de Candolle, Grisebach, Woeikof, and Drude 
popularized the ideas of megathermal, xerophilous, and microthermal climates, etc. 


vines and epiphytic plants; 1 this is particularly the region of 
the great palms, which, excepting the date palm, nearly all 
belong to hot and damp regions. 

2. The other group is that of the bordering zones of the 
equatorial region. North and south of the equator the rains 
decrease both in intensity and in duration; they become 
seasonal rains depending upon the zenithal position of the 
sun. Here, then, occurs a dry period of longer or shorter 
duration, increasing in length the farther we go from the 
equatorial region. The large forests are less dense and they 
tend to break up; groups of trees only occasionally appear in 
the midst of wide stretches of grass; finally the grass covers 
the entire ground. This is the zone of the tropical savannas, 
dominated very often in Africa by that magnificent and 
characteristic tree, the baobab. To this zone corresponds the 
large, fertile, and dense transitional region which is situated, 
in central Africa, between the Congo Forest and the Sahara 
and forms the Sudan. 

B. Xerophilous Climates 

Xerophilous climates are those which impose on vegetation 
a special adaptation to dryness: deserts and steppes covered 
by thorny bushes and a series of plants with long, penetrating 
roots which spread in clusters. This zone of xerophilous 
climates forms everywhere a barrier to the intensive develop- 
ment of human life and economic activity. The only points 
where man can make permanent settlements are in the oases 
where water is available. 

Among the xerophilous climates Koppen distinguishes a 
first province under the name of climate of the date tree. Here 
the fact of cultivation serves to express the general conditions 
of the climate. The date palm cannot endure cold. 2 It 
belongs to regions of which the mean annual temperature is 
above 20 C. (68° F.); it disappears as soon as the desert is 

1 Good clear descriptions of the various types of vegetation, descriptions which 
include physiological, physiognomical, and geographical viewpoints, may be found 
in Edmond Gain, "Introduction a l'etude des regions florales. Notions de geographie 
botanique," Parts I and II, Bulletin de V Institut colonial de Nancy, Crepin-Leblond, 
Nancy, 1908, See I, pp. 60 ff. 

2 See Brunhes, L'lrrigation, etc., p. 241, and consult the monograph by Theobald 
Fischer, "Die Dattelpalme, ihre geographische Verbreitung und kulturhistorische 
Bedeutung," Petermanns Mitt., Erganzungsheft, No. 64, 1881. 


subject to a cold season. The great regions of the date palm, 
such as the Sahara and Arabia, are the natural habitat of 
running animals — the ostrich, the camel, the horse. 

Beside these warm deserts we must place, because of simi- 
larity and contrast, the cold deserts — that is, the deserts 
with a severe winter. 1 Deserts with a cold winter occupy 
depressions such as that occupied by the Transcaspian desert. 
There an indigenous shrub, the saxaul, has developed, and 
has helped in the conquest of the desert by holding the 
dunes in place. 

Between the hot and the cold deserts and on their borders 
we meet with a whole series of transitions which correspond 
to different steppes, more or less dry or damp. In particular, 
the deserts with a cold winter are bordered on the north by 
zones where condensation causes summer rains. Vegetative 
activity here often undergoes winter and summer interruptions. 
Nevertheless the vegetation appears in the form of a contin- 
uous carpet. This is the great zone of the prairie steppes 
which extends from Mongolia into central Europe and which 
has played so large a part in the history of the Old World. 
This same zone is represented by the western prairies of 
North America. 

C. Mesothermal Climates 

As we approach the middle zones corresponding to the 
mesothermal climates, the combinations of shades of difference 
are more manifold and these shades of difference are them- 
selves more varied. That is, the natural provinces are more 
and more numerous and of less extent. 

We shall select from these mesothermal climates only the 
types of greatest interest from the point of view of human 
geography. The climate of the olive tree is above all the climate 
of the European Mediterranean, with mild and damp winters 
and winter rains which, according to conditions, are more 
vernal or more autumnal and which precede or follow dry 
summers. Here are found trees and shrubs which are always 

1 Deserts with a rigorous winter, but with a summer always hot and dry. Do not 
confuse this type of desert, always partially warm, with deserts where the soil is always 
frozen. See, below, the hekistothermal climates, and see farther on the two principal 
types of desert which are distinguished, both in the text, p. 243, and on the map, 
Fig. in, pp. 244-245. 


green and that bushy vegetation of which we have already 
had occasion to speak in the chapter on the house. 

The climate of the maize represents the transition between 
the prairie steppes and the region characterized by the olive 
tree. The winter is not severe, the spring and early summer 
are damp, the summer and the autumn are dry. It is the 
rainfall and sunlight of the early growing season which favor 
the cultivation of maize. This type is met with in northern 
Italy, in Roumania, and in the United States. 

The climate of the camelia corresponds to a better watered 
summer, to a continuation of the rains into the middle of 
summer. This is the climate of southern China, of the eastern 
end of the Black Sea, of the lake region of northern Italy, and 
of the plains of Uruguay and Paraguay; this zone is impor- 
tant because in Asia it represents the principal zone of tea. 

These last types of climate, belonging to regions that are 
inclined, so to speak, to a higher altitude, are characterized 
by heavy summer showers, following rather dry winters and 
springs. This determines the vegetation of the high savannas 
of Mexico or Abyssinia. 


With the microthermal climates we reach the zone which 
we have already described as forming the boreal forest. They 
are cool temperate climates with snow in winter and rain in 
summer. In this region Koppen rightly distinguishes a more 
southern province which he calls that of the deciduous oaks, 
and a colder and more northern province which he calls the 
climate of the birch. 

In the first we find four months at least with a mean tem- 
perature above io° C. (50 F.). In the second the summer is 
shorter and the winter more severe; the vegetation is that of 
great forests with rigid trunks and of pure growth. These 
are the special regions of the great cereals of the temperate 
zones — wheat, rye, barley, oats — and also of the potato. 

E. Hekistothermal Climates 
Extreme or hekistothermal climates correspond to zones 
where even the warmest month has a mean temperature below 


io° C. (50 F.). Here trees disappear after having assumed 
slender and dwarfed forms in the transitional zone between 
this and the region of the preceding climates. The plants 
are hound only to local conditions of humidity or orientation, 
and Koppen rightly prefers to distinguish the provinces of 
these extreme climates by taking the animals as expressive 
types of the climatic facts. He distinguishes the Arctic tundra 
and calls its climate the climate of the white fox; the sub -Ant- 
arctic tundra, which corresponds to the region of the penguin ; 
the region of the Pamir and of Tibet, which corresponds to that 
of the yak, and, finally, the climate of the upper zone of the 
Alpine mountains inhabited by the chamois. These animals 
are the last companions of man and one may say that, thanks 
to some of these representatives of animal life of exceptional 
resistance (yak), 1 the inhabited region extends beyond the 
limits of the microthermal climates. It should be noted that 
the climate of the white fox is also the climate of the reindeer. 
It is true that the reindeer is often found south of the limit 
of the tundra and that it does not go as far north as the white 
fox; 2 but cannot the same thing be said of the yak, which comes 
south into the valleys of Kashmir and is not found as high or 
as far over Tibet as such a wild herbivorous animal as the 
hemione or kiang? 

The Great Climatic Emblems of the Earth: Three Homogeneous 
Vegetational Formations and Two Types of Deserts 

When the world as a whole is taken under consideration, 
there are great, striking facts which are inscribed on the 
ground with clearness and exactitude by the vegetational 
covering. Accepting the preceding classification as a basis, 
let us examine more clearly the general divisions in which 
Koppen 's different regions are placed. 

Although humidity is an important factor, yet it is tempera- 
ture which furnishes the basis for every climatic division of the 
earth. Like Koppen, let us adopt the temperatures of io° C. 
and 20 C. (50 and 68° F.) as characteristic averages. We 

x Ratzel has frequently, and rightly, emphasized the Randvolker, or marginal 
peoples, living at the extreme limit of the inhabited world. 

2 On the subject of the southern limit of the reindeer in Norway and Sweden, see 
Charles Rabot, Aux Fjords de Norvege el aux forets de Suede, Hachette, Paris, 1905, 
p. 100. 



then distinguish on the earth "geothermic zones" whose 
boundaries are modified and complicated upon contact with 
continental surfaces (Fig. no). 

Let us introduce into the traditional division the factor of 

Fig. iio. Geothermic Zones 

AA/ Equatorial zones with a mean temperature for all the year of more than 
20° C. (68° F.) 

BB\ Subtropical zones, with a mean temperature during 4 to 11 months of more 
than 20 C. (68° F.) 

CC, Intermediate zones, with a mean temperature during 1 to 3 months of more 
than 20 C. (68° F.) 

DD', Cold zones, with a mean temperature during 1 to 4 months of more than 
io° C. (50 F.) 

EE', Frigid zones, with a mean temperature for all the year of less than io° C. 
(50° F.) 

In this map are Riven, alone broad lines, the geothermic zones as determined by Koppen. simplified and 
drawn by Emile Chaix: the illustration is loaned by the author and is taken from his Notes d' analyse gitf 
graphinue: Conditions qui determinent la valeur economiaut d'un pays, Emile Chaix, Geneva, 1906. 

humidity, and it will at once take on a general appearance 
that brings it near to the reality. 

The torrid zone will be divided into hot and damp zones and 
hot and dry zones succeeding each other and in contrast with 
each other. Between these two very dissimilar types are the 
transitional zones, the essential zones from the human point 
of view. 

In the same way the cold zones of the north and south break 
up into damp cold zones and dry cold zones. Cold and damp 
zones have a precipitation which is abundant enough to allow 
the development of forests and for four months at least have 
a mean temperature above io° C. (50 F.), thus allowing 


vegetative activity. Cold and dry zones in the far north are 
those where precipitation is rare and insufficient, as in the 
Alaskan, Russian, and Siberian tundra and in all regions where 
the temperature always remains so low that no absorption 
of moisture by plants and therefore no vegetative activity 
of shrubs or trees is possible. These are often called regions 
of great physiologic dryness. 

Finally, between the cold zones of the north and the warm 
equatorial or tropical zones are placed all those transitional 
zones which correspond to the much too vague earlier name of 
temperate zones and more exactly to Koppen's series of me so- 
thermal climates. 

Now these transitional zones are preeminently human 
zones, or at least zones favorable 'to man's development. The 
following outline shows the succession of the several zones: 

~ j. j cold and dry 

Cola zones ) , -, -, -, 

( cold and damp 

A great series of transitional zones in the northern hemisphere, 
called temperate zones (Mediterranean, Atlantic zones, etc.). 

warm and dry 
transitional zone 
Warm zones ( warm and damp 
transitional zone 
warm and dry 

Transitional zones of the southern hemisphere, equivalent to the 
Mediterranean zones of the northern hemisphere. 

^ 7J j cold and damp 

Lola zones \ , A A , 

( cold and dry 

cold and dry 

Because of its continental dimensions and the almost equal 
balance of its great mass on each side of the equator, the old 
continent of Africa shows a distribution of climates which is 
the nearest approach to what would be the schematic distri- 
bution for an earth whose equatorial regions were entirely 
occupied by continents. 

To what natural provinces, then, of the continent Europe- 
Africa does our theoretical distribution of the zones of climate 
in the preceding outline correspond? It is evident that we 


can place opposite each line of the outline the name of an 
actual region which will express typically one or several of 
the characteristic forms not only of the plant life but also 
of the animal and human life. 

( cold and dry Lapland 

z e \ co i(i an d damp .... Scandinavian and Russian 

Great series in the northern hemi- ) . , . _ %* *•* 

sphere of the transitional zones called f AtIant,c . Euro P c ' Meditate 
, r , \ nean region, etc. 

temperate zones ; to 

/ warm and dry .... Sahara 
\ transitional zone . . . Sudan 
Warm zones \ warm and damp. . .Congo Forest 
/ transitional zone . . . Upper Zambezi 
\ warm and dry Kalahari 

Equivalent in the southern hemi- \ 
sphere of the transitional zones of the r Cape Coast 
northern hemisphere J 

_ , . j cold and damp .. ) A 

Cold zones } ^ and dry . . . . \ Ocean 

Are not all the transitional zones the centers of the maxima 
of human activity for this continent, Europe-Africa ? 

From the point of view of its climate, Asia undergoes impor- 
tant modifications as a result of the intense heating in summer 
of the atmospheric masses in the region of Tibet, of the attract- 
ing action of the center of depression there from April to 
September, and of those great inflowing air currents, the sum- 
mer monsoons. It may be said that in general the entire 
succession of the different zones in Africa is here "pushed 
up" toward the north — from the zone of warm rains to the 
zone of deserts which thus become cold deserts. 

America likewise presents a distribution of climatic zones 
which is modified in comparison with that of Europe-Africa. 
The lines of relief in America run in general north and south, 
and the climatic zones, instead of being vaguely parallel to 
the equator, have rather an oblique direction with reference 
both to the parallels and to the meridians. 

There are thus unlimited varieties and variations which 


deserve the most minute attention in every regional study, 
but which should not blind us to the following general and 
essential geographic truths: 

Two types of forests: (i) the equatorial forest corresponding 
to the warm and damp zone (Koppen's climate of the lianas) 
and (2) the boreal forest corresponding to the cold and damp 
zone (microthermal climates). 

Two types of deserts: (1) the hot or cold deserts comprised 
between 50 N. latitude and 45 S. latitude on each side of 
the equator (deserts in which the summer months are always 
hot) and (2) the perpetually frozen deserts which are those of 
the tundra and of the permanent snows. 

Finally, on the very edge of the deserts of the first class, 
there are more or less dry or damp steppes with a definitely 
marked winter and a hot summer, covered over vast extents 
by types of vegetation of which the grasses, the bushes, or 
the low shrubs are themselves more or less adapted to dryness 
or humidity. 1 

Such are the five most general and most apparent climatic 
units of the earth, in the sense that they are found on all 
continents and that they are preeminently the types that 
show the strongest contrast with each other. 

Since we are here taking the point of view of human activity 
on the earth, we have represented on a map (see Fig. in) 
the locations of these two types of deserts and of these three 
clearly distinguished and relatively simple typical forms of 

Now it seems as if these five zones are related through a 
common feature — the fact that they are for different reasons 

1 It should be said that classifying grass-covered steppes with dry steppes and, on 
the other hand, separating dry steppes from deserts is a plan based on the precise 
observations of E. F. Gautier, the explorer of the Sahara. See for example his letter 
of 1905, addressed to the Geographical Society of Paris: "Some 400 miles from Gao," 
he says, "we entered a steppe which holds sway without interruption as far as the 
Niger. This steppe no longer has thorny plants, like those of the Sahara, but a fine 
grass in a forest of mimosas, continuous though scattered. This wide band of steppes 
is probably almost continuous from the Atlantic to Egypt, and forms the transition 
between the true desert and the Sudan — an important and new feature of African 
geography" (La Geographie, XII, October 15, 1905, p. 263). In many other works 
of his, Gautier returns often to the idea (and Chudeau also) that the Sahara is not 
so wide as people think it is (La Geographie, XIII, January 15, 19C6, p. 16). Finally, 
see E. F. Gautier and R. Chudeau, Missions au Sahara, Paris, 1908. Through 
fear of systematizing too far this general conception of the five great climatic types 
of the earth, the map in Fig. 1 1 1 is based for the most part on the map of the zones 
of vegetation in Bartholomew's Atlas. 



■ snag » ssa «EZ3 I. Equatorial forests. 2. Boreal fores 

»GE3 •£23 4- Cold deserts (where the ground is alwa: 

Fig. hi. The Great Cld 

There are on the earth great natural regions, relatively homogeneous and 
most clearly the distribution of climatic effects on the earth. Two types of fori 


Scale =1:160,000,000 

3. Hot deserts (with at least very hot summers). 

sen to a considerable depth). 5. Arid or grassy steppes. 

Emblems of the Earth 

.st extent. They are the predominating surface phenomena which indicate 
and 2): two types of deserts (3 and 4), and immense stretches of steppes (5). 


and to varying and modifiable extents distinctly unfavorable 
to human occupation; they nowhere have a great density of 
population. 1 On the other hand, let us represent on another 
map (Fig. 112) the zones which with good reason can be 
grouped under the title of zones of transition, expressed by 
more complex types of vegetation: countries with tropical 
summer rains, such as India, China, or the Sudan; countries 
with winter rains, such as the shores of the Mediterranean, 
South Africa, southeastern Australia, or California; eastern 
sections of the United States where the violent seasonal 
climatic contrasts of the northern or central plains of North 
America diminish; countries with a mild and damp climate 
without great extremes of temperature, such as all that part of 
Europe which benefits from the influence of the Atlantic, 
etc. These are populous countries, countries with a vigor- 
ous civilization, what we may call in short the home lands 
of humanity. 

A comparison between these maps of zones of vegetation 
and the map of the distribution of population (Fig. 14) will 
allow us to check the correspondence which has just been 
pointed out and to verify the exactness of this general outline 
into which it is now permissible and useful to introduce all 
sorts of shades. Let us have recourse to Koppen's classifi- 
cation and, among the transitional zones, let us distinguish 
the main provinces which he has defined and of which he has 
marked the limits, especially that of the climate of the olive 

1 Here we clearly distinguish between the question of the actual distribution of 
the masses of population, taken as a whole, and all the problems which suggest them- 
selves on the subject of the development and of the progress of the various civiliza- 
tions. It is certain that, from this point of view, the steppes have permitted an easier 
change of place for human groups, and that the zones of steppes bordering on the 
forest have been especially sought out; see Robert Gradmann, " Beziehungen zwischen 
Pflanzengeographie und Siedlungsgeschichte," Geog. Zeitschr., XII, 1906, pp. 305-325; 
the long introduction by Vidal de la Blache, Tableau de la geographie de la France, 
and in Petermanns Mitt, of March, 1910, R. Scharfetter, " Pflanzen und Volker- 
grenzen," pp. 121-123. Man makes variety on the earth, while the zones most 
homogeneous in aspect are those in which he plays the least part; see A. Hettner, " Die 
wirtschaftlichen Typen der Ansiedelungen," Geog. Zeitschr., VIII, pp. 92-100. Ratzel 
has often insisted in his Anthropogeographie on the role of the forest as an obstacle 
to human dispersion, and thus it is not necessary to speak of it here. It would 
be necessary to speak of it here only in order to emphasize those very correct 
views; see, for example, what will be said of the Congo forest and of the Fang in 
chap. V, sec. 2. In the other continent one might choose as an example the Amazon 
forest, and this is what one would discover: this selva is, especially on the border of 
the water courses, a tangled and disordered confusion, very rebellious and almost 
impenetrable; indeed, it is only the water courses that can serve as routes for 
traversing it. The contrast between the two examples given is easily understood. 


tree, of the climate of maize, and of the climate of the 
camelia or of tea. 1 (Once more compare the data of the four 
maps, Figs. 14, 15, 11 1, and 112. 2 ) 


"The origin," said Humboldt in 1807 in his essay on the 
geography of plants, "the first home of those plants that are 
the most useful to man and have been his companions since 
the remotest ages, is a secret as impenetrable as the original 
dwelling of all the domestic animals." 3 

To-day we are better informed, particularly through the 
remarkable book by A. de Candolle, L'Origine des plantes 
cultivees, though there are still plants of the greatest impor- 
tance, such as wheat or the common bean, about whose 
primitive home we can make no exact and definite statement. 

These facts go back so far that they belong to the history 
of man's earliest efforts to win from the earth the satisfaction 
of his needs. There are points on the globe where the furrows 
newly traced every year on the same plot of ground and in 
the same direction have perhaps been thus traced from a 
time that antedates historical documents. Most of the more 
important sorts of cultivation are older than the first Egyptian 
or Chinese dynasties. 

That ancient power of selection and domestication, which 
is surely one of the rare gifts of human ingenuity, seems to 
have been exhausted. In spite of the great progress in scien- 
tific methods, the list of new cultivated plants is strikingly 
meager. If we ask what sorts of cultivation have been 
introduced in the last two thousand years, we find some new 
artificial fodders, a few plants with an aromatic berry such as 

J Maps in and 112 have been made on too small a scale. They express an idea 
and that is all. Maps on a larger scale would show the data with more exactness. 

2 The great work, Vegetationsbilder, by G. Karsten and H. Schenk, consisting ot 
a fine collection of photo-engravings published in separate brochures (Gustave 
Fischer, Jena), furnishes valuable material for the illustration of all the climatic 
types of vegetation. 

3 Quoted by A. de Candolle, L'Origine des plantes cultivees, second edition, F. Alcan, 
Paris, 1896, p. 36. See also the following: Victor Helin, Kulturpflanzen und Haustiere 
in ihrem Ubergang aus Asien und Griechenland, Italien, etc., Leipzig, 1870; L. Rein- 
hardt, Kulturgeschichte der Nutztiere, Munich, 1912; Kulturgeschichte der Nutzpflanzen, 
2 vols., Munich, 191 1; W. G. Freeman and S. E. Chandler, The World's Commercial 
Products, Boston, 191 1; Otto Warburg and J. E. Van Someren Brand, Kulturpflanzen 
der Weltwirtschaft, Berlin, (1909 ?). 



Fig. 112. The Zones of Transition I 

This map, Fig. 112, and the preceding, Fig. in, are by intention exa 
in, are here indicated by shading. 

Either as a consequence of natural conditions or of human acts, the s 
these mixed areas of woods, meadows, and cultivated fields that the princip 

The shaded zones comprise all the principal "zones of humanity"; 1 
Sudan, Abyssinia, Plateau of the Lakes, Imerina, southern border of So' 
America: eastern sections of the United States, etc., etc. (See the text). 


Scale = 1:160,000,000 

ies, Fields, and Trees Mingled Together) 

omplementary. All the populous zones of the earth, which are in white on Fig. 

3 aspect of all the zones of transition is heterogeneous, and it is in the midst of 
aups of human beings are settled on the earth. 

pe: Atlantic Europe, central Europe and the Mediterranean region. Africa: 
Africa. Asia; the Asia of monsoons. Australia: eastern Australia. North 


the coffee plant, and, very recently, a few rubber vines. What 
a slender contribution in comparison with all those fundamental 
plants which have literally fed humanity since its first exist- 
ence — wheat, barley, rye, maize, rice, the potato, the date 
tree, the banana tree, etc. All these cultivated plants of the 
Old and the New World certainly go back two thousand and 
some of them at least five or six thousand years. 

The weakness of human invention in recent times in the 
matter of cultivation is all the more strange and emphasizes 
all the more the wonder of these prehistoric selections because 
primitive humanity in the New World drew from nature 
useful plants different from those which served for food or 
clothing in the Old World. The only great disturbance took 
place after the discovery of America. Plants of the old 
continent spread over vast stretches of the new continent, 
while certain American plants — the potato, maize, the 
cassava plant, the cacao plant, tobacco, the tomato, etc. — 
invaded the Old World. 

We may consider that all cultivated plants have had three 
primitive centers: Mesopotamia and Egypt (barley, wheat, 
the grape, flax); China, India, and Indo-China (rice, tea, 
sugar cane, mulberry, cotton plant); and tropical America 
(maize, potato, tobacco). 1 Almost all the cultivated plants 
of ancient times belong to the annual species, for at the 
beginning of civilization men cultivated the plants which 
grew most quickly and perennial cultivated plants were rare. 

There is often no relation between the zone of the primitive 
habitat of a plant before cultivation and the immense extent 
which it occupies as a cultivated plant. In relatively recent 
times (especially since the discovery of America) it has been 
possible to transport plants directly to another part of the 
world far from their place of origin. We might even cite 
other than American examples, notably the Eucalyptus globulus 
of Australia which has been planted in Algeria, California, and 
other places with a Mediterranean type of climate. 

Humanity has found and developed these principal culti- 
vated plants to satisfy its need of food or clothing. The 

According to G. Martinet, director of the agricultural experiment station and 
professor at the University of Lausanne. 


greater number of food plants are cultivated for their seed 
(wheat, barley, rice, maize) or for their fruit (orange, pome- 
granate, fig, olive, date, banana, melon, Elms guineensis or oil 
palm, and, for American species, tomato and pineapple); 
some furnish for food their tubers or their roots (turnips, 
carrots, onions in the Old World, potatoes and cassava in the 
New); finally some are even cultivated for their leaves or 
their stalk (cabbage and asparagus). Among textile plants, 
certain ones, such as the cotton plant, are cultivated for the 
fiber of their seed pods, but the greater number furnish man 
with thread from the fiber of their stalks or leaves (flax, 
hemp, jute, ramie, and, among American plants, century 
plant [Agave americana}). 

The very early historical or prehistorical problem of how 
man came to domesticate animals is not a problem to be 
discussed here. Further, the question as to what were the 
first domesticated species is a less important problem for 
geographers than the problem of the domestic animal popula- 
tion at the present time. We may say, however, that accord- 
ing to recent studies the dog seems to have been the earliest 
domestic animal. Then came the ox, of which the economic 
role has been all-important, since the bovine species has been 
used by man both for drawing (especially the plow) and for 
food (milk and meat). It should also be noted that this same 
species in different geographical zones meets different human 
needs; in China the ox serves only as a draught animal and 
cow's milk is not used. 1 Besides the cow, the animals which 
were domesticated for their milk were the goat and the sheep ; 
for drawing and carrying, the ass first, then the camel, and 
finally the horse. The pig is almost the only animal that has 
been domesticated for its flesh alone. 

Man has successfully attempted the domestication of but 
a very small number of plants and animals. 

Out of the 140,000 or 150,000 species of plants we may 
say that those which have a real economic and geographic 

l Moreover„ in all central and southern China breeding is applied only to small 
animals, no one of which furnishes milk. So true is this that, as a modern result, 
China, especially the great Chinese ports where important European colonies are 
located, has come to be among the chief consumers of European or American con- 
densed milk. It is the cows of Switzerland, Holland, Norway, or America that 
nourish the little Europeans of Shanghai or Canton. 


importance — that is, which are not exceptional facts or facts 
of luxury but current geographical facts — do not exceed 300. 
That hardly amounts to one cultivated to five hundred 
natural species. 

For the animal kingdom the proportion is still less. There 
are entire classes of invertebrates from which man has not 
selected a single type; out of the entire class of the Mollusca 
he raises only the oyster and the clam; from the class of the 
Articulata, which comprises by itself ten times as many species 
as the entire vegetable kingdom, man raises only the bee 
which furnishes him with honey and some few insects which 
furnish silk. In comparison with the millions of species in 
the animal kingdom, we must estimate the species of domestic 
animals at the very modest number of 200. 

These figures must not make us lose sight of the vast extent 
of the earth's surface that has been transformed by men with 
the help of these 300 vegetable and 200 animal species. The 
space conquered by these species under the guidance of man is 
such that, although they may appear restricted in number, 
the geographic importance is immense. Some brief notes on 
certain of the principal cultivated plants and domesticated 
animals, chosen as geographic types, will show this. Our 
purpose in this exposition of method cannot be to make 
complete studies (which would require entire volumes), but to 
try to introduce into these fragmentary sketches some prin- 
ciple of geographic logic. 



We shall consider here the present state of common wheat 
and the causes of its geographical extension. 

It is customary to distinguish numerous kinds of wheat of 
which some are species; but geographically, common wheat 
must be considered as being one single species belonging to 
the family of the Gramineae and characterized by the fact that 
its seeds become loosened from their envelope at maturity. 
We shall consider the geographical conditions that determine 
the distribution of the different wheats without distinguishing 


the different kinds: ordinary wheat (Triticum vulgar -e), Egyp- 
tian wheat or big wheat (Triticum turgidum), the hard wheat 
(Triticum durum) of Spain and the south of Switzerland, as 
well as Polish wheat (Triticum polonicum), and the less 
productive but more hardy red wheat of Alsace. 

Whea.t was one of the earliest cultivated plants of the Old 
World. It has been cultivated for at least six thousand 
years. It is one of the five plants solemnly sown every year 
by the emperor of China at the time of the celebrated ceremony 
instituted 2,800 years before Christ. Likewise grains of 
wheat have been found among the remains of the lake-dwellers 
and in some tombs of Egyptian mummies. 

What are the geographical conditions of the cultivation of 
wheat that may explain its general distribution? 1 

Heat. — In order to ripen, wheat requires a rather large 
amount of heat, but it can ripen very quickly and this fact 
shortens, in certain favorable cases, the necessary period of 
heat. Thus wheat that requires from 250 to 270 days to 
mature on the coasts of the English Channel, requires only 
135 days in the overheated region of Russian central Asia 
and, if need be, four months may suffice. 

On the other hand, too great cold is unfavorable to wheat ; 
it hardly extends beyond the regions where the temperature 
falls below 2o°C. (68°F.), unless it is protected by an abundant 
layer of snow. Where cold weather without snow prevails 
during the winter, wheat can be sown only in the spring; 
otherwise it will not ripen. Thus the adaptability of this 
plant, the fact that the proper varieties can be sown either 
before or after winter, and the protection furnished it by a 
thick layer of snow combine to extend its geographic range. 

In general, temperate winters with successive freezing and 
thawing are much more unfavorable to wheat than severe 
winters with an abundant fall of snow. 

Humidity. — In order to develop, wheat needs water, espe- 
cially at the planting season and during the period of most 

x For a full presentation of the geography of wheat, see Dondlinger, The Book 
of Wheat; Hunt, The Cereals in America, Orange Judd Company, New York, pp. 26-137; 
also N. A. Bengtson and D. Griffith, The Wheat Industry, Macmillan, New York, 1915; 
V. C. Finch and O. E. Baker, Geography of the World's Agriculture, U. S. Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, Washington, D. C, 1917, 13-26. 


rapid growth. Climates characterized by spring rains or 
where there is an abundant snowfall which melts in the spring 
are well suited to its cultivation. There is a general geographic 
correspondence between zones of abundant snow and certain 
zones of wheat cultivation. 

However, climates that are too damp, and especially those 
that are too damp in summer at the time of the full maturity 
of wheat, are unfavorable to it. We do not find this cereal 
in the countries of the great equatorial rains nor in the countries 
that receive the heavier monsoon rains. In the monsoon 
countries we find wheat cultivated on a large scale only where 
these rains are less abundant (regions of India such as the 
Indo-Gangetic plain, the region of the Hwang-ho in the 
north of China, and the middle regions of Japan). 1 For a 
like reason the climate of Switzerland with its rainy summer 
and heavy summer showers is much less suitable for wheat 
than for pasture lands. 2 Similarly, soils that are too damp 
are unfavorable to wheat; in some regions where the upper 
soil is not sufficiently permeable, as in Brie, to the east of 
Paris, it is necessary to establish very deep drainage and 
more generally to plow from time to time furrows deeper 
than the others to facilitate the running off of the water. 

While wheat does not endure well an excess of humidity, it can 
endure extreme dryness very satisfactorily, provided the plant 
receives, somehow or other, its indispensable minimum of water: 

a) Wheat can resist exceptional cases of dryness because 
it can send its roots to a depth of from 5.5 to 6.5 feet (1.7 to 2 
meters) (experiments made at Grignon). 

b) Wheat adapts itself very well to very dry and permeable 
lands if there is beneath an impermeable layer which assures 
it the necessary quantity of water (Beauce). 

c) Wheat also becomes easily acclimated in regions of 
great summer dryness, such as Turkestan, provided that the 

1 A. Woeikof contributes the following accurate observation: "It is not the abun- 
dant rains of the monsoons that exclude wheat from many regions of India, but the 
absence of a cool season. Wheat is a winter, not a summer, cereal. It is cultivated 
where there are slight but regular winter rains (the Indo-Gangetic plain), or where 
the monsoon rains are late in ending and where the cool season is, nevertheless, quite 
long (a part of the Central Provinces). Wheat is sown in November, after the rains." 

2 In Switzerland spelt especially is cultivated. Switzerland's production of cereals 
is equal to about one-third of her consumption; see Geering and Hotz, Economic 
politique de la Suisse, Zurich, 1903. 


roots of the plant receive water in sufficient quantities by 
means of irrigation. 

d) The wheat area in western United States 1 has in recent 
years been greatly extended through the use of dry -farming 
methods. An area is alternately cropped and fallowed so 
that a crop is raised every other year. The ground is con- 
stantly tilled while not in use, evaporation is reduced, and 
the moisture thus saved to the soil suffices to germinate and 
mature a good crop of wheat; though it should be noted that 
dry farming is most successful where the annual rainfall 
comes mainly in the fall and early spring. In the driest 
portions of the dry-farming belt a longer period of water 
conservation is required and a crop can be grown only once 
in three or four years. 

Qualities of the soil. — Wheat is a plant that exhausts the 
soil. It needs therefore a rich soil (such as clay lands, the 
alluvium of rivers or lakes) either in the actual layers in 
which it is sown ("black earth zones" of Russia) or near these 
layers (Beauce). 2 Wheat is a plant so exhausting that it is 
best not to sow it two years in succession on the same land. 
It is better to allow the land to lie fallow or to alternate wheat 
with clover or alfalfa, which have the property of restoring 
nitrogen to the soil and thus enriching it. The lands best 
suited to wheat are the slightly mixed clays, neither too 
compact nor too impermeable, which the ancient glaciers 
spread over a large part of northern and central Europe and 
northern North America. They are the glacial or fluvio- 
glacial clays, or those finer, limey clays without pebbles, 
called loess, the origin of which is more uncertain and more 

1 J. F. Unstead, "The Climatic Limits of Wheat Cultivation, with Special Refer- 
ence to North America," Geog. Jour., May, 1912. 

2 "To be raised successfully, spring wheat should be sown in finely powdered soil, 
for, sown in heavy soil, it is likely not to attain its maximum growth. In a general 
way, spring wheats very rarely give a yield superior to that of autumn wheats; in fact, 
in certain soils, their cultivation is not to be recommended. Sown in good season and 
in good soil in the right condition, however, they still produce remunerative harvests 
in the provinces of Nord, Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-et-Oise. In Beauce their success 
is more uncertain, and it becomes extremely doubtful in the silicate-argillitic soils of 
the Centre. Assuredly, in this crop, climate plays an important part, but the rich- 
ness of the soil has an influence of primary importance. Only rich soil is good soil 
for spring wheat, while soil of moderate fertility is rather to be considered unfavorable. 
Even in good soils one must not forget that, because of its rapid growth, spring wheat 
is not desirable as a fertilizer. In soils that are light and of little fertility, it is much 
better to sow oats than spring wheat" (Marcel Vacher, L' Agriculture moderne, April 
1, 1900, p. 195). 


debated (loess of central Europe, loess of the United States, 
and the great loess deposits of China) . In fact, we find wheat 
on all the plateaus of central Europe which have been covered 
by the clays or the loess, 1 and the same thing is true in North 

Labor. — Wheat requires for the entire cycle of its cultivation 
a large amount of human labor: 2 plowing and sowing, har- 
vesting and threshing. 

Hence wherever wheat is cultivated on a large scale, a 
large force of laborers is a necessity, particularly at harvest 
time. What are the geographic facts that result from this? 
Unless the population of the cultivated region is numerous 
(as is the case in the upper valley of the Ganges), this cultiva- 
tion brings about a call for labor, which results in a regular 
human migration (northern France, southern Russia, central 
United States, or Argentina). 3 Otherwise, man supplies the 
lack of labor by means of more and more perfected and costly 
machinery (Fig. 113). This is the partial solution of the 
question adopted in the great wheat plains of the central part 
of the United States and Canada, where reapers are used 
which also thresh the wheat, besides putting the grain in 
sacks. 4 Yet it must be noted that in the United States it is 
not the largest farms that raise most of the total production 
of wheat. Relatively small farms of less than 100 acres (40 
hectares) produce a fifth of the total harvest, while the largest 

!See the map compiled by Vidal de la Blache in his France, showing the history 
of the occupation of the soil in Europe (plateaus of Podolia, rich Borde of Germany, 
plateaus of Hainaut or of Picardy, etc.). adding to the zones marked in yellow the 
alluvial deposits of the Po basin. 

2 In order that this observation may keep its full value, let us note, however, that 
there are some periods when wheat germinates and sprouts all by itself, at least where 
one is not trying to cultivate it with a large crop in view. In this connection, 
George G. Chisholm writes: "A man at the head of a large farm in the Dominion at 
Ottawa called my attention to the fact that the chief reason why the first possessors 
of the soil had cultivated so much wheat was that it was the only crop that they 
could leave entirely to itself for three months after sowing." 

3 In certain regions of Italy the cultivation of wheat brings in its wake strong 
currents of migration; for the harvest, 75,000 Italians from other parts of Italy move 
to the great grain fields of the tavoliere of Apulia. See Le Correnti periodiche di 
migrazione interna in Italia durante il 1905, Ministry of Agriculture, Industry, and 
Commerce, Bureau of Labor, Rome, 1907; Pierre Denis, "Les Migrations p6riodiques 
a l'interieur de l'ltalie," Ann. de geog., XVII, 1908, p. 82. 

4 Everywhere the problem of labor is growing more acute, as is that of machinery 
to offset the lack and high cost of labor. Hence all the efforts, in England, Germany 
and the United States, particularly, to introduce steam and electric power; see 
Ach. Gr^goire, "Labourage a vapeur," Rev. icon, internal., August 15-20, 1909, 
PP- 364-379- 


quantity of wheat is raised on the medium-sized farms (from 
ioo to 170 acres). 1 
By means of a general map showing the distribution of 

Fig. 113. Steam-Plow for the Growing of Wheat 

The growing of wheat in the New World requires the most perfected 
and rapid machines. 

wheat cultivation we can see to what extent the three chief 
wheat-producing countries owe their supremacy to a more 
or less perfect meeting of these different geographic conditions 
(see Fig. 114, p. 258). 

1. The United States: (a) sl very great summer heat; 
(b) humidity, especially during the spring and resulting 
largely from the melting of the snow; (c) glacial clays; 
(d) maximum perfection in machinery replacing hand labor. 

Out of a total extent of 427,292 square miles (1,073,340 
square kilometers) of the surface of the earth devoted to 
wheat, 83,658 square miles (.1914) are in the United States. 
At Duluth, Chicago, and other wheat ports enormous granaries 
or elevators (Fig. 115) are an evidence of the gigantic wheat 
production of this country. Chicago, with its wheat pit, is 
the largest wheat market. 

Storing and transportation of wheat are facilitated by the 

iSee the article by A. P. Brigham, "The Development of Wheat Culture in North 
America," Geog. Jour., XXXV, 1910, pp. 42-56. 





fact that the grain can be handled more or less like a liquid. 1 

2. Russia: (a) great heat in summer; (b) humidity furnished 

by melting snow; (c) black earth, chernoziom; (d) periodic 

Fig. 115. A Grain-Elevator 

Situated with a lake on one side and a railroad on the other. 
Pneumatic tubes, large and flexible, suck the grain from the 
freight-cars to the top of the structure. It then runs through 
chutes to the holds of the carrying vessels. 

migrations in harvest time of at least five to six million men 
from north to south; that is, from the northern sections of 
the " black earth country" (which are more populated) 
toward the southern sections. 2 

3. France: Here the conditions are much more varied 
and differ in the different regions. Almost everywhere, with 
the exception of the mountainous regions, the conditions of 
heat and humidity, while not perfect, are sufficient for wheat. 3 
Generally speaking, the richness of the soil and the density 
of the population have been the determining factors in wheat 

To-day, in the neighborhood of Paris and particularly in 

1 See George G. Chisholm, "A Hundred Years of Commerce between England and 
America," Scottish Geog. Mag., November, 1909, p. 571. 

2 See J. Machat, Le Developpement economique de la Russie, Armand Colin, Paris, 
1902, p. 122. 

3 See a very good chapter, "La Repartition geographique de la production du 
froment en France," pp. 37 ff., in D. Zolla, Le Ble et les cereales, Doin, Paris, 1909. 
Consult also, in a general way, L. Grandeau, L' Agriculture et les institutions agricoles 
du monde au commencement du XX e siecle, Marcel Riviere, Paris, 1905-1906; and also 
Van Someren Brand, Les Grandes Cultures du monde, leur hisloire, leur exploitation, leurs 
differents usages, translated from the Dutch by F. Rode, E. Flammarion, Paris, 1905. 


Brie, the cultivation of wheat is kept up only with the help 
of Belgian and Polish labor. The Belgians come every year 
for the harvest in organized groups and are called aouterons. 
In France the population cultivates its own wheat and eats 
the product; it is not, like the United States, Canada, and 
Russia, an exporting country. 

Another chapter of true human geography should comprise 
a study of the dates of the harvests in the different countries. 
Wheat is to a remarkable degree a world product and the object 
of a world commerce. We may say that the wheat-producing 
countries have a joint responsibility and that humanity's 
need of wheat is such that, because of the change of seasons 
and the geographical situation of the different regions, there 
is always some spot on the earth where wheat is being gathered 
and threshed. 1 

Table of the Principal Regions Where Wheat Is Harvested, Month 

by Month 2 

January New Zealand, Chile. 

February Upper Egypt, eastern India. 

March India. 

April Lower Egypt, Asia Minor, Mexico. 

May Morocco, Algeria, central Asia, Persia, 

China, Japan. 

June Southern states of the United States, Euro- 
pean peninsulas of the Mediterranean. 

July Central states of the United States, southern 

Russia, Roumania, Bulgaria, Austria .Hungary, 
Switzerland, Germany, France, England. 

August Northern states of the United States, Canada, 

central Russia, Poland, Denmark, Holland, 
Belgium, and northern France. 

October I Scotland, Sweden, and Norway. 

November South Africa and province of Santa F<5 

(Argentine Republic). 
December Other provinces of Argentina and Australia. 

After these geographical considerations it will be interesting 
to consult statistics. Here, for example, is the table of the 
wheat harvest for the year 1901 (which was a good year), 

1 Hence, as a result of the increasing facilities of transportation, has come about 
that "leveling of the price of essential commodities" which E. Levasseur has often 
studied and emphasized; see, for example, some figures on the subject of wheat 
"Enquete sur le prix des denrees alimentaires en France," Rev. icon, internat., May 
15-20, 1909, p. 247. 

2 From the "Ernte-Kalender," published by G. Ruhland in his book, Die Lehre von 
der Preisbildung fur Getreide, W. Issleib, Berlin, p. 132. 


compared with that of 191 5, which thus far was the most 
productive year of all. 

Production of Wheat in Millions of Bushels 1 

United States 





Austria-Hungary. . . 




Argentine Republic . 
British Isles 



742 1 


405 £ 




















The total production of wheat in 1896 was estimated at 
2,527^ million bushels. 

The total production in 191 5 was estimated at 4,217 million 

The average annual production for the world is estimated 
at 3,900 million bushels. 

World Production of Grain, by Weight, 

according to the landwirtschaftliche marktzeitung of ruhland, 2 

in Millions of Pounds 

1900 156,747.06 

1901 161,376.72 

1902 190,477.44 

1903 196,870 . 78 

1904 184,304.56 

1905 197,973.08 

1906 203,264.12 

1907 185,406.86 

1908 184,304.56 

1909 203,925.50 

As the world market develops, not only does the cultivation 
of wheat become more extensive in the regions which offer 
the best geographical conditions, but also decreases in the 
countries where the geographical conditions are less perfect. 
Though the acreage devoted to wheat may be decreased, the 
crop may increase, because as wheat lands are worn out 

1 Por statistics of world agricultural production, see current publications of the 
International Institute of Agriculture, Rome. 

2 Cited by D. Zolla, Le Ble et les cereales, Doin, Paris, 1909, p. 39. The figures, 
beginning with the year 1905, were supplied by G. Ruhland. 


through extensive cultivation, more intensive methods are 
followed, crops are grown in rotation, and the production per 
acre rises. 1 

For example, the cultivation of wheat has perceptibly 
diminished in the British Isles, in Belgium, and in the western 
part of France, because the climate there is too damp, especially 
in summer. But the average production in these same 
countries for the latest per-year period (19 14) for which 
comparative statistics are available is as follows : British Isles, 
33.8 bushels (British) per acre (30.36 hectoliters per hec- 
tare); France, 18.9 bushels (British) per acre (16.97 hecto- 
liters per hectare). On the other hand, where condition^ 
are most favorable, the rate of production reaches only 9.4 
bushels (American) per acre (8.18 hectoliters per hectare) 
in Russia, and only 16.6 bushels (American) per acre (14.4 
hectoliters per hectare) in the United States. 

Progress of the relative yield of wheat per acre in France 
is as follows: 

1 820 11 bushels 

i860 16 bushels 

1900 19 bushels 

1910 20.4 bushels 

Other Cereals of the Temperate Regions 

From the study of the geographic zone of wheat, we shall 
now examine briefly the geographic distribution of the other 
cereals of the temperate countries in relation to that of wheat. 

Rye 2 

Rye is first of all a more hardy plant than wheat; it can 
adapt itself and gets along well with : ( 1 ) a decreased amount 
of heat; (2) a greater amount of water; (3) a poorer soil. It 
also requires less care than wheat. 

Rye is found along the edge of the wheat zone where 
wheat growing begins to diminish, and within the wheat zone 
where wheat does not prosper either because the soils are 
poor or because the climate is too damp (Limousin, Brittany, 

ij. F. Unstead, "A Statistical Study of Wheat Cultivation and Trade," Geog. 
Jour., 1913. 

2 V. C. Finch and O. E. Baker, Geography of the World's Agriculture, U. S. 
Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C, 191 7, pp. 27-28. 


Central Plateau of France, plateau section of New York and 
Pennsylvania). Rye is found in the Alps up to an altitude 
of 6,230 feet (2,000 meters) and even a little higher. In 
general the cultivation of rye goes beyond the natural limits 
of wheat both in latitude and in altitude. It forms a sort 
of border around the wheat zone, and especially to the 
north, where the general conditions are more unfavorable to 

The chief rye-producing country is Russia, for the cultivation 
of wheat in the " black earth country" is of recent date and 
the people live principally upon rye; the wheat grown in 
Russia is intended chiefly for exportation. The countries 
next in order of importance as rye-producing regions are 
Germany, Austria and Hungary. Rye in Germany covers 
22 per cent of the total cultivated surface; the proportion 
in Saxony reaches 26.7 per cent and in Prussia 28.9 per cent. 
The light, sandy, and sandy-clay lands of the North German 
Lowland are well suited to rye. 

The increase in wheat production and the relative decline 
in significance of rye are in part due to changing ideals as to 
food. Black bread gives way to white bread, and unbolted 
flour to bolted flour. Improved milling methods have made 
it possible to transport flour through warm, damp regions, 
and improved methods of transportation have made it 
economically possible to distribute wheat and wheat flour 
far and wide. Many regions that once were dependent 
entirely upon home-grown rye can now secure wheat from 
the most distant wheat fields. 

In Russia, the greatest rye-producing country, rye was 
long used extensively for the manufacture of an alcohol, 
the liquor called vodka. Whiskey too is being made from 
rye. In the United States, where rye has never been culti- 
vated extensively as a food cereal, it has been cultivated 
for the manufacture of whiskey. 

Barley is a very old cereal which has served and still serves 
as a food for men and animals and for the manufacture of 
beer. It is a richer cereal than rye and is coming to be used 


much more generally as a food for human beings. Barley 1 
belongs geographically to the wheat zone and in character is 
the most adaptable and the hardiest of all the cereals. We 
find it scattered throughout the wheat region, and even far 
beyond the farthest limits of wheat-growing. It is found 
far toward the north in Norway (70 N. latitude) as well as in 
the oases of the Sahara (as far as 25 N. latitude). 

Barley is cultivated particularly in Russia and in the 
United States (Minnesota, North Dakota, California, South 
Dakota). Much of the barley has been used for making 
beer — a market now lost in the United States. 

In a more detailed study it would be proper to distinguish 
between brewery barley, which is cultivated as intensively as 
winter wheat in central and western Europe, and barley 
used as food for animals, which is produced by less intensive 
cultivation and without fertilizer in southern Russia, in Rou- 
mania the Mediterranean countries, in California, in Chile, etc. 


In spite of recent successful attempts to place oats in the 
list of human foods, 2 oats are still used chiefly for animals and 
especially for horses. On the whole, the zone of this cereal 
is closely bound to the zone of horse-raising. In a climate of 
damp and cool summers, oats succeed well; they are found 
in the wheat zone in regions where the summers are less warm 
and dry. 

The chief oat-producing countries are the United States 
(abundant cereals), Russia, Germany, France and the British 

After having thus determined, in their main lines, the zones 
of geographic distribution, let us examine some comparative 

v ' Barley," says Woeikof, "is the cereal which is satisfied with the least amount 
of warmth: so we find it at the northern limit of cereals, in the north of Russia and of 
Scandinavia and at very great altitudes in the Alps, the Caucasus, the Himalayas, 
the Andes, etc. But it is cultivated just as much to the south of the wheat region — 
for example, in Arabia. This first fact is explained by the rapid maturing of the barley; 
this allows its harvesting during the short season with very high temperature. The 
same reason allows the cultivation of barley in countries where the rainfall is too 
slight to give a good harvest of other cereals" ("La Geographie de l'alimentation 
humaine," La Geographie, XX, 1909, p. 225). See also Finch and Baker, loc. cit., 
pp. 40-44- 

2 "Oats are the principal food for man in certain parts of Sweden, in Norway, 
and in Scotland, and on the other side of the Atlantic, in Nova Scotia, etc." (Woeikof ; 
ibid., p. 226). Sec also Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 35-39. 


statistics, including the statistics of corn (maize), of which a 
brief study will follow. 

Principal Cereals 

Production, in Millions of Pounds, in the Chief Producing Countries for 
Three Recent and Characteristic Years 





Total production 

35,934 -98 

46,957 -98 


United States (/>£) 

45,802 .80 






21,761 . 58 


Total production, 
Russia (>£) 
Germany (%) . 




United States . 

87,302. 16 

24,911 .98 











Total production 



United States . 







7,716. 10 




Total production. 
United States . . 










20,061 .86 

66,335 -46 


Total production. 
United States . . 


Roumania .... 


Argentina .... 

126,103. I2 

10,141 . 16 
4,629 . 66 
9,259 -32 

215,245 -74 


10,601 .64 


6,503 . 28 


4,367 ■ 58 

Corn (Maize) 

Corn (maize) is the great cereal of the New World and one 
of the most important products that we owe to the discovery 


of America. In the Old World corn bears names which show- 
both its late arrival and the uncertainty of different peoples 
as to its true origin. It is called in western Europe ble de 
Turquie (Turkish wheat), and in Turkey, ble d'Egypte, and in 
Egypt, dourah de Syrie. 

In the Old World corn is utilized as a secondary cereal, 
while it is the traditional cereal of the older populations of 
North and South America. In Mexico the national dish is 
the tortilla (a hot pancake of corn). There are only two 
countries in the Old World where corn has won an exceptional 
place as a human food ; they are Italy, where the polenta made 
of corn flour has become a national dish, and Roumania with 
its mamaliga. 

Corn requires more heat and humidity than does wheat. 
Thus it can adapt itself to extreme, damp heat which is inju- 
rious to wheat, and can be cultivated everywhere in the tropics. 
It also requires an abundance of sunshine during the growing 
season, not maturing in regions with cloudy summers, even 
where the temperature is favorable (England). 1 

Two essential ideas are to be drawn from the study of corn : 

i. Corn belongs to the warmer and damper zones which 
are situated toward the south, in the interior or on the border 
of the wheat zone. We shall see farther on that rice is pre- 
eminently the cereal of the very warm and very damp regions 
of the globe. Corn, by its geographical conditions, is a sort 
of intermediary between the wheat zone and the rice zone. 2 
In two cases especially this general fact is clearly shown: in 
the plain of the Po, where wheat, corn, and rice succeed each 
other in approximately concentric zones in proportion to the 
humidity, and in the great valley of the Mississippi, where 
we find the wheat plains situated toward the north, the rice 
plains near the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and the corn 
lands in the middle region, between the wheat and the rice. 

2. Corn is a type of plant whose zone of actual geographic 
extension is very far from reaching its zone of possible geo- 
graphic extension. Corn, a cereal of the New World, has 

iSee Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 29-34. 

2 In certain humid countries (as in Annam) maize is cultivated side by side with 
rice, but it is of quite secondary importance; it is used for food only when rice is 
about to tail. 


as yet been introduced only here and there in a scattered 
fashion in the Old World where it has found so much land 
already occupied by the older traditional cereals. It is still 
to-day predominantly an American cereal, but, considering 
its American production, it is surprising that it should already 
play so important a role as it does in the Old World. 

Let us now turn back to the table of statistics on p. 265. 
What does the United States do with this enormous surplus 
production of corn? Corn meal is not an important food in 
the area of surplus production, the so-called corn belt. The 
rural population of the southern states makes a large use of 
corn, but such corn is locally grown. The southern states are 
not a market for the northern surplus in a large way. The 
chief use of corn is to fatten hogs, and to a lesser extent 
cattle, which are raised in great numbers in the corn-growing 
states; and also for feeding horses and mules. Corn is grown 
as a grain in every state of the Union for local consumption. 
The corn-surplus states of the Mississippi Valley form the 
so-called corn belt. Corn is also grown extensively as a forage 
crop, especially in the dairying sections, even where the short 
growing season does not favor the maturing of the grain. The 
plant is cut when still green, chopped fine, and preserved in 
silos, cylindrical structures especially constructed for the pur- 
pose. Ensilage forms a vital part of the winter ration and in 
many cases of the year-round ration of dairy cattle, as it 
furnishes a succulent food that is very palatable. 


As a food plant for men, rice is still more important than 
wheat. We may consider that rice feeds about 450 millions 
of men (one-third of humanity). Rice is above all others the 
principal food plant in very warm and very damp regions 
and, while wheat becomes more and more localized in the 
temperate regions with warm and dry summers, rice belongs 
especially to the tropical regions with summers characterized 
by heavy, warm rains. 1 

1 Alwin Oppel, Der Reis, Bremen, 1890. See especially C. Bachmann, "Die geo- 
graphische Verbreitung des Reisbaues und seine Intensitat in den Monsunlandern," 
Petermanns Mitt., LVIII, 1912, pp. 15 and 16, Table 3. One ought, on principle, to 
distinguish between upland rice and lowland rice; but, economically speaking, the 
former has little importance. See also Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 46-49. 


The Geographical Conditions of Rice 
Great heat and great humidity: The countries which enjoy 
great heat and a large amount of precipitation throughout the 
year are so suitable for rice that several crops a year may 
be raised, as in Java. Countries which have a warm and 
rainy season are suitable for this plant, and the longer this 
season lasts the more crops can be raised. The countries par 
excellence for the cultivation of rice are the monsoon countries 
and the countries of southeastern Asia. In certain regions 
the rains of the summer monsoon are so abundant and so 
regular that this cereal is cultivated without irrigation; such 
are central and eastern Bengal, the Malabar coast, certain 
provinces of Java and of Indo-China. But in China, Japan, 
and Korea rice is cultivated only with the aid of artificial 

Soil: Easily worked lands, rich and in general low, for they 
must be not only watered but submerged ; the alluvial regions 
of the great deltas of the Asiatic Far East are as if made ready 
for rice cultivation. 

Labor: Very dense population, for the cultivation of rice 
demands many hands and continuous work. The preparation 
of the rice field requires very minute care. The field is divided 
into a series of flat basins which must not only receive the 
water but retain it for from eight to ten days in succession. 
Each of these basins is shut in by embankments which must 
be regularly kept up; the ground in these little basins must 
be prepared by plowing or harrowing (Fig. 1 16) ; then the rice 
must be sowed. After the rice is sowed, the fields are covered 
with water for twenty to thirty days, this being renewed 
from time to time, for it must never become foul from remaining 
stagnant. When the rice has sprung up, it must be trans- 
planted (Fig. 117). This is a long, hard, and very unliealthful 
task. When transplanted into the basins where it is to 
develop, the rice must be watered at fixed periods; these 
waterings must have careful supervision and be often renewed. 
Finally, when the rice has developed, the rice fields must be 
drained, before the harvest begins. The rice is cut with a 
sickle, that is, by hand. Then there is still the husking of 
the grain to be done, which requires many hands. 


How [says Woeikof] could a cereal so difficult to cultivate manage 
to take root in so many countries and become the chief article of 
food for hundreds of millions of men ? There are two reasons for 
this: (i) The cultivation of rice made possible the using of marshy 

Copyright by Underwood & I'nderwood 

Pig. i i 6. Harrowing a Rice Field in the Philippines 

The planting can not be done until the ground has been flooded for periods of from 
eight to ten days, after which it is plowed and harrowed. • 

grounds where other cereals would not grow; besides the yield of 
rice is very great. (2) It is very quickly and easily digested, 
conditions that are important in warm and damp countries where 
the other cereals cause indigestion. 1 

The cultivation of rice is mainly carried on in well-populated 
regions which consume most of the product at home. In 
order to have a surplus for export, rice must be grown where 
there is little local demand for the grain, labor must be cheap, 

1 A. Woeikof, op. cit., p. 228. 



or special methods must be employed that will permit machine 
labor, as has recently been done in Louisiana and Texas. 
The general geographic fact is that rice is mainly consumed 
locally in the producing countries with a dense population 
and a low scale of wages. 

The rice-producing countries are first of all China, together 
with the neighboring Asiatic monsoon countries (Japan on the 
one hand and India and Indo-China on the other). 

Rice is the essential and fundamental food of all central 
and southern China. In certain parts of northern China the 
inhabitants live upon wheat, millet, and sorghum, but the 
great majority of the inhabitants of China live upon rice and 
by means of rice. This plant, which requires no highly 

f %!'»?| 



From the Ve>ascope Richard. Engraving loaned by H. Busson 

117. The Transplanting of Rice 

A rice-plantation at Taolongtou (Yunnan). The work of transplant- 
ing is a difficult and very unhealthful work, for it must be done with the 
feet in the water. 

perfected agricultural tools, which demands little fertilizer 
but much water, which needs only four months for its complete 
development, is very well suited to China, a region overheated 


in summer, abundantly watered by rains, rich in alluvial lands, 
and, finally, overpopulated. 

Throughout China rice is so generally the staple food that 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. i i 8. After the Harvesting of the Rice: the 
Imprints of Human Feet 

The men must do the harvesting with sickles, and always with their 
feet in the water. When the rice field has dried and, after the harvest, 
the mud has become hardened ground, it still bears the deep imprints 
of the feet of the harvesters. View taken in the rice fields of Albufera 
d'Alcudia (Balearic Islands). 

the expression chih fan ("eat rice") is the current expression 
for "take a meal," just as the expression chih kono fan ("How 
have you eaten your rice?") is the usual formula of greeting, 
equivalent to such expressions as "How are you?" 1 

Rice has developed in two other groups of regions, namely : 

i. The countries of Africa, and, after the discovery of the 

New World, the countries of America where the general 

natural conditions are similar to those of the Asiatic Far East 

in respect to heat, humidity, alluvial and marshy soils, and 

1 See Elisee and Onesime Reclus, L'Empire du Milieu, Hachette, Paris, p. 646. 
One should compare these words with some of our expressions, such as to "earn his 


sufficient population. In detail the regions are as follows: 
In western Africa: the monsoon coast of Guinea; in eastern 
Africa : the region of the Great Lakes, the coast of Mozambique 
and the lower Zambezi, the plateau of Imerina in Madagascar; 1 
in South America : the humid areas of eastern Brazil ; in North 
America : the low, warm, and well-watered region of the lower 
Mississippi and of the Gulf of Mexico. 

2. The second type of region includes some countries with 
warm and dry summers where the required conditions of soil 
or population exist and where the lack of rain is met by irriga- 
tion (lower parts of the Delta of the Nile, lower parts of the 
basin of the Po). 

The history of the development of the cultivation of rice 
shows clearly that the monsoon countries of eastern and 
southeastern Asia are preeminently the rice countries. 

In the ceremony instituted by the Emperor Chin-Nong, 
2800 B.C., which has already been mentioned in reference to 
wheat, the emperor himself sows every year five plants, but 
the first to be planted is rice. 2 

From China this plant passed to India and from India it 
spread to the region of the lower Euphrates, where rice was 
already cultivated in the time of Alexander, 400 years before 
Christ. At about this time it seemed to have reached the 
extreme limits of the summer rains and was even touching the 
dry and desert regions. Thus for more than a thousand years 
it was unable to pass beyond this limit toward the west. It 
was doubtless only by chance and after many attempts that 
rice succeeded in gaining a foothold in some parts of Syria or of 
neighboring countries ; in those parts which are very dry it has 
not been generally cultivated. It is surprising that there is 
no mention of rice in the Old Testament; but in Palestine, 
which is outside of its natural geographical environment, its 
cultivation would have been very difficult, if not impossible. 

From Syria rice must have been carried into the lower parts 
of the Delta of the Nile, where we still find it to-day. 

The great Mussulman crusade from the eighth to the tenth 

x The island of Madagascar was for a long time an importer of rice. Thanks to 
the improvement of the rice fields, it is now beginning to export this product in 
considerable quantities. 

2 A. de Candolle, L'Origine des planles cullivies, p. 310. 


century had certain agricultural consequences. It was through 
this movement that the Arabs introduced rice into Spain. It 
is still found there in certain irrigated parts, as in the kuerta of 
Valencia, and it has kept its Arab name (arroz). Much later, 
rice was carried into Italy. Its first cultivation there, near 
Pisa, dates from 1468; thence it was introduced into the well- 
irrigated parts of the basin of the Po, where we find it to-day. 

Finally in the eighteenth century rice was carried to the 
southern United States and all the low parts of the Gulf of 
Mexico. 1 It is now grown extensively as a commercial crop 
in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The development of rice- 
harvesting machinery has offset the disadvantage of a lack of 
cheap labor, so essential in the production of rice in the Orient. 

Rice, which feeds so many men, plays an important part in 
Nahrungsgeographie, the geography of food; its place is less 
important in Verkehrsgeographie, commercial geography. 

In Europe rice is consumed on a large scale only in Italy, 
where it is cultivated (50 pounds per head each year), while 
in Great Britain, the European country which imports the 
largest quantity of rice, the consumption is only 15 pounds 
per head. 

The consumption in Germany is : 

1865 1.8 pounds per head each year 

1883 4.18 pounds per head each year 

1900 5.73 pounds per head each year 

Thus, while the quantity consumed has tripled in thirty-five 
years, it is still small, especially in comparison with the con- 
sumption in Italy. 

The commerce in rice seems to be less centralized than is 
the commerce in wheat, but in some sections it is important 
in local trade. Japan uses rice of inferior quality imported 
from Chosen (Korea) and exports better varieties. Likewise 
in the Piura valley of northwestern Peru, Chinese rice is im- 
ported and the local rice is exported to Chile and Europe. The 
exportation of rice from the large, fertile, and well-populated 

1 See Leslie Harrison, "Cultivation of Rice in the United States," Jour. Geog., 
No. 7, September, 1903; published also in Forestry and Irrigation, July, 1903, pp. 
334-343, with, in addition, seven illustrations reproduced from photographs; reviewed 
by J. Nepper in La Geographic November, 1903. See also Twelfth Census of the 
United States, 1900, Vol. VI, pp. 53-60. 



island of Java in 1910 rose to 55,857 tons as against 53,100 
in 1909 and 21,800 in 1908. All the rice exported is of 
superior quality and high price. On the other hand, Java 
imports much larger quantities of the cheaper grades of tea 
from Saigon and especially from Rangoon: 184,308 tons in 
1908, 211,658 in 1909, and 425,575 in 1910. 

Statistics relating to rice are incomplete for China, which 
certainly leads all other countries both in production and in 
consumption. The production in British India is approxi- 
mately 55 billion pounds (250 million quintals). "Three- 
quarters of all the rice brought to the markets of the world 
is furnished by British India, and Bengal is the most pro- 
ductive district. Siam, China, Japan, Java, the Straits Settle- 
ments, Ceylon, the Hawaiian Islands, and the other Asiatic 
regions all produce a larger or smaller quantity of rice, but 
still not enough to satisfy the local demand." 1 According 
to the Quinzaine coloniale, the average production of rice in 
Japan from 1894 to 1904 was about 14 billion pounds (63 million 
quintals) ; that of Java would reach about 9 billion (42 million 
quintals), and that of Siam about 2 billion (10 million quintals). 

Manioc and Sorghum 

Manioc is a plant whose tubers serve as a food for all the 
black peoples of Africa and is a basal food product in tropical 
South America, especially in Brazil. It is, however, scattered 
and is far from having the importance of sorghum or durra, 
or the different varieties of millet. It is from manioc that 
tapioca is obtained. 2 

Sorghum is cultivated not only in all central Africa, but 
also in Japan, China, India, central Asia, and South America, 
and, geographically speaking, it might be claimed that it is the 
cereal which feeds the most men. 3 

But for sorghum, as for manioc, all accurate information is 
lacking; we can only mention the general importance of these 

1 Quinzaine coloniale, January 25, 1908, pp. 72, 73. 

2 Manihot utilissima is regarded by E. Hahn as a sort of elder brother of the potato. 
See H. Jumelle, Les Plantes a tubercules alimentaires, Doin, Paris, 1910; P. Hubert, 
Le Manioc, Dunod, Paris, 1910; and L. Colson and Chatel, Le Manioc d la Reunion, 
Challamel, Paris, 1906; see also Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 45, 102. 

3 We add here to sorghum "all the plants that resemble it" (Woeikof). 


plants, the products of which have, up to the present time, 
contributed little to world commerce. 1 


The Olive Tree 

The olive tree and the vine are two plants which belong 
chiefly to the Mediterranean region and to similar countries; 
but the olive tree is limited to the immediate shore of the 
Mediterranean (extreme limits in altitude: 4,593 feet in 
Portugal, 2,624 feet in Algeria), while the vine reaches far 
beyond the natural limits of this region and of this climate 
and extends toward the north and the east as far as the fringes 
of the boreal forest and the steppe. 2 

Geographical conditions. — The olive tree thrives best where 
there is a dry and warm climate during the summer with a 
mean temperature of 18 C. (65 F.) during the flowering 
season, and where the minimum winter temperature does not 
fall below -18 C. (20 F.). Light granitic or calcareous soils 
are best, the reddish calcareous sands being much superior to 
the compact clay lands. Further, olive trees require almost 
constant care, and trained labor is essential. The many opera- 
tions of tillage, grafting, and pruning must be done just when 
needed; the harvesting must be timed exactly and requires 
hand labor (Fig. 119). Finally, olive orchards come to full 
bearing only after many years and then they can develop only 
with the help of a stable population and in an era of peace. 

Geographical distribution. 3 — Portugal (very favorable 
throughout), Andalusia and all Mediterranean Spain, south- 
eastern France, Italy (the richest natural province after Spain) , 
Albania, Epirus, Peloponnesus, Crete (very rich), Asia Minor 
(unimportant), Palestine, and even Mesopotamia and Iran, 

*In a complete study of the cereals, the profit which men derive from certain by- 
products, such as straw, would have to be considered. See chap. Ill, pp. 48 ff., in 
the book by D. Zolla already mentioned. In certain regions of Switzerland spelt 
and wheat have been cultivated with a view especially to the industry of braiding 
straw (which has now declined) ; see the chapter by Leon Genoud on this subject in 
the volume on the Village Suisse, already quoted. 

2 The best geographical work on the olive tree is beyond question the mono- 
graph by Theobald Fischer: " Der Oelbaum, seine geographische Verbreitung, seine 
wirtschaftliche und kulturhistorische Bedeutung," Petermanns Mitt., Erganzungsheft, 
No. 147, Gotha, 1904. See also Finch and Baker, loc. cit., p. 89. 

3 See the map accompanying the monograph by Theobald Fischer, and the map in 
Bartholomew's Atlas of the World's Commerce, p. 169. 



Tunis and Algeria, 1 and finally Morocco (very rich), are the 
chief olive countries. 

Raoul Blanchard has published a comprehensive work 

on the north- 
ern limit of the 
olive tree in the 
French Alps. 2 It 
is a geograph- 
ical study based 
upon careful 
personal inves- 
tigation and 
proves how nec- 
essary it is that 
the works al- 
ready published 
on the limits 
of cultivated 
plants be taken 
up again in de- 
tail. By careful 
analysis of the 
factors which 
explain the 
present north- 
ern limit of the 
olive tree between the Rhone and the Maritime Alps, 
he throws light upon and modifies a number of the earlier 
conclusions of Theobald Fischer. It is not the nature of 
the soil (there are olive trees in all soils), nor the latitude, 
nor even the altitude that decides the march toward the 
north or the withdrawal of this ancient cultivated plant — 
it is the exposure. A favorable exposure toward the south or 
the east, with effective natural protection from north, north- 
east, and northwest winds, explains all the apparent anomalies 

x See the works of Lecq and Riviere, Trabut, and the article by Dugast, Rev. gen. 
des sciences, January 15, 1894. 

2 La Ceographie, XXII, 1910, pp. 225-240, 4 figures in the text and map outside 
the text, map on scale of 1 : 600,000, on which are traced the zigzags and the indenta- 
tions of this real limit. 


Jean Brunhea 

119. The Cultivation of the Olive Tree in the 
Mediterranean Countries 

The soil at the foot of the olive trees is plowed; walls are 
constructed all about to retain the vegetable mould and 
the rain-water. 


of the limit studied. "Thus the limit of the olive tree is not 
a true climatic limit. This is not the true frontier of the 
south This is an interesting example of the exten- 
sion that man can give to a delicate plant by adapting it 
closely to topographical conditions." These very significant 
statements, which are based upon many careful observations, 
are all the more worthy of attention because the olive tree, 
while preeminently a Mediterranean plant, in other places is 
found beyond the strict limits of this region, as for instance in 
all the damp coastal areas of Portugal already mentioned. 
Blanchard has outlined and explained the different natural 
regions of France, and has noted particularly the plateau of 
Valensole, whose inclosed valleys are covered with olive groves 
on southerly exposures up to the very edge of the plateau 
surface, which is itself devoid of olive groves. The absence of 
olives in the lower valley of the Bleone, where the natural 
conditions are very favorable, is due to a psychological factor, 
"the agricultural caprice of the inhabitants of the valley." 1 
The olive can grow in other regions of the globe with a 
Mediterranean climate. In North America it has acquired 
economic importance only in California; it is found also on 
the high plateaus of Mexico; in South America it thrives in 
Chile, north of 35 , and in the Argentine Republic, around 
Mendoza. It is also established in South Africa and is 
prospering in the south of Australia. This tree, which 
furnishes oil, belongs preeminently to regions where cattle 
are not raised and which are consequently deprived of butter 
made from cow's milk. 

The Vine 2 

Geographical conditions. — The physical conditions necessary 
for successful vine culture are: a well-marked warm season, 
with no excess of rain, and land that is dry or easily drained. 
The labor element also is important because of the many 

x There they prefer pear and almond trees, which grow more rapidly and bear more 
quickly than olive trees; the presence of a railroad, already long established, has for 
a long time rendered easy the marketing of these products, and in 1908 the producers 
of Bleone sent their pears as far as Germany (article cited, p. 302). 

2 For the geography of the vine, consult the article published by Pierre Clerget, 
"La Geographie de la vigne et la crise viticole," Bull, de la Soc. neuchateloise de geo- 
graphic, XIX, 1908, pp. 121-143: see also Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 84-88. 



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different operations necessary for successful cultivation. The 
land must be frequently tilled; the plants need to be pruned 
and layered; props must be set to which the vines may be 
attached as they grow; spraying is necessary several times 
during the season. Then the 
grapes are picked and made 
into wine and the vineyards 
made ready for the dormant 
season and the next year. 
Where terrace culture is fol- 
lowed the soil itself must be 
replaced. There is thus a de- 
mand for continuous human 
effort and a peculiar aptitude 
the result only of long training 
and adherence to custom. No- 
where can vine dressers be 
improvised. The vine passes 
through many crises which can 
be overcome only by the most 
painstaking attention to the 
plant needs. It seems to attach 
the vine dresser to it in propor- 
tion to the labor it demands. 
Geographical distribution. — 
''The middle zone in the two 
hemispheres is comprised between 
The northern limit starts in France 

Fig. 121. 

The Bourguignon Vineyard 
and Its Make-up 

The most important commercial places 
are underlined. 

27° and 49 latitude. 

from the mouth of the 
Vilaine, runs toward Givet, crosses the Rhine near Bonn, is 
prolonged to the east into Saxony, turns then toward the 
southeast across Moravia and Hungary, crosses the Car- 
pathians, and includes the provinces of southern Russia bathed 
by the Black Sea. It is found again at Astrakhan (47 ) and at 
Peking (40 ). In North America the vine flourishes in all of 
California, which lies south of latitude 42 . In the southern 
hemisphere, where the lands do not extend as far toward the 
pole as in the northern hemisphere, the vine is cultivated in 
South Africa, which reaches only 35 ; in the south of Australia, 
which approaches some degrees nearer to the pole; in the 



parts of Chile and of the Argentine Republic which are north 
of 40 south latitude." 1 

The limits of vine growing have changed a great deal; 
viticulture is withdrawing gradually from the too unfavorable 


Fig. 122. The Principal Viticultural Centers of France 

northern regions and is concentrating in more favored centers. 2 
On the other hand, it is being established beyond its present 
natural limits through wholly artificial cultivation; magnifi- 
cent table grapes are produced in the hothouses in the suburbs 
of London and in Belgium. 

1 Pierre Clerget, ibid, pp. 121, 122. See the map in Bartholomew's Atlas, pp. 
90 and 91. 

2 Example: In 1889 there were not more than 70 acres of vines in Belgium; see 
A. Berget. " Les Vignobles en Belgique," Rev. de viticulture, XII, 1899, pp. 103-107 
and 158-162. 


Finally, the attempt at localization, which should always 
be the aim of geographers, would lead us to prepare, from a 
general map like that of the distribution of wheat -growing 
or of the sugar beet and sugar cane, (Figs. 116, 118) a series 
of more detailed maps and sketches showing the most favor- 
able centers, then within these centers the most favorable points 
(Figs. 121 and 122). 

Sugar Cane and the Beet 

In ancient times sugar was obtained from honey, a fact which 
accounts for the importance which was then attached to 
apiculture. There is at present a renewed demand for honey 
and a renaissance of bee-raising. 1 

To-day sugar is derived largely from sugar cane or from 
beets. At the beginning of modern times (sixteenth century) 
ease of communication brought the product of sugar cane 
to our markets (about 1 150 its cultivation had been introduced 
into Cyprus, in 1420 into Sicily and the Madeira Islands, and 
about 1500 into the Canary Islands). In the middle of the 
thirteenth century Marggraf, a German, discovered the 
existence of sugar in the beet and the first sugar works were 
established in Silesia and then in France. The continental 
blockade, by cutting off the cane sugar brought by English 
boats, brought about an increase in beet-raising in all conti- 
nental Europe; but after the blockade this prosperity was 
followed by a terrible reverse which ruined the European sugar 

It was saved, however, ' by the scientific processes of the 
laboratory, through chemical analysis, and became triumphant, 
so that the cultivation of sugar cane in its turn was very 
gravely threatened and became almost non-existent. On the 
one hand, this menace caused the application of scientific 
methods to the cultivation of sugar cane, and in Java, for 
example, the yield per acre rose in a few years from 3,500 
pounds to 9,000 or 10,500. On the other hand, the unrestricted 
competition of the European countries, made keener still by 
protective tariffs and by the tactics of exportation bounties, 

iSee the remarkable work by T. W. Cowan, published in English and translated 
into French: Wax Craft: All about Bees Wax, Medina, Ohio, 1908, with numerous 
plates and text illustrations. 




ended in such great overproduction that an effort had to be 
made to limit the production. In this the Conference and 
the Convention of Brussels (1902) was finally successful. 
After laborious discussions, the Convention was renewed at 
Brussels at the beginning of 191 2 for a period of five years, 
with some modifications adopted to the advantage of the 
Russian export trade. 

Thus we see to what extent these two plants have been 
historically dependent upon each other. 

Geographically, sugar cane and the beet meet in the basin 
of the Mediterranean ; sugar cane is cultivated in the irrigated 
zones of Egypt and Spain, and the beet appears native in the 
warm districts of Spain and Portugal. However, as the struggle 
became more severe between the two sugar plants, they have 
become differentiated and separated, from the geographical 
point of view, so that to-day they belong to sharply opposed 
zones (Fig. 123). 1 

Geographical conditions of sugar cane. — (a) A mean annual 
temperature of at least 16 to 18 C. (6i° to 64 F.), and 
especially a very high summer temperature; when the winter 
is severe, too early cold periods cause great losses, as in 
Chile, Natal, and Japan, where the cultivation of sugar cane 
is almost impossible. 

(b) A heavy rainfall, at least 47 to 55 inches (1,200 to 
1,400 millimeters); much water is necessary during the early 
period of growth, much water and heat during the middle 
period, much heat without too much rain at the time of 

(c) The general tendency to transform this plant into an 
annual plant increases the need for labor. Further, the 
regions which are suited to sugar cane are fever regions and 
not so well adapted to Europeans; hence the introduction 
of negro slaves into the West Indies and into inter-tropical 

Geographical distribution of sugar cane. — The zones which 
border immediately upon the great equatorial forest in both 

1 Walter Such, "Die geographische Verbreitung des Zuckerrohrs," Beihefte zum 
Tropenpflanzen, I, No. 4, Berlin, pp. 1 19-19 1. Also Surface, The Story of Sugar, 
Appleton, New York, 1910; H. C. Prinsen Geerligs, The World's Cane Sugar Industry, 
Past and Present, Altrincham (Eng.), 1912: Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 71-76. 


hemispheres: India; Cuba and the southern states of the 
United States; Brazil; Java; 1 Philippine Islands and Taiwan 
(Formosa); Hawaiian Islands; and finally Egypt, where the 
growing of sugar cane has been developed by means of irri- 
gation and cheap labor. 

Geographical conditions of the beet. — Beet growing is a very 
exacting industry in one way; but in the other it is very 
remunerative. The beet is being grown in all central and 
western Europe on the best lands, which it makes still 
better because of the necessary tillage and fertilization. 2 
It has played a highly important educational and economic 
role. Its cultivation requires such hard and capable labor 
that it is the cause of very important temporary migrations, 
such as that of the Camberlands in the north of France and 
of the Poles in all central Europe. The attempt to introduce 
beet cultivation on the Swiss Plateau brought about a trans- 
planting of Poles from Galicia. 3 

Geographical distribution of the beet.* — The chief producing 
countries are Germany, 5 Austria, Russia, France, Belgium, 
and the Netherlands (Fig. 123). 

Sugar cane and beets must be treated immediately after 
being harvested ; their cultivation has therefore made necessary 
the establishment of mills near the fields. 

The consumption of sugar has gone on increasing at a very 
rapid rate (direct individual consumption, consumption by 
pastry and candy-makers, consumption by chocolate factories 
and by factories for canning and preserving fruits, etc.). 

*0n the sugar market in the Far East and on the production in Java, see the articles 
published by Reau and H. Brenier in the Bull. Scon, de V Indo-Chine and analyzed 
in the Bibl. de 1903 des Ann. de geog.. No. 174. 

2 See Jean Brunhes, "L'Homme et la terre cultivee, Bilan d'un siecle," Bull, de la 
Soc. neuchdteloise de geog., XII, 1899, pp. 23-24. 

3 The Poles of Galicia, for example, emigrate temporarily as far as Sweden and 
Denmark, on the one hand, and as far as Switzerland on the other. Recently Kasimir 
Ladislaus Kumaniecki, after having noticed the difference between emigration beyond 
the sea and these seasonal migrations which allow of return to one's country, has 
gathered together some interesting data with regard to this second fact; see "Die 
galizische Saisonauswanderung im Lichte auslandischer Arbeitsvertrage," Statistische 
Monatsschrifl, 1909, pp. 521-567. 

4 Van Cleef, "The Sugar Beet in Germany, with Special Attention to Its Relation 
to Climate." Bull. Atner. Geog. Soc, Vol. XLVII, 1915, pp. 241-258 and 334-341- 
For a study of the beet, see particularly the investigations of the Rev. gen. des 
sciences (July 15 and 30, 1896), and the chapters by P. P. Deherain in Les Plantes 
de grande culture. 

5 See the map by Bartholomew, pp. 78 and 79. 


The English are the largest consumers (88 pounds per head 
per year). 

Comparative Statistics of the Production of Sugar Cane 
and of Beet Sugar in Thousands of Tons (American) 

Sugar Cane 

British India 



Louisiana and neighboring states. . 





British Guiana 

British West Indies 

Argentine Republic 


Porto Rico 


1894-1895 1899-1900 1905-1906 

6 39 












Beet Sugar 

Season of 

1 897-1 898 

(Before the 


of 1902) 

Season of 

1 903- 1 904 

(After the 


of 1902) 

Campaign of 
1 908- 1 909 
(After the 

of 1902) 






United States . . . 







* 1907-1908. 

How many uncertainties in such statistics as these sugar- 
cane figures! And how many variations in such harvests! 1 

In the beet-sugar statistics there are variations also, though 
not so great as those for the harvests of sugar cane. Further- 
more, notice should be taken of the rapid strides made 
by those countries which have most recently turned to the 

1 On the map of Fig. 123, Mexico and even the continental territory of the United 
States might seem to play a role more important than they play in reality in the world 
production. Those zones, problematical or scattered in extent (for example, in 
Mexico), are far from being very productive zones. To-day Cuba, the Hawaiian 
Islands, and the Philippines are distinctly the leading countries in their possibilities 
for developing the sugar cane industry. 



cultivation of the sugar beet: in 1 908-1 909, Italy produced 
190,698 tons, Spain 91,491 tons, Denmark 66,138 tons, etc. 1 

Total Production of Sugar Cane and Beet Sugar 
in Millions of Tons 


The foregoing table demonstrates the rivalry between the 
two sugar-producing plants and the abnormal progress in 
production caused by this competition. 

Tea, Coffee, and Cacao 

These are three trees or shrubs which belong to the warm 
and moist transitional zones. Their products are consumed 
in ever-increasing quantities especially in the overpopulated 
regions of the temperate zones. By reason of the develop- 
ment of means of transportation, tea, coffee, and cacao 
(chocolate) penetrated almost at the same time (in the seven- 
teenth century) into the countries of central and western 
Europe and they are to-day allied, as it were, for the more 
complete conquest of popular favor. 2 On the other hand, 
they often come into rivalry with each other (for instance, 
the substitution of the tea shrub for the coffee shrub in the 
island of Ceylon, of the cacao tree for the coffee shrub east 
of the Niger delta, etc.). 

The tea shrub can endure low temperatures that kill the 
coffee shrub, although the two plants require approximately 
the same summer temperature; it follows that the coffee 
shrub is excluded from certain regions where the tea shrub 
can live without difficulty. 

iThe majority of these figures have been taken from Scobel, Geographisches Hand- 
buch, allgemeine Erdkunde, Landerkunde und Wirtschaftsgeographie, Bielefeld and 
Leipzig, ioio. 

2 W. H. Johnson, Cocoa, Its Cultivation and Preparation, London, 1912. 


From the human point of view we should group together 
three trees such as the date palm, the banana tree, 1 and the 
coconut tree. From the geographic point of view, however, 
they are very different and belong to widely varying zones, 
though for man they have the common characteristics that 
they meet varied needs and that all their parts are used. 2 

The Concomitants of Plant Cultivation 

One last point must be emphasized. Geographers should 
note not only the transformations of the surface which are 

Fig. 124. The Labor in Market-Gardening 
Under bell-glass, the vegetables grow in protection from the cold 

Illustration from M. Allain and H. Hauser "The Principal Aspects of the Globe, 
France, 1912" 

brought about by different sorts of cultivation, but also in 
detail the types of buildings and the other investments of 

1 William Fawcett, The Banana, Its Cultivation, Distribution, and Commercial Use, 
London, 1913. 

2 See, for example, for the date palm, the long note on pp. 241-242 of Brunhes, 
L' Irrigation; for the banana, a passage by Stanley, reproduced in H. Busson, etc., Asie 
et Insulinde, etc., p. 199. The banana especially is called to a brilliant economic 
future; it will play a larger and larger part in ordinary consumption, even in European 
countries; see the volume on Les Bananiers in the collection of Vegetaux utiles de 
VAfrique tropicale francaise, by Auguste Chevalier; and in the collection of the Biblio- 
theque pratique du colon: Paul Hubert, Le Bananier, Dunod and Pinat, Paris, 1907. 
The volume on the coco palm in the same collection is equally worth consulting. 



capital that are necessary in each of these several types of 
human toil. 

In traveling through the vineyards of the southern shore of 
Balaton Lake, the vineyards of the south of France, or those 
of the northern shore of the Lake of Geneva, one notices 
everywhere small structures of clay or stone which are neces- 
sary accompaniments of this kind of cultivation. Such a 
structure is called a capite in the canton of Vaud, and else- 
where mazct, bastidon, etc. In the small intensive market 
gardens around Paris, the ground is covered with large bell 
glasses {cloches) which enable the maraicker to produce vege- 
tables during the spring and winter months (Fig. 124). 

In Tyrol the meadows are dotted with little buildings 
of rough boards, usually not close fitting, which serve as a 
shelter for the supports, shaped like parrot perches, upon 
which the Tyrolese peasants dry their hay. Thus a special 

Joan Brunhes 

Fig. 125. Stacks of Poles Used in Holding up the Hay, Sweden 

The poles are here seen set up in stacks, scattered over the Swedish meadow, 
before being set up in fence-like rows to support the hay for drying. 

type of work, combined with the humidity of the climate, 
covers the ground with small supplementary facts of human 
geography. In countries that are still farther north, and where 
the summer is shorter, all the hay is set up and spread out to 
dry by means of vertical stakes supporting horizontal bars 
(Figs. 125, 126, and 127). 


Fig. 126. Drying Barley on Poles in West Norway 

Sticks projecting horizontally from the vertical poles hold up the barley, exposing 
it to the sun and preventing it from absorbing moisture from the ground. 

Fig. 127. 

Mark Jefferson 

Drying Hay on Fence-like Hurdles, West Norway 

Here wires or ropes are strung between the poles, which have been set up in the 
sunniest spot to be found on the hillside. 




In the case of rye it is still more necessary to set it up on 
supports, that it may resist the humidity of the climate and 
not absorb moisture from the soil; care is taken further to 
turn the hanging ears of grain toward the south, that is — 
toward the sun. 

On the sheltered western shores of the Lago di Garda lemon 
trees are cultivated, the fruit of which, especially in former 
times, was famous and much sought after. Curious sheds 
consisting of white posts united at the top by cross beams, 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 128. The Cultivation of Lemon-Trees on the Sheltered Shores 
oe Lago di Garda (Riviera) 

Lemon-trees prosper in all the Riviera of Lago di Garda; but they need to be pro- 
tected under sheds (serrt) during the winter; that is why these posts of white- washed 
brick have been constructed. (However, as a consequence of the disease called 
"resinous flow," the cultivation of the lemon tree, formerly so flourishing, diminishes 
from year to year. In 1862 on the shores of this lake were produced from sixteen to 
eighteen million lemons; at present only from two to three million are produced.) 

constructed to protect the trees from the winter cold, consti- 
tute a peculiar and distinctive feature of the landscape 
(Fig. 128). 


The splendid table grapes from Thomery in the neighborhood 
of Fontainebleau, called the chasselas de Fontainebleau, are 

M. Allain and H. Hauser 

Fig. 129. Cultivation with a Special Arrangement; the Vines 
at Thomery (Seine-et-Marne, France) 

grown beside walls built to protect the grapes from the wind. 
These little parallel walls give a distinctive appearance to 
this whole region (Fig. 129). 


In comparing the geography of three of the chief textile 
products, cotton, silk, and wool, we have the advantage of 
comparing at the same time the geography of a plant (cotton) , 
that of a tree and an insect combined (the mulberry and silk- 
worm), and finally that of a domestic animal (the sheep). 

A Plant Product: Cotton 

Cotton is at the present time the most important textile 
plant. It tends more and more to replace the older textile 
plants, flax and hemp. It is the most productive and the 
most generally used fiber plant in both hemispheres and in 
countries of different latitudes. The cotton plant belongs to 
tropical and equatorial regions. Cotton is spun and woven 
by the most primitive peoples of Sudanese Africa. It furnishes 


to-day the clothing both of very primitive and of very 
civilized peoples. 1 

The cotton seed is in a pod, which opens of itself at maturity; 
it is surrounded by fibers from .3 to 1.5 inches (1 to 4 centi- 
meters) long, and these fibers, sometimes of a dazzling white, 
sometimes yellowish in color, are the basis of the world's 
great cotton industry. 

The geographical conditions of the cultivation of cotton. — 
Heat and humidity: The cotton plant needs high temper- 
atures and abundant rainfall throughout the period of its 
growth* and maturing, and hence it is principally grown in 
warm regions with summer rains (the Asiatic zone of the mon- 
soons, African Sudan, southern coastal plain of America, etc.)- 2 

The cotton plant is a perennial which cannot stand low 
temperatures; it is thus naturally eliminated from regions 
which are warm and damp in summer but which have severe 
winters. Since it was found that the best means of obtaining 
a good product was to pull up the plant and replace it every 
year, cotton has practically become an annual. As a result 
it can be grown in countries with moderately severe winters, 
provided that the summers are long and hot. Thus the 
southern states of the United States have become a great 
cotton-producing country (Fig. 130). 

While the cotton plant needs much rain during its growth, it 
is injured by rain in the last period of its maturing. As soon 
as the pod is opened a heavy shower will injure the fiber, and 
cause it to decay. Thus the preservation of the seed is difficult 
in countries of monsoons and summer rains, which are admira- 
bly suited to the cotton plant during the growing season. There 
are other regions that may be favorable to the cultivation of 
cotton if the effort and expense of irrigation is undertaken; 
the harvest may then be more certain than anywhere else. 

1 0n flax, see L. Mercier, Monographic du tin et de Vinduslrie liniere dans le departe- 
ment du Nord, Lille, 1902; and Achille Gregoire, "La Culture et l'industrie du lin en 
Hollande, en Belgique et en France," Rev. icon, internal.. May 15-20, 1909. Since 
the first edition appeared, Pierre Clerget has published an excellent article on "La 
Geographie des textiles" in La Geographie, XXIII, 191 1, pp. 109-132; see also 
A. Oppel, Die Baumvolle, Leipzig, 1902; E. C. Brooks, The Story of Cotton and the 
Development of the Cotton States, Chicago, 191 1; Twelfth Census, United States, VI, 
pp. 405-420; Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 51-54; Atlas of American Agriculture, 
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C, 1918, Part V, Sec. A. 

2 See these zones of transition marked on the map in Fig. 112. 


To the first class of countries, warm and naturally favorable 
for the cultivation of the cotton plant (India and Japan, 
southern United States), there is added then another geo- 
graphical class: the irrigated countries with a warm and dry 



s^^v^ '"• *«£?-& >m 



ft ■ -* 

Courtesy North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station 

Fig. 130. A Cotton Field in North Carolina 
The pods are ripe and the cotton is ready for the pickers 

summer (the oases of Egypt, of Turkestan, and of southwestern 
United States). (See map in Fig. 131.) 

Nature of the soil: The cotton plant needs soils that are very 
rich, especially in phosphoric acid, and these soils must be 
fertilized heavily in order to meet the heavy demands which 
cotton makes and to maintain their fertility. In India the 
soils formed in situ from eruptive rocks (regur) are peculiarly 
suited to the cultivation of cotton. The cotton fields of the 
Deccan are mainly confined to this soil area. In the United 
States it is on the richest soils of the coastal plain and the 
southern prairie plains that we find cotton cultivated, and 
especially on the alluvial lands of the lower valley of the 

In irrigated countries cotton is grown particularly in regions 
covered with alluvium. 

Labor: The cotton plant requires very minute and con- 
tinuous care, in the preparation of the soil, in the sowing, in 




the watering in dry countries, and in the harvest, especially 
in damp countries. Thus the successful cultivation of cotton 
depends in great measure upon an abundance of cheap hand 
labor. In new countries which are adapted to cotton culture 
but which have a sparse population, labor has had to be 
imported, as was the case when negroes were brought from 
Africa to the United States. This was one of the fundamental 
economic causes of the slave trade and of the development of 
slavery on a large scale in the southern states. The Civil 
War was primarily a struggle for the labor necessary for the 
cultivation of tobacco and cotton. 1 

An Animal Product in Connection with a Plant: Silk 
Several species of Bombyx produce cocoons which can be 
unwound and which furnish more or less rough silks. The 
Bombyx mori, or Bombyx of the mulberry tree, is the one 
which furnishes the most valuable thread. Geographically 
the distribution of silk production depends, then, upon an 
animal, the silkworm, and upon a plant, the tree upon which 
the silkworm lives and upon whose leaves it feeds (Fig. 132). 
There are numerous species of mulberry trees: the black 
mulberry, the white mulberry, and the Chinese mulberry 
(Morus multicaulis) . The two last mentioned, having leaves 
more tender and more easy to pick, are better for silkworm- 
raising. The mulberry is in general a very adaptable tree. 
It accommodates itself to northern latitudes, such as those of 
Norway and northern Russia, as well as to latitudes near the 
equator. It does not succeed at all in regions that are too 
clayey and too marshy, but, with this exception, it is not 
exacting as to the quality of the soil. It grows very well upon 
the dry, silicious, or calcareous slopes of the domain of the 
olive or of the camelia. 

Judging only by the tree, then, it would seem that silk might 
be produced from Norway to the Sudan. As a matter of fact, 
the cultivation of the mulberry and the raising of silkworms 
have been attempted even in the countries with cold winters 
and springs, such as Switzerland (canton of Freiburg and 

x See the very remarkable number devoted by the Rev. icon, internat. to cotton 
(April 15-20, 191 1), the five chief articles of which are signed: E. de Wildeman, W. R. 
Dunstan, E. Levasseur, A. Aftalion, and C. W. Macara. 


canton of Vaud), and even in Prussia (attempts of Frederick II 
in the eighteenth century) ; but most of these attempts have 
failed, for it is not sufficient that the mulberry develop nor- 
mally; it must put forth its leaves rather early in order to 
serve as food for the silkworms. The climate must also be 
rather mild so that new leaves may grow and the tree come 
to maturity. Hence arises a very perceptible limiting of 
the distribution of the mulberry toward the north. All the 
countries of microthermal climates (p. 237) are excluded from 
it, and, still more definitely, all the countries covered by the 
boreal forest (Fig. 1 1 1 ) . 

Then, too, the Bombyx itself depends on temperature 
conditions. Where it develops in the open air or under simple 
sheds it cannot endure, during its period of evolution and of 
labor, a temperature lower than 15 C. (59 F.). But this 
period is short, lasting only about a month ; and the countries 
where the spring period of first leaving of the mulberry 
coincides with a warm climate are suitable for the raising of 
silkworms: the damp regions of the Asiatic Far East — that is, 
the zone of transition of the monsoons and particularly the 
region of the camelia (Koppen). 

However, even in these favored habitats, a chance tempera- 
ture that is too cold is enough to endanger the entire growth 
of the cocoon. As the critical period is short, men have been 
led more and more to build protected sheds and have even 
reached the point of building closed rooms called magnaneries, 
in which the silkworm may work. During the first days a 
temperature of from 25 to 30 C. (77 to 86° F.) is maintained 
in these rooms and in the following weeks a temperature of 
about 20 C. (68° F.). From twenty to twenty -five days 
must be counted for the feeding of the caterpillar, and from 
four to five days for the making of the cocoon; this artificial 
breeding then lasts for a month. The leaves, its food, are 
brought to the worm, and the "climate" that it desires is made 
for it. All this requires only a small space and lasts only a 
short time. Such conditions are then easy to realize several 
times a year if enough mulberry leaves can be procured for 
these successive breedings. Moreover, it will be possible to 
carry on such an artificial breeding at any point on the globe, 


provided that mulberry leaves can be obtained. As a result 
of these special conditions of "hothouse" breeding, the geo- 
graphic distribution of the productive silkworm, which was 
very much limited by climatic demands, is now greatly 
extended and limited geographically only by conditions 
imposed by the plant and not by the animal. Silk culture 
has thus been able to spread out from its original center, the 
Asiatic Far East, and gradually to reach regions with a much 
colder climate and finally to establish itself very successfully in 
the Mediterranean region. The natural provinces where the 
mulberry produces its leaves early enough and abundantly 
enough are possible centers for the raising of the silkworm. 

Here another factor comes in and determines within these 
natural provinces the most favored localities for the silkworm. 
This factor is the very one whose full economic value and 
effectiveness we have been trying to show in the course of 
this study — namely, labor (quality and quantity). 

In fact, this domestication of the silkworm requires a large 
number of active hands, for picking the leaves, for keeping a 
constant temperature in the magnanerie, for feeding the worm, 
for unwinding the cocoon after the silkworm has been killed, 
and finally for the preparation of the eggs, which must serve 
for the next breeding. This is a very absorbing work, and 
since it is confined to a period of only a few weeks it must 
be performed by persons who are very careful and attentive. 
In Provence and in Lombardy the women are particularly 
apt at silk culture. 

This sort of work can be carried on only where the population 
is rather dense and can be employed at just the time of year 
when the mulberry tree must be picked and the silkworm 
raised (Fig. 133). 

In the Mediterranean countries conditions of climate are 
such that the mulberry furnishes its fresh leaves only once a 
year and in general only one breeding takes place during the 
year. There are species of the Bombyx which are called 
polyvoltines (lending themselves to several breedings per 
year) ; naturally they are raised where the climate allows the 
mulberry to produce leaves more than twice a year. It is 
the great advantage of China, Japan, Tonkin, and India that 




they can raise the polyvoltine species, and in these countries 
they have as many as four and five breedings a year. 

From the human laborer's point of view, this results in a 
certain advantage, for those who are employed in this industry 

Jean Brunhea 

Fig. 133. Cultivation of Mulberry Trees in Coele Syria. Types of Low 
Trees, Kept so for the Purpose of Gathering the Leaves 

The labor required in this rare and precious cultivation must be reduced as much 
as possible; that is why, in Provence, Lombardy, etc., as here in Syria, the mulberry 
trees are maintained at a height such that it is easy to reach the leaves to be gathered ; 
the branches are usually arranged, by means of pruning, so that at six feet from the 
ground there is a sort of fork to which it is easy to climb. 

Trees of other kinds, that likewise require delicate gathering and are well cared 
for, are trained in the same way; with the mulberry trees of this illustration might 
be compared the olive trees, the fruit of which is kept within arm's reach so to speak 
in all the well cultivated plains which border the slope north of the Maures range, in 
Provence (Carnoules, Le Luc, Argens Valley, etc.). 

To the right in the illustration, are the ruins and the base of the remaining walls 
of the famous temple of the sun at Baalbek (ancient Heliopolis). 

can devote the entire year to it. In Europe, on the other 
hand, only supplementary hands can be employed for the 
raising of silkworms. We have here a limitation set neither 
by the plant nor by the animal, but by the human population 
and by the general work in which it is employed. De Gaspa- 
rin remarks that "in the south of France silkworms are not 


desired in districts consisting of large farms because the 
farming population is too sparse. They are also unwelcome 
in regions given up to special sorts of cultivation, such as that 
of the vine, the olive, etc. Large farms are not favorable 
for the development of the industry, because the population 
of this class of farms is unwilling to care for the silkworms, 
while the people of the small farms are more easily interested. 
Finally, the breeding of the Bombyx cannot be carried on where 
crops are grown which demand much labor in the spring; in 
short, great estates do not in general produce silk, while, on 
the contrary, the industry fits in wonderfully well with all 
sorts of cultivation on a small scale." 1 That is why in the 
small French or Italian centers it is especially the women 
who furnish suitable labor. 

Another characteristic fact which shows the curious influence 
of the human element upon the geographical distribution of 
this culture is that in India and Tibet the Buddhist peoples, 
who are forbidden by religious precept to kill any animal 
and who object therefore to the necessary artificial suffoca- 
tion of the chrysalis in the cocoon, constitute a barrier to the 
extension of silk culture analogous to that which certain 
special conditions of climate might cause. Thus a psycho- 
logical fact of a religious character expresses itself upon the 
map of the world by the distribution of a certain kind of 

Unlike the manufacture of cotton, which until recent 
years has been developed far from the cotton-producing 
centers, the silk industry arose within the regions of silk 
worm production, or very near them. 2 

An Animal Product: Wool 

From the earliest times men have had the idea of using 
for their own clothing the natural clothing of animals ; primitive 

*V. Groffier, "La Production de la soie dans le monde," Ann. de geog., March 15, 
1900, p. 100. 

2 See R. Gonnard, "L'Industrie lyonnaise de la soie et la concurrence mondiale," 
Rev. icon, internal., August 15-20, 1905, pp. 259-299. It would be well also to note 
the development of that unexpected rival, artificial silk. On the beginning of these 
facts, see A. Menegaux, "L'Etat actuel de la fabrication de la soie artificielle," Rev. 
gen. des sciences, July 30, 1898. See what has been said on this question in the last 
pages of Pierre Clerget's "La Geographie des textiles," La Geographic, XXIII, 191 1, 
pp. 131 and 132. 


peoples clothe themselves with skins. The most advanced 
civilization seems to be joining with the civilization of savages, 
for the most fashionable women more and more desire furs. 
The modern development of the automobile has in recent 
years created a great demand for furs for use in the cooler 

When the fur of an animal is taken, the animal is killed. 
The idea of using the hair of an animal without killing it led 
to shearing. It was then necessary to solve the double problem 
of making thread and of weaving it. The natural fur of all 
hairy animals can be and in fact has been used for the manu- 
facture of thread and fabrics. Goats (notably the goat of 
Tibet and the angora goat of Asia Minor), the camel, the 
alpaca (South America), etc., are sheared and their fleece 
made into thread of varying resistance and value. 

The animal whose fleece is most used by man is the sheep. 
A geographic study of wool entails first a study of the geo- 
graphic causes of the distribution of the sheep. 

Climate. — Sheep live chiefly upon grass, but may depend 
also upon shrubs and dry bushes : the bushy growths (lentisks, 
myrtles, etc.) which cover the dry slopes and plateaus of the 
Mediterranean region and which form the maquis (Corsica), 
the garigues (Languedoc), etc. All this vegetation belongs to 
xerophilous or mesothermal climates (climate of the alfa, or 
esparto, climate of the olive), as well as to the zone of the 
steppes. We may say in general, for the world as a whole, 
that the types of climate and of vegetation corresponding to 
the dry parts of the Mediterranean regions are particularly 
suited to sheep. 

Nature of the soil. — The soils which produce this vegetation 
are stony and often calcareous soils, which do not lend them- 
selves well to cultivation. Calcareous soils usually have a 
good under-drainage. The surface is rarely water-soaked, a 
desirable factor in both sheep- and poultry-raising. 

Human population. — In dry sheep countries the vegetation 
is scattered and poor and it requires a large acreage to support 
even a small flock of sheep. Hence arises the necessity for a 
constant change of place and for the periodical migration of 
flocks, which has led from time immemorial to the development 


of well-worn trails (drailles, carraires, tratturi, vias pecuarias, 
etc.). 1 

In Italy, Spain, Provence, and Thessaly, vast flocks of 
sheep driven by their shepherds pass the summer on the lofty 
plateaus or in the high mountain regions, and in the winter 
come down toward the plains, where they crop either the 
natural grasses or the dried stalks left in the fields after the 
harvest. 2 

Now in order that these great journeys may be possible, the 
population itself must be very thinly scattered. Sheep- 
raising corresponds exactly to the zones of sparse population : 
the scantiness of population is one of its conditions. On the 
other hand, where a population of growing density is established 
and where consequently the cultivation necessary for its 
subsistence is introduced, sheep diminish and sometimes even 

This is the all-important fact for human geography and is 
confirmed by many observations as well as by many statistics. 

Sheep also furnish a good quality of milk, to which we 
owe famous cheeses, such as Roquefort. The sheep is also 
raised for its meat. In this case it is, geographically speaking, 
another animal. It is raised, for example, in regions which 
are unsuitable for producing a good quality of wool, but which 
are excellent for the quality of the flesh. Thus in Great 
Britain, famous as the original home of many breeds of sheep 
known the world over, sheep thrive from Scotland to the 
Downs. The better mutton breeds are found chiefly in 
southern England, where the equable temperature throughout 
the year favors the development of sheep. In some countries, 
as in Normandy, sheep for mutton are pastured on the fine 
salt grass of the "salt meadows" close to shore. 

We have here a fact which is associated with entirely 
different geographical conditions and which should therefore 
be analyzed as a different and almost independent phenomenon. 

1 See especially the pages and the very suggestive maps by Andre Fribourg, "La 
Transhumance en Espagne, "Ann. de geog., XIX, 1910, pp. 231-244 and Plate XIV. 

2 "A grass, the Br achy podium ramosum, here feeds from October to June these 
thousands of sheep, whose periodic routes of migration, the drailles, we shall see furrow- 
ing the sides of the Cevennes with their white lines and reaching as far as Aubrac" 
(J. Sion, "La Seconde Excursion geographique inter-universitaire," Ann. de geog., July 
15, 1906, p. 337). 


Merinos have been introduced into France with the idea of im- 
proving the fleece. "When interest in the production of meat 

grew," says L. Perruchot, ''English breeds were brought in 

These are great eaters and do not prosper in countries with scanty 
pasturage; .... they particularly dislike heat, dryness, dust, 
and drives. They prosper particularly well in the Paris basin, on 
the clayey plateaus, where to other favorable conditions is added 

the advantage of a climate that is cool without excess " 

Cultivation, far from excluding sheep, makes their presence possible, 
as does even manufacturing. Clover, lucerne, vetches, beets for 
fodder, the residue of sesame, cotton seed, peanuts, and especially 
pulp from sugar beets are lavishly used in the sheepfold. The 
sheep are fed scientifically with a view to producing a food product 
that is almost a manufactured product. 

If, with this exception, we examine the distribution of the 
flocks of wool-bearing sheep, we find that on the whole it 
is controlled by remarkably simple geographical principles. 
The sheep is found in all the dry, rough, little-cultivated, and 
thinly populated districts throughout the entire Mediterranean 
region: the steppes of Spain, the Cevennes and Alps of 
Provence, the mountains and plateaus of peninsular Italy and 
of Sicily, the calcareous ridges of Greece, the plateaus of 
Albania and Istria, the Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria, Rou- 
mania and the great dry steppe of southern Russia and the 
Crimea, Asia Minor entire, Syria and Palestine, ending with 
the deserts of North Africa and especially with the high steppes 
of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, the Atlas countries, which 
have so well deserved the name of "sheep countries." 1 

The dry zone, which is favorable to sheep, continues to 
the east of the Mediterranean world across the southeast of 
Russia and the Kirghiz steppe as far as Mongolia, and farther 
to the south, beyond Asia Minor as far as Iran and the dry 
districts of northern India. In North America, which is 
naturally favorable to sheep, we find a strikingly similar 
region, the so-called "arid region," in the western part of 
the United States as well as in the high Mexican plateaus. 
Likewise, in the southern hemisphere, dry zones similar to 
the dry countries of the Mediterranean, reappear in the 
Argentine Republic, in South Africa, and in Australia. Sheep 
are raised in large numbers in these three regions. 

1 See Finch and Baker, loc. cit., pp. 135-141. 




The largest flocks in the world have been those of Australia. 
Introduced over a century and a quarter ago, they had 
reached in 1891 the formidable figure of 106 million head; 


R. du Verger 

Fig. 135. Flocks of Sheep in the High Mountains in Summer 

The sheep of Provence (also the Algerian sheep that cross the sea to the number 
of more than a million every year) ascend the Alps to 6,000 feet and more in order to 
feed: Tetes des Cos and pastures of the Combe in the Aiguilles de l'Argentiere. 

See the monograph on the Aiguilles de l'Argentiere published by E. Gaillard and R. du Verger in La Montaane, 
July 20, 1911, with a fine topographic map by R. du Verger. 

and while the repeated dryness of several years reduced 
this number to 50 millions, it seems to-day to have reached 
once more a total of 80 millions. 1 No example could show 
more clearly the point to which human power may attain in 
a very short time in the way of animal conquest and how 
the methodical purpose of breeders may within a few years 

x The whole story of sheep in Australia is summed up strikingly by Paul Privat- 
Deschanel, "L'Australie pastorale," La Geographie, XVIII, 1908, pp. 145-168, etc. 




spread a multitude of new domestic animals over a country. 
Size and Temporary Decrease of the Australian Flock 2 

i 7 s8 29 sheep 

1801 6,757 sheep 

1821 138,755 sheep 

1 861 23,000,000 sheep 

1871 40,000,000 sheep 

1 881 78,000,000 sheep 

1891 106,260,000 sheep 

1900 92,000,000 sheep 

1903 50,000,000 sheep 

1906 84,000,000 sheep 

Approximate Statistics of Sheep 3 

The countries grouped 



a v. 

/. a 

< 2 

* H 

* V 

§ s § ° * * 

The Atlas countries . 









Asia Minor 

United States 


Argentine Republic. 

Cape Colony 


W = ■>. g f Germany 

D ^ Great Britain and Ire 


° ^ o « 1 
S w rj h 


Arout 1900 

of Heads 














No. to the 





269 . 36 
43 25 


No. to 
















In ioio 


of Heads 











iFrom the same point of view, one might consider the influence of human inter- 
vention on the animal population of the earth by the typical example of the introduc- 
tion of the rabbit into Australia. In 1862 some rabbits were taken there to be used 
as game for hunting; the rabbits multiplied so that to-day they are to be found by 
the billion; they now constitute a real economic danger, and people are obliged to 
preserve by means of wire fences not only their cultivated fields, but even the natural 
pasture grounds of sheep, against the incessant menace of these hordes of rabbits. 

2Note besides, as J. Carpentier has truly remarked, that, while the Australian 
flock varies in size in such alarming proportions, exportation of wool from Australia 
has remained almost constant (146,000 tons in 1903 as in 1892). This comes from 
the raising of sheep of a cross breed, whose wool is less fine and more abundant, but 
which can also be exploited for their flesh (J. Carpentier, "Les Pays producteurs de 
laine, etude geographique," Bull, de la Soc. de geog. de Lille, XLV, 1906, pp. 109-123). 

3The figures in this table were taken from Max Eckert, Grundriss der Handels- 
geographie, Goschen, Leipzig, 1905, 2 vols., an excellent book extremely useful for 
reference. See I, p. 104; the figures give the size of the flocks about 1900. The 
figures for 1910 are from the volume by Scobel, (See note p. 286). 



The modes of human activity connected with the raising 
of herds deserve particular attention as phenomena of human 
geography. The life and the great migrations of the horse 
herdsmen of central Asia 1 and the caravans of camel herds- 
men in the deserts of Arabia and of North Africa are well 

The horse is the principal animal of the great grassy steppes, 
and the camel that of the drier regions of the xerophilous 
climates (deserts) of the Old World. On the frontier of these 
two great types of natural regions, these two saddle and trans- 
port animals encroach upon each other's territory. The camel 
is found to-day in the south of Russia and in Crimea, and the 
horse was long ago introduced into Arabia and the Sahara, 
where it has even improved. Moreover, the horse has been 
so well chosen as a domestic animal that he finds a place in 
the most advanced forms of contemporary civilization and 
lends himself to manifold uses. 2 

Where the horse cannot endure the too severe temperature 
of the extreme limit of the great boreal forest, he is replaced 
as an animal for transport and for food by the reindeer (cold 
regions of high latitudes) and the yak (cold regions of high 
altitudes). 3 

Nor should we forget the animals that are often attached to 
very small human centers and to the most modest family 
groups. There are countries where pigs and goats are raised 
on a large scale, but, in the countries of old Mediterranean 
civilization the pig and the goat are frequently isolated 

x See that very remarkable, though somewhat too systematic book by Ellsworth 
Huntington, The Pulse of Asia, Houghton Mifflin & Co., Boston and New York, 1907. 

2 For studies of the horse and the camel, see chaps. IV and VII in Robert Muller, 
Die geographische Verbreitung der Wirtschaftstiere mit besonderer BeriXcksichtigung der 
Tropenldnder, Hensius, Leipzig, 1903. See also Otto Lehmann, Das Kamel, seine 
geographische Verbreitung und die Bedingungen seines Vorkommens, Weimar, 1891, 
51 pages and a map of the ancient world showing the distribution of the two species 
of camel. 

3 Ed. Hahn, "Die Transporttiere in ihrer Verbreitung und ihrer Abhangigkeit 
von geographischen Bedingungen," Verh. des XII. deutschen Geographenlages in 
Jena, 1897, pp. 181-196. See yak, p. 185; reindeer, p. 186; camel, pp. 187-190; 
horse and ass, p. 191; mule, p. 191; on the use of the reindeer for transportation and 
for food in Alaska, see the annual "Report on the Work of the Board of Education 
""for the Natives of Alaska" (the latest, for 1914-15, being Bur. of Educa. Bull., 1016, 
No. 47, Washington, 1917). 



companions of the humblest peasants. From this point of 
view they are deserving of a social rather than a geographical 
study. In Andalusia, as in the canton of Grisons, they con- 
stitute the only reserve of the poor and form a sort of living 

Fig. 136. A Flock of Goats in Lydenburg (South Africa) 

"savings bank." The raising of fowls also is too general 
a fact of human geography not to hold the attention of any 
geographical observer. It is none the less true that the 
greater numbers of domesticated animals are raised in herds 
or flocks. 

Since we have studied sheep as types of flocks, it would be 
well to examine a little more closely the phenomena of nomad- 
ism as related to sheep. 1 

The southern Carpathians, and especially the plateau of the 
Paringu, form one of those mountainous regions the summits 
of which, given over to pasturage beyond the tree-line, are 
occupied by the greatest number of flocks of sheep, at least 
during the summer period. During the winter a part of the 
flocks are taken into Transylvania and another part goes down 

X E. de Martonne has collected characteristic facts concerning this nomadism in 
his article " La Vie pastorale et la transhumance dans les Karpates meridionales; 
leur importance geographique et historique," Zn Friedrich Raizels Gedachtnis, Seele, 
Leipzig, 1904, pp. 227-245. 


toward lower Wallachia, toward the Danubian steppes of 
Balta. De Martonne has represented the main lines of peri- 
odic movement of the sheep, roads that bear the expressive 
name of Drumul oilor, "sheep roads." 

Just as we have shown the close relations between the house 
and the road or street, so we should note that often the phe- 
nomena of cultivation and the phenomena of domestication 
are closely mingled. What is Hackbau, i.e., cultivation with 
the spade, as opposed to Ackerbau, i.e., cultivation with the 
plow, except the contrast between the labor of working the 
earth by the human arms alone, with spade, mattock, etc., 
and the labor to which man has trained a domestic animal, 
ox, horse, camel, etc.? 

It would be wrong to consider nomadism as the exclusive 
specialty of pastoral life. Man must, to be sure, follow his 
sheep, horses, or camels when he drives them from place to 
place in search of new pastures ; this kind of toil implies nomad- 
ism, but it has no monopoly of it, and we shall have occasion 
to take up this important point again. 

Even in countries where nomadism is a recognized fact, 
there are many cases of semi-nomadism representing a greater 
or less mixture of cultivation and animal-raising. The follow- 
ing description by Masqueray of the semi-nomads of the Aures 
range is equally true of the people of the high Algerian steppes 
and the northern part of the Sahara: 

Aouras, taken as a whole, is a region too poor to admit of an abso- 
lutely sedentary life. Burned by the sun and dried by the southwest 
wind, grown slowly sterile since the destruction of the works of the 
Romans, it demands from its inhabitants the raising of cattle as well 
as the tilling of the soil. The Aoulad-Daoud cannot content them- 
selves with the meager gardens at the foot of their villages which 
furnish them with apricots, grapes, and watermelons. They' need 
a more fertile field in some canton of the north ; they need the product 
of some herd. Moreover, whence would they have obtained the 
wool for their clothing in former times when they were always fight- 
ing with their neighbors ? 

During the winter they work the plains of Medina and Taham- 
mamt; they return to harvest them during the summer. In the 
meantime they follow their thin cattle over the slopes of the 
mountains of which they are masters. During the autumn they must 
descend to the south toward Benian and Mchounech to buy dates, 


the only food easily transportable. It follows that their life is made 
up of regular, successive changes of place; that these people whom 
a superficial traveler would think sedentary are semi-nomads; that 
the possession of a herd is with them a sign of wealth; that the tent, 
although they have houses, is their ordinary dwelling; and that for 
four-fifths of the year their large villages are almost abandoned. 
Only the very poor remain in them. 

The real purpose of the villages of the Aoulad-Daoud is, then, to 
serve as a storehouse. Each person shuts up first within his own 
house a small part of his provisions; then, since robbers are always 
to be feared, he places the main part of it in the common fortress, 
the guelaa, under the care of a guardian. A guelaa contains nearly 
all of the movable wealth of the inhabitants, considerable quantities 
of wheat, barley, wool, pressed dates, butter, and strips of dried 
meat. I saw one of them being filled at the beginning of autumn; 
loaded mules followed each other in an unbroken line. I must add 
that accidentally and rarely a guelaa may be isolated. This is the 
case at Sanef. The guelaa here consists of a large castle built on 
the very border of the wadi, while the village rises a considerable 
distance above it. This is perhaps why in maps we find Sanef on 
the bank of the river. 1 

For some, nomadism was only a stage in the march of 
humanity; for others, it was above all else a question of race. 
In the eyes of the former it presupposed a state of civilization 
which was still rudimentary, but which was destined to progress 
and to bring man to a sedentary life. Wherever we can follow 
his march, said the partisans of this idea, man was first a 
hunter, then a shepherd, and then a tiller of the soil. The 
advocates of the latter view, having noticed that nomadism 
is particularly widespread in Arabia and Algeria, immediately 
drew the conclusion that it was peculiar to the Arab family 
and that it was hardly capable of evolution; the Arab was a 
nomad, he could be only a nomad. 

Thus presented, these solutions of nomadism have a grave 
fault. They take no account of natures restrictive influence on 
human activity, or of man's adaptation to geographical condi- 
tions, or of the political factor which is the result of man's will. 

To take a concrete example : As far as we can go back into 
the history of the region, the high Algerian plateaus are pre- 
eminently the country of nomadism. For a long time the 
government had seen its seemingly most intelligent legislative 

^mile Masqueray, Note concernant les Aoulad-Daoud du Mont Aures (Aouras), 
Adolphe Jourdan, Algiers, 1879, pp. 21-23. 


plans meet with the most vigorous opposition, which some 
attributed to the world-old customs of nomads rebellious to 
ideas which disturbed their habits. Then a series of reports 
made on the spot under the direction of the civil and military 
administration in the years 1 901-1903, seemed to show modi- 
fications in the customs of these peoples. In the succession 
of these facts there was ground for surprise and reflection. 
Could nomadism then be something else than a matter of 
race? Could it owe its origin to many factors, among which 
the human element played an important part, but which 
resulted also from the natural conditions of the country; and 
could the predominance of the one over the other be the key 
to the problem ? Is it not in this direction that we might find 
the reason why in certain instances or in certain parts of the 
country nomadism offered an unyielding opposition to the 
laws of French colonization, while, in other instances, or in 
another field, it was seen to be entering upon a new phase? 

On the high Algerian plateaus nomadism is naturally the 
"regular and periodic migration to meet the needs of pastoral 
life;" 1 it is the changing of place, not by some individuals only, 
but by a whole tribe, at fixed times and periods because it 
must find new pastures for the herds which furnish its food and 
support. But nomadism is far from showing a single type 
over the whole territory. There are degrees of nomadism, 
and, as Augustin Bernard and N. Lacroix say, 2 there is a 
series of intermediate types between the native of the Algerian 
Tell, principally a cultivator, who feels almost no need of 
migrating because the soil is rich enough to feed him and his 
herds throughout the year, and the Shaanba and Tuareg, who 
hardly migrate any more because, they are so poor that they 
have no large herds and prefer to remain within the vast 
stretches of the Sahara with their camels, waiting for a chance 
to make a raid and to live at the expense of the oases around 
which they gravitate. Between these two come the nomads 
properly so called, who live by means of their herds and whose 
nomadism is a necessary result of geographical conditions. 

1 For this statement see Augustin Bernard and N. Lacroix, in L'Evolution du 
nomadisme en Algerie, Adolphe Jourdan, Algiers, and A. Chalamel, Paris, 1906, p. 3. 
2 Ibid., pp. 77-99. 


In fact, as is well shown in the work to which we refer, the 
utilization of the ground in the special form of nomadism is the 
only possible use to which it can be put on the high plateaus 
of Algeria — that is, in all the regions comprised between the 
Tell Atlas on the north and the Saharan Atlas on the south, 
because it can be nothing but a steppe. Cultivation can be 
established there only by means of irrigation and never goes 
beyond a very limited region. Let us not forget that the 
subtropical zone, to which this whole region belongs, receives 
less than 16 inches (406 millimeters) of rainfall in the course 
of the year, and that this quantity falls with a "disheartening 
irregularity," since more than a year may pass without a 
helpful shower. Let us add that such a vast extent of land 
does not offer everywhere the same climatic conditions nor, 
consequently, the same advantages to shepherds. The 
northern part, the region which borders on the Tell Atlas, 
receives spring and summer rains; the southern, or Saharan 
region, receives autumn and winter rains. Certain tribes are 
therefore obliged to have summer and winter and sometimes 
even spring and autumn camps, i.e., to make a regular periodic 

The phenomenon causes still other complications. The 
more numerous the tribes and the richer in flocks, the more 
space they require and the more they wish to extend their 
pasture ground. On the other hand, it goes without saying 
that to reach periodically the different encampments the flocks 
need to cross a large stretch of land, to which rights of usage 
must be acquired; 100,000 sheep are not transported from the 
Sahara to the Tell in the twinkling of an eye and without 
requiring water and grass. Let us suppose besides (and in 
nomadic countries there is ground for the supposition) that 
in a certain year the irregularity or insufficiency of the rainfall 
has considerably injured the steppe; will not the tribes be forced 
to seek farther for their ordinary pasture? In other words, 
will they not be tempted to invade the limits imposed upon 
them by cultivation or by the forest, rather than allow the 
flock, which forms their entire wealth, to perish? 

Here a new difficulty arises : to abandon the forest reserves 
to sheep or goats means to sacrifice them, means to continue 


that work of deforestation which has done all too much injury 
to Algeria. It even means, as a fatal consequence, the destruc- 
tion of the pasturage, for it condemns to death the shrubbery, 
the undergrowth, which grows in the protection of the tree and 
serves to sustain the plant covering of the steppe itself. 

On the other hand, ' ' the extension given to the cultivation 
of cereals, by causing the undergrowth vegetation to disappear, 
is rather unfavorable to sheep-raising." 1 Thus a strip tends 
to form between the regions of real cultivation and the pasture 
regions, which, in the case of rainy years, becomes more and 
more infertile and impoverished; in these years it is good for 
neither the cultivators nor the shepherds. 

We see then that the difficulties arising from natural condi- 
tions are not so easily overcome as some public men think. 
One of these wrote on January 8, 1 904, " Is it necessary to leave 
more than 740,000 acres (300,000 hectares) unproductive 
in order to allow some hundreds of Arabs to bring their flocks 
there during two or three months, of the year?" 2 The fair 
reply to this is: "Is it necessary to condemn to death sev- 
eral hundred thousand sheep in order to harvest some few 
bushels of wheat and that only in the most favorable years ? ' ' 
Even if it is true that the interests of agriculture are, on 
principle, to be preferred to the interests of extensive animal- 
raising, yet the former must be real and durable and we 
must be assured of reaping the profit from them. 3 

Cultivation cannot gain ground indefinitely in Algeria; 
Schirmer 4 and Brunhes stated this some years ago, calling at- 
tention to the fact that in certain oases it has acquired all the 
extension of which it is capable and that to endeavor to 
develop it over larger surfaces is to expose it to the danger of 
perishing where it now exists, for new borings are almost always 
fed at the expense of earlier ones. Bernard and Lacroix are 
entirely of the same opinion. "If it is possible in certain 
places, in the Tell or in the Hodna, better to utilize the surface 
water, it must not be forgotten that the larger part of these 

1 Le Pays d6 mouton, p. 47. 

2 The Depeche algerienne, quoted by Aug. Bernard and N. Lacroix, in L' Evolution 
du nomadisme en Algerie, p. 61. 

3 Compare also, for these facts, Jean Brunhes, L' Irrigation, p. 215. 
*Ibid., p. 372. 


watering-places should always be given up to watering the 
flocks and that cultivation should never be permitted to for- 
bid shepherds and flocks an access to the springs." 1 There 
are regions where cultivation is so problematical that to 
attempt it is to take a real chance. This is particularly the 
case in the Saharan regions. 

The irregularity of the rains [says a report upon the Ouled-Djellah 2 
post] always makes the profit that a harvest may yield too much a 
matter of chance; the cultivation, without which the nomad cannot 
become sedentary, is always impossible in the neighborhood of the 
watering-places and too often causes disappointment when carried 
on elsewhere. Thus it is wisdom, the result of a long experience, 
which leads our peoples to place all their hopes in the raising of 
flocks. The rains follow each other with disheartening irregularity. 

Only regions situated on the limits of the Tell seem destined 
to give more certain results; and yet the importance or the 
increase of cultivation mentioned in certain reports must not 
be exaggerated. It is a matter sometimes of 4,000 or 12,000 
acres (2,000 or 5,000 hectares) for regions comprising perhaps 
2 or 4 million acres (1 or 2 million hectares). 3 

We now understand the conclusion of Bernard and Lacroix: 4 
1 * One must be hostile toward too absolute solutions, be careful 
not to believe in the intrinsic superiority of cultivation over 
grazing, and not forget that its role in the steppes, while 
increasing somewhat, can never be other than a subordinate 
one." If this conclusion seems too unfavorable to agriculture 
or too pessimistic, let us not forget that the shepherd's industry 
is not an evil, but a real wealth, which corresponds to the 
conditions of certain countries. It would be but a poor 
policy to take away from pasturing some few oases in the 
midst of the steppe to give them over to a cultivation that 
promises precarious results and perhaps for some few years 
only. 5 "But have we the right to condemn the nomads to 

a Aug. Bernard and N. Lacroix. p. 183. 

Hbid., p. 180. 

3 Reference is purposely omitted here to conquests which can be made in North 
Africa by dry-farming methods. See the preface by Augustin Bernard in the volume by 
John A. Widtsoe, translated by his daughter, Le Dry-farming, Culture des terres seches, 
Paris, 1912. 

4 Aug. Bernard and N. Lacroix, p. 205. 

5 Newell, the great apostle of irrigation in the American Far West, presents some 
identical reservations and remarks on the economic advantages of sheep-raising. 
See his book, Irrigation in the United States. 


die of hunger and make the steppes throughout unusable and 
unproductive in order to try to make wheat grow where the 
climate does not allow its existence? It is still less necessary 
to permit European or native cultivation to interfere with 
the shepherds when this interference is compensated by no 
advantage that is serious and of real economic interest." 1 
Looked at in this light and as a function of climate, nomadism 
might on the whole be considered as unchangeable, and we 
should then have the right to conclude that the high Algerian 
plateau can never be the dwelling-place of sedentary peoples, 
for the relief and the climate of these regions can hardly be 
modified. However, on reading a number of reports brought 
together by the government of Algeria, we find that this 
immutability of nomadism is not complete, that changes have 
shown themselves for several years and even tend to become 
more marked. Under what influences has this evolution taken 
place, what agents have intervened, and why has their action 
not been perceptible until within a rather short time? 

It is important to get a closer grasp of the problem. In 
northern Africa nomadism owes its origin, as we have said, to 
pastoral activity; the regular periodic migrations result from 
the necessity of finding pasture for the flocks which form the 
wealth of a tribe. May not other, perhaps accessory, factors 
have played their part in the extension of certain forms of 
nomadism? We know that the nomad is not only a shepherd, 
but also a merchant, and that the great caravans of camels, 
which go from the Sahara to the Tell, and vice versa, are the 
important means of transporting dates from south to north 
and cereals from north to south. 2 We know further that 
nomad is often a synonym for pillager and that the fine fields 
of barley or the verdant growth of the oases are well suited 
to tempt the cupidity of the nomad, who compares to them 
the meager vegetation of his own steppes. 3 These are facts 
common to all regions bordering on deserts. The Turkomans 
of central Asia were as great a danger to the Iranians as the 

J Aug. Bernard and N. Lacroix, op. cit., p. 63. See also Jean Brunhes, the whole 
conclusion of the chapter on "L'Irrigation en Algerie-Tunisie," in L' Irrigation, pp. 

2 Schirmer, Le Sahara. 

3 On the "tufted Sahara," see L' Irrigation, p. 230 and Fig. 20. 


sand of the neighboring desert; the Mongols, urged on by 
that instinct for pillage long inherent in nomads, used to 
invade the rich fields of China and India. We can then 
believe that if the geographical factor lies at the base of 
nomadism, the human element has been able to extend it and 
to exaggerate it. Might it not also restrict and reduce it? 

History offers on this point a series of incontestable facts. 
Regions to-day trodden by the nomad or invaded by sand 
were once occupied by a sedentary population and devoted to 
cultivation. In attempting to explain these changes, before 
having recourse to alterations of climate, which are always 
very problematical, at least as far as historic time is concerned, 
we must see whether they may not be as well attributed to 
the ravages and destruction of wars. Now we may state that 
it was not the Arab invasion which introduced nomadism 
into northern Africa; to assure himself of this one need only 
read the testimony of authors of the first centuries who speak 
of the nomads of Mauretania. We know just as certainly 
that through the protection of the Roman armies cultivation 
had driven back nomadism and gained ground, without, 
however, reaching the regions of steppes which extend well 
to the south of Algiers and Oran. To the south of the Roman- 
ized territories the nomads maintained themselves. With 
the decadence of the Roman Empire there was a giving way 
on the part of the cultivator and a forward movement by the 
nomads which, though arrested somewhat under the Byzantine 
rule, started again with the Arab invasion of the seventh 
century. Some authors have thought that this invasion had 
spread a nomadic population over these regions. It was 
rather the invasion of the twelfth century which established 
as many as 500,000 nomads in these lands and added to the 
evils of war the evils arising from their type of life and habits. 
"It is their sheep, their camels, their goats, that ruin north- 
ern Africa." 1 The Turkish administration was still less than 
to-day of a sort to encourage agriculture; the incessant inter- 
tribal wars and the periodic raids of the bey could only weaken 
and even bring to naught the efforts of the sedentary popula- 
tion constantly deprived of the fruits of their labors. Why 

x Aug. Bernard and N. Lacroix, p. 26, and farther on, chap. X. 


wear one's self out, if at harvest time the harvests were to be 
carried off by the robber of the desert or the robber of Algiers ? 
But a failure to work on the part of the sedentary population 
means the ruin of agriculture, for we must not forget that 
"in dry countries, such as the Mediterranean countries, and 
with all the more reason in the steppes and the Sahara, there is 
no need of positive injury in order that the soil should depre- 
ciate, the forests perish, and nomadic life gain ground. Nega- 
tive action is sufficient; it is sufficient to do nothing, not to 
keep up the hydraulic works, and not to busy one's self with 
waters and forests." 1 To how many other countries would 
a remark of this sort apply? We might say that all the 
regions bordering upon deserts, all the zones marked as 
steppes on the map of Fig. 1 1 1 , would furnish us with examples, 
but Mesopotamia, Russian and Chinese Turkestan, the plateau 
of Iran, and Mongolia are the most significant in the Old World. 

In the New World we have an excellent example of seasonal 
nomadism in the case of the Navajo Indians of New Mexico 
and Arizona. Though they cultivate favorable soil areas in 
the lowlands to a moderate degree, their chief form of wealth 
is sheep. These they drive into the forest and grassy high 
mesas in the summer, where the higher humidity favors the 
growth of succulent vegetation. In the winter season the 
flocks are driven to the lower levels (below 7000 ft.) and are 
fed on the dry nature-cured hay that has grown during the 

If the state of war, the insecurity which is the fatal conse- 
quence of it, the absence of a vigilant and firm administration, 
give to the nomad every facility for developing and putting in 
action his instincts for idleness and pillage, while at the same 
time permitting him to feed his flocks and herds upon lands 
which cultivation might claim, we can on the other hand 
understand that the man of sedentary life, feeling himself 
protected, and assured that his toil will bring him an abundant 
and paying harvest, will no longer fear to push his cultivation 
to the limits where climatic conditions favor it. He will 
retake the land which he had abandoned and we shall see a 
drawing back of nomadism. 

x Aug. Bernard and N. Lacroix, p. 29. See also Brunhes, L' Irrigation. 


This drawing back, however, is only an outer aspect, 
affecting the region much more than the institution itself. 
Changes in the state of the nomad would be much more 
important and much more significant. And that is exactly 
what has happened upon the high Algerian plateaus where 
Bernard and Lacroix made observations which show not 
merely a withdrawal of nomadism, but a transformation, a 
veritable evolution. 

The nomad or the shepherd can devote his energy to 
different sorts of animals, and there is a whole series of transi- 
tions, including the raising of the horse, the goat, and the 
sheep, between the nomad who raises cattle and him who 
raises camels. We may disregard cattle-raising, since cattle, 
requiring fodder and water, can live only rarely in the steppes. 
As for the horse, which is essentially the animal of the 
steppes, its raising also presents some difficulties. The require- 
ments are more rigid than in the raising of sheep, and even 
of the ox; yet it is well known what a place the horse holds 
in the life of the Arab and how the Prophet made the care 
to be given to horses one of the obligations of Mussulman life. 
And why was this? Because the horse was essentially a war 
animal. There is nothing more typical on this point than the 
words of the emir Abd-el-Kader : "It has been a part of the 
customs and nature of the Arabs from the earliest times to 
make war upon each other, as well as upon neighboring 
nations. The poor Arab needs a horse in order to fall upon 
the goods of his enemy, take possession of them, and grow 
rich, and the rich Arab likewise needs a horse to protect his 
fortune and his head." 1 

The consequences of the French occupation and the pacifica- 
tion which has been the result of it are now easily seen. Why 
keep an animal, the price of which has risen, the support of 
which is costly, and which no longer renders the service that 
was once expected of it? Consequently we see that horse- 
raising is steadily decreasing, while the raising of horned 
cattle and of the mule is increasing. The horse has become 
more and more a luxury. This is a natural consequence of 
peace and does not fail to disturb the government. "Some 

x Aug. Bernard and X. Lacroix, op. cit., p. 114. 


years ago," says the report from the "circle" of Khenchela, 1 "it 
would have been easy to find in Algeria 20,000 horses ready 
to be equipped and placed immediately in service. This was 
a valuable asset for the state, but one which unfortunately 
no longer exists, and if the government does not take measures 
to stop the emigration of colts, it is clearly evident that before 
long it will be impossible to provide for the recruiting of the 
horses necessary for the cavalry in Algeria." 

There is modification also in camel-raising. The camel, 
as we mentioned above, is particularly adapted to the desert, 
where it plays an important part, either as a pack animal or 
as a saddle animal; yet it has not the endurance that is com- 
monly supposed. As a result of their use by the Algerian 
troops the camel herds were decimated to such an extent that 
the effective force had fallen from 255,000 in 1896 to 187,000 
in 1 90 1. This mortality, aggravated further by the dryness 
and severity of the winter of 1 903-1 904, caused the price of 
camels to rise. Sums of money were granted by the govern- 
ment for building up the herds, but many natives have bought 
cattle and sheep. Why? On this point it is interesting to 
read the reports of officers. "In the 'circle' of Marnia, 
insecurity having ceased, the native is no longer obliged to 
change his dwelling quickly and to flee before swift and 
numerous enemies; his camel is therefore less useful to him." 
"In the 'circle' of Mecheria the usefulness of camels for the 
natives is decreasing because they wander less and less, and 
the railroad is competing with transportation by caravans. 
Moreover, the decrease in camels is not to be regretted; 
cattle and sheep will take their place to the advantage of the 
country." In other regions which are deserts or on the edge of 
the desert and where consequently great migrations are neces- 
sary, camel-raising holds its own and cannot be neglected. We 
find here the influence of the human element as a geographical 
factor. The security enjoyed by the sedentary peoples and 
the building of railroads have made the camel useless both as 
a pack animal and as a war animal; it is giving way to the 
sheep, which is truly the animal of the Algerian steppe. Care 
should be taken not to interfere with the growth of the flocks 

x Aug. Bernard and N. Lacroix, p. 116. 


of sheep through measures too restrictive upon grazing or too 
favorable to cultivation. According to Bernard and Lacroix, 
the best thing would be, not to sacrifice cultivated lands or 
forests, but to substitute intensive for extensive sheep-raising 
by care of the pasture lands, by the development of watering- 
places, by a better utilization of the actual resources. 

That there is ground for such a proceeding, and that great 
advantages may be hoped from it, is shown by the results 
obtained in other countries. "In Australia in the Murray 
basin, the irrigation projects have allowed the creation of 
fields of alfalfa; thanks to this plant, 15,000 sheep are fed upon 
200 acres, or 75 per acre, while formerly in the same country 
it required 4 acres to feed 5 sheep." 1 

Another factor which is modifying the conditions of nomad- 
ism is the commercial factor, or rather the changes which it 
is undergoing. Formerly it was necessary to organize great 
caravans in order to send to the markets of the Tell the flocks, 
the wool, and other products of sheep-raising, and to bring 
back grains and divers manufactured products. But to-day 
the railroads have penetrated to the very edge of the desert 
and have facilitated the establishment of depots, of places of 
exchange, of commercial centers. Owing to the relative 
security of the roads, "we see to-day merchants and com- 
mercial travelers, Jews or Mozabites, soliciting the trade of 
the nomad even in his tent and offering him the objects which 
he needs. " 2 Another fact no less significant is that ' ' the weekly 
market has in more than one spot replaced the annual fair." 

This evolution has, moreover, taken place elsewhere under 
the influence of the same agents. The great caravan routes 
for tea and silk in central Asia are disappearing as a result of 
the coming in of the railroads; commercial centers are changing 
place; the great annual fairs have given way to more frequent 
markets, and in Europe, too, the merchant, the commercial 
traveler, penetrates to each village, to the smallest hamlet, and 
solicits the trade of the peasant under his thatched roof. 

The coming in of the European has had its influence in 

1 On the subject of irrigation in the Murray basin of Australia, see Paul Privat- 
Deschanel, "La Question de l'eau dans le bassin du Murray," La Geographie, 
December 15, 1905, p. 466. 

2 Aug. Bernard and X. Lacroix, p. 226. 


another form — that is, in the habits of daily life. While for- 
merly the nomad lived chiefly from the product of his flocks and 
clothed himself with fabrics of native manufacture, now he 
has recourse more and more to the products of Europe. ' ' The 
use of coffee, sugar, and tea is making its way into the houses 
of the rich ; even among people of moderate means these articles 
are considered necessities." "European clothes, fabrics, and 
tapestries are beginning to excite their desires; many natives 
are even beginning to wear shoes of the European style." 

" To-day," say Bernard and Lacroix, 1 "the weaver works 
quickly, puts less wool into the fabric, and replaces it by cotton 
in the warp ; in the woof he uses wool colored with aniline dye 
instead of wool colored with vegetable matter." 

Passing through an evolution in grazing, in commerce, and 
in industry, the nomad seems also to be passing through an 
evolution in his social organization, and here again we see the 
influence of the human and political factors. Perhaps a change 
may be made in the Mussulman family in the matter of polyg- 
amy. Certain authors hope that, because domestic tasks will 
be less numerous and less binding, the Mussulman, having 
less need of servants, will take fewer wives. 

That there is an evolution in nomadism in Algeria is then 
undeniable; some of the changes take place before our very 
eyes: "A tendency to reduce the migrations, a decadence in 
camel-raising and progress in cattle-raising, a progress in 
cultivation, a tendency to build houses, an increase in luxury, 
an increase of individualism in the family, a growing freedom 
of the family and of the village in relation to the tribe. " 2 How- 
ever, these changes seem to have shown themselves much more 
in semi-agricultural tribes near the Tell, in those which are 
along the limit of the steppes; they have affected much less 
those which live in the midst of the steppes or in the Sahara. 
In other words, the evolution is more marked in regions where 
nomadism owed its existence and development to undoubted 
physical factors, but also in large measure to human factors, 
the insecurity of the country, and low density of population. 
The evolution is much less marked in parts where nomadism 

lAug. Bernard and N. Lacroix, p. 267. 
2 Ibid., p. 302. 



is chiefly the result of truly geographical conditions. How- 
ever, nomadism has expressed itself here by a number of 
facts important enough so that we can say that it is not a 
matter of race, that it is not of a single type, and that it is 
not unchangeable. On the other hand, the resistance that it 
offers to a too rapid change shows that it rests upon natural 
conditions that are difficult to modify. 

On the transformation of the periodic migration in Spain, 
A. Fribourg has lately published some important data. 1 
Since the new rates and the new means of transportation 
inaugurated in 1899 by the Madrid-Saragossa- Alicante 
Company and in 1901 by the Madrid-Caceres-Portugal 
Company, "the sheep migrate in cars." Besides, in many 
countries and notably in Spain, the raising of sheep implies 
a diminishing migration. In the fifteenth century there 
were 2,694,000 migrating sheep, while at the end of the nine- 
teenth century there were not more than 1,355,000, and that 
is but a very small part of the total number of sheep in 
Spain, which certainly reaches nearly 14,000,000 head. 2 

We cannot end this chapter without saying a word about 
Alpine nomadism, or the nomadism predominant in the 
Alps and the mountains of humid Europe, i. e., central and 
western Europe. 

Alpine nomadism is especially associated with the raising 
of cattle. 3 The pastoral migrations of cattle in the Alps differ 
from the nomadism connected with the raising of sheep in that 
they are always migrations for a short distance ; moreover in 
moving from their winter station to their summer pastures, 
the herds do not have to traverse entire zones occupied by 

l Andre Fribourg. "La Transhumance en Espagne," Ann. de geog., XIX, 1910, see 
P- 375- 

2 In many parts of the Pyrenees nomadism is, on the contrary, allied with the rais- 
ing of sheep. 

3 Dr. Joseph Girou, of Aurillac, on reading this paragraph wrote: "It is not only 
in Spain that they pay railroad fare for animals that migrate. The cows of our coun- 
try have no reason for envying the Iberian sheep. The mountain pastures of the 
canton of Allanche and of the neighboring cantons (situated to the north of the de- 
partment of Cantal) are excellent and are very much sought after by the herdsmen 
of the neighborhood of Aurillac, to the south of the department; but they are far away 
and there is no way of getting at them by a direct road. So, when the new line from 
Neussargues to Bort. which crosses the country of Allanche, had been opened a short 
time, the herdsmen asked the Paris-Orleans Company to make special trains for cows; 
the company arranged for such trains, and they are used especially for the animals 
having the longest journey to make." 


forms of exploitation of the earth that are entirely different. 1 
As we have found in the case of sheep, it would be a mistake 
to reduce Alpine nomadism to a single formula. There are 
cases where cattle-raising brings about a whole series of 
regular migrations with fixed establishments, and no example 
is more representative than that of the Val d'Anniviers; but 
there are other cases where the migrations are so slight and 
affect such a small number of human beings that we might say 
that there is no nomadism, properly speaking, and this is 
chiefly the result of general geographical conditions. The 
high Swiss valley of the Valais (Val d'Anniviers) is a type of 
what may be called nomadism at its highest power. In the 
same Valais, some dozens of miles from the Val d' Anniviers, 
is the valley of Conches — a high valley without nomadism 
or with nomadism that is very restricted. 

The valley of Conches, the upper section of the Valaisan 
Rhone, has an essentially pastoral population. 2 Everyone 
owns some cattle or sheep, often both. For 4,204 inhabitants 
(in 1900) we find 4,723 head of cattle of which 2,240 were cows. 
There are few regions in Switzerland where the proportion is as 
large. The cow is here the unit of wealth; formerly, as in 
Homeric Greece, a young bride received a cow as a dowry. 
Pasture animals and cheese are almost the only merchandise 
exported from Conches. Cattle products furnish almost all 
the native food including meat, and especially milk and its 
products, butter, cheese, and curd. For the native of Conches 
cheese plays the part that bread plays elsewhere. 

As a matter of fact the climate (three months only have 
a mean temperature above io°C. [5o°F.], and the altitude 
(more than 3,200 feet) are not favorable for agriculture. The 
fields are upon slopes so steep that they cannot be worked 
with the plow, and transportation has to be upon the backs of 
men. The spring frosts sometimes destroy the meager crops, 
especially in Haut-Conches and in the valley of Binn. 3 

*On cattle-raising in France, see Henri Hitier, "La Repartition des races bo vines 
en France," Ann. de geog., XII, 1903, pp. 450-453. 

2 In 1907 Charles Biermann presented at the University of Lausanne a thesis on 
human geography: La Vallee de Conches en Valais, Essai sur la vie dans une haute 
vallee fermee des Alpes suisses sous I' influence de V altitude, du clintat et du relief, 
Imprimerie reunies, Lausanne, 1901. 

3 See Leon Desbussions, "La Vallee de Binn," La Montagne, IV, 1908, pp. 221-230. 


The higher pastures are the only resource of the country. 
They cover 21,497 acres (8,700 hectares) out of a total area 
of 130,641 acres (52,870 hectares), of which 63,504 acres 
(25,700 hectares) are unproductive. They are especially 
important in the regions poor from the agricultural point 
of view, where not only the population maintains its position, 
but where it established itself from the beginning. On the 
other hand, where pastures have been destroyed by an excessive 
deforestation, as in the Gerenthal, there was a loss of population 
in spite of the good exposure of the fields and meadows. 

Most of the pasture lands are on the left bank of the Rhone, 
where the more numerous mountain chains are less high, where 
the lateral valleys are deepest, such as those of Egesse and 
Binn, and from which, finally, the unfavorable exposure 
(shady side) excludes cultivation, established only at the 
expense of the forest and the pasture. The villages are, how- 
ever, in general grouped upon the other (right or west) bank 
at the foot of the sunny slope in the midst of the cultivated 

The herds pass the winter in the village, go in the spring 
to the may ens (midseason pastures), then stage by stage, as 
the summer advances, they go up the grassy slopes to the 
upper limits of vegetation. In the early autumn they come 
down as slowly as they went up and end the season in the 
stables scattered amid the low meadows. 

Restricted as the development of this nomadism is in the 
matter of distance (and doubtless for this very reason), the 
inhabitants have but a very small share in it. A few women 
and children accompany the animals to the mayens; three or 
four herders only follow them to the upper pastures to make 
the cheese. The other inhabitants of Conches remain in the 

This is not at all like what happens in the Val d'Anniviers, 
where continual migrations constantly transport the entire 
population from the valley to the plain and from the plain 
to the mountain and oblige each family to build a house at 
each one of these stops. The cause of this difference is to be 
sought in the frequency and violence of the avalanches and 
torrents which restrict the available surface of Conches, 


depriving of population even the districts which are richest 
in vast pastures. 

In this upper part of its course the Rhone itself is only a 
torrent whose extreme and rapid rise at the time of the melting 
of the snows exposes its banks to disastrous floods; most of 
the villages therefore avoid its immediate neighborhood. Its 
affluents are still more to be feared. The clearing of the 
inhabited slope of the valley has given them a torrential 
character, and at their meeting with the Rhone their deposits 
form numerous cones, sometimes of considerable size, which 
the avalanches sweep away every spring. This last scourge 
is the most terrible of all. The avalanche more than anything 
else ruins crops, destroys houses, and even causes deaths. It 
compels villages to crouch on the edge of alluvial cones; it 
causes the gathering of the population in close groups with 
hardly a single dwelling standing by itself (see chap. III). 
The avalanche is moreover the reason why all the villages form 
distinct communes, the largest not reaching 500 inhabitants. 
During the bad season from October to April, the villages, 
separated from each other by dangerous zones which cannot 
be crossed, are almost isolated from their nearest neighbors. 
Thus shut within itself, social activity has acquired an 
extraordinary intensity, which explains the importance, in 
this purely pastoral region, of the possession of low-lying 
meadows. It is this which regulates the usage of the pastures. 
In fact, in order to avoid the monopoly of the common property 
by a minority, the principle has been established of admitting 
to it only the cattle wintered with the hay crop of the country 
without the addition of other resources. 

There is an exception to this rule only at Binn. Here the 
pastures are very extensive, the ground that can be cultivated 
or inhabited, on the other hand, very much restricted. The 
population, far from numerous, could not maintain itself alone 
as mistress of the valley; it has had to admit consortages 1 of 
cattle owners from outside the valley. The pasture grounds 
which it has reserved for itself are too vast for its own use, 

X A Valaisian expression. The "bisses" or irrigating canals (see the illustration, 
Fig. 8, p. 59) belong to certain collective organizations also, called "consortages." See 
the thesis by Louis Lehmann, U Irrigation en Valais, Etude de geographie humaine, 
Paris, 1912. 


and it has therefore been necessary to permit the introduction 
of cattle from without. 

About the fifteenth century the building of a mule road 
over the passes of the Grimsel (7,241 feet) and of the Gries 
(8,097 feet), connecting upper Germany with the plain of 
the Po, opened up additional resources to the inhabitants of 
Conches. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries more 
than 200 horses and mules passed over the mountain every 
week. The building of the Simplon road in 1805 and the bor- 
ing of the Saint Gotthard tunnel in 1882 ruined this transverse 
traffic and restored the preponderance to the longitudinal way 
along the thalweg of the Rhone. But the communications 
assured by the wagon road of Conches (built by sections from 
1820 to 1867) are of an entirely new nature. This is a road 
frequented by tourists and marked by post relays. One. of 
these, Fiesch, situated in the center of prosperous cultivation 
at the foot of a mountain famous for its view — the Eggishorn 
(9,626 feet) — being a starting-point for visitors to the Aletsch 
Glacier and the valley of Binn, has become the most densely 
populated village of the entire valley. Beside the ancient 
wooden houses, tall and narrow, the barns perched on piles, 
the haylofts and stables of an architecture which is found in 
all Haut-Valais, have risen hotels, bazaars, shops for rare 
minerals, etc., built of stone or boards with roofs of slate, 
roofing paper, or zinc. Most of the communes of the right 
bank of the Rhone have benefited from the same transforma- 
tion. The advantages of a slope less steep, of a more prolonged 
sunlight, and of a greater security from avalanches have given 
way to the proximity of the wagon road at Blitzingen, at 
Selkingen, and at Ulrichen. On the other hand, on the left 
bank, which was left to one side, the decadence has been 
striking at Steinhaus, at Ernen, and especially at Ausserbinn, 
where it has taken on a strange form — an excessive dislike 
for marriage. In 1900, 81 per cent of the inhabitants of this 
little village were unmarried, though almost none of the inhab- 
itants was younger than sixteen. 

The influence of the highway is not limited to these changes 
in the relative importance of places in Conches. For a long 
time the valley of Conches, surrounded on all sides by high 


mountains, remained almost absolutely closed to foreign 
importation. It enjoyed a sort of economic independence; it 
was almost sufficient unto itself, producing almost everything 
necessary to its inhabitants : milk, butter, cheese, meat, bread, 
vegetables, linen and woolen cloth, leather, wood, building 
stone, and even iron. This is no longer so; the cultivation of 
textile plants and even of cereals is diminishing under the 
effects of competition, while, on the other hand, the value of 
the cheese and cattle is increasing and the valley is on its 
way toward specialization in pastoral activity. 

While this transformation is taking shape, without as yet 
the introduction of the methods of intensive cultivation, the 
peasant of Conches is already seriously departing from ancient 
usages; exploitation is becoming destructive. Not only are the 
peasants ceasing to keep up the upper pastures, to free them 
from the parasitic bushes of myrtle and rhododendrons, to 
gather and pile up the debris from landslides and avalanches, 
but they are depriving the mountain, to the profit of the plain, 
of the natural fertilizer left by the cattle which feed there, and 
they are admitting, along with the cattle, those great enemies of 
vegetation in the high pastures, sheep and goats. Thus the 
capacity of these pastures is diminishing, as is shown by a 
comparison of historical documents. 1 

Such is Conches, an interesting type of an alpine pastoral 
country, almost without nomadism, and of an economic oasis 
in process of absorption, that is, a region which is passing 
from one geographic form to another. 

Let this significant example convince us how premature is 
every generalization about nomadism or even about the 
pastoral migrations of the Alps, until conscientious observers 
shall have studied in detail the infinite variety of these 

Here is another case, in the French Alps, of which the differ- 
ences, and especially the striking analogies with the valley of 
Conches, give some suggestion of what might be the scien- 
tific import of a series of comparative studies methodically 
carried out. 

This case is that of Queyras, a canton or "escarton" of 

1 See the documents carefully collected by Ch. Biermann, op. cit. 


Briangonnais, which comprises the upper valleys of the Guil 
and its affluents. 

The existence of summer villages is hardly more than an accidental 
phenomenon caused by depopulation and the descent of the in- 
habitants toward the large villages of the valley. The upper Guil 
is not a country of chalets, if we take this term in the sense of mayens 
or of stavoli. We shall see that with all the more reason this is true 

of the valley of Molines In this district, where, owing to 

the softer forms of the schists, wide valleys allow man to establish 
himself permanently at a great height, there is no need of villages 
especially intended for summer stopping-places. In the too distant 
parts and those that are distinctly too high for one to be able to 
pass the winter there, simple barns have been set up to shelter the 
supply of hay and to receive the animals in case of bad weather 
during, their short stay in the neighborhood l 

While proposing a classification of the facts of human 
geography which would serve especially as a guide for direct 
observation, we are very careful always to place these facts 
back in their complex environment and to connect the phenom- 
ena which have first been arranged in series with the whole 
of which they form a part. Thus from the cultivated field 
and the herd we have been naturally led to consider the human 
establishment of the cultivators or of the drivers of the animals. 
We have met once more the phenomena of the house and the 
road in their connection with the facts of plant and animal 
conquest. All that we have said of the forms of semi-nomad- 
ism, all that will be said later on this subject in the chapter 
on the oases of the Suf and of the Mzab (chap. VI), and the 
explanations which we have sought for the restricted nomadism 
of the valley of Conches, as well as those of the intense nomad- 
ism of the Val d'Anniviers, show how these different surface 
facts are connected with each other. 

There is a form of human agglomeration which is especially 
connected with the raising of herds — that regular but inter- 
mittent form called the fair. Men driving herds come together 
at certain dates related to the migration of the animals and 
occupy for some hours and in a very important manner a 
space which will be deserted all the rest of the year. Besides, 
in countries of an intense and varied economic life, where the 

iRaoul Blanchard, "L'Habitation en Queyras, " La Geographic XIX, 1909, p. 44. 


population is increasing, fairs pass through an evolution, just 
as does nomadism (we have noted it with reference to the 
Algerian steppe). Their recurrence is more frequent, they 
increase in number, the leading ones lose their supremacy, 
and the whole system becomes more regular. They are thus 
gradually transformed until they approach a type of center of 
exchange characteristic of the great cities — the daily market 
(such as the animal market of la Villette at Paris). 

Thus this nomadic type of temporary human establishment, 
the fair, should be studied in connection with nomadism and 
semi-nomadism. l 

x It gDss without saying that there are other fairs which are not connected with 
cattle-raising, and which should belong only to the geography of circulation. In the 
same way, a series of allied facts should be connected only with the geography of 
circulation (see, for example, the little article which Paul Labbe has written on "Les 
Trains-foires en Russie," according to the Bulletin officiel du Ministere des voies et com- 
munications of Petrograd, in La Geographie, X, 1904, pp. 401-402). It is no longer 
by virtue of their names alone, but by reason of their intrinsic character, that the 
different economic facts ought to take their place in such or such a group of our posi- 
tive classification. 





1. Modes of destructive exploitation. 

2. A complex type of plant and animal devastation in the equa- 
torial forest: the Fang. 

j. The extractive industries from the geographic point of view. 
4. The preeminent type of mineral exploitation on a large scale: 
the exploitation of coal. 


Under the general heading of destructive exploitation we 
group every exploitation that tends to make a levy on the 
world's raw materials, whether mineral, vegetable, or animal, 
with no thought or method of restitution. Men who take 
from a quarry, marble or stone for building houses, do so with 
no thought of returning the material naturally stored in the 
earth's crust. Fishing and hunting when not associated with 
any breeding, as of pheasants or salmon, likewise take from 
nature something for which no deliberate compensation is 
made. 1 

In man's first development of the earth, destructive exploi- 
tation is of primary importance. Even to-day many new 
countries are developed only through what we might call a 
combination of modes of destructive exploitation. 2 

J The art and tools of fishery, the distribution of the industry, and the nations 
or peoples that live by means of it are studied with more and more accuracy as ocean- 
ographic studies progress. A very abundant literature deals with such of these 
facts as refer to civilized countries. We are examining here, in its special relations 
with human activity, a characteristic type of primitive fishery (§2); but in accordance 
with the principle previously pointed out apropos of the sea (chap. II, §4), this special 
and extensive subject will be amply treated in another place. 

2 See Albert Metin, Etude sur la colonisation da Canada, La Colombie britannique, 
Armand Colin, Paris, 1907. 



Among the different forms of destructive exploitation we 
shall find that some have a normal and methodic quality 
while others show an unrestrained intensity that makes them 
well deserve the German name of Raubwirtschaft — that is, 
economic plunder, or, more simply, devastation. 

Destructive exploitation, Raubwirtschaft, is, in a sense, a 
particular form of gathering or harvesting, Sammelwirtschaft, 
but it attacks nature with much more violence. This violent 
attack may end in want (Not), and we then have characteri- 
sierte Raubwirtschaft, characteristic devastation. 1 

Destructive Exploitation by Civilized Peoples 

It seems particularly strange that characteristic devastation 
with all its grave consequences should especially accompany 
civilization, while primitive folk know only milder forms of it. 
They do indeed partially despoil and destroy, but they hardly 
ever devastate, in the true sense of the word, and they do not 
have to suffer the want that is the usual result of devastation. 

We take as examples two widely contrasted cases. On the 
one hand, cannibals use their economic resources with a 
certain forethought by limiting hunting, or by declaring 
"taboo" for a time certain animals whose number tends to 
diminish. 2 On the other hand, we have the more highly 
developed Incas of Peru, who adopted very strict measures to 
prevent the exhaustion of the precious guano, while the birds 
were carefully watched and protected. Hunting, the privilege 
of the Inca alone, was allowed only on certain holidays, and 
the killing of the female wild guanaco and vicuna was strictly 
forbidden. The death penalty was inflicted on violators of 
these laws. 

We are well aware that elsewhere examples are cited of 
savage peoples who cause devastation by burning forests and 

1 For a review of the study on Raubwirtschaft, published by Ernst Friedrich in 
the geographic review of Gotha, see the article by A. Wahl, in La Geographie (X, 
October 15, 1904, pp. 247-254). This review has been the chief reference for facts 
on the subject, supplemented by numerous observations and developments. 
'. 2 0n the subject of "primitives," consult the work by Elisee Reclus, Les Primitifs, 
Etudes d'ethnologie comparee, Schleicher, Paris, 1903; these studies, published ten 
years ago, were written almost thirty years ago, but they are still full of interest, 
perhaps because of their excess of indulgent optimism with regard to all those human 
groups which have not yet been contaminated by civilization. In the last great work 
by Elisee Reclus, L' Homme et la terre, will be recognized general tendencies of a like 


cultivating the land thus acquired until it is exhausted. 1 
But, since in such countries there is still an abundance of 
unoccupied land, this process does not result for the inhab- 
itants in a dearth of the means of existence; it merely brings 
about a nomadic form of existence. Nor, among savage 
peoples, does hunting have the character of destructive 
exploitation in the proper sense; it is not so intensive that it 
is not balanced by the reproductive power of nature. 

In short, characteristic devastation with all its consequences 
is almost a peculiarity of civilized peoples. And how far- 
reaching these consequences are! Plants and animals are 
removed from the possibility of scientific investigation, and 
the extinction of a species may cause regrettable gaps in our 
knowledge. 2 A warfare of extermination is carried on against 
certain animals that are considered injurious, when more 
profound observation would show that they were useful. The 
case of the moles and alligators is an excellent illustration. 

Two points are to be noted. First, devastation always 
brings about, not a catastrophe, but a series of catastrophes, 
for in nature things are dependent one upon the other. In 
the second place, devastation in all its forms is a phenom- 
enon not of fixed, but of floating, humanity, and is associated 
with such facts as the nomadic life, colonization, or war. 

The Principal Groups of Facts of Destructive Exploitation 

The mineral kingdom. — The exploitation of mines (Bergbau) 
is always a form of destructive exploitation in the sense that it 
is impossible to replace the materials that are taken from the 
earth. However, under the name of devastating exploitation, 
Raubbau, we should include only abusive exploitation, where 

l Cultivation by burning the vegetation on a stretch of ground and then sprinkling 
the ashes over it. (See, in particular, the example of the Fang, given farther on.) 

2 Might one not say that, from this purely scientific point of view, the cremation 
of the human body is a very regrettable form of destructive economy? What would 
be our knowledge of the beginnings of life and human civilization on the earth if we 
had not had at our disposition skulls, skeletons, and tombs? For example, Eugene 
Pittard, who has begun, with a very f ne first volume, a series entitled Crania helvetica 
(I, Les Cranes valaisans de la vallee da Rhone, Geneva and Paris, 1909-1910), writes: 
"We have given ourselves the ungrateful task of studying the ossuaries still to be 
found in the canton of Valais. The pious custom of thus building sanctuaries to the 
dead — a survival of the Neolithic customs — has preserved considerable quantities of 
scientific documents which, had it not been for this, would have been irremediably 
lost" (p. 6). There is not an anthropologist worthy of the name who does not 
think likewise. 


the desire for immediate returns causes it to extend over too 
wide a surface, and where the surface only is exploited, to the 
detriment of future generations. As an example take the 
superficial, hasty, and wretched exploitation of the silver 
deposits in the south of Spain. The consequences of this 
devastation in exploitation show themselves clearly only 
where the material extracted is distributed over the earth in 
restricted spots and in relatively small quantities. Thus 
guano was locally exhausted in some dozens of years, and it 
will be somewhat the same with the nitrate of Chile. At 
the present moment an improper exploitation of coal is going 
on. In spite of the enormous quantity of this precious fuel, 
the time will come when it will be exhausted, at least locally. 
Devastation in the exploitation of coal has its geographical 
distribution. It is striking to find that the zone comprised 
between 3 6° and 5 6° N. latitude, where the most advanced 
civilization is concentrated, is also the zone where this Raub- 
wirtschaft is intensely practiced. 

We may also speak of devastation in our resources of petro- 
leum, phosphates, diamonds, precious metals, etc.; but, on 
the other hand, there can hardly be a question of devastation 
in the case of metals such as iron, for iron ores seem to occur 
in nature in quantities that are relatively inexhaustible and 
that are easy to reach. 

Devastation is of the worst sort if, as a result of incon- 
siderate exploitation of mines, catastrophes take place such as 
the sinking of Eisenach and of Brux, or if along coasts the 
rocks which protect the land from the attacks of the sea are 
removed, as on the shores of the Baltic Sea. 

However much devastation is to be condemned, it sometimes 
has a happy result. With the exhaustion of the mines comes 
poverty, and large groups of people, if they do not wish to 
emigrate, find themselves forced to turn to more permanent 
occupations, as was the case in the Erzgebirge. 1 In California 
the discovery of gold in 1 849 led to a gold rush of great intensity. 
To-day the resources of soil and forests are far greater in sig- 
nificance than the mineral products, and California has grown 

1 Friedrich returns often to this idea, which we consider by far too optimistic — the 
belief that Raubwirtschaft is only a stage and that it is necessarily followed by a 


from a beginning as a mining center into one of the significant 
states of the Union. 

The plant kingdom. — Still better known perhaps than 
mining devastation is the Raubwirtschaft of cultivation. It 
attacks the fertility of the soil, greedily taking plant foods 
from it without replacing them, desiring to obtain a crop at 
the least possible expense, in spite of the fact that man has 
at his disposal the means of restoring the richness of the soil. 

In western Europe, with its very dense population and its 
very intensive cultivation, devastation is practically no longer 
found ; necessity has taught the value of fertilizers. In colonial 
countries this is not the case. There the cultivator, although 
a European, finds himself, so to speak, in the condition of 
savage peoples, and like them he begins to exploit. He prac- 
tices one-crop farming at least as long as the population is 
thin, and he exhausts superficially one region after another; 
finally the exhaustion of the land makes itself felt and he is 
then compelled to practice crop rotation or to use fertilizers. 
Here again devastation leads to progress. 

Devastation in young colonial countries causes, however, a 
lack of balance in world production, and producers who exploit 
their land normally cannot rival their competitors in colonial 
countries. This, in a broad sense, is the situation of Europe 
with reference to the colonies, 1 accentuated by the growing 
production of countries like Russia, which is passing from an 
inferior social condition to a higher type of civilization and 
can still produce more cheaply than its rivals. 

How many producers of wheat practice Raubwirtschaft, 
especially in the temperate zones, in the United States, Canada, 
Russia, Siberia, the Argentine — regions that are at the same 
time seats of a higher civilization ! In the Dakotas, Nebraska, 
and Minnesota the consequences of devastation are being 
keenly felt, and a change is taking place in the method of 
exploitation; in other words, progress is a necessity. 

The peoples who are semicivilized (at least according to 
our ideas) seem to be distinguished from the peoples of a 
higher civilization by the fact that they do not practice 

J See Marcel Dubois, Systemes coloniaux et peuples colonisateurs, Masson and 
Plon, Paris, 1895. With his customary independence of mind, the author shows 
clearly all that ought to be included under the heading of facts of colonization. 


devastation; as a result they do not have to suffer its con- 
sequences. But have not the Chinese reached their careful 
cultivation through devastation? On the one hand are the 
deforested, soilless mountains of Chili where once there were 
cultivated fields ; on the other hand are the rich hillside farms 
of Shensi where a similar fate is averted only through patience 
and scientific forethought. 1 

Civilized man carries on his devastating activity particularly 
in forested regions. The forest is a treasure which, wherever 
it is protected, has been growing richer year by year for cen- 
turies. Carefully exploited it produces annually and accumu- 
lates true riches which can be utilized at the proper time. We 
know the beneficent influence of the forest upon agriculture, 
and the hygienic and biological part it plays. We know that it 
is the best protector of mountain peoples against avalanches and 
inundations. And yet the treasure is badly administered. The 
devastation practiced by the Venetians, who in the Middle Ages 
deforested the coast regions of the Adriatic, 2 can be excused ; 
but to-day, when we know all the dangers which unrestrained 
deforestation brings with it, the guilt of the highlander who 
fells trees for the sake of an insignificant gain is unpardonable. 3 

If savages devastate by making clearings for cultivation in 

1 F. H. King, Farmers of Forty Centuries; Ellen Churchill Semple, "Influence of 
Geographical Conditions upon Japanese Agriculture," Geog. Jour., XL, 1912, pp. 589- 
607; "Japanese Colonial Methods," Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc, XLV, 1913, pp. 255-275. 

2 " European Countries Reclaim Waste Land," Forest Service Bull., December 12, 
191 2, p. 2. The Karst was a stretch of barren limestone lands comprising some 
600,000 acres in the hilly country along the Austrian shores of the Adriatic Sea. For 
centuries it had furnished the ship timber and other wood supplies of Venice, but 
excessive cutting, together with burning and pasturing, left it a waste almost beyond 
recovery. In 1 865 the government began to offer help to landowners who would under- 
take forest planting there. Taxes were remitted for a period of years, technical 
advice was given, and plant material as well as money was supplied. At present over 
400,000 acres, or two-thirds of the Karst, are under forest, partly as a result of planting. 

3 In spite of the distressing consequences which follow the devastation of forests, 
deforestation continues in Roumania, in Abyssinia, in Sumatra, in Siberia, and in the 
United States as in Australia, and, in this regard, our time really deserves the terrible 
name of the age of extermination. A quarter of a century ago Sir Joseph Hooker said, 
on the subject of the beautiful forests of sequoias in California: "The doom of these 
noble groves is sealed. No less than five saw mills have recently been established 
in the most luxurious of them, and one of these mills alone cut in 1875 two million 
feet of Big-tree timber; and a company was lately formed to cut another grove. 
In the operations of the California wood-cutters, the waste is prodigious. The young, 
manageable trees are first felled; after which the forest is fired to clear the ground 
and get the others out, and then the saplings are destroyed. More destructive still 
are the operations of the sheep-farmers, who fire the herbage to improve the grazing, 
and whose flock of tens of thousands of sheep devour every green thing, and more 
effectually than the locust. The devastation of the California forest is proceeding 
at a rate which is utterly incredible, except to an eyewitness. It is true that a few 
of the most insignificant groves of the Big-trees at the northern extremity of its range 


the virgin forests, these clearings are small, scattered, soon 
abandoned, and quickly disappear (see the example of the 
Fang). The devastation is restricted to the shores of the 
sea and to the lower slopes and floors of valleys; but, with 
the progress of colonization and the improvement in means 
of communication, devastation will not be long in attacking 
regions now inaccessible. The forest has always had less 
strength in countries with a dry climate than in well-watered 
countries ; thus in dry countries the forest has been easily ruined. 
The progress of devastation is still more rapid in the steppes. 

In all climates, islands above all other lands have been 
affected by devastation: Ceylon, Mauritius, Reunion, Saint 
Helena, some of the Bahamas, and most of the islands of the 
Mediterranean are deforested. 1 

The main field of forest devastation is the north temperate 
zone, a region inhabited by the civilized white race. Forest 
devastation is essentially the work of civilization — that is, 
of a denser population and of more perfect tools (Ratzel). 

We keep warm with coal or coke; we build more and more 
with iron, brick, and concrete; the locomotives of southern 
Russia, of Mexico, and in sections of the southwest United 
States burn petroleum. In short, new products are every- 
where replacing wood so that it no longer seems to be the indis- 
pensable product that it was for long centuries. However, let 
us not deceive ourselves, for this current idea is a grave error. 
Wood is more than ever indispensable to the modern industrial 

are protected by the state legislature and that a law has been enacted forbidding the 
felling of trees over fifteen feet in diameter; but there is no law to prevent the cutting 
or burning of the saplings, on which the perpetuation of the grove depends, or the 
cutting or burning of the old trees, which, if they do escape the fire, will succumb 
to the drought which the sweeping away of the environing forest will occasion. 

"During the last quarter of a century the Anglo-Saxon has been ruthlessly carrying 
fire and the saw into the forests of California destroying what he could not use, and 
sparing neither young nor old, and before a century is out the two Sequoias may be 
known only as herbarium specimens and garden ornaments; indeed, with regard to 
the Big-tree, the noblest of the noble coniferous race, the present generation, which 
has actually witnessed its discovery, may live to say of it, that ' the place which knew 
it, shall know it no more.'" (From an address before the Royal Institution of Great 
Britain, delivered April 12, 1878, by Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, and published in 
the collection of Botanical Papers of Sir J. D. Hooker.) Fortunately some of the 
best groves are now protected in national forest reserves. R. Ducamp, ("La Marche 
retrograde de la vegetation," Rev. des eaux et forets, XLVII, 4th series, 6th year, 
1908, pp. 289-298) describes the progressive "deforestation" of tropical countries 
like English India and Tonkin. 

J At Messina in 1902 G. Ricchieri made a very exact study of the ancient extent 
of forests in Sicily and of the progressive march of deforestation (Quali insegnamenti si 
possono trarre dai desastri di Modica, Mantua, 1903). 



world. The timber used in mines, for railroad ties and cars, 
posts for telegraph, telephone, and electric power wires, paving 
blocks, pulp for making paper, etc. — all the great lines of 
economic activity, from the exploitation of coal to the develop- 
ment of newspapers — imply an increasing consumption of 
wood. Never in the history of humanity has there been a 
more reasonable and also a more eager demand for trees. 

In primitive times and in primitive countries the willful 
burning of forests destroys in a few days vast stretches of 
timber. But in such times and countries wood is protected 
from exploitation up to a certain point by the fact that it is 
heavy and difficult to transport. The expense of transporta- 
tion is such that wood carried on the backs of mules can hardly 
go beyond 12 miles (20 kilometers), and upon wheels hardly 
beyond 24 miles (40 kilometers), without doubling the cost. 

To-day, owing to the many means of transportation em- 
ployed, from the most ancient, such as floating, to the most 
modern, wood is brought from all directions to the great indus- 
trial markets. That is why the past century has been such a 
spendthrift in forest riches. Here are some significant figures. 1 

Percentage of Forest 

The proportion of the total surface that is still wooded 









Per cent 

Per cent 

Per cent 

Per cent 

Great Britain . 




21 .9 

Denmark . 





Netherlands . 


Germany . 



Spain . 



United States 


Greece . 


Austria- Hungary 



Italy . . . 



Russia . 



Roumania . 















Fortunately some countries still constitute valuable reserves 
(Finland, Sweden, and Canada), but account must be taken 
of the enormous and constantly increasing consumption by 
the great industrial countries. 

1 The data of these tables are borrowed from the interesting work which A. Melard, 
inspector of waters and forests, prepared for the Paris Exposition of 1900, Insuf- 
fisance de la production des bois d'oeuvre dans le mondc, and from the more recent estimates 
of the Swiss Bureau federal de statistique forestiere, which is under the direction of 
Professor Decoppet of Zurich. We thus obtain data for comparison separated by 
an interval of about ten years (1900 and 1910). 



From all sides come the echoes of catastrophes which occur 
in regions that are to-day stripped of their wood — inunda- 
tions on the slopes of the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Appa- 
lachians, gullying of the Russian plains, etc. And the 
lamentations are so strong and so well justified that, in all 
civilized countries, not only is the question of reforestation 
constantly discussed, but the work has already begun. 1 While 
the remedy is being applied, the evil continues. Exploita- 
tion is allowed to develop without method and devastation 
to continue without oversight; everywhere the axe continues 
to lay low the century-old trunks which it will take new 
centuries to replace. This progressive impoverishment of 
the earth in the matter of trees is one of the most important 
economic facts of the present time. Without hindering the 
attempts at reforestation, measures should be taken to end 
at once the mad and selfish depletion of the forests where- 
ever they still exist. 2 

When the trees no longer form a protective covering for 
the earth, the trickling and running waters are no longer 
beneficent but destructive agents. They help to denude 
the surface still more by carrying away the soil or depriving 
it of its covering of humus. Vast spaces, once covered with 
splendid forests, are to-day only stretches of bare and arid 
rock. Not only does the water no longer play its helpful, 
fertilizing role, but almost as soon as it has fallen it disappears 
into the earth through the fissures in the rocks. In limestone 
countries it forms those subterranean streams which hollow 
out caverns. Some of this underground circulation may 
evoke the admiration of the tourist, but it can only sadden the 
economist to see this agent of all fertility and of all life lost 
far from the cultivable and habitable surface. 

Where the European can establish himself for any length of 
time he starts trading-posts around which plant exploitation 
(Pflanzenkolonien) gradually develops. He seeks the raw 
material from the savage, and at the beginning of colonization 
the natives procure these products without much difficulty by 

1 See, Charles Rabot, "La Degradation des Pyrenees et l'infiuence de la foret sur 
le regime des cours d'eau," La Geographic XVI, 1907, pp. 163-170; and for Russia, 
Woeikof, Second congres du sud-ouest navigable, Toulouse, 1904, pp. 470-478. 

2 Bernard Brunhes has especially emphasized this consideration (see pp. 348-350). 


simply " gathering" them. Urged on by the prices offered, 
they are not long in reaching devastation. Of course in time 
cultivation will be started which will yield a regular product, 
but in the meantime incalculable natural wealth, which might 
be conserved for lasting use, is entirely disappearing. 

In tropical countries devastation makes its worst attack 
upon rubber, gutta-percha, and the Raphia vinifera, the 
young leaves of which the natives gather without restraint 
although there is an increasing industrial demand for the inner 
bark. We might point out abusive exploitation of many other 
products of the plant kingdom, such as esparto grass (an 
African plant) and sandalwood. 

Among these plants we shall take the clear and simple 
example of that group which produces the precious latex, from 
which rubber is made and for which there is an ever-growing 
industrial demand. To-day, in all the European equatorial 
colonies, an attempt is being made to develop cultivated rubber, 
although until now rubber has been obtained chiefly by 
"gathering" from wild plants. 

But who could estimate the value of the forested stretches 
of Africa or America that have been thus "devastated"? 
Here are some official figures for the Belgian Congo, one of 
the regions of the globe from which we have obtained rubber 
in the largest quantity: 

Progress in Exportation of Rubber in 14 Years (1891-1904) 

v o o Weight in Thousands Value in Millions 

* ears of Pounds of Dollars 

189I ... IO,628.2 O.63 

1892 365.2 O.I2I 

1893 530.2 0.186 

1894 743-6 0.270 

1895 1,267.2 0.540 

1896 2,897.4 J - 2 54 

1897 3,656.4 1.602 

1898 4,648.6 3-049 

1899 8,241.2 5404 

1900 11,695.2 7-720 

1901 .. 13,248.4 8.685 

1902 11,770.0 7.913 

1903 13,019.6 9071 

1904 10,628.2 8.299 

Although in this last series of cases it is the uncivilized natives 
who, with no thought of the morrow and failing to understand 


that a well-conducted exploitation might mean for them a 
lasting income, practice devastation and "cut off the branch 
upon which they sit," it is certainly the Europeans who 
are really responsible because, wishing to grow rich quickly, 
they furnish tools to the natives and encourage unwise exploi- 
tation; indeed they sometimes by torture and slave-driving 
methods force the laborers to work (Congo, Amazon). 

We have just seen how the rubber industry, in so far as it 
is independent of cultivation, depends upon forms of destruc- 
tive exploitation. It had its birth from them, is suffering the 
consequences of them, and for a long time to come will be 
their vassal. 1 Human geography must always approach the 
more complex problems by way of the original problems that 
condition them, and in analyzing the former must never lose 
sight of the latter. 

This primary idea of localization of certain modes of indus- 
trial activity must govern the study of industrial facts even in 
regions where life is more complex and more diversified. 

The entire wood industry, established at so many points in 
that great boreal forest of which we have already spoken at 
length in connection with the habitation, is logically and 
geographically associated with the vast and general fact of 
forest devastation ; and, on a small as well as a large scale, in 
a limited district of Switzerland as in a vast country like 
Sweden, the distribution of the elementary industries is at 
the same time the expression of the more or less perfected 
and concentrated industrial methods and of the general 
phenomenon of destructive exploitation. 

The animal kingdom. — Devastation makes its ravages also 
in the animal kingdom. Man may kill animals for food or 
clothing, but if he takes care to provide for their reproduction, 
it is called raising, not devastation. Nor is it Raubwirtschaft 
when, as a result of the increase of population in Europe or 
in other densely populated regions, men find themselves 

1 " The geography of rubber changes very rapidly. On the one hand, some forested 
regions become exhausted while new ones are brought to a state of production; on the 
other hand, the plantations are unceasingly extending" (L. Perruchot, "La Deuxieme 
Exposition internationale du caoutchouc," La Geographic, XXV, 1912, p. 200; read 
the entire article, pp. 193-200, which sums up well the geographic physiognomy of 
the present exploitation of rubber). See also the Rev. icon, internat., February 15-20, 
1912, a number especially devoted to rubber (articles by Em. Perrot, E. de Wildeman, 
P. von Romburgh, E. Lejeune, Vincent, Herbert Wright, and G. Lamy-Torrillon). 


restricting the sphere of animals. That is an entirely natural 
fact. Man has also a right to exterminate dangerous animals. 

But the question becomes somewhat different when we 
consider hunting as a sport (see Fig. 137, p. 342). Hunting 
becomes devastation if it attacks without consideration the 
animals that are not injurious. 

In the beginning hunting, like the clearing of the forest, was 
a condition of colonization, but, like the clearing of the forest, 
it too often becomes devastation. In France, 74,130,000 acres 
(30,000,000 hectares) out of 110,000,000 acres which con- 
stitute the "hunting region," are given over to "mercenary 
hunting, which should be considered a veritable evil." 1 

Raubwirtsckaft in the animal kingdom is practiced especially 
for the purpose of adornment, particularly feminine adorn- 
ment (feathers, aigrettes). Among the favorite birds is the 
silver heron. In Florida about a million and a half of these 
useful insect-eating birds are slain every year. Small wonder 
that their number is rapidly decreasing and extinction is 
imminent. Millions of birds of paradise and humming-birds 
are killed each year. 2 

The birds of passage have also excited the cupidity of men, 
and, in recent times especially, there has been a complaint of 
their extermination in southern Europe. One is inclined to 
attribute the increase in grasshoppers in certain regions of 
Africa to the decrease in the number of birds that eat them. 
In the United States the innumerable swarms of migrating 
pigeons, once migrating in flocks so extensive and dense as 
to darken the sun, have disappeared, although in the neigh- 
borhood of Petoskey, Michigan, their nests used to cover 
nearly 100,000 acres (40,000 hectares). 

In the two departments of Landes and Basses- Pyrenees, going 
along the shore at the time of the migration of the birds, one may 
count at least one double net every five hundred yards, and that 
too over a space several miles in width. In one good day each net- 
owner catches from fifty to sixty dozens of small birds, and some- 
times more. This means then, with a minimum of a thousand 

iQuoted from Maurice Lair, "L' Importance 6conomique de la chasse en France," 
Rev. icon, internal., September 15-20, 1909, pp. 399-424. 

2 On the destruction of bird and animal species, see the excellent pages in Elisee 
Reclus, L'Homme et la terre, VI, pp. 225 ff.; also W. T. Hornaday, Our Vanishing 
Wild Life: Its Dissemination and Preservation, New York, 1913. 





hunters, from fifty to sixty thousand dozens of birds per day. But 
let us take a daily average of twenty-five thousand dozen for the thirty 
days in which the passage ordinarily lasts, and we have nine millions 
of small birds destroyed each year in two departments alone. 1 

The ravages of animal devastation are carried on especially 
on the confines of the boreal forest, both in the north and in 
the south. In Canada, in the northern part of the United 
States, in the north of Russia, and in Siberia, fur-bearing 
animals are hunted in large numbers, and in the southern part 
of this zone devastation is almost an accomplished fact. The 
beaver, first sought for its flesh and then for its fur, has almost 
completely disappeared. In America millions of bison were 
slain in ten years. 2 The reproductive force of nature is power- 
less against such sanguinary instincts and there is no safety 
for the persecuted animals save in flight to inaccessible places. 

Of all the animals living in the virgin tropical forests and 
the savannas, the elephant is most threatened because of its 
ivory. It is already very rare in the savannas ; in the forests of 
central Africa the hour of its complete disappearance will come 
with the establishment of better means of communication. 

Exportation of Ivory from Belgian Congo from 1891 to 1904 


I8 9 4- 


Weight in Thousands Value in Millions 
of Pounds of Dollars 






























1. 119 



1. 119 




In the steppes the ostrich is more persecuted than any other 
game, and its only defense is in the vast, open, and inhospitable 
nature of its home. In 1858 it had already disappeared 

x Letter quoted by Cunisset-Carnot in the Temps. Swallows, see also the Temps, 
July 5, 1910. 

2 In the year 1878-1879, 200,000 buffalo skins were shipped down the Missouri. 
In 1892 the Hudson Bay Company's warehouse at Montreal received 133,814 skins. 


from the high Algerian plateaus, and in South Africa, where 
it was once plentiful, hunters such as Anderson and Carew 
carried on a veritable war of extermination against it, so that 
it became very rare. This very scarcity brought progress. 
In i860 people began to devote themselves to the raising of 
the ostrich and with such success that in 1895 the number of 
domesticated ostriches was estimated at about 200,000. 

The extinction of an animal species takes place most rapidly 
within limited spaces, especially in islands of small extent. 
England has outstripped the Continent in the extermination 
of the bear, the lynx, the deer, the elk, the beaver; in the 
island of Reunion the giant bird Didus ineptus was extermi- 
nated in less than ten years. 

The devastation of the animal kingdom is most disastrous 
in the seas, where it is favored by the competition of the 
nations. Take, for instance, the slaughter of seals, 1 of tor- 
toises, 2 and of whales. 3 It is especially in the Arctic seas 
where the great marine mammifers are particularly numerous, 
that devastation is unrestrained. It not only causes the 
impoverishment of the marine fauna, but also the withdrawal 
toward the south of those peoples of the north who live upon 
the fat and flesh of these animals. 

Everywhere fishing has a tendency to cause extermination. 4 

x See Isaiah Bowman's "Alaska Notes," Nat. Geog. Mag.; also D. S. Jordan, Fur 
Seals and Fur Seal Islands of the North Pacific Ocean, in 5 parts, Special Agents' 
Division, Treasury Dept., Washington, 1898. 

2 Wieland, "Marine Vertebrates," Popular Science Monthly. 

3 The maximum size of the whale fleet in 1846, was 680 ships; in 1914, 32 ships. 
Maximum production in 1851 was 428,074 barrels of oil, 5,652,300 lbs. of bone; in 
1014, it was 19,270 barrels of oil, 34,000 lbs. of bone; (Whalemen's Shipping List, 
printed 1843-1914, Department and Consul Report, 5542, 1915.) See also Tower, 
History of the Whale Industry. 

4 See the article by Hugh M. Smith, "King Herring: An Account of the World's 
Most Valuable Fish; Industries It Supports, and the Part It Has Played in History," 
Nat. Geog. Mag., Washington, XX, 1909, No. 8, pp. 701-735 and 22 illustrations. 
See also an excellent article by Charles Rabot, with some typical figures, " Meurtriere 
conquete d'un aliment vulgaire," Lectures pour tons, 1901, pp. 323-332. "In the 
north of Europe, cod serves all purposes. It feeds men and domestic animals. In 
the winter, in place of hay, codfish heads dried and then boiled are given to the 
horned animals. For several years codfish heads that were not used to feed stock 
have in Germany been made into a powder for fattening pigs" (p. 329). Charles 
Rabot, in his book Aux Fjords de Norvege et aux forets de Suede, says again: "Fisheries 
are the chief industry of western Norway, and the cod and the herring the two great 
sources of revenue for this region. In this country, composed entirely of high, barren 
mountains, man could not live without the inexhaustible fertility of the ocean. Here 
it is the sea that feeds man" (p. 137). See Fig. 138, p. 345. For a good monograph 
on all the questions connected with fishing and one in which the subject is treated 
in a spirit truly scientific, see Le Leman, by F. A. Forel, III, pp. 603-659. 


Even in rivers and lakes where trouble is taken to assure 
restocking, fishing is a menace. In the Lake of Neuchatel 
fishing is carried on to such an extent (only by nets and other 

Fig. 138. Drying of Cod in Norway 

instruments that are within the law) that its impoverishment 
becomes pronounced and the government of the canton is 
compelled to take new measures to protect the fish. 

Finally there is a devastation which touches man and either 
injures him or removes him completely from his environment. 

Natural refuges, places that facilitate attack or flight, 
contrasts of poverty and comfort, have ever been a cause of 
devastation in a violent or mitigated form. Thus oases 
attract nomads who are conscious of their strength and who 
feel their superiority to the peaceful possessors of these privi- 
leged spots. A necessary consequence of this is the with- 
drawal of agriculture and the encroachment of the desert 
upon regions once cultivated. 1 

Seas rich in islands, mountains, and impassable forests have 
likewise always favored devastation in the form of piracy or 
brigandage. War forms a chapter of Raubwirtschajt which, 
geographically, should have a place here; it is the great and 
terrible struggle for space and life. 

1 Ratzel, in Anthropo geographic has a fine chapter on the geography of ruins. E. W. 
Hilgard states that the most ancient and flourishing centers of civilization grew up in 
arid countries conquered by means of irrigation: "The sun and the climate of these 
regions have not changed, but the bad political situation, the consequence of nomadic 
invasions, has paralyzed agricultural and social development" (E. W. Hilgard, "Why 
Ancient Civilizations Flourished in Arid Regions," North A mer. Rev., Sept. 1902, p. 315). 


The most hideous form of devastation among men is the 
slave trade. European colonization developed this trade on 
a large scale by transplanting the unfortunate blacks from one 
continent to another. Colonization has too often affected 
the "savage," not only in his liberty but in his very existence, 
either by destroying his food resources or by bringing in 
poisons, such as alcohol of the poorest quality. It is a fact 
found to be universally true that non-civilized peoples gradu- 
ally die out when brought into contact with our civilization. 

The extermination of the natives has made the most rapid 
progress in regions where the climate is favorable to Euro- 
pean colonists — North America, the Argentine, South Africa, 
Australia. One might perhaps offer in the way of explanation 
(although not of excuse) that, as a result of their very increase, 
the Europeans were obliged to extend the limits of their 
territory. But how justify the slow extermination of the 
"savages" in regions uninhabitable for any European? 

A last form of devastation is cannibalism, which to-day is 
confined almost exclusively to tropical regions. 

The Present Reaction against Destructive Exploitation 

In recent times much attention has been given to destructive 
excesses. In Europe and the United States the point has been 
reached where energetic measures are being taken against 

The United States first set the example of establishing 
"national parks," which are veritable "museums" of plant 
and animal life as well as of natural riches. 

Thus the United States has the Yellowstone National 
Park, the Yosemite National Park, Mount Rainier National 
Park, Sequoia (Big Tree) Park at the foot of Mount Whit- 
ney, Glacier National Park, and several others. Canada has 
the Laurentides National Park, Algonquin Park, Banff Park in 
the Rockies, and has just reserved along the Grand Trunk 
Railway a park of 5,000 square miles (13,000 square kilo- 
meters) or twice the extent of the average French department 
(Jasper Forest Park). The Argentine has had a study made 
of the projects of parks of the Iguassu Falls and of the Lake 
Nahuel Huapi districts. At the present time the movement is 


gaining ground in Europe. There already exists an institu- 
tion of the sort at Stockholm, under the name of Skansen, but 
it is of very small dimensions and of a different character; 
for the Swedes have brought together at Skansen all the 
natural or human facts that seemed to them worthy of preser- 
vation and have created a park of an artificial character and 
particularly of historic interest. Together with animals and 
plants of the country, one sees ancient types of houses; local 
songs are sung and old provincial dances are reproduced. The 
movement which is beginning to make itself felt in Germany, 
in Switzerland, in Austria, in France, resembles much more 
closely the American examples. In Germany the acquisition 
and establishment, as a natural reserve, of one of the most 
mountainous and picturesque districts of the country, the 
forest and lake district around the little lake of Konigssee, in 
the principality of Berchtesgaden, on the confines of the 
Salzburg, is due to a private society, the Naturschutzpark of 
Stuttgart. This mountainous canton, considering its moderate 
altitude (6,000 to 6,500 feet), is still almost in virgin condition; 
it contains a large number of rare plants — which it is proposed 
to protect, — great woods, rocky pastures frequented by a con- 
siderable number of chamois and by other game. It appears 
that the owner gave up territory covering some 37,000 acres 
(15,000 hectares) on a ninety-nine-year lease. In another 
direction the Naturschutzpark Society has just obtained 
control by purchase of a vast natural region of the Liineburger 
Heide, the picturesque beauty of which was beginning to be 
recognized and to attract crowds of tourists at the same time 
that the landscape was threatened by the progress of the 
exploitation of petroleum and potash salts. Mount Wilseder, 
561 feet (171 meters) high, about 24 miles (40 kilometers) 
south of Hamburg, with the immediately surrounding country 
(533 acres in all), will form the nucleus of the future national 
park. All about are moors and state forests abounding in 
large game, and it is hoped that the size of the park may 
easily be increased to from 7 to 10 square miles (three or four 
square leagues). 

In Switzerland the Naturschutzkommission of the Helvetian 
Society of Natural Sciences leased, on December 31, 1909, from 


the commune of Zernez (Engadine) for a period of twenty-five 
years, the Val Cluoza, which since January 5, 19 10, has 
formed the first section of the "national park." The Swiss 
Confederation has decided to take upon itself the formation 
of this reserved domain while the Ligue Suisse pour la protection 
de la nature will at its own expense assure the maintenance 
and care of the national park. 

Special laws have been passed to protect fish and game. 
In order to prevent the disappearance of the white bear and 
the blue fox, islands have been reserved for them in Alaska. 1 
In Switzerland there has long been a certain number of regions 
in the high mountains that are hunting reserves, particularly 
refuges for the chamois. In France, England, Germany, and 
elsewhere women are forming associations to protect the 
birds, and men are endeavoring to save the African elephant 
from absolute destruction. 2 

As the effects of devastation make themselves felt more and 
more, we notice, at least among Europeans, a certain solicitude 
for everything that is in danger of disappearing. In England 
and Germany thought is being given to the measures that may 
be employed to stop devastation in the exploitation of mines, 
etc. This solicitude has been shown particularly with refer- 
ence to the forests. The association between forest and 
water and the need of defending one's self against floods and of 
using streams for power have brought our contemporaries to a 
better understanding of the urgent necessity for safeguarding 
these two sources of wealth which are rapidly disappearing. 

In our day, as we have said, in all fields of rural and industrial 
economy, we hear much about utilizing the sovereign energy 
of water. Everywhere cultivation is dependent upon rain and 
reserves of water. In the Far West of America and in the 
Argentine Republic, in the south and north of Africa (in Egypt 
or in southern Algeria), in India and Russian Turkestan, in all 
latitudes and in both hemispheres, men are eagerly and 
patiently toiling in this conquest of the desert through a 

1 "L'Elevage du renard bleu," by Henri de Varigny in the Temps, January 24, 
1907, after a study by Th. E. Hofer appearing in Forest and Stream (July 28, 1906.) 

2 See a short summarizing note by Fr. Hahn, "Tierschutz in Afrika," Petermanns 
Mitt., LVI, 1910, pp. 141-142, with a plate of four drawings (Plate 27): "Tier- 
Reservationen in Britisch- Afrika." 


methodical distribution of water. Finally, it must be repeated 
here apropos of the forest: "White coal" is to-day and will 
be still more to-morrow the most important reserve of energy 
that man can use in his industrial activity. Water is more 
than ever necessary to us, and it is more than ever escaping 
from us. Trees and water depend upon each other, and both 
are going to fail us through the fault of our own deeds. A 
reaction is inevitable. 

It is in Switzerland that the nations of the Old World must to-day 
seek the most perfect expression of a reaction against the right to 
abuse the soil. The federal law of October n, 1902, on the pro- 
tection of the land in forested and pastoral regions, is certainly 
the most coercive type of legislation in the world, but it is also the 
most effective for the preservation of mountain soils. 

Switzerland in 1838 gave another example of wise foresight 
in a political conflict of pastoral origin which led to a struggle 
between the partisans of large and small pasture animals, the Horn- 
manner and the Klanenmanner . The federal council settled the 
strife to the advantage of the partisans of cattle. It withdrew the 
mountains from the systematic devastation of the sheep and goats 
and gave the impulse to the exploitation of cattle which assures the 
preservation of the soil and the fortune of the country. 

In all the countries where forest plundering is practiced, 
men are struggling and must struggle more and more, against 
this form of destructive exploitation. 

Thus a public opinion is being created in all civilized 
countries which is a deliberate reaction against the excesses of 
destructive exploitation. The scientific book which best sums 
up all these new tendencies is La Degradation de Venergie by 
Bernard Brunhes: 

Ostwald has said that civilization consists in the art of making 
use of the brute energy of nature. The arms successively invented 
by man represent successive stages in the utilization of the ordinary 
forms of energy: weapons for striking, which use the kinetic energy 
of matter, were followed by weapons which were thrown by means 
of the potential energy of a tightened spring, and then by the firearm, 
which uses the chemical energy contained in a powder. But all the 
progress of civilization is not equally marked. If man's action is 
always limited by the impossibility of making the world go back- 
ward, he has the power of slowing up or increasing degradation. 
Industry, which is beneficent when it slows up the degradation of 
energy, is evil when it increases it and when it causes the devastation 
of nature (Raubwirtschaft) . 


The part assigned to living beings is to retard the degradation of 
energy in the world. Consciously or unconsciously they play this 
part fairly well. The man who harnesses "natural forces" plays it 
especially well; the man who makes use of a waterfall to turn his 
waterwheel diverts a useless caloric energy into the form of mechani- 
cal energy. At every step in the scale of being, everything that 
lives is capable of increasing the fraction of the energy of the uni- 
verse that is utilized. The palpable result of "evolution," in what- 
ever field it shows itself, is definitely expressed by an increase of the 
energy utilized. But utilized energy must not be confounded with 
available energy . . . .[p. 195]. 

One of the general facts to be taken into consideration is 
the bond between nomadism and plant and animal devastation. 

When in the preceding chapter we examined some forms of 
pastoral nomadism, we were careful to say that nomadism 
was not merely a fact of the pastoral art. There is nomadism 
as soon as there is periodic devastation. Should we not then 
see in pastoral nomadism a nomadism connected with destruc- 
tive exploitation ? In this case the direct agent of destructive 
exploitation is not man, but the flocks and herds, sheep or 
goats, camels or horses, which he drives. (See chap. IV, 
sections 5 and 6; and Fig. 135, p. 305, and Fig. 136, p. 308.) 
But these are particular and, moreover, very well characterized 
cases of a more general phenomenon. 

There is a more or less regular nomadism in fishing, hunting, 
"gathering" (collecting wild products), and in forest devasta- 
tion. 1 There can be even a more or less regular nomadism in 
cultivation when this cultivation is so primitive that it falls 
into the category of phenomena of destructive exploitation. 

To make our thought clear we shall give, in some detail, a 
typical example. 


The Congo equatorial forest is to-day the field of migration 
for the Fang. Lost in the natural or artificial clearings of 

1 Even in its perfected form, the exploitation of forests can bring with it a sort of 
nomadism; see La Geographic, July 15, 1909, p. 49. 

2 The essential points in this section are from a study on the " Nomadisme des 
Fang," published by Father Martrou of the Congregation of Saint-Esprit, missionary 
to the Congo, in the Rev. de geog. annuelle of Professor Velain (Delagrave, Paris), 
III, 1909. Louis Martrou is one of the earliest scholars of the Geographic Institute 
of Fiibourg. 


the forest, the Fang 1 move about invading the dwelling-places 
of other peoples who give a tacit consent. Often they 
perform acts of violence which make them feared by their 
more timid or weaker neighbors: Mpongwe, Nkomis, Galoas, 
Bulus, Akeles, etc. Their migrations result from a whole 
series of facts of exploitation of natural resources, plant and 

Geographical Environment 

We propose to study here the Fang, not in the whole breadth 
of their distribution, but in the region of the Middle Ogowe. 
This region forms almost a circle with a radius of about 61 
miles 2 (ioo kilometers) with Njole as a center, and extends 
along the river from Samkita to Mount Otombi, from the 
Upper Abanga on the north to the sources of the Lebe on the 
south. With the exception of a few Akele villages, at 
Samkita, on the Mbomi and on the Lebe, all the human 
establishments are of the Fang race, speaking the same 
language and having the same ethnic origin. 

This district is representative of the different Fang habitats, 
for it is the point of contact of several natural regions of the 
equatorial forest: 

a) The region of Samkita and of the Lower Abanga ends 
toward the north with the limit of the raffia (Raphia vinifera). 

The Ogowe River, after crossing the last ramifications of 
the Crystal Mountains, broadens to a width of from 2,600 to 

1 Numerous studies on the Fang have appeared. We note in particular: Liotard, 
"Les Races de l'Ogooue, Anthropologic, VI, 1895, pp. 63 ff.; R. P. H. Trilles, 
"Proverbes, legendes et contes fang," Bull, de la Soc. neuchateloise de geographie, 
XVI, 1905, pp. 49-295. (We write the plural of "Fang" without s, after the example 
of Pere Trilles.) In this connection and for comparative data, see also the books by 
Mgr. Le Roy on Les Pygmees and on La Religion des primilifs; that by W. Schmidt, 
Die Stellung der Pygmaenvolker in der Entwicklungsgeschichte der Menschen (Buschan's 
collection), as well as the first volume of Jerome Dowd's The Negro Races, A Sociological 
Study, Vol. I, The Negritos, New York and London, 1907, xxiii+493 pp. and one 
chart. Reference may again be made to a brief article (accompanied by a chart) 
prepared by a specialist, J. Deniker, " Distribution geographique et caracteres 
physiques des Pygmees africains (Negrilles)," published in La Geographie, VIII, 
1903. PP- 213-220. 

2 The map which we add to the text has no scientific pretensions. It is to be 
attributed to L. Martrou and is rather an outline, as accurate as possible, the result 
of sketches hastily made from a canoe or on explorations in a country covered with 
forests where the topography is exceedingly difficult; see Fig. 139, p. 353. The 
materials for this map were obtained previous to the studies which the author made 
at Fribourg under the direction of Paul Girardin. It was published, in 1909, by the 
Rev. de geog. annuelle and was, very obligingly, sent to us by Professor Velain and 
the Delagrave house. 


6,500 feet (800 to 2,000 meters). On all sides are channels, 
lakes, and marigots. 1 These flow from rivers. A thick layer 
of alluvium brought from the slopes of the upper river has been 
deposited upon the clays. It is a fertile land, well watered, 
where the banana prospers and the rivers and lakes are full 
of fish. Some rather pronounced undulations appear here 
and there. It is a country particularly favorable to human 

b) From Nzum, going up toward Njole, the mountainous 
region begins — the edge of the African plateau. Its folds run 
perceptibly north and south, from 500 to 800 feet (150 to 250 
meters) in altitude. The Ogowe crosses these folds at right 
angles over rapids, as at Talagonga. Here erosion is intense 
and the youth of the landscape is shown at every step: 
V-shaped valleys, very steep slopes, falls in the affluents of the 
Ogowe, numerous and very much intrenched small streams, 
pot-holes by thousands, which are seen when the water is low, 
and which after the rainy season have changed in form and 
size, hollowed indifferently in the hard or soft rock — quartz, 
schists, laterites, and conglomerates of every sort. There 
is active erosion on the steep hill sides, especially if they are 
deforested; the upper layers of humus are carried away and 
only the yellow and compact clays are left. 

c) Erosion, working backward from the baselevel toward 
the sources, has not yet finished its work, in the moun- 
tainous region, on the affluents of the Ogowe. It has met 
with rock sills which offer resistance and which the rivers 
cross by means of falls or series of falls. Thus the Missanga, 
which ends at Njole, crosses one of these sills with a single leap 
of 130 feet (40 meters) about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from 
the stream into which it flows. The Abanga descends through 
a series of cascades of 30, 65, 100 feet in height (10, 20, 30 
meters), after having received the waters of the Nkam; and 
the Lebe and the Mbomi also have their falls. These sills 
form secondary baselevels, limits to the alluviation of the 
upper regions, and we find there, separated from the lower 
districts by gorges, in the midst of a hilly or mountainous 

'Name given in Senegal to lakeside affluents; means also low regions where rain 
water collects. 


country, regions of alluviums of a particular type, small geo- 
graphical worlds comparable to the high valleys of the Alps. 
< <i) > At some miles from the island of Alembe and from the 

J -...,„-. Ufoo' Long.E.Gi-e-cnwich 


of •-._ 



izor Grou 



d «sf>«.««y id- 

Scale == 1:671,000 

Fig. 139. Outline Map for the Study of the Nomadism of the Fang; 
Njole Region 

(After the engraving in the Revue de geographie annuelle. Vol. Ill, 1909) 

mouth of the Okano begins what is improperly called the region 
of the plains. The forest, which up to that point covers the 
whole country, narrows to a line along the river or to patches 
determined by a little humus or vegetable mold. The 
rest is covered by siliceous grasses; some few stunted trees 
remind one of the vegetation of the Sahara. The imperme- 
able soil is covered with ferruginous and quartzose pebbles 
and boulders. 

From the plateau above which rises Mount Otombi, 2,250 
feet (687 meters), a superb view of this region is obtained, half 
forest, half savanna; the slopes are gentler than below and the 



hills are rounded. One can trace the watercourses or the stiips 
of vegetal soil by the line of the forest. This immense horizon 
is a restful sight for the prisoner in the equatorial forest 
who ordinarily has no horizon other than the opposite bank 
of the river upon the shore of which he has built his house. 


It is easy to form an idea of the climate of this equatorial 
country when we know that Njole is at o° 8' S. latitude (longi- 
tude 8° 37' east of Paris or io° 57' 9" east of Greenwich). 

The first rainy season, which the Fang calls surce, begins 
usually in the early part of October. The rains, which are at 
first moderate, become very abundant in November, and 
are accompanied by wind storms coming generally from the 
northeast. Sometimes the precipitation in a single day is very 
great. Thus on November 22, 1906, between six o'clock in the 
evening and nine o'clock the next morning, there was a rain- 
fall of 7 inches (180 millimeters); at midnight the rain gauge 
— capacity 4.7 inches (120 millimeters) — w s overflowing. 

After this violent rain important landslides were found 
everywhere upon the banks of the Ogowe. The gullying 
had brought down trees, walls of rock, and great quantities of 
earth torn from the sides of the hills. The important land- 
slides of April, 1904, traces of which can still be seen at 
Nzum, Talagonga, and Njole, must be attributed to a similar 
rain. The Ogowe and its affluents, which are registers of pre- 
cipitation and indicators of climate, rise rapidly. From the 
15th of September to the 20th of November there is a differ- 
ence of 21.3 feet (6.5 meters) in the level of the water at Njole. 
Toward the 20th of November comes the great flood, the clay 
flood, as the Fang call it (ndceus bikonce). The Ogowe rolls 
along, its yellowish, foamy waters carrying trunks of trees and 
debris of every sort. 

With December the rains gradually diminish, without, 
however, altogether ceasing, and the temperature rises. In 
February and March we find maximum temperatures of 30 C. 
(86° F.) in the shade. This is the esep of the natives, the short 
dry season of the Europeans. The waters of the river fall 
and the sand banks appear. This is the flowering period, and 



especially the period of the maturing of the fruits; under the 
warm sun after the rains plant life becomes exuberant. 

Toward the 15th of March the rains again become heavy 
and continue into April and May. This season has the 
same character as the rainy season of October-November; 
toward the 25th of May the swelling of the Ogowe reaches 
almost the same level as in late November. But a phenom- 
enon peculiar to this period appears — the tornado, which 
twists and even overturns trees and damages dwellings. 

Then comes the dry season, oyun (from June to the 20th of 
September) ; by July the rain has ceased entirely and the tem- 
perature falls. In July and August we notice minimum 
temperatures of i8°-i7° C. (6 4 °-63° F.) at Njole. There 
is much cloudiness, and the sky is gray, with only a few 
hours of sunlight from eleven until one o'clock. Vegetation is 
less intense; there is a partial arresting of vegetative activity 
and certain trees lose their leaves. The water falls rapidly in 
the river and the sand banks obstruct the river beds. Toward 
the end of August and in September the little steamers which 
draw more than 3 feet (1 meter) cannot find a channel to go 
up to Njole. 

This is the favorite season of both the natives and the 
Europeans. One may sleep in the open air, on the sand 
banks, or in the open forest. The roads are dry, and fishing 
is good in the marshes, the lakes, and the rivers. 

Table of Precipitation Observed at Njole 

Long. E. of Greenwich io° 57', Lat. S. 0° 8' 

(In inches) 



January . . . 
February . . 
March. . . . 





August. . . 
October. . . 
December . 

Totals. . 





o. 16 

1 . 1 







4 05 



5- ' 



The Main Establishments of the Fang: the Village 

The Fang village is always built near a stream of water. 
Wells, cisterns, and aqueducts are unknown. In this equa- 
torial climate where precipitation is abundant, rivers are not 
lacking. It is therefore easy for the Fang to locate themselves 
near water. They usually establish themselves on the bank 
of a brook, river, or lake, but they choose a place where the 
banks are high enough so that there is no risk of their being 
reached by high water. 

The village is composed of a street bordered by two parallel 
lines of rectangular huts all joined together. The two ends 
of the interior court are closed by two abence, or guardhouses, 
solidly built of round pieces of asceis (Musango), a soft wood 
through which the native bullets do not easily pass. In case 
of war with the neighboring villages there are always some 
guns night and day in the abence. The narrow door and 
loopholes give a view over the road and the river. 

The abence serves as a meeting place for the men and a 
reception room for strangers. Here also the men eat in com- 
mon. If the village is important, there are two, three, or four 
other guardhouses within the court in addition to the two 
abefices at the ends. This common hall, built by a group of 
men, is under the care of an old man who sweeps it, keeps up 
the fire, and governs morally his modest but noisy areopagus. 

The double row of houses, bordered by a narrow gallery, 
consists of separate huts for the men and the women. They 
are built of wood and bark, without stone, cement, or clay; 
stakes stuck in the ground support a light framework some- 
times of raffia, sometimes of elceis, sometimes of amomum 
stalks, which are covered, according to the region, with tiles 
of raffia leaves or other leaves sewn together. The walls are 
made of tree bark, beaten and dressed, arranged in strips and 
fastened to the posts by vines. These huts are very light, 
require little work, and show by the materials used the plant 
geography of the region. Thus, for example, in the region from 
Samkita to Nzum and higher up the river from the Lebe to 
the island of Alembe, regions where the Raphia vinifera 
abounds, the hut is almost everywhere built of the wood and 
covered with the leaves of the raffia; while from Nzum to 


Njole, where only the oil palm is found, the building is much 
more difficult. This is one of the reasons why this latter 
region is less populated and would perhaps even be totally 
deserted if the commercial center of Njole, the terminus for 
navigation with small steamers, had not drawn numerous 
villages into this district (Fig. 139). 

Behind the huts extends the banana grove. Here each 
woman has a few feet of banana trees, pimentos, sweet potatoes, 
etc. When an unexpected guest arrives, or when the weather 
is too bad to go to the distant plantations, she uses the fruits 
from the banana grove. Women's yard, and a burying ground, 
the banana grove plays also the part of those little gardens 
which are seen in certain regions in France in front of country 
houses, in which are planted such things as lettuce, parsley, 
and onions to avoid the necessity of going several times a 
day to the vegetable garden, which is in some cases far away. 
This is, however, only a small cultivated patch, a "reserve" 
of secondary importance. 

How then do the Fang live ? They live by the devastation 
of the forest — gathering and cultivation — and by fishing 
and hunting. 

Gathering, Exploitation of the Forest, and Cultivation 

Almost all the fruits of the forest ripen in the sunny days of 
the esep. A certain number of these fruits are edible and are 
used by the natives. The Fang know these trees and pluck 
their fruits at the proper time. 

Sometimes the labor of fruit gathering makes a temporary 
camp necessary. Four or five trees called ascia (terebinths) 
are felled, the fruit of which, when cooked in water, is held in 
high esteem by the natives and even by Europeans. The 
children gather fruit and, after boiling it in a kettle, eat their 
fill of it, repeating this program several times a day. The 
women fill their baskets with the fruit to carry to the village, 
or even, after cooking the ascia and removing the kernel," make 
packages of the pulp, properly salted and spiced and sewn 
up in leaves, which will keep for from ten to fifteen days. 

It is especially for gathering the ndoi (Trvingia Gabo- 
nensis, Oba Gabonensis) that the Fang go into the forest regions 


where this tree abounds. In the regions of Samkita and of the 
Lower Abanga an entire month is given up to it. A camp is 
built in the best place and the man goes there with his women 
at the moment when the mellow fruit is falling to the ground. 
They clear away the space beneath the andor and every 
morning the women visit all the trees and take up the fruit, 
which they place in a pile. When the pulp loosens of itself, 
they wash the kernels, split them, and fill their baskets with 
almonds. When all the fruit has fallen or all the baskets are 
full, the campers go back to the village to make the precious 
oil cake. It is the women who do this work; the men only 
build the temporary camp and protect and govern this short- 
lived colony, which is far from the village. 

European commerce, which has come into the Congo to 
exploit the rich natural products of the equatorial forest, both 
flora and fauna, has had its influence upon the work of the 
natives. Except under the stimulus of European influence, 
the ebony, mahogany, rosewood, copal gum, and rubber are 
not used. The few objects made of ivory — trumpets, pipes, 
and spoons — give only a slight value to the tusks of elephants. 
But as soon as the white people buy these products in exchange 
for highly prized objects, a new branch of native activity 
is formed to find and exploit these natural riches. 

In the territory which we are discussing, the Apocynacece 
(vines) and the Fici, from which the Fang get rubber, are 
relatively rare. This is doubtless the result of the prolonged 
and pronounced exploitation of these regions, a condition 
which has long been known. It will not astonish us when we 
learn that the Fang cut the vine close to the ground instead 
of bleeding it, and, on the other hand, that the vine multiplies 
by means of the seed of its fruit. 

The Fang, especially in the last few years, have sold much 
ebony to the trading-posts of the Lower Ogowe. They first 
cut the trees on the shores of the river and of the navigable 
streams and channels. But at the present time the ebony is 
far away; men must go a long distance to cut it and must carry 
it upon their backs along difficult paths. When work is not 
pressing in the village and when some European merchandise 
is desired, it is decided to go camping in the forest, 6 or 7 


miles (10 or 12 kilometers) away, perhaps, and go "ebonying." 
A few men with their women establish themselves in a corner 
of the forest which is rich in ebony trees. For some days the 
men cut the trunks of these trees, split them in logs of from 
65 to 130 pounds (30 to 60 kg.), and remove the hard outer 
layer. Finally, when the stock is considered sufficient, the 
women form a caravan to carry the pieces of ebony to the 
village or to the navigable canal. They make as many trips 
as the number of logs requires. 

The Fang are not content with these direct depredations in 
the forest. They cultivate, but their cultivation presupposes 
and causes renewed devastation. When the aboice nzoi, a tall 
tree with twisted branches, has no more leaves, and when the 
fruit of the surce has fallen, it is time to begin the work of the 

We have said, in studying the climate, that the maximum 
intensity of plant life coincided with the short dry season (the 
month of March). The Fang know this and set out at the 
end of January. They go into the forest and find a favorable 
place, settle in common the respective limits of each planta- 
tion, and the work of cutting the thick-growing underbrush 
begins. This work is done by men and women armed with the 
machete, a tool imported from Europe which the Fang have 
adopted in place of the fa, sl two-edged cutlass which they 
formerly made themselves. 

The underbrush once cleared away, the men cut down the 
big trees (6a baibiti), leaving here and there only some few 
giants too strong for their attacks, or some few trees with 
edible fruits. All the others are pitilessly cut down, never 
close to the ground, but 6 to 15 feet (2 to 4 meters) above it. 
The Fang fasten themselves to the trunk in a sort of sling 
and thus fell the trees they have selected. 

This work is long and laborious. In the beginning of March, 
after the long, sunny days of February, the stalks of the bushes, 
the reeds, the branches of the trees are chopped up in pieces 
and burned, and soon, in place of the great forest, there remain 
only the big trunks lying on the ground. In this ground, 
covered with ashes and humus, the women place banana plants, 
stalks of manioc, and seeds of gourds. It is near the end of 


March and the precipitation becomes abundant ; hence banana 
trees, manioc, fruits, and vegetables ripen rapidly. For his 
cultivation the Fang is then dependent upon water; he waits 
for the rain and regulates his work accordingly. Woe to him 
if his calendar or his activity fails him ; that will mean a partial 
scarcity of provisions. If the rain delays more than usual, or 
is less abundant, the plants will suffer and will yield but small 
crops. The banana tree in particular is rather delicate; a 
prolonged dry season after a short season of rain sterilizes it 
and prevents it from producing its natural yield. On the 
other hand, if the precipitation of the surce surprises the Fang 
before he has burned the trees he has felled, his incompletely 
burned plantation, entangled with branches and stalks and 
not having the ashes to fertilize it, is rendered useless for that 

There is no general famine among the Fang as in India 
and in the monsoon countries. This is due to the fact that 
the native plants, manioc and yams, are rather hardy. The 
same banana trees bear at all seasons, though their yield is 
greatly diminished during the dry season. There is no 
harvest and therefore there are no barns. The garden lasts 
for two years and the people go to it for their provisions 
according to their need until it is exhausted. At that time 
the new garden should be bearing. There will therefore be 
a scarcity of provisions if the garden is exhausted before the 
new one begins to produce, or if the provisions are not 
abundant enough for the family. No one dies of hunger, 
however. i 

Whenever the gardens that are to be started are at a long 
distance from the main village, an hour's walk or more, a 
mfini or plantation village is built. It may be said that this 
is usually the case for groups whose main village remains 
for some years in the same place or whose near-by lands are 
not favorable for food plants. It is then necessary to seek 
favorable land in the virgin forest far away, for the Fang know 
absolutely nothing of intensive cultivation. With their 
primitive agriculture they need immense stretches to support 
the smallest group of human beings. Every year, then, new 
sections of virgin forest fall under their destructive axes. 


Fortunately after twenty years the forest reasserts its right 
and we see no longer any trace of man's work. 

The mfini of the plantations is identical with the village, 
built on the same plan, though not so well; the street is not so 
wide, the huts are less substantial and without gallery. This is 
the temporary center of life during the work in the gardens. 
Outside of the period of agricultural work there are always 
some few persons who keep watch over the gardens lest 
marauders should pillage them or wart hogs or elephants 
ravage them. 

Sometimes though, when the chief village is threatened, it is 
abandoned and the mfini becomes the real social center. This 
often happens on the Ogowe at the time of the collection of 
the taxes. If the village is important (with four or five guard- 
houses), it has several mfini; each village has its own in the 
midst of its plantations. 

The inhabitants of the villages of the savannas have no 
mfini; they make their gardens in the surrounding forest. 
When this is exhausted they move farther on. In the same 
way the villages situated far from navigable waters make 
their plantations within the radius of an hour's travel, and 
when this circle of forest is exhausted they begin once more 
their migrations. When the work at the plantations is ended 
the men and women go back to the village where they had 
left those who were too old or too young to work. Even 
during the working period they had gone back to the village 
individually or in groups for a palaver — a mourning, a dance, 
or merely for a walk. 

We find the workers in the fields at the mfini at other times 
of the year. In June the weeds which have grown with the 
rains threaten to stifle the young plants; the women weed 
them out and cut them with the machete, or long knife. In 
the midst of the dry season, in August, in order to be ready 
for the first October rains, new clearings are made, but smaller 
than the others, for the sowing of maize, groundnuts, cucum- 
bers, tomatoes, pimentos, etc. ; all these vegetables will ripen 
in the warm and sunny days of the esep. But everywhere 
and always devastation is the prelude and fire the necessary 
condition of cultivation. 


Fishing and Hunting 

Toward the 15 th of August the waters have gone down 
considerably. The Fang, especially in the region of lakes and 
ponds, have long been awaiting the happy event and watching 
with an attentive eye the falling of the waters. At last a 
certain tree trunk or a stone in their wharf which serves as 
a mark appears above the water and they can go fishing. 

The Fang then build a camp on the shore of the lake, 
marigot, or river where they intend to fish. Very few people 
remain in the village. All, big and little, wish to have their 
fill of fish, and they can all aid in the work of fishing. 

The palavers cease ; there is a tacit truce caused by a common 
need. They must profit by the dry season, especially the last 
six weeks. The cast-net brought in from Europe, nets of 
pineapple fiber, dams, draining of pools, poisoning by herbs — 
every means is put into practice to catch the fish. During 
the first days an enormous quantity is eaten; then the work 
of smoking and preserving the fish is begun. 

The camp is very large, the site well cleared, the roofs 
high, the drying-house made of sticks of raffia well built. 
There are sometimes several parallel streets. Even the dogs 
and the chickens are brought here from the village. At 
nightfall the camp grows animated. Their hunger satisfied, 
the Fang, gay and numerous, chat and sing under the vault 
of great trees and tell the old stories of their folklore. 1 

On a certain shallow well-stocked fishing lake of the Lower 
Abanga, Lake Eugene, Louis Martrou saw in 1902 a dozen 
camps of this sort, and yet the lake has hardly more than 
a square mile (5 square kilometers) of surface. 

The inhabitants of the mountainous region and of the savan- 
nas are less favored. Fish are not abundant because the cold, 
deep waters are too swift and flow over rocky bottoms. And 
yet the people try to procure a few fish. They dam the 
smaller brooks and drain the pools of the branches of the 
river. They always go camping four or five days on the 
bank of some stream and come back with a few small fish, 
shrimps, crabs, and catfish; at any rate they have eaten fish. 

1 See the interesting studies by R. P. Trilles, "Proverbes, legendes et contes fang," 
Bull, de la Soc. neuchateloise de geographic XVI, 1905, pp. 49-295. 


With the plant food (manioc, bananas, yams) the products 
of their fishing form the basis of the food of the Fang. The 
barnyard of a Fang village does not amount to much: 
some thin chickens, a few Barbary ducks, a few sheep and 
kids — a dozen per village — are the entire ''stock." And the 
kids and sheep are "reserved" for the payment of a pressing 
debt, the conclusion of a marriage, or for the fetish to be asked 
from the medicine man in case of a serious illness. 

It is easily understood, then, that the Fang, after having 
fished the waters, hunts the forest for a very necessary addition 
to his plant food. He goes hunting with his gun and his dog, 
calling the game by imitating its cry. He is lucky if he brings 
back a monkey or a porcupine. He skins the animal, keeps 
a large share, and the remainder goes to his table companions 
in the guardhouse. 

But game has its habitat far from groups of human beings. 
It is most frequently found in certain solitary districts of the 
forest near streams or near trees upon which it may depend 
for fruit. The Fang know this and at certain favorable seasons 
they move to these places to hunt. Once more they build a 
camp, but more simple than the one before mentioned. Posts 
stuck in the ground, a framework supporting a roof of tree 
leaves, a drying-house, a hearth, and a bed — such is the hunt- 
ing camp. A dozen men and two or three women go thither. 
The women do the cooking, go after wood, and smoke the 
pieces of meat in the drying-house. The men hunt all day. 
At other times they shut off a corner of the forest with a 
palisade, digging deep ditches at intervals, which they care- 
fully cover with leaves and twigs, and at each of these places 
leaving an opening in the palisade. The animal, wart hog, 
antelope, etc., seeking a place to pass through, falls into the 
ditch and is found the next day. It is at the time of the 
great floods that this arrangement of fences and ditches, 
which has had to be made some time in advance, is fruitful. 
Peninsulas and isthmuses are formed where much game takes 
refuge or passes, and then good catches are often made. 1 

1 While hunting, digging ditches, or making traps to catch game, the Fang must 
be continent. This, he says, makes him more agile in pursuit of the animal and more 
successful in his hunting. If he violates this prohibition, the game is sure to escape and 
make sport of the lazy hunter. Thus there are few women in the hunting camp. 


After ten days, two weeks, or three weeks at the most, this 
hunting season comes to an end and the Fang go back to the 
village with the dried meat, which for some time will give 
variety to the food supply of the lucky hunters. It is impos- 
sible for them to remain very long in the forest, since the pro- 
visions they have brought with them are quickly used up and 
it is then necessary to go to the plantations or the village for 
a fresh supply. 

The Great Migrations Resulting from These Forms of 
Destructive Exploitation 

All this moving about and these more or less prolonged 
stops, either at the ephemeral camps of the forest to gather 
its fruits and products or to hunt, or at the more stable fishing 
and garden camps, do not prevent the Fang from going back 
to their village. They go back with pleasure; here is their 
hut, their home, the burial place of their recent dead. 

To see one of these animated villages where the inhabitants 
seem happy in their careless life, one might think that it was 
going to* remain there forever, that it was going to become 
attached to its environment, to the plot of ground which it 
covers. Not so — it is there but for a time ; it is but a stopping- 
place, a halt in the migrations of the Fang. 

After four or five years the village needs repairs; there are 
holes in the roofs, the bark is damaged, and the courtyard full 
of gullies. If the inhabitants decide to remain in the place, 
they rebuild the village, moving it twenty, thirty, or a hundred 
yards farther on to avoid some inconvenience they have 
noticed, such as too steep a slope in the yard, too great a dis- 
tance from the river, or a bad exposure with no shelter from 
tornadoes. The restored village keeps the same name. 

But some day, at a turn in the river, on the shore of a stream 
where hitherto was only the forest, we see a new clearing, a 
few wretched provisional huts (bikukula), with a few men 
as an advance guard. To this point a village is to be moved. 
As the old village falls in ruin, the number of provisional huts 
in the new one increases. Finally, one day, the whole tribe 
proceeds to the new establishment, carrying the children, the 
boxes full of old clothes, the kettles, the kitchen utensils, and 


the fetishes. The distance is sometimes 15 or 18 miles (25 
or 30 kilometers) in a straight line, and it takes several days 
for this nomadic horde, encumbered with baggage and children, 
to reach its new home. They travel by day and sleep at night 
in the forest, and at last reach their destination. 

The first months in the new village are hard, for there is a 
lack of provisions, although they have brought some with 
them. Those who went on ahead have made a few gardens, 
but these have not begun to yield. Hence they are forced 
to borrow or buy provisions from the neighboring villages, 
though this is not enough completely to satisfy them. They 
therefore immediately set about the agricultural work, although 
it will be some time before they will eat the first vegetables 
from the new plantation and think of building the true village, 
leveling the courtyard, and constructing the abence. In the 
beginning they still have "a gnawing in their stomachs" and 
they do not build. And then, too, they are still very unstable, 
like a bird on a branch. Any one of a number of events or 
difficulties, the hostility of neighboring villages, unexpected 
deaths, may lead the tribe to return perhaps to its' former 
village, or it may go farther in search of a safer and more 
favorable spot. 

But usually the Fang remain in this new country, which they 
quickly learn to know and to exploit, beginning here again 
their organic nomadism. And during this time their elic 
(former village) becomes covered with tall grass and weeds. 
Soon the equatorial forest which surrounds it closes the wound 
which human toil had made in its closely tangled mass, and 
of this place, so alive a few years before, there remain but a 
memory and a name. The tribe adds it to the already long 
list of its many stops in the savannas and forests of Africa. 

The length of these stops varies. Economic and social 
reasons may fix a village for some years, stop it for a longer 
time than usual on its nomadic course. The village of Ayais 
(family Esaisfan) of the Middle Missanga has been for fifteen 
years at least in the same district on the shore of the Metomce. 
It is true that this is one of those superior oases of which we 
have spoken. 

Andor, on the Ogowe, at the outlet of Lake Mangeis, is an 


old village, several times rebuilt. The children who were 
born there at the time of its origin are now young persons of 
twenty years of age and more. 

But these are exceptions; the average duration of a village 
is five or six years. An old man of Njole, in telling the history 
of his tribe, located his native village on the Lorn, a small 
tributary of the Upper Uindo. And since that time his 
family had moved its village thirteen times. This old man was 
between sixty-five and seventy years of age. 

Is this rapid movement of the Fang tribes, these periodic 
migrations, to be explained by reasons found in the geographi- 
cal environment alone ? Not entirely. A village may change 
its place as a result of a war with other villages. The hostility 
of a powerful tribe, the collection of the tax, the death of an 
important man, some superstitious reason such as the cry of 
an owl in the neighborhood, may cause the family to move 
toward another region, and in this case the change is due to 
human will or human caprice. It is none the less true that 
the more fundamental and general causes of the migration 
are geographical and result from destructive exploitation. 

As we have said, it takes a considerable extent of ground 
to support a Fang village. As their method of cultivation is 
primitive, without fertilizers or tillage, the garden is aban- 
doned after the second or third crop. Every year hundreds 
of acres of forest fall under the axe of the Fang. The planta- 
tions are soon too far away from the village, and the village 
moves on to find the great forest. 

Sometimes a village leaves a region because its plantations 
of banana trees and manioc are ravaged by animals, especially 
wart hogs or elephants. In the region between Lake Ayen- 
Nkago and the Mbomi a troop of about thirty elephants had 
established itself. The natives hunted them, but only one 
or two were killed. The villagers were obliged to remain in 
their mfini during the season of cultivation, to build fires on 
the edges of their gardens, and to keep watch, beating the 
tom-tom to keep away the marauding beasts. If they relaxed 
their vigilance, an entire plantation might be devastated in 
one night, and that would mean want for a long time to come. 
Several villages, therefore, migrated, in spite of their desire to 


remain in this region which was both fertile and full of game, 
The elephants drove them away. 1 

Finally, what shall we think of the proverbial paradox about 
the eagerness of the Fang for our European merchandise: 
"Take away all the trading-posts of the Gabun and of the 
Ogowe and leave only those of the Senegal and in twenty years 
the Fang will be at Dakar and at Saint Louis?" It is true 
that villages are built around a European trading-post. Many 
families of the interior leave their old village to come toward 
the "new Eldorado." But disillusionment soon comes. 
Before long they learn that the white man gives his powder, 
trading guns, fabric, and hardware only in exchange for 
products. In order to obtain these products soon they must 
resort to tilling the soil, and thus they again take up their 
old life. Some day, whether or not they wish to do so, they 
again become nomads. 

Through the immense forest there are, as it were, veritable 
"lines of nomadism," human thalwegs which spread out fan- 
shaped, like the branches of a delta, from the sources of 

By taking the present position of a village on the Ogowe or 
in the region along the coast of the Atlantic and by marking 
the former sites of this village in the equatorial forest on the 
banks of rivers and small streams, we obtain a line with a 
constant direction. The point of departure which the con- 
temporary natives give for their permanent nomadism is the 
region comprised between the sources of the Ntem and the 
sources of the Uindo. The memory of the old men gives no 
clear and precise information beyond this district, where from 
sixty to eighty years ago were the present villages of Njole 
and of Samkita. 

Sometimes in this constant line of nomadism there are sudden 
turns or crooks. Some commercial center has attracted the 
family clan ; then, the attraction ceasing, they have continued 
their migration, coming back to the line running west or 

These "lines of nomadism" make disastrous trails in the 

1 Have those who condemn the killing of the elephant as useless and harmful con- 
sidered this economic side of the question? It is impossible for native villages to 
exist when there are any elephants within a radius of from ten to twenty miles. 


equatorial forest, for it is evident that the passage of the 
nomadic Fang in close ranks diminishes its natural richness. 
These forests successively felled for primitive cultivation and 
replaced by the bushy vegetation of thickets; the zone of the 
banana constantly narrowing, and the lands which produce it 
becoming more and more rare ; the rubber vines cut and lopped 
off ; fruit trees felled to facilitate the gathering of the fruit — 
such are the geographical consequences of this complex and 
varied nomadism. 

Moreover, the Fang, since they have no thought of remaining 
permanently, do not plant fruit trees even where they would 
succeed very well, for at the time when these trees would be 
in full bearing the planters would be far away and neither they 
nor their children would profit from their work. 

One may imagine that all this life resulting from human toil 
shapes the history of the Fang people. One may also easily 
see that such phenomena are not without their effect upon 
social relations. 

Let us leave this typical group of primitive peoples (Natur- 
vblker), living in truth from Raubwirtschaft, to observe among 
the most advanced groups of civilized peoples (Kulturoblker) 
the effects of another form of destructive exploitation. 


Mineral devastation does not cause a nomadism as visible 
or as immediate as that before mentioned, but in its rudi- 
mentary form, which might be called plundering, it causes 
changes of place at the will of circumstances which make it 
resemble a hunt. The first gold rush to California or to 
Alaska formed a sort of migration. 

A manufactory associated with an extractive industry may 
also be subject to movement. Glass-making in the United 
States at first depended upon the devastation of the woods, 
then upon the devastation of coal (Pittsburgh), finally upon 
natural gas, the "springs" of which are always short-lived. 
Thus the glass factories are moving from place to place over 
the United States almost like a flock of sheep, but a flock 
which never comes back to the same place. This "nomadism" 


of the American glass industry (or that of the exploitation 
of placer gold) is not a true nomadism, for it implies no 
return, no periodic movement. The necessity for migration 
is inherent in every mode of activity that is either closely or 
distantly bound to a definite form of extractive industry. 

However, the essential characteristic of mineral exploitation 
is to fix the work of man, for the moment at least, at a precise 
point on the earth. Thence comes the exceptional geographic 
value of all forms of mineral exploitation. 

A study of the exploitation of quarries and of mines may be 
made in the form of a special local study. 1 A similar study 
might be made of the sulphur mines of Sicily, the copper 
mines of Rio Tinto, of the tin of the Malay Peninsula. 

The study of the general distribution of a mineral must 
never be neglected, nor, if possible, an examination of the 
general geological causes of this distribution (see Fig. 143). 
Moreover, the geographer must investigate the geographical 
facts of surface and depth — what we might call exterior 
and interior landscapes. At those points where man under- 
takes the exploitation of a product furnished by the earth, he 
establishes himself in a fashion which modifies the natural 
topography. In centers of petroleum exploitation, such as 
Bibi-Eibat and Balakhany, near Baku (Russia), man's work 
appears in characteristic forms : the forest of pyramidal oil-well 
towers or the great petroleum reservoirs (Figs. 141 -143). 

It is important to emphasize finally, from the economic point 
of view, the " speed" of certain of these phenomena. Petro- 
leum has been exploited at Baku only since 1865 and in Penn- 
sylvania only since 1859. The production of petroleum in 
Texas went from $772,000 in 1901 to $2,895,000 in 1902. 2 

The facts of mineral exploitation may and must be examined 

X G. D. Hubbard, Gold and Silver Mining as a Geographic Factor in the Develop- 
ment of the United States, Cornell University thesis, 1905, 102 pp.; seven published 
papers bound together as one, Oberlin, 191 2; of these, see especially: "The Precious 
Metals as a Geographic Factor in the Settlement and Development of Towns in the 
United States," Scottish Geog. Mag., XXVI, 1910, pp. 449-466; "The Influence 
of the Precious Metals on American Exploration, Discovery, Conquest, and Posses- 
sion," Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc, Vol. XLII, 1911, pp. 594-602. 

2 See L. C. Tassart, Exploitation du petrole, Historique, Extraction, Procedes de 
sondage, Geographie et geologie, Recherche des gites, Exploitation des gisements, Chimie, 
Theorie de la formation du petrole, Dunod and Pinat, Paris, 1908; see also the excellent 
review of the geographic substance of this volume given by M. Zimmermann: "Les 
Gisements et la production actuelle du petrole," Ann. de geog., XIX, 1910, pp. 359-366. 



under different aspects. They have been examined especially 
from the point of view of the engineer, the chemist, the geol- 
ogist, the economist, and the statistician, but they have 

U. S. G. S. 

Fig. 140. Discharging Oil Into Reservoir. Scene in the McKittrick 
Oil Field, California 

received less attention from the geographic point of view. 
Now we must indicate clearly from what angle geography, and 
especially human geography, must look at these facts. 

These facts proceed from certain needs or appetites of man; 1 
they rest upon discoveries and technical establishments, and 
they lead finally to forms of population which cannot be 
otherwise explained. 

J It is evident that certain mineral products (salt, iron, etc.) have played and 
continue to play a very important part whether in the life of primitive people or in 
the historic vicissitudes of civilized nations. We ought especially to mention, as far as 
minerals are concerned, in connection with human geography. Part III (which, to our 
mind, is the best) of J. G. Kohl's book. Die naturlichen Lockmittel des Volker-Verkehrs: 
Bemerkungen uber die wichligsten rohen Naturprodukte, welche die Ausbreitung des 
Menschengeschlechts uber den Erdboden gefordert, zu Lander-Entdeckung, Ansiedlung, 
Colonien-Stiftung und Stadle-Bau Veranlassung gegeben und in der Geschichte der 
Ceographie eine hervorragende Rolle gespielt haben, Ed. Muller, Bremen, 1878. We 
note also the volume by Richard Andree. Die Metalle bei den Naturvolkern mil Beruck- 
sichtigung prahistorischer Verhdltnisse, Leipzig, 1884. Let us say at least in a word 
that many of the prehistoric or primitive civilizations have been distinguished from 
one another and it has been possible to differentiate them precisely, by means of the 
minerals that they have known how to treat, and by the metals which they have been 
able to utilize or to amalgamate; among a great many examples, see Dr. L. Laloy, 
" Ethnographie du haut plateau argentin," La Geographie, March 15, 1910, p. 175, 
dealing with the researches and discoveries of Eric Boman. 


C. W.Hayes. U. S G. 

Fig. 141. Gushing Well at Beaumont, Texas, January, 1902 

R. Arnoid, U. S. G. S. 

Fig. 142. Interior of Catch Metal Reservoir with a Deposit of the Sand 

which Flows with the Oil. Maricopa Well, Sunset District, 

Kern Co., California, Oct., 1908 

Oil districts are characterized by "forests" of quadrangular pyramids of wood 
which provide the scaffolding necessary for the boring machines. 



In chap. Ill we considered the cities of the world situated 
at a very high altitude. How are such important groups so 
far above the level of the sea to be explained? How have 

Fig. 143. 

The Geographic Distribution of Petroleum and Asphalt, 
after hofer 

This map is taken from the one published in the new revi2w of general geology edited by G. Stein- 
mann, W. Salomon, and O. Wilckens with the title "Gcologisehe Rundschau." 

such desolate regions, where vegetation dies, where even the 
fauna has difficulty in living, been able to attract such large 
populations ? Let us go back a few centuries and ask history, 
or rather let us go down into the still open holes and we shall 
find the answer there; it is the gold, silver, or copper mines 
which explain facts of population apparently so abnormal. 

Says Reclus: "Had it not been for a powerful attraction, 
Cerro de Pasco would have remained what it was in 1630, a 
solitude traversed infrequently by shepherds. But at that time 
a shepherd Quichua discovered one morning ingots of silver 
in his fireplace. Suddenly the crowd appeared; the city was 
founded as if by enchantment, and since that time its popula- 
tion, largely floating, increases or diminishes according to 
the yield of the mines or the fluctuations of the market." 1 

*E. Reclus. Geographic universelle. Vol. XVIII, L'Amerique du Sud, p. 
quoting Lewis Herndon, Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon. 



To-day more than two thousand veins cross each other 
below the city, but hundreds of excavations are buried under 
landslips or invaded by water. 

Oruro, in Bolivia, owed the 70,000 inhabitants it once con- 
tained to its silver mines. These have given place to-day to 
tin mines. It was also the silver mines that made the fortune 
of Potosi, the city founded in 1545 at the foot of the Cerro de 
Potosi, a mountain said to be a cone of silver. Honeycombed 
by more than 5,000 galleries, the Cerro de Potosi forms an 
immense labyrinth; but here, as in the Cerro de Pasco, the 
increasing depth at which the galleries must be cut and the 
invasion of water make the exploitation difficult. However, 
the city still furnishes considerable quantities of silver. 1 

As to the high plateau of Mexico, it is particularly indebted 
to the extractive industries: it owes its past fortune to them, 
and to them it will owe its fortune in the future. ' ' The silver 
produced in this country exceeds a third of the world produc- 
tion; it has been estimated to be more than 100,000 tons 
from 152 1 to 1905, worth about 4 billion dollars (21 to 22 
billion francs), for up to 1550 silver was worth more than $60 
(300 francs) per kg., and up to 1875 more than $40 (200 
francs)." "It is estimated that in Mexico there are more 
than 1,902 mining districts, of which 553 contain silver." 

We know that a large part of the wealth of these mines went 
to the Spanish governors and another part to the churches. The 
cathedral of Zacatecas is a noteworthy example. Enormous sums 
have been expended in the building of such an imposing monument 
at this altitude in a rocky country which produces almost nothing. 

But all wealth, however great it be, is finally exhausted, and 
Zacatecas, which has gradually passed from 80,000 to 30,000 in- 
habitants, is an illustration of what will happen to many mining 
cities which are to-day nourishing but are situated in countries 
unproductive from an agricultural point of view. Copper has 
indeed been found some distance away, but the work of exploration 
is not yet finished. One cannot escape a feeling of melancholy as 
one sees but a few steps from this superb cathedral and from a 
luxurious theater, the remains of the old cloister transformed into 
stables, while all about are almost uninhabited streets. 

In the state of Michoacan, adjoining that of Mexico, there is a 
mining district which is a field of still greater activity than that 

1 According to approximate evaluations, it has supplied since the beginning of 
the exploitation, $1,500,000,000 (8,000,000,000 francs). 


of Guanajuato. This district has recently become celebrated 
throughout the entire world on account of the group of mines of 
El Oro, comprising the Esperanza, the Mexico, and the Dos Es- 

trellas These new mines, now at the height of their 

productiveness, contain more gold than silver. Esperanza, El Oro, 
and Dos Estrellas have all passed four millions in dividends although 

they have been worked only from ten to twenty years 

The region of Guanajuato, although agriculturally more produc- 
tive than that of Zacatecas, could not without the mines maintain a 
large city. There at the present time remain only low-grade 
ores, the waste heaps from former operations that are still worth 
handling, and finally the untouched ores below a depth of from 500 
to 600 yards. The latter ores are still rich but complex and 
therefore much more difficult to treat than the surface ores. The 
problem, then, was to find a process both economical and powerful, 
and the cyanide process used for gold ores was tried. This 
process has already reached a perfection sufficient to allow the 
extraction of from 80 to 90 per cent of the total percentage instead 
of 75 per cent, at the most, which was obtained by the amalgama- 
tion of gold and silver in the patio. 

Guanajuato is situated at an altitude of 6,539 feet (1,993 
meters) and Zacatecas at 8,005 f eet (2,440 meters). 

Thus from the earliest times the precious metals, gold and 
even silver, 1 have exercised such a powerful attraction on 
men that they have drawn them up and kept them up on even 
these high plateaus where it is difficult to find the ordinary 
means of subsistence, and where the air is so rarefied above 

*Let it suffice to mention the founding of Dawson City, in Alaska, where the 
mean annual temperature is — 7 C. and where a three-month night reigns; there, in 
another region and under other conditions, is an example of settlement that might 
be called abnormal. We note again, in the sierra of Chorolque, a mine being worked 
at an altitude of 17,500.5 feet (5,308 m.), that is, at three-tenths of a mile (a half kilo- 
meter) higher than Mount Blanc. On the subject of gold, see the book by Hauser, 
the studies by De Launay, and also the book by Auzias-Turenne. In "L'Avenir 
geologique de Tor et de l'argent*' {Rev. gen. des sciences, VI, 1895, pp. 362-373), L. de 
Launay shows why there must remain many fewer deposits of gold, the exploitation 
of which is practicable, than of silver, first, for a reason quite psychological — the exploita- 
tion of gold attracts more capital, more energy, and is always ahead of the exploitation 
of silver; in the second place, if we must admit that at the time of the cooling of the 
earth the heaviest materials were condensed nearest its center, then we must recog- 
nize that metals are not found at the surface, that is, within the reach of man, except 
under exceptional circumstances, and naturally more rarely in the case of gold, the 
density of which is 19.26, than of silver, which has a density of 10.5. On the other 
hand, the very constitution of minerals, of conglomerates, or of gold veins brings about. 
in the beginning, very great prosperity, but an ephemeral prosperity, or at least one of 
slight duration: witness the exploitations of California (in 1855, production of gold: 
336 millions; forty years later, in 1895 : 63 millions). The exploitation of silver is more 
regular, of longer duration, and can be carried out to greater depths. " The time when 
the silver mines of the world shall be exhausted is, then, so far away that it is useless to 
think of it, and it is quite certain that the last gold vein will have been long abandoned 
when considerable quantities of silver are still being extracted" (p. 367). 


11,500 feet (3,500 meters) that one has difficulty in doing even 
ordinary tasks. 

Likewise, "Gold has peopled Australia. It is to the dis- 
covery of the deposits in Victoria and New South Wales that 

Pig. 144. How Mining for Gold Marks the Ground 

Portion of the Goldfield Quadrangle, Nevada, U.S. Geol. Survey, showing the 
intensive type of occupation of the land even in an arid climate, if there exists 
the stimulus of rich ore deposits. 


must be attributed in large part the sudden increase in 
population which took place in the middle of the nineteenth 
century (403,000 in 1805; 5,315,000 to-day). About 1 890-1 892, 
it was again gold which attracted immigrants into western 
Australia, the region hitherto the most neglected in Australia." 1 

It is like a scene in fairyland to see this Cyclopean activity 
appearing suddenly in the midst of the solitude. Take Kalgoorlie 
for example. On the bare moor rise mills arranged in the form of 
an amphitheater. The tall iron chimneys throw out smoke and 
flames, while on all sides strange metallic structures rise like gigantic 
retorts. Trains wind about, emptying entire forests into the 
furnaces. Everywhere the subsoil has been burrowed and there 
are sometimes as many as twenty stories of subterranean galleries. 
And all around this mining camp the refuse of rocks torn from the 
depths of the earth forms a girdle of small hills. 

Thousands of workmen labor in these mills under the burning 
sun, blinded and sometimes almost asphvxiated by the smoke, the 
pulverized refuse of the ores, and the yellow sand of the desert. 
It must not be thought, however, that these agglomerations are 
really cities. Two wide streets which cross each other, bordered by 
a few brick houses, hotels, or stores, form the entire town, but the 
mining population, from the simplest laborer to the chief engineer, 
lives about the mine in temporary dwellings: a few huts of wood and 
more numerous shanties of corrugated sheet iron and canvas, provided 
with an exterior fireplace. It is a vast camp, a temporary refuge for 
a population which will scatter when the last veins are exhausted. 2 

Everywhere on the globe gold causes cities to rise out of 
nothing — Nome and Circle City, Alaska, for example. 3 
Cripple Creek became the greatest gold-producing center in 
the United States; exploitation began there in 1891. 4 Wells 

1 Bertrand Nogaro, " L' Australie, " Rev. icon, inlernat., July 15-20, 1909, p. 32. 
2 Nogaro, pp. 30 and 31. 

Summarizing table of the production of gold in the four chief gold-bearing coun- 
tries, in 1908 and in 1909 (after the ^tatistique de V Industrie miner ale en France, etc., 
for the year 1908, p. 270; and ibid., for the year 1909, p. 262) : 

1908 1909 

American Metric Millions American Metric Millions 

Tons Tons of Tons Tons of 

Dollars Dollars 

British South Africa .... 260 . 47 236.3 157 270.28 245.2 163 

United States 159-72 1449 96 156.74 142.2 94 

Australia 122.79 in. 4 74 117. 61 106.7 70 

Russia 46.18 41.9 27 53-68 48.7 32 

World production 720.46 653.6 435 731-48 663.6 441 

If it is desired to compare this production with that of a number of years ago, 
read A. de Foville, "La Geographie de Tor," Ann. de geog., VI, 1897, pp. 193-21 1. 
4 L. de Launay, L'Or dans le monde, Paris, 1907, pp. 128 and following. 


and prospect holes dot the ground in all directions. Yet the 
streets of the town end in suburbs that are absolutely barren 
(see Fig. 144). 


A. General Geographical Inquiry 


a) Characteristics. — Coal — rock which burns — is gener- 
ally of a beautiful and often dazzling black, with glossy 
fracture surface. Coal is classed according to its external 
appearance, composition, and especially the manner in which 
it burns. We distinguish, for example, bituminous coals, 
which are oily coals rich in hydrogen, and anthracite coals. 
But we will not discuss here the different sorts of coals. We 
are studying the coal deposits as a whole, although later, 
apropos of the geograpnical examination of local deposits, 
we may mention the influence of the special qualities of 
certain types of coal. 

b) Origin. — Coal is unquestionably of vegetable origin. 
Between the trees which stand in our forests, and anthracite 
coal, which is the type richest in carbon, there exist imper- 
ceptible transitions through different varieties of peat, of 
lignite, and of coal. In certain coal specimens we find parts 
that are already perfect fuel while other parts show by their 
texture their vegetable origin (stalks, barks, leaves, fruits). 
Moreover, the microscope shows absolutely that coal is of 
vegetable origin. 

From the geographical point of view it is not without interest 
to note that a botanical map of the coal periods is not unrelated 
to the actual distribution of coal and consequently to the 
distribution of the present human activity associated with 
coal. The analyses of this mineralized vegetable substance 
and the minute examination of the coal flora allow us to form 
a picture of these emerged lands and the neighboring shores 
in the great periods of coal formation. 1 Though the greater 

1,1 The characteristic of the vegetation of which coal was formed was profusion 
rather than richness, vigor rather than variety. . . It was an association of large and 
elegant ferns, above which rose bare tree trunks . . : the top of this vegetation alone was 
crowned with sparse foliage, stiff and sharp, which decorated the ends of the topmost 
branches" (G. de Saporta, Le Monde des plantes avant V apparition de I'homme, p. 45). 


number of coal beds known and exploited to-day date from 
a geological period which takes its name from carbon, the 
Carboniferous period, 1 coal was formed in several different 
geologic epochs. 2 


The geological map of the globe still has many gaps and 
we may be certain that coal will be discovered at many points 
where it is now unknown. We can, however, draw an approxi- 
mately exact map of the general distribution of coal beds 
(see Fig. 145). 

Such a map might be accompanied by a long commentary. 
If in Europe the coal beds almost coincide with the zones of 
production, 3 that is far from being the case elsewhere. Of 
the two largest coal fields in the world, the one in the United 
States furnishes the largest quantity each year, while the other, 
in China, is for the most part still unexploited. 

As far as human geography is concerned, coal finds a place 
in our studies only from the moment that man becomes asso- 
ciated with it by wishing to make use of it. It is because man 
wishes to use coal that he becomes dependent upon it; and it is 
therefore by a rapid examination of what man does with coal 

'Emile Haug. in his excellent Traile de geologic has united under the single name 
of the ptriode anthracolitique the Carboniferous and the Permian, after the example 
of W. Waagen (II, pp. 743 ff.). 

2 There are at Tonkin, for example, some coal deposits of the Jurassic age (Rhetian 
period). See R. Zeiller, "Flore fossile des gites de charbon du Tonkin, Min. des 
trav. publics, fijudes des giles mineraux de la France, Colonies francaises, Texte, Paris, 
1903. "There is some of it [coal] in the Cretaceous, in the Tertiary — in a word, 
at every step of the geologic scale. The coal fossils of Fuveau (Bouches-du-Rhone) 
are remarkable for the clearness with which they belong to a water course which carried 
the granite of Maures and the porphyry of Esterelle into a great expanse of fresh water, 
reaching from the Var to the Herault. an ancient marine gulf which had become 
separated from the sea and turned from salt to fresh water. Crocodiles, turtles, 
thousands of river shells, have left their remains in this lignite. Mammals certainly 
existed, for we know the most ancient of them, but they have not yet been found at 
Fuveau. The flora was already rich in phanerogamia in this latter part of the Cre- 
taceous era. At Manosque (Lower Alps) coal was formed toward the middle of the 
Tertiary period; cryptogamia and even gymnosperms are decidedly relegated to a 
second place; oaks, laurels, camphor trees, cinnamon trees, myrtles, legumes, aralias, 
magnolias, palms, dragon trees, made a covering of abundant and varied foliage 
sprinkled with bright-colored flowers and filled with soft, sweet odors. Turtles, 
crocodiles, and mammals similar to our hippopotamus — the anthracotheria — wal- 
lowed in the grass on the banks of the streams. In the dry regions, other mammals — 
already very diversified — cropped the grass or fed upon their prey, while the birds 
called in the woods or flew over the waters" (Collot, Combustibles fossiles, Dijon, 
iooi, p. 11). 

3 Yet the basin of southeastern England and especially the basin of Campine, 
recently discovered by means of sounding, ought to show coal zones yet untouched, 
as well as evidences of basins now in the process of exploitation. 


that we shall be able to grasp the true connections which exist 
on the earth's surface between coal beds and human facts. 

B. The Use of Coal by Man 

Coal has existed where it is since there have been men upon 
the earth, but it had no influence upon man so long as he did 
not know how to take advantage of it. As soon as man had 
need of coal and in so far as coal could satisfy the needs of 
human activity, men came, at certain points of the globe, 
under the influence of a localized attraction and the human 
geography of coal began. 

The Chinese knew coal at a very early date. The Greeks 
also knew it, and Theophrastus, in his Treatise on Stones, 
speaks of the Liihanthrax. Doubtless some blacksmiths, be- 
cause of lack of wood, employed mineral carbon, but this 
was only a very restricted use, and the Romans seem to have 
made still less use of coal. 

In the Middle Ages we find some traces of exploitation, 
notably in the basin of the Loire, in the neighborhood of Roche- 
la-Moliere (Forez). A document of 13 21 bears the statement 
that the lords of the district of the Loire had laid claim to a 
tax on all the coal mines of their territory. In England the 
coal fields of Newcastle are mentioned as early as 1066. But 
there, as in Belgium, the attempts at exploitation were very 
limited. Not only was coal not sought after, but it was 
feared. When the tradesmen of London had recourse to coal 
in the fourteenth century, the nobles and the middle classes 
protested, and Edward I severely punished anyone who 
introduced coal into the cities. Similarly in France under 
Henry II the farriers of France were condemned to fine and 

As the industrial movement slowly developed and doubtless 
also as wood became more scarce, coal was used to a certain 
extent, but all these fragmentary historical data represent 
nothing, as a general geographical fact. Indeed it is only with 
the end of the eighteenth century that we see the sudden 
advent of coal as an economic factor. 

Coal owes its arrival as an economic factor to steam and 
iron : to steam, because it became the great fuel for producing 




it; to iron, because it became the great fuel for preparing it. 

The century of iron and steam has been the century of coal, 
and one may equally well say that if the nineteenth century 
had not been the century of coal it would never have been 
the century of iron and steam. 

At the end of the eighteenth and at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century there was an astonishingly converging 
series of events: Iron ceased to be used exclusively for the 
manufacture of arms and locks and began to be used for 
building; it was required therefore in large amounts, and we 
have the prelude to those daring works which reached their 
highest point with steel. On the other hand, steam furnished 
a new motive power ; and the union of iron and steam brought 
about the complete transformation of transportation. 

These five dates, taking the place of long expositions, show 
very strikingly the birth of the new industrial age: 

1779: First iron bridge over the Severn at Coalbrookdale ; 
beginning of metal structures. 

1785: First application of the steam engine to the manu- 
facture of cotton (Manchester). 

1 80 1 : Lebon in France obtains illuminating gas from coal. 

1819: First crossing of the Atlantic by a steamboat, the 
Savannah, from Savannah to Liverpool, in 29 
days. 1 

1825: First railroad from Stockton to Darlington (Eng- 
land); first locomotive for passenger service. 

Coal is not the cause of all the industrial revolution but, 
until the advent of "white coal" at the end of the nineteenth 
century, it was the necessary condition of it. 

And now we shall show what is done with coal. 


a) Metallurgy. — The metallurgical industries are the great 
consumers of coal. The development of iron and the develop- 
ment of coal are not merely parallel but, as we shall see, closely 
connected. It would be well to recall here the multiform 

1 See P. Camena d' Almeida, "Le Centenaire de la navigation a vapeur 1807-1907," 
Correspondant, August 25, 1907, and separately, Institut colonial, Bordeaux, p. 10. 
It is a discussion of the voyage of Fulton's Clermont, on the Hudson, from New 
York to Albany (1807), the centenary of which was celebrated with good reason; 
but this voyage had no immediate economic and commercial results. 


development of metallurgical industries. Iron construction 
finds one of its most representative realizations in railroads 
which have locomotives, cars, and tracks of metal. 

Now about three tons of coal are required to reduce one ton 
of iron ore ; it then takes not less than four or five tons of coal 
to transform pig iron into iron or steel. Metallurgy therefore 
calls for a very large consumption of mineral fuel. 1 

b) Other great industries. — Let us simply mention the 
textile and glass-making industries, which use coal as a fuel. 
It would be well to note further the part played by coal in 
many industrial preparations such as the manufacture of soda, 
the concentration of sulphuric acid by the Kessler process, etc. 

c) The transportation industry. — In France the railroads 

■In studying iron ores and the metallurgical industries, it is important always to 
bear in mind the same geographical ideas of localization and connection; see, for 
example, the book by Georges Villain, Le Fer, la houille et la metallurgie a la fin du XIX e 
Steele (Colin, Paris). We recommend especially the studies devoted, in 1805-06. 
by the Rev. gen. des sciences to French metallurgical industries, in the series of 
scientific and industrial researches; these articles are accompanied by very well-made 
maps. See, for example, in the year 1895. E. Demenge, £lat actuel du travail du fer 
et (le I'acier, pp. 922. 92 \, 926, 927, and 928, with schematic maps representing the 
distribution of French foundries in their relation to the coal beds; and in the year 1899: 
A. Pourcel, L'Elat actuel de I'induslrie de la fonle en France, pp. 511-515, with maps 
representing the distribution of iron minerals in the different parts of the world. 
There is a discussion here of the connection between metallurgy and coal. For the 
most recent bibliography of iron deposits, see above, the notes on chap. V, §1. 
Nothing shows better in what real and complicated forms the local and regional con- 
nections between coal and iron present themselves than this passage taken by way of 
example from the remarkable study devoted to "Regions frangaises" by P. Vidal 
de la Blache in the Rev. de Paris, December 15, 1910, pp. 835 and 836: "The region 
of Lorraine set forth a quarter of a century ago. at full sail, upon the sea of industrial 
life. In spite of the remarkable progress, in this period, of the textile industry in the 
Vosges, the transformation is due especially to the extraordinary importance to which 
iron has attained in modern civilization. The systematic extraction of oolitic ore 
from the hills of Lorraine had begun as far back as the last years of the reign of Louis- 
Philippe, but its phosphorous nature made it unfit for the manufacture of steel. The 
discovery, in 1880, of the process of dephosphorization suddenly changed the state 
of the market; Lorraine became, in fact, one of the chief mining centers of the world. 
While production still increased around Longwy and Nancy, soundings directed by 
geologists in the neighborhood of Briey revealed the existence of the same deposits 
over an extent of more than 100,000 acres. Already the iron of Lorraine, which, in 
1878, counted for only half the iron production of France, to-day represents nine-tenths 
of it; and it is prophesied that in a few years the single district of Briey will put out 
20 million tons. How is this prodigious mass to be exploited in a normal way, without 
disastrous risks, in a country which has no coal and which lacks labor? To the first 
question science has given an answer: methodical investigations organized by the 
Association of the Coaling Societies of Lorraine, in 1904, revealed, at a depth of 
from 2,000 to 3,000 feet, the prolongation of the coal vein of Sarrebruck at the very 
place where the position of the anticlinals had made it possible to foresee that these 
veins would approach the surface. This is perhaps not enough to render it inde- 
pendent, but it may eventually serve toward that end." See also, on the same point 
of view, Th. Laurent, "Le Dcveloppement economique de la France, l'industrie metal- 
lurgique," Musee sociale, Memoires et documents, April, 1912 (Rousseau, Paris), and 
F. Sauvaire-Jourdan, "Un Conflit dans la metallurgie allemande," Rev. politique et 
parlementaire, No. 206, August 10, 191 1. 


8 million tons, that is, about a fifth of the total production 
(40,513,934 tons in 1908). l Steam vessels represent an ever- 
increasing consumption. 2 

d) Domestic use. — For France the domestic consumption 
of coal equals at least a quarter of the total production. 

One may see from these few brief indications that for a 
country such as France the production does not equal the 
consumption. According to one of the recent volumes of the 
Statistique de V Industrie minerale et des appareils a vapeur en 
France et en Algerie, published by the Minister of Public 
Works, a volume which refers to the year 1909, the production 
of coal was 41,711,032 tons and the consumption 62,119,015 
tons. The production therefore provided for only three- 
fifths of the consumption. 

We should add that the coal fields themselves use much 
coal directly — nearly 5 million tons. 


Coal is not used merely as a necessary condition of a great 
number of industries. It has itself given birth to a series 
of industries that we may rightly call the "offspring" of coal. 

It is true that the full effect of Lebon's discovery in 1801 
was not felt immediately. "It required long effort and the 
intervention of the ' King, Louis XVIII, to triumph over 
prejudices which opposed the substitution of gas for the 
older lighting by oil." 3 But, since that time, how the 
problem has changed! Formerly coal was treated to obtain 
illuminating gas. All that remained, even the coke, was 
waste. To-day it is the other way about; the residues have 

l Statistique, etc., pour I'annee 1008, Imp. nat., Paris, 1909, and idem, pour I'annee 
1909, Imp. nat., Paris, 1910. 

2 "Day by day greater speed is desired, and, all other things being equal, the con- 
sumption of coal increases as the cube of this speed; that is, if they want to advance 
from 10 to 20 knots an hour — or simply to double the speed — it is necessary to use 
eight times as much coal and to find room enough to store the corresponding weight. 
Hence the high price of rapid transportation; time is money. The smallest steamers 
of the Netherland Line use over 55 tons a day, about 2\ tons an hour; those of the 
Inman Line and of the White Star Line from 110.23 to 121.25 tons. The large 
steamers, such as the Etruria or the Umbria of the Cunard Line, and the City of Rome 
of the Anchor Line, use daily 325 tons of fuel. The City of Paris, at the limit of its 
power, attains the frightful consumption of 529.11 tons a day, or 22.046 tons an hour, 
1. 102 tons in three minutes, 10 lbs. (5 kil.) in 15 seconds" (H. de Parville, Causeries 
scientifiques, 31st year, 1890, Paris, 1895, pp. 309-310). 

3 Jules Gay, "L' Acetylene," Quinzaine, April 15, 1897, p. 555. 


acquired such a high industrial value that gas would be 
manufactured even if it should no longer serve for lighting. 
In fact, the industrial productivity of coal is practically 
incalculable, since from it are obtained the coal tars with their 
by-products: benzine, naphthalene, coloring matters, artificial 
perfumes, and even pharmaceutical products such as sul- 
phonal and antipyrine. 

Let us sum up in a few lines the derivatives obtained from 
coal by dry distillation: 

i . Coke, mingled with carbon and other mineral substances 
which form in certain cases a much prized fuel that burns 
without smoke. 

2. Gases (formalin, acetylene, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, 
carbonic acid, azote, sulphureted hydrogen, vapors of sulphur 
and of carbon, salts of ammonia, and carbureted hydrogen). 
These gases may be used as a very economical motive power. 

3. Ammoniacal waters. Ammonia is thus obtained from 
coal and the industrial and agricultural uses of ammonia 
increase : for freezing, the manufacture of sulphate of ammonia 
as a fertilizer, etc. 

4. The prussiates and cyanides from which Prussian blue, 
for example, is obtained. 

5. Finally, those marvelous compounds, the coal tars, from 
which come alizarin, which has replaced madder, phenol or 
essence of bitter almonds, etc. 

What are the geographic consequences of the development 
of the industries which are the offspring of coal? 

They are first of all some indirect and negative consequences 
which have a remote, but strong and very powerful, influence, 
showing itself in certain geographical facts such as the dis- 
appearance of cultivation from an entire region (madder), or 
the suppression of all the commerce associated with camel's 
dung, from which ammonia was formerly obtained. 

The direct consequences are, from the geographical point of 
view, less important than one might at first suppose. A 
remarkably fruitful industry in coloring matter has developed, 
especially in Germany, i. e., in one of the great coal-producing 
countries. That is, however, a general connection which 
does not cause a direct localization of the new industry on 


the coal bed. Likewise, illuminating gas is manufactured for 
use in cities, and this industry is in a certain measure inde- 
pendent of the coal regions. In short, all that group of indus- 
trial facts which arise from coal are much less dependent upon 
it geographically than economically, logically, or historically. 

What, on the other hand, are the geographical consequences 
of the rise of industries which use coal ? 

Coal is a heavy product that cannot be transported far from 
the original beds without great expense, and, since certain 
industries need coal in large quantities, the industrial establish- 
ments have necessarily been brought close to the coal fields. 
This is an essential connection which was almost tyrannical 
at the beginning of the modern industrial movement but 
which tends to lessen as the development of means of trans- 
portation, aided by coal itself, allows a wider diffusion of this 
fuel. This connection remains, however, the most important 
fact in all the human geography of coal. We have seen 
the profound reason for it and we shall now study its 

From the point of view of strictly geographical method we 
should note very carefully this distinction between the logical 
and industrial connection and the geographical connection. 
When coal is used as raw material, the industries proceeding 
from it are less dependent upon the earth and are less fixed 
to a certain point on the surface. When coal is used as a 
fuel, the industries making use of it are more dependent upon 
the coal regions. Thus, for the geographer, there is a closer 
bond between coal and the industries which exploit it as a 
fuel or motive power than between coal and the industries 
which treat it as a raw material. 

C. New Geographical Facts 


A subterranean world, composed of hundreds of feet of 
shafts, miles of "galleries," hundreds of "cuttings," is the 
chief type of the great mine. Coal is a product that is required 
and consumed in large quantities; it is consumed without 
being subjected to any special treatment ; it is completely used 
up and the supply must be constantly renewed. For these 



three reasons the holes made in the earth are larger than for 
any other sort of mining; only a few salt or copper mines can 
be compared with coal mines. They have depths that reach 
2,600, 2,950, or 3,280 feet (800, 900, or 1,000 meters). 

In spite of the very hard conditions of the miner's work 
there are other sorts of industrial labor still more exhausting. 
We wish to emphasize, not the difficult character of the coal- 
cutting, for example, which the miner must often do lying 
down, crouched in a very small space, or stretched out upon 
damp and muddy ground, but the general characteristics as a 
whole which result from the dimensions and from the material 
and geographical conditions of the coal mine. It is because of 
the number of forces against which the struggle must be carried 
on every hour and every moment that the accidents which 
occur are sometimes veritable human hecatombs: the catas- 
trophe of Courrieres (March, 1906) with its 1,100 victims will 
serve as an example. 

On the whole, life in the depth of the mines is of such a 
character that certain endemic diseases develop which have 
long been grouped and hidden under the blind expression 
"miners' anaemia." The race is atrophied; a miner's child 
may be recognized by its sickly look. The women have 
too long been permitted to work in the depths of the mines. 


On the whole, the mine is a veritable territory, but it is a 
territory which man cannot inhabit. Some few horses and 
mules are the only living beings that go down into the mine 
once for all, never again to see the light of day. The mine 
workers live on the outside. The journey to the working 
place is so difficult and so long that this population connected 
with the mine must be lodged as near as possible to the shafts. 
There is thus created near the openings of the mine a sort of 
artificial city, with houses exactly alike, which are the "result" 
and the necessary "sign" of the work underground. 

It is becoming more and more possible, however, for this 
type of uniform and, so to speak, amorphous agglomeration 
to be placed at a great distance from the shafts, and the 


working population is then brought to its work by special 
trains running upon special tracks. 


As we have said, other industries group themselves around 
coal. Let us see what are the surface facts which result from 
this connection. 

Coal — ■ in small or large quantities — is like the protoplasm 
around which develop industrial construction, circulation, and 
life. On the Podeze, near Lausanne, is a small vein of lignite 
once exploited and later abandoned because of the competition 
of foreign coal. But beside the coal are clay deposits; in 1896 
a cement factory was installed nearby, farther downstream. 
This factory took up again for its own use the exploitation of 
the vein of lignite, and also worked the clay ; having both fuel 
and clay, it had only to bring in the lime. The vein of lignite 
is now no longer sufficient, and the factory brings in other 
fuel from farther away. Nevertheless it is true that the 
isolated vein of lignite was the determining cause of the small 
industrial unit situated beside it. 

In directing itself upon miniature facts, geographical obser- 
vation gets a better grasp upon the colossal reality of the 
connections which have determined the industrial agglomera- 
tion of to-day — an agglomeration of factories of every sort 
brought together by the common fact of the exploitation of 
coal — monster cities busy day and night, cities whose atmos- 
phere is vitiated by the smoke emitted from a forest of chim- 
neys, some among them rising to a height of more than 300 
feet. 1 

In the beginning of this book we declared that every form 
of human labor found expression in facts of habitation and 
forms of installation. They are, as it were, fixed and material 
"projections" of that which occupies the mind or the muscles 
of men. No chapter of cultural or industrial geography, can 
be complete unless we further consider the way in which these 

x The atmosphere of great industrial cities is much more vitiated by the smoke 
than one would think. Paris, as is well known, is a great industrial center; her 1,950,- 
000 chimneys send out yearly about 300,000 pounds (160,000 kilograms) of soot, and 
one can imagine all the carbon dioxide carried in the air which is breathed (see the 
report of Gautier to the Academy of Sciences, March 21, 1898). 


types of activity express themselves through the "house" and 
aggregates of houses. 

Coal has given the impulse to excessive industrial con- 
centration and it must be regarded as the responsible cause 
of the industrial agglomeration, even when this is far from the 
coal bed. We must in fact distinguish two chief types of 
industrial cities : the great city born above and from the coal, 
and the great historic city which was powerful enough to 
summon coal to it and to transform itself into an industrial 
center in spite of its distance from the coal. 

There is always a difference of appearance between the two. 
The first is a sort of vague being, an invertebrate body, to 
which cells are unceasingly added; it has no precise center; 
its life comes from elsewhere and goes elsewhere. It is never 
alone, it forms part of a whole ; there are other similar groups 
all around it ; it belongs to a zone of industrial agglomerations, 
but it does not constitute the zone in itself, as does the 
second type, the historic city, such as Paris or London. 

The first type as it develops joins other centers likewise 
developing. The fundamental kernel is not the city, but the 
zone which, when it reaches the point of saturation, will be cov- 
ered with an almost even and continuous layer of population. 

The second type, from its historical origin and in spite of the 
vicissitudes of its new life, retains a principle of unity and plays 
the part of a true center of attraction. It goes on developing 
and swallows up its suburbs. It has a center. It is not one 
long street like Saint Etienne. And, curiously, it further 
causes emptiness in a great circle around itself. If it does 
not depopulate certain small cities, it deprives them of their 
logical and natural growth. Within a radius of more than 
60 miles (100 kilometers) of Paris there is not a single city of 
50,000 souls. The same thing seems to be true of London and 
Berlin. An urban center near Manchester, Newcastle, or 
Diisseldorf will, like those cities, have the chance of growing. 
An urban center near Paris or London will be likely to remain 
stationary, unless it be very close and grow by direct and 
immediate contact with the central agglomeration — unless it 
be situated precisely in its zone of extension. 

For how long a time did Passy, Levallois, etc., remain little 


villages until Paris, reaching and joining them, communicated 
to them her vitality, her power of growth ! These little cities 
so close by, not having within themselves a principle of life 
independent of the historic tradition and the acquired force 
of the central agglomeration, live the new life only. when they 
are themselves within the ever-growing circle of the whirlpool. 

The great city may even become empty at its center, a 
fact which may be verified at Paris or at London. This 
is not a question of an ephemeral and exceptional fact, but 
of a fact of urban geography that is becoming more and more 
general. A German author has given to this phenomenon 
the name of Citybildung, formation of a city (London); he 
shows that this progressive diminution of the centers of great 
cities dates only from the middle of the last century. 1 Up 
to the year 1901 the city of London lost 118,000 inhabitants, 
that is, four-fifths of the maximum population which it had 
possessed. The center of Paris lost 90,000 inhabitants, or 
two-fifths of the maximum. The Altstadt of Berlin lost 
30,000, or half of the maximum. In Vienna the phenome- 
non seems to have been perceptible only since 1871, but 
it, becomes more pronounced day by day. In New York 
the density of population in wards 1,2, and 3 of Manhattan 
Borough, the "center" of the city, is almost below city grade. 2 

In spite of the profound contrasts between the industrial 
and the historic city, there are very many traits common to 
the two types. For example, both give rise to the large 
house. The people crowd together and the houses, being 
unable to spread out in width, rise in the air to form the 
tenements of the great factory cities. 


The industrial city, as we have described it, shows us at the 
same time what this strip or spot of industrial life is which 

^Hermann Schmid, Citybildung und Bevolkerungsverteilung in Grossstddten, Ein 
Beitrag zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des modernen Stddtewesens, Reinhardt, Miinchen, 
1909. At the end of his article, "The Evolution of Cities," Contemporary Rev., 
February, 1895, pp. 246-264 — an article which also contains a number of ideas and 
observations which might be questioned — Elisee Reclus has called attention to this 
fact; but its importance should be further emphasized. 

2 See again Mark Jefferson, "The Anthropography of Some Great Cities, A Study 
in Distribution of Population," Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc, Vol. XLI, 1909, No. 9, pp. 
537-566 and 10 figures. 


marks on the surface of the globe the subterranean coal veins. 
The general aspect is that of the famous "Black Country" 
of the center of England: neither verdure nor running water; 
blackish canals, gray houses, roads strewn with black slag, a 
gray and heavy atmosphere, and everywhere smoke. 1 With 
their great "terris," they seem at first sight veritable countries 
of ruins: they have their mournful coloring, very often their 
aridness, and always their sadness. 

Nothing could better represent the common character of 
these zones of industrial concentration than the very expressive 
map, made up of small maps combined, which is found on p. 93 
of the Vidal-Lablache Atlas, Regions industrielles de VEurope. 
The author has brought together upon a single page, maps on 
the same scale (1:1,000,000) of the main industrial regions 
of Europe in order to show, by the very obvious comparison, 
certain general economic facts. The map of Fig. 146 is a 
specimen of one of these industrial strips or zones of Europe. 

The creation of these types of new population has not gone 
on without bringing about a large number of geographical 
facts which we should later examine from the regional and 
local point of view: 

a) Depopulation of the country districts as a result of the 
attraction of the centers of new life that have sprung from coal. 

b) Development and accumulation of ways and means of 
communication of all sorts. 

c) The rise of entirely new urban centers and consequently 
the population of regions hitherto uninhabited: the region of 
Birmingham, plateau of Tarnowitz, region of Montceau- 
Blanzy, creation of Middlesborough in the mountains of 
Kentucky. 2 

d) Displacement of the historic and economic poles of 
activity : 

For cities: Newcastle, the great coal city, becoming a very 
important center, while in other countries cities which have no 
coal and which do not become industrial cities lose their rank 

1 In certain coal regions, especially where the coal is found at a great depth, as in 
Pa^-de-Calais, the surface is used for rich industrial cultivation such as the raising 
of beets. 

2 Max Leclerc, Choses d'Amerique, Armand Colin, 1897; chap. I, "Comment on 
fonde une ville." 


and influence: Constantinople, which has not a single factory 
chimney, was in 1870 the third city in the world; it is to-day 
only the twelfth or thirteenth. 

For countries: Displacement of activity in England to the 
profit of the coal zone (see farther on). Growing importance 
of the South in the United States. Great power acquired by 
the part of Europe where coal is found to the detriment of 
the countries of older culture on the Mediterranean. 

Coal has been the most active of the determining causes of 
urban centers and of what might still better be called urban 
strips or zones (see Figs. 147 and 148). 

D. Regional Geography of Coal 

In a complete book on coal, here would be the place for g 
study of all the regions where coal is exploited. It goe^ 
without saying that such a study would take us too far afield. 

By a quick sketch of the geography of coal in two great 
European countries, Great Britain and Germany, we shall 
indicate in what spirit such inquiries might be conducted. 


During the entire nineteenth century and up to 1899, 
Great Britain was the country which produced the most coal. 
If the production in the United States is greater to-day, the 
geography of coal in the English regions remains none the less 
of captivating interest, for the new industrial facts have there 
been superimposed *on and mingled with a very old historic 
life and geography. 

England has about 3,500 mines under exploitation, employ- 
ing 960,000 workmen, so that we may estimate the number of 
persons living by means of coal at three millions or three 
millions and a half. 2 

1 See particularly E. Loze, Les Charbons brittaniques et leur epuisement: Recherche 
sur la puissance du Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne, Beranger, Paris, 2 vols., with 
maps, plans, cuts, and graphs. 

2 This number of 960,000 persons employed in the coal mining industry in the 
United Kingdom is given by the official English Coal Tables, so that at the time of 
the great strike of English miners at the beginning of the year 191 2 one could speak 
correctly of "a million men on strike." The same document gives, as the number of 
persons employed in the production of coal in other countries, the following figures: 
United States, 690,400; Germany, 591,000; France, 191,000, and Belgium, 145,300. 
The great miners' strike which occurred in England has shown better than all written 
documents the fundamental role of the coal industry. 



Population centers and buildings 


Fig. 146. How the Development of an Industrial Region Marks ti 

The main facts of human establishment in this small section of the basin of the Rut 
Between the two industrial centers of chief importance, Essen and Bochum, the hou 
and tending to become what we call an "industrial zone." — Notice the almost regular a 
meandering valley of the Ruhr. In this region, formerly almost all forested, the building ( 
though the general outline can still be traced on the two banks of the river. The only r 
network of lines. 


Scale m 1 :106,250 Forests 


re taken from the two sheets, Essen and Bochum, of the German map, 1:25,000. 
lcrease in number, and the little groups of houses approach one another, nearly meeting 
ent of the centers of secondary importance (of the type of Steele) on the sides of the 
xses caused the trees to be cut down; the forest has become more and more cut up 
indicated on the map by black lines, are the railroads, which already present a crowded 



n s 










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.1) • 

g MO 

g be o> 
g « g 

° g'fl 

+-> D O 
^ CO <U 


^ O W 


<U M 2 
*P C W 

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+-> CD 


The total annual production of coal in the United King- 
dom is five tons and a half per inhabitant. If we deduct 
from the total the coal which is exported, the coal employed 
for the manufacture of exported cokes, as well as the coal 
known as bunker coal used for British and foreign ships, we 
find that the home consumption is four tons per head, the 
largest consumption in the world. 1 

The coal beds of England have in general the advantage of 
being deposited in regular layers with little barren rock; also, 
the coal deposits are often found near the sea or near a 
navigable stream. 

Where are the mines of Great Britain situated? In Eng- 
land there are two Englands: the old worn highlands of the 
north, the center, and the west, and the great Tertiary or 
London basin <of the southeast. It is in the southeast, green 
with its woods, its meadows, its evergreen hedges, so har- 
monious in outline and color, with peaceful rivers, that all 
historic England has developed. In the mountainous region, 
a rough country with a hard climate, the inhabitants, down to 
the eighteenth century, were pure mountaineers. 2 

Coal has naturally been deposited and distributed upon the 
periphery of the ancient plateaus: (i) the northern coal field; 
(2) the central coal field; (3) the coal field of Wales; and finally 
(4) the Scotch coal field in the narrow neck of land which 
separates the mountainous regions of the north of Scotland 
from those of the south (see Fig. 149). 

1. The northern coal field. — This is the most important 
field and the most distinctly a coal field, with an annual 
production equal to that of France and Belgium together 
(45,000,000 tons) — a region of 30 miles (50 kilometers) between 

According to E. Loze, in the ftconomiste francais, June n, 1904, p. 854. 

2 "In the Middle Ages we used to content ourselves with shearing our sheep and 
selling their wool to the men of Flanders, who had become the cloth manufacturers 
of Europe. . . . " (Thorold Rogers). "At the beginning of the 17th century, the 
English are still — and more so than any other people of civilized Europe — a sedentary 
society, agricultural and pastoral, who tend to become more pastoral than agricul- 
tural" (Boutmy, quoted in Max Leclerc, Les Professions et la societe en Angleierre, 
Armand Colin, Paris, 1894). In order to understand the progressive growth in the 
transformation of England, one should read the authoritative book by Paul Mantoux, 
La Revolution industrielle en Angleterre au XVI I I e siecle, Essai sur les commencements 
de la grande industrie moderne en Angleterre, E. Comely, Paris, 1906. The author 
shows the series of industrial changes that preluded the coal era in England, and the 
extent to which the previous efforts — mechanical and commercial — explain the 
development of the 19th century. 



\Coal fields 

^Regions of extensive 

the Tees and the Tyne, which lives exclusively by means of 
coal. On the Tees, up which the tide mounts 12 miles (20 
kilometers) from its mouth, are the ports of Stockton and of 
Hartlepool, each being a 
type of city which owes 
its entire existence to 
coal (in 1840 there was 
not a single house). On 
the Tyne, to the left, is 
Newcastle (to-day 276,- 
000 inhabitants) , the real 
mistress of the coal zone, 
a typical coal city with 
an immense port of 1 1 . 7 
miles (19 kilometers) , 
joined to Gateshead on 
the right bank by the 
Stevenson viaduct, 7 
miles in length. Some- 
times 300 vessels loaded 
with coal leave the 
mouth of the Tyne on 
a single tide. 

The attraction exerted 
by coal upon other in- 
dustries : the celebrated 
Armstrong establish- 
ments, the equivalent of 
the Krupp factories in Germany and the Creusot factories in 
France, are situated on the left bank of the Tyne between 
the coal of Newcastle and the iron mines of Cleveland, but 
nearer to the coal (they cover 79 acres and employ more than 
16,000 workmen). 1 

2. The central coal field. — Here the phenomena are more 
complicated: a very ancient industrial activity has been in- 
creased and modified by coal. 

Staffordshire: The coal comes to the level of the ground. 

1 See Colonel X . . . , "Les Etablissements Armstrong, leur origine, leur situation 
actuelle," Rev. gen. des sciences, March 15, 1897. 


Fig. 149. The Distribution of the Coal 

Fields and the Industrial Regions 

in the United Kingdom 

The darkest areas are the coal fields. The 
greater part of the industrial activity is concen- 
trated in the vicinity of the coal: I, iron; L, 
lead; C, copper; Z, zinc; T, tin. 

Figures 149 and 154 are from the handbooks of 
Busson, Fevre and Hauser, Felix Alcan, editor. 


No verdure, no cultivation; the activity in coal has devoured 
the land; this is a typical example of the "Black Country," 
of which we have already spoken. 1 

In 1696 Birmingham was a town of 4,000 inhabitants, sur- 
rounded by moors where the fox was hunted ; to-day, with its 
860,000 inhabitants, it is the great iron and steel metropolis, 
entirely surrounded by industrial cities such as Wolverhampton 
(106,000 inhabitants) to the northwest, the city of foundries, 
hardware, and lock-making. 

Yorkshire: A remarkable type of a coal field which has 
become a great industrial center with a tendency to speciali- 
zation; Leeds, the leading wool city (457,000 inhabitants). 

Lancashire: Yorkshire coal is brought from Manchester 
to Leeds by the great canal built in the first quarter of the 
nineteenth century. On the other hand, Manchester has 
become a seaport by the construction of the Manchester Ship 

iCommenting on this book in an article in the Gazette de Lausanne, April r, 1912, 
J. -El. David described in a very personal way the "Black Country" and the contrast 
between historical and industrial England: "Formerly, beyond the England of his- 
tory, the England which stretches to the south from Worcester to Cambridge, there 
was an England of forest and heath, of pastures and marsh, broken only by some 
few ancient cities huddled around a sanctuary or the ruins of Roman castra — York, 
Chester, Durham, Leicester, Peterborough, Shrewsbury, bordering the country of 
Wales. A train leaves for Oxford; let us take it. The little hills of Shropshire, looking 
like mountains with their mantle of woods, quickly give place to level land. Under 
the fine turquoise sky, in the shade of clumps of oak trees, the cattle browse or chew 
their cud. — A shadow passes; then another, denser; still another joins them, and a 
cloud of soot bursts into the coach. The horizon bristles stiffly into vertical bars 
above which wave black plumes. The earth billows into heaps of crumbling, smoking 
debris. An atmosphere like a tunnel, acrid odors, invade the coaches. Through the 
windows, hastily closed, one sees little brick houses filing past — all exactly alike and 
colorless. Enormous letters placard the front of massive buildings: Works; 
Manufacturing Co.; industrial names known throughout the world may be read, with 
obscure ones as well. Not a tree, not a spear of grass. Hills of slag, mounds of coal, 
careful piles of materials, blackened railroad stations, branch lines forking in every 
direction; panting engines, long trains that follow or pass each other; drawbridges, 
cranes, reservoirs, sheds — yawning empty or filled to overflowing — cables where 
a scoop hangs, runs up, balances, and slides down again. At intervals, a glimpse of 
a street, the end of which is swallowed up in thick gloom, a narrow corridor between 
low houses, dreary and monotonous, with rooms like cells, where a pall of smoke 
descends and rests. Four or five 'clearings,' where the buildings are less crowded, 
sketch vague limits between these funereal towns. From Wolverhampton to Birm- 
ingham more than a million beings of human form stifle in the poisoned air of a 
dozen cities and hideous suburbs for an extent of over a hundred square miles, with 
collieries and lofty furnaces, forges and workshops, factories, narrow yards, huge 
storehouses, and swarming streets. In the 17th century, the gentry of the neigh- 
borhood hunted and tracked game in this very region. — The train rushes on. The 
smoke clears away. Once more the turquoise sky smiles between the trees and above 
the meadows. We shoot past a station with platforms prolonged into flower beds. 
On the right, covered with ivy, are massive walls: Warwick. From beauty to 
horror.and from darkness to light. Between the Welsh hills and the castle of the "king 
maker,' lordly still in its ruins, the Black Country makes an impressive contrast. 
On this corner of the country, man and the industrial age have branded their mark 
as with red hot iron." 


Canal, a lock canal, voted by Parliament in 1885, begun in 
1887, and opened on January 1, 1894. x 

Manchester, the city of cotton, is in close relation with 
Liverpool, a great historic port which receives the raw material 
and exports the manufactured cotton. The development of 
Manchester dates from the application of steam to spinning : in 
1696 it was simply a small, badly built city of 6,000 inhabit- 
ants; from 1786 to 1801 the population grew from 30,000 to 
94,000, and by the census of 19 11 it had reached 714,000; if 
we include Salford, we may say that 1,000,000 inhabitants are 
established in Manchester and its suburbs. Liverpool joins 
an ancient but renewed maritime situation to a continental 
situation entirely new. Formerly the slave trade made for- 
tunes for the shipowners of Liverpool, who developed docks 
for 24 miles (40 kilometers). To-day the docks and slips of 
Liverpool and Birkenhead cover 544 acres and have 34 miles 
of quays ; the entire estuary of the Mersey is like a suburb of 

Liverpool, which had 4,000 inhabitants in 1696, ^1914 had 
763,000, and around it are many cities of over 100,000 inhabi- 
tants: Birkenhead (135,000), Oldham (150,000), Bolton (184,- 
000), Blackburn (134,000), Preston (119,000). In the face of 
these masses of human beings carried along by the fierce 
activity of business, why has the little city of Lancaster, with 
its 41,000 inhabitants, remained in name the political capital? 

3 . The coal fields of Wales. — Cardiff, thanks to coal and to 
the industrial activity developed by coal, is in tonnage the 
third of the British ports (ahead of Newcastle, which is classed 
as fourth). In 1801 there were fewer than 2,000 inhabitants; 
in 191 1 there were 182,260 inhabitants. Swansea, a great 
industrial center for tin, has 114,660 inhabitants. 

4. The Scotch coal fields. — The port of Glasgow did not 
exist two hundred years ago; the great works were begun after 
the Act of Union. The city grew rich through the importation 
of tobacco from Virginia and Maryland and then finally 
through coal and because of all the industrial activity of the 
basin of the Clyde: iron foundries at Airdrie, weaving at 

1 See Loze, I, pp. 520 ff.; and Yule Oldham, Geog. Jour., June 1894, pp. 485-402, 
with one plan. 


Paisley, etc. To-day Glasgow has 1,010,000 inhabitants, 
while Edinburgh has only 320,000; it is the leading city of a 
region where the density of population reaches nearly 231 
inhabitants per square mile (600 per square kilometer). 

London. — It is impossible to study the geography of coal 
in Great Britain without speaking of London, an example 
of the historic city which has become an industrial city. 
London has not given up its pretensions to being the com- 
mercial metropolis of the world. To become a great port it 
has had to become a great industrial city. Industries have 
not come of themselves but men have brought them. By 
the tenacity of the English will, by the laborious effort of 
her merchants, London has maintained her position and has 
grown prodigiously. She has become the most colossal type 
of monstrous urban agglomerations, with no close rival 
except New York City. The county of London counted 
in 191 1, 4,521,685 inhabitants. The district of the councils 
of jurisdiction contains more than 7,000,000 inhabitants, 1 
that is, more than Paris, Vienna, and Berlin together, 
and much more than the total population of two countries 
such as Norway and Denmark, and almost double the total 
population of Switzerland (3,877,000 by the census of 1910). 
All this mass of men grouped at a single point of space ! Lon- 
don in 1 801 had fewer than 1,000,000 inhabitants (958, 000). 2 

London had no coal; she had to import it. She profited 
by the old relations between Newcastle and her port on the 
Thames: in 1750 as much as 863,633 tons were already being 
transported annually from the northern coal field to London, 
and forty -five years later, in 1795, this tonnage had nearly 
doubled (1,242,399 tons). 3 To-day the northern coal field is 
still the great source of coal for the huge industrial city. 
Because of a perfect organization of the work and of special 
technical devices for loading and unloading, steam vessels 
take only three days and six hours to load with coal, go to 
London, and return to Newcastle. 4 

1 Census of April 2, 191 1: 7,323,000. 

2 See, for example, Price, The Population of London, 1801-81, and Kemmann, Der 
Verkehr London, Springer, Berlin, 1892. 

3 See the figures cited under the title: "The Circulation of Coal," pp. 397 ff . 
4 See Loz6, op. cit., pp. 108 ff. 


In a purely geological study of coal a place would be given 
to the new coal field in the southeast of Great Britain, 1 but 
from the human point of view that is a subject only for future 

It would now be proper to take up again the general con- 
siderations set forth in the preceding pages and see what 
their application may be to Great Britain. 

Through the advent of coal all the historic activity of Eng- 
land has been displaced. With the exception of London all 
the cities that count are cities within the coal zone. 2 A map 
of the density of population shows that the places with in- 
creases are the suburbs of London and all the coal coun- 
ties 3 (see Fig. 150). 

Many general conclusions will doubtless be drawn from a 
thorough study such as we have been able to indicate here 
only in outline. 

As phenomena which form a covering on the surface of the 
earth it will be important to note the accumulation of great 
public works in the regions of industrial cities : the construction 
of canals, such as those mentioned in connection with Man- 
chester; the multiplication of all the ways of transportation 
by land and water, especially railroads; and finally, such 
exceptional works as the three-mile tunnel under the Severn 
connecting Bristol with the opposite bank of the river. 

From the point of view of economic activity we find in the 
England of coal and industry some very representative speci- 
mens of the tendency to monopolization. 

Leeds, having become a wool center, tends to draw the wool 
of the entire world. Liverpool and Manchester draw cotton 
from everywhere — from India, from Egypt, from the Missis- 
sippi Valley. 4 Swansea is becoming a great world center for 

iSee the article by Loze in La Geographie, September 15, 1907, pp. 145-162. 

2 Mark Jefferson, "The Distribution of British Cities and the Empire," Geog. 
Rev., IV, 1917, pp. 387-394- 

3 From the political point of view, the same change in place of activity is shown: 
the radicalism and imperialism of Chamberlain have had as their center and place of 
electoral support, Birmingham (see Victor Berard, and below, chap. VIII, §4). See, 
in the book by Paul Mantoux, La Revolution industrielle en Angleterre au XVIII e 
siecle, pp. 360-365, the four maps which represent the distribution of the population 
at the four following dates: 1700, 1750, 1801, 1901. 

4 Note, however, that these monopolies, instead of increasing, tend to diminish in 
influence. One-third of the cotton cloth exported by the United Kingdom is sent out 
through ports other than those of Manchester and Liverpool. 



work in tin. (We might likewise note how in France, for 
example, the Creusot works, after having at first used the 
iron ores nearby, have become a great center of attraction 
for the iron of Spain, Algeria, etc. Essen, in Germany, illus- 
trates the same law.) 


Fig. 150 

Less than 130 inhabitants per sq. mile 
(50 per sq. km.) 

From 130 to 260 inhabitants per sq. mile 
(50 to 100 per sq. km.) 


From 260 to 1300 inhabitants per. sq. mile 
(100 to 500 per sq. km.) 

More than 1300 inhabitants per sq. mile 
(More than 500 per sq. km.) 

The Distribution of Population in the United Kingdom 

On a map of the density of population — with the historical and traditional 
exception of London — can be read, so to speak, the distribution of the principal 
coal fields. Compare with Fig. 149, p. 397. 



What makes the economic power of Germany is the geo- 
graphical coincidence between its historical development and 
its industrial development through the coal. While the Eng- 
land of coal was separated from the historic England, with, as 
a result, the veritable economic and even political revolution 
which we have pointed out, the coal regions of Germany 
have revealed themselves as if superimposed upon the older 
historic regions. The exploitation of coal and industrial activ- 
ity began later in Germany than in England, but Germany 
has been remarkably aided by this fortunate coincidence, 
of which we shall briefly indicate the geographic phases. 

With the exception of the rich zones of clays and loess which 
fringe the mountains, Germany a hundred years ago was a 
country in large part in its natural state with an agricultural 
production that was worse than mediocre. 1 

The old mountainous country of the Hercynian zone is 
bordered on the north by the great Germanic plain, Nord- 
deutsches Flachland, a, sort of narrowed prolongation of that 
vast flat Europe of the east. This plain is covered with glacial 
deposits, erratic blocks, lakes and marshes of every size; the 
ground is irregular, chaotic, covered with moors and heaths, for- 
ests of pines, or damp bogs. In short, the region is little suited 
to human establishment and rebellious to intensive exploitation. 

This plain toward the south comes in contact with the moun- 
tain, forming a whole series of festoons that project forward 
mainly in three large gulfs: the double gulf of Cologne and 
Westphalia, the gulf of Saxony with Halle and Leipzig, and the 
gulf of Silesia with Breslau. It is also by way of these gulfs 
that the Rhine, the Saal, the Mulde, the Elbe, and finally the 
Oder escape from the mountains to join the northern seas. 

The transition from the mountain to the plain is very gradual, 
and along this line of contact from one end to the other, from 
west to east, a series of cities with a historic past have nat- 
urally located themselves, so that it becomes a very important 
border of human beings and large cities: Cologne, Munster, 
Osnabriick, Minden, Hanover, Gottingen, Magdeburg, Halle, 

x See Werner Sombart, Die deutsche Volkswirtschafl im N eunzehnten Jahrhundert, 
Georg Bondi, Berlin, 1903. 


Leipzig, Dresden, Breslau. These three gulfs represent the 
essential regions of historic settlement from the point of view 
of cities as well as geology and orography. 

Now this great zone of contact, and especially the three 
gulfs, are, in the part formed by the plain which is rich in land 
suitable for cultivation (clay and loess), very well provided 
with natural means of communication, and in the mountainous 
part very rich in pure water, wood, and deposits of ore. 

As a result of a geographical phenomenon analogous to that 
which explains the deposit of coal in Great Britain all about 
the old highlands, coal has been concentrated around the 
old highlands in middle Germany. But while this border in 
England, before the nineteenth century, was but little inhab- 
ited or even almost deserted, three of the most important coal 
beds of Germany discovered on the face of the mountains 
have coincided, not unnaturally, with the three great gulfs of 
historic activity. 

The Saar coal fields had a very great part to play in Ger- 
man industry but these have now been internationalized in 
favor of France as a contribution toward the indemnity that 
Germany has to pay the Allied Powers. Sixteen per cent of 
Germany's coal production was in the Saar region. At the 
end of fifteen years a plebiscite is to determine final ownership. 
We wish particularly to call attention to the phenomena of the 
three groups of coal beds of Westphalia, Saxony, and Silesia. 1 

A. Owing to the clear water, the abundance of fuel furnished 
by the forests, and the presence of iron ore, the last spurs of 
the Rothaar and of the Sauerland are among the oldest indus- 
trial centers of central Europe. In the eleventh century 
Cologne was not only a political and intellectual center, but 
also an industrial center with its cloth factories and its market 
for precious metals. 

B. In the same way, around the "gulf" of Saxony are the 
Hartz Mountains, whose silver, lead, and iron mines are very 
old and were valuable resources for the first emperors of the 
House of Saxony. Near by extends the saliferous region, the 

*It is, moreover, the Rhine- Westphalia basin that is the greatest producer. Hugo 
Bottger, a member of the Reichstag, wrote in 1909 that 56 per cent of the total pro- 
duction of Germany came from there, while the coal region of Upper and Lower 
Silesia furnished 27 per cent and that of Saarbriick only 10 per cent ("L'Industrie et 
le commerce descharbons en Allemagne," Rev. icon, internal, April 15-20, 1909, p. 104). 


influence of which is seen in the names of Halle and Saale. 
To the south, finally, is the Erzgebirge, whose silver mines 
were already celebrated in the twelfth century, and which has 
been one of the cradles of the metallurgic industry in Europe. 

C. Even the gulf of Silesia, along the border of the Sudetes, 
had in the Middle Ages only small industrial cities where flax 
was spun and woven. As history developed, these old centers 
found themselves isolated ; on the north they were bordered by 
that great, infertile, inhospitable plain which unfortunately 
separated them from the Hanseatic ports and placed a barrier 
between industry and commerce difficult to overcome. 

Part of the Silesian coal fields will undoubtedly go to 
Poland as a result of the plebiscite which, by the terms of 
the Peace Treaty of 191 9, is to determine final ownership as 
between Germany and Poland. 

In the eighteenth century Cologne had fallen from its past 
grandeur, Dresden was only a museum, and Breslau had long 
been on the road to complete decline. 

At this particular point in history there entered a group of hu- 
man facts which were to prepare and favor the later work of coal. 
In the midst of this great damp and marshy plain of northern 
Germany and stretching from west to east there is a topographic 
depression, a transverse groove, 1 which corresponds to a stage 
of withdrawal of the great Scandinavian glacial cap. 

It was the Great Elector and Frederick II who began the 
immense and fruitful work, which is being finished in our own 
day and which consists of building an unbroken system of 
waterways from east to west, a continuous and easy commer- 
cial route from the Vistula to the Oder and the Elbe (later 
even to the Ems and the Rhine). 2 

Berlin was created almost entirely in the seventeenth and 
the eighteenth centuries, 3 at a point where the glacial ridges of 

1 In reality a double groove. 

2 See in the March, 1910, number of Petermanns Mitt, the article by Professor 
Gravelius, "Zur Prage der Schiffahrtsabgaben auf deutschen Flusse," LVI, 1910, 
pp. 123-126, and especially the map which accompanies it: " Binnenschiff ahrtsstrassen 
im Deutschen Reich," scale of 1:3,700,000, Table 21. 

3 At the time of the Thirty Years' War, Berlin had only 12,000 inhabitants; again, 
the plague made the population go down to 9,000 and even to 5,000, under George 
William. On the contrary, at the death of the Grand Elector, early in the 1 7th cen- 
tury, Berlin had already 20,000 inhabitants; at the death of Frederick William the First 
it counted 100,000 inhabitants and 4,200 houses, and at the death of Frederick- William 
the Second, successor of Frederick the Great, 165,000 inhabitants and 6,900 houses. 



the north and south, both with low relief, draw near to each 
other and form a sort of defile, in which flows the Spree. 
Berlin is a great river center established midway on the water 
route which runs from the Russian frontier to the lower 
Elbe and hence to Hamburg and may be considered a sort of 
back-port for Hamburg. It is a political capital which, by 
installing itself in the midst of the neglected hinterland, forced 
this region to become a great center of intercourse and, by 
the development of communication, strengthened the hitherto 
feeble bond between the great seaports of the North Sea and of 
the Baltic and the historic centers of the three southern gulfs 
already mentioned. Everything is now ready, it would seem, 
for the exploitation of coal to produce its maximum -effect. 
All modern Germany, which is an industrial and commercial 
Germany, is explained by this superposition of the industrial 
activity due to coal upon the old historic activity of the cities. 
But all that has been possible, or at least has reached its high- 
est point, only through the creation of that central water 
artery which joins two metropolises, the one essentially 
industrial (Berlin, 2,121,000 inhabitants, and with its suburbs 
3,000,000 or even 3,500,000 in 191 2), and the other pre- 
dominantly commercial (Hamburg, 936,000 inhabitants). 

Advance in Population in 



of Inhabitants 





1900 1 1 90s 


Berlin 1 






2,500 2,793 
706 1 803 



In the chapter on historic geography (chap. VIII, § 4), it will 
be in place to point out briefly the general influence of all 
these economic facts upon the political history of contem- 
porary Germany. 

iFigures for 1900, 1905. 1910 include the suburbs. The progress of the single 
city of Berlin, year by year (without the suburbs), in thousands of inhabitants: 
1899 1,846 

1900 1,888 

1901 1,893 

1902 1,911 

1903 1,946 

1904 1,988 

1905 2,043 

1906 2,091 

1907 2,104 

1908 2,111 

1909 2,111 

1910 2,121 

On January 2, 1910, Berlin had 2,121,134 inhabitants. All the figures in the table, up 
to 1908, are from the Statistisches Jahrbuch der Stadt Berlin, 31, issued by H. Silber- 
gleit, Berlin, 1909. The last three figures are supplied through the courtesy of C. 
Wendt, librarian of the Royal Bureau of Statistics of Prussia, at Berlin. 



A map of the density of the population in Germany shows 
at the same time to what extent the economic life of to-day 
has been concentrated and developed within the regions 

Less than ISO 

per square mile 
(50 per square km.) 

130 to 260 per sq. mile 
(60 to 100 per 

32C0 to 520 per sq.mtlc I 
1(100 to 200 per\ 

I More than 520 

I per square mile 

1(200 per square km . ) 

Fig. 151. Population Zones of Contemporary Germany 

Besides the very populous region of the middle Rhine, the three "gulfs" are seen: 
that of the east (Silesia) joins that of the center (Saxony) ; that of the west joins 
the region of dense population in the coal and industrial fields of Prance and Belgium. 

which we have called the three historic gulfs, and of what 
importance for all contemporary Germany is the geograph- 
ical significance of the development of Berlin and Hamburg 
(see Fig. 151). 

A map of all Europe shows the general predominance of 
population along that great fringe which begins almost with 
the coal fields of the Donetz and runs to the coal fields of 
Wales (see Fig. 152), a long line of factories, an almost unbroken 
strip of crowded humanity. 

E. Coal in Other Countries. The Circulation of Coal 

The same facts that we have observed as marking the coal 
deposits of Great Britain and of Germany may be verified in 
all the fields where coal is exploited. 



Such regional studies should be pursued by seeking both 
the great general facts and the phenomena more peculiar 
to a given region. In connection with the Franco-Belgian 
region and the coal fields of the north and of Pas-de-Calais, 1 
it would be worth while to analyze the relation of the coal 
which is extracted at these points with the industrial and 

Fig. 152. Population Zones of Contemporary Europe 

The broken line is merely for reference; it is the line of the former Russian frontier. 
It is seen here to what an extent the facts of population density are independent of 
political boundaries even toward the east. 

commercial center of Paris: the development of the traffic on 
all the canals of the north, of the navigation of the Oise, and 

a In France, in 1908, the collieries of Nord and of Pas-de-Calais alone produced 
26 3 4" million American tons — that is to say 64.5 per cent of the total production of the 
country. And this is not an exceptional fact but an almost constant proportion (see, 
for example, the diagram of Fig. 153 for the year 1916). 



a id Pas-o 6 

even indirectly of the lower Seine. The great importance of 
Paris as a river port should be emphasized. 

Between the network of the canals of the north, with 
particularly a local trade and a regional importance, and the 
line of the Seine, with an ancient 
historic and economic life which has 
been recently improved, but where 
the improvements have allowed its 
life to continue rather than to be 
transformed, is the furrow and nat- 
ural road formed by the Oise, which 
has acquired all its importance in 
the nineteenth century. A true 
purveyor of coal for the great in- 
dustrial center of Paris, the Oise had 
a decisive influence in the happy 
outcome of an important part of 
French economic history (see Fig. 
154). But for it the great economic 
capital would have burned but a 
ridiculously small proportion of the 
national coal, and the port of Paris would have been flooded 
as formerly, but with more disastrous consequences, by coal 
from England. 1 

As a type of coal and industrial region far from the sea 
one might choose the region of Saint Etienne, or the region of 
Montceau-Blanzy, with the Creusot iron works, which corres- 
ponds with a narrow depression between the Morvan and 
the Charolais groups of ancient rocks. In the latter case 
it would become evident that the coal is to-day only an 
accessory industry, which is unimportant in comparison with 
metallurgy; it would also be clear that the Central Canal, 
constructed too soon — that is, before the industrial develop- 
ment of Creusot — passes too far from the present active 
center to serve it profitably. 2 

l E. Gruner, Les Voies navigables du Nord de la France, vers Paris, leur etat actuel, 
mesures a prendre en vue d'en augmenter Veffet utile, Central Committee of the Collieries 
of France, February, 1897, Paris. 

2 For the study of the French coal basins, there are three excellent publications by 
the Central Committee of the Collieries of France, and especially its Atlas. 

Fig. 153. The Predominance of 
the Production of Coal in the 
Departments of Pas -de- 
Calais and Nord, France 

The figures indicate the pro- 
duction in millions of tons and 
are for the year 1916. 



The transportation of coal, its general " circulation," brings 
in much more complicated facts, and causes much more active 
competition than one might imagine. 

We have already noted the intimate connection between 

Calais^-— "Y 
Cape y^"3v Maritime Flanders ±3 
Oris Nez 


Fig. 154. The Coal and Industrial Region of the Franco-Belgian Field 
and the Head of the Oise Valley Leading toward Paris 

the coal of Newcastle and the prodigious activity of the Lon- 
don industrial center. The "maritime circulation" of coal 
is vast, but it is not the only circulation. More and more 
to-day the railroads, almost as much as the sea, assure to the 
English metropolis its supply of coal. 


Carried to London from 1905 to 1909 l 

Method of 








By railroad 















By canal 


By sea 





In human geography it would not be necessary to follow coal 
under the soil, for example under the Campine and Holland 
- — a task for geologists — but wherever coal is transported 

According to the Coal Tables, 1908-1909, London, 1910, p. 54. 


over land or sea. It would be necessary to follow English 
coal to Marseilles and to Genoa (where in one of these 
places, Marseilles, it meets with French coal, circulating with 
difficulty over the interior railroad system of France, and in 
the other with German coal, which has come through the 
Gotthard tunnel) and see it, owing to the ease and cheapness 
of transportation by sea, determining industrial centers in 
both places. These centers appear theoretically far from 
coal, but they are in reality close to it. 1 It would be neces- 
sary to follow Australian coal in its dispersion from New 
South Wales across the entire Pacific and then explain the 
expansion and present decay of the traffic. It would be 
necessary to note how the coal of India has made possible 
the establishment and development of native industry — the 
cotton industry of Bombay, which competes with Manchester; 
the jute industry of Calcutta, which competes with Dublin. 2 
It would finally be necessary to grasp the stimulating influence 
of coal wherever it is simply consigned to storage for recoaling 
purposes: the island of Perim, at the narrow outlet of the 
Red Sea, living by means of the coal of Newcastle, and even 
Algiers, which has acquired a large part of its present impor- 
tance by reason of being a coal port, etc. 

It is difficult to attempt to sketch briefly the general 
picture of the complex circulation of coal. Evidently coal 
follows customary routes that have become, as it were, fixed. 
Of the 13 or 14 million tons of coal which the United States 
has exported annually within recent years, 11 million tons, 
or about four-fifths of the total, have been sent into the 
Dominion of Canada. 3 Likewise upon the sea there are regu- 
lar lines devoted to the transportation of coal, as, for example, 

JFrom 1886 to 1900 more than half the English coal exported has been for Medi- 
terranean ports; see D. A. Thomas, "The Growth and Direction of Our Foreign 
Trade in Coal during the Last Half Century," J. R. Stat. Soc, LXVI, Part III, 1903, 
PP- 439-534. I diagram and 1 map. Let us add that English coal goes even as far 
as Genoa for a cheaper rate and in greater quantity than the German coal. 

2 In 1908 English India had produced almost 13 million tons (only 1 million in 
1878); see Pierre Clerget, La Geographie, January 15, 1910, p. 57. 

3 The exact figures for the years of the Census ending June 30, 1909, are: 
Coal Exported by the United States in Millions of Tons: 
General Total To Canada 

1906-1907 13.3 9.9 

1907-1908 14.7 1 1 .0 

1908-1909 13.9 10.9 


from Cardiff and Newcastle to Rouen and Havre. 1 But these 
are really exceptions. A large part of the coal transported 
by sea is taken as ballast at reduced rates by tramp steamers. 2 

In view of the impossibility of obtaining cargoes for each voyage, 
it is often preferable to carry a substitute for ballast rather than a 
mere dead weight of sand or water. The chief of these substitutes 
is coal, of which by far the largest part transported over the ocean 
is not taken as a paying load, but as lost weight in the sense that it 
does not pay the real cost of the voyage ; but its very small freightage 
is always worth a little more than the pure loss in the transportation 
of ballast, which must itself be bought and loaded and unloaded at 
the expense of considerable labor. 

The influence of this factor of ballast causes the exportation of 
coal to have no significance in comparison with coal resources or 
even coal extraction. Thus Great Britain, which exports annually 
more than 60 million tons of coal, although she mines less, transports 
by sea several times as much coal to foreign countries as the United 
States. This British export coal is eagerly sought after by thousands 
of tramp vessels, both sailing and steam, which unload annually in 
English ports the enormous quantity of wheat, maize, cotton, wood, 
rice, and other commodities or raw materials with which this manu- 
facturing nation feeds itself and its mills. 

The exportation of finished products requires so little room that 
the vessels of the regular lines can take care of it almost entirely. 
Many tramp vessels leave port loaded with ballast and the others 
carry the greater part of the 60 million tons of exported coal at a 
price so low that English coal could sometimes be carried to Peru 
or even to San Francisco at $2.50 (ten shillings) per ton. English 
coal is regularly exported to Chile and South Africa; the Argentine 
Republic and Brazil each receive at the present time about a million 
tons per year, while the United States, the coal of which costs the 
same price and is of better quality, sends annually to these countries 
only a few cargoes of a special kind of coal. 

Thus Japan and Australia, as coal-producing countries, can be 
compared only with American states of the fourth class, but condi- 
tions of ocean transportation make them relatively important ex- 
porters distributing coal to vast regions. For a long time San 
Francisco regularly imported coal from Australia, Wales, and the 
north Atlantic ports of the United States. To-day, Japanese coal 

J The chief customer of the United Kingdom for coal is France. 

Coal Exported by the United Kingdom in Millions of Tons: 
General Total To France 

1907 72.7 12.0 

1908 71.7 11.6 

1909 72.3 1 1. 6 

According to the Coal Tables, 1908-1909, London, 1910. 
sConsult W. Stanley Jevons, "Foreign Trade in Coal," Publications of the Department 
of Economics in University College of South Wales, King and Son, London. 



goes to Alaska, whose coast is not so far from our mines as the old 
Japanese coal markets of Honolulu and San Francisco. 1 

The two greatest coal-exporting countries in the world are 
the two whose coal regions we have examined in some 
detail — the United Kingdom with an annual exportation of 
about 60 million tons and Germany with nearly 30 millions. 
What has been said is sufficient to give a glimpse of all the 
different questions of a geographical character which are 
raised by coal — a great revolutionary force which has made 
and unmade cities and which has often shown itself the mistress 
of the economic and political destinies of states and provinces. 

F. Statistics of Production 

After all the regional and local analyses, let us examine, 
with the help of statistics, the economic total — that is, after 
the geographical study, the statistical study. This will show 
us better than any other the full significance of the phenom- 
ena examined. It will further show to what degree year by 
year the United States is winning industrial predominance. 

Production of Coal and Lignite in the Chief Producing Countries 
in Millions of Tons 

United States . . . 
Great Britain . . . 















in .1 


193- 1 


114. 6 


















Total World Production of Coal and Lignite in Millions of Tons 2 




1905 930 

1906 984 

1907 1.H3 

1908 1,168 

1909 1,310 

1912 i,377 

1913 i,478 

For the first time in 1907, and again in 1908, the production 

ij. Russell Smith, "Les Transports oceaniques," Rev. icon, internat., March 15-20, 
191 1, pp. 454 and 455; also J. Russell Smith, The Ocean Carrier; a History and 
Analysis of the Service and Discussion of the Rates of Ocean Transportation, G. P. 
Putnam's Sons, New York, 1908. 

2 Yearbook of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, 191 5. 


of coal and lignite exceeded a billion tons, and this production 
will doubtless continue in the years to come. 

Let us compare this gigantic amount with the total of some 
other products of extractive industry for the two years (1908 
and iqoq) 1 : 

1908 1909 

In Millions of Tons 

Sea salt and rock salt 15. 8 16.3 

Petroleum 40.0 41 .0 

Iron ore 123.0 148.6 

Coal and lignite 1,168.0 1,310.0 

Statistics for the world at large certainly confirm the very 
great importance we have given to this last type of extractive 

'According to the tables of "Statistiques internationales " of the volumes Statis- 
liqucs de V Industrie miner ale et des appareils a vapeur en France et en Algerie pour 

lannee 1008 pour Vannee 1909 (official publications of the Ministry of 

Public Works). 






i. The islands. The islands of the stony desert and of the sandy 

2. The dunes of the Suf. The gardens, the houses, and the 

cities. The S oaf as. 
j. The Shebka of the Mzab. The wells and the gardens. The 

houses and the cities. The Mozabites. 
4. Conclusions: The Suf and the Mzab. 


After having studied the series or groups of human facts — 
facts of the unproductive occupation of the soil, facts of plant 
and animal conquest, facts of destructive exploitation — let us 
approach these facts as a whole in all their natural com- 
plexity. 1 In the study of natural unities human geography 
should first try its hand on the "islands." As definite speci- 
mens we shall choose representative types of "islands" of the 
desert and then, in the following chapter, "island" groups 
of the high mountain. 

Much has been said of the Soafas and their gardens, of the 
Mozabites and their wells; and the language, the race, the 
religion, and the history of both these peoples have been 
often spoken of. Much has even been written about the 

1 Needless, to say, this classification, which simplifies analysis and investigation, 
is not to be imposed as a sacred formula on all studies in human geography. On the 
contrary, so far as possible, geographic study should represent life just as it presents 
itself, with its own particular features in each natural environment; here the domi- 
nant fact will be fisheries; there, the herd; again, fields or houses; and in the general 
study of unities or of regions of the earth it is the typical and significant fact one 
must try to put in the foreground. Certainly in an irrigated region everything 
depends upon a well- watered garden; it is therefore with the garden that this study 
must begin. We have tried to keep faithfully to the true order of importance in 
the double monograph which follows. 



Mzab, 1 and, while the literature concerning the Suf is not 
so abundant, — which is natural — it is at least sufficient. 2 

There is a great depression of the Wad Rir' which runs from 
the Shot Melrir to Tugurt and bending toward the south- 
west continues as far as Wargla. In places the ground-water 
near the surface shows itself in shots while the ' deeper 
water issues from artesian wells. On both sides of this region 
extend two masses of very different aspect and nature, but 
both infertile and inhospitable. On the one side, toward the 
east, are the great dunes which are the northern prolongation 
and the limit of the eastern Erg; on the other, toward the west, 
is the calcareous, rocky Shebka, with surfaces of hamada; on 
the one side the desert of sand, on the other the desert of stone. 

In each of these two desert regions different peoples, equally 
independent and original, have succeeded in establishing them- 
selves and subsisting. They have created and maintained 
oases: in the midst of the dunes, the oases of the Suf; in the 
midst of the Shebka, the oases of the Mzab. In each region 
are nearly 200,000 date palms which feed more than 20,000 
inhabitants — large numbers for plantations and populations 

^he excellent thesis by Masqueray, Formation des cites chez les populations seden- 
taires de V Algerie (Paris, 1886), deserves special mention. This volume begins with a 
critical bibliography — a special bibliography of the Wad Mzab, pp. xliii-lxviii. 
Particularly to be noted among the works and articles given by Masqueray are: the 
articles by Duveyrier, "Tour du monde," 1861, Pelermanns Mitt., 1859 and i860, to 
which he certainly should have added the first one, which appeared in the Bull, de 
la Societe de geographie de Paris, 4th series, XVIII, 1859, "Coup d'ceil sur le pays des 
Beni-Mezab et sur celui des Chaanbaoccidentaux;" the book by Ville (1872), and the 
brochure by Coyne, Le Mzab (1879). Among more recent works should be noted the 
following: E. Zeys, Legislation mozabite, son origine, ses sources, son present, son 
avenir, Algiers, 1886 (a full inter-page bibliography); Dr. Ch. Amat, Le Mzab et les 
Mzabites, Paris, 1888; A. Konig, Reisen und Forschungen in Algerien, s. 1. n. d. (imp. 
Dornbliith, at Bernburg, 1896); Dr. J. Huguet, "Dans le Sud- Algerien," Bull. Soc. 
geog., 7th series, XX, 1899; "Les Juifs du Mzab," Bull, et mem. Soc. d' anthropologic de 
Paris, 5th series, III, 1902, pp. 559-573; " Les Soffs," Rev. ecole d' anthropologic de Paris, 
XIII, 1903, pp. 94-99, etc.; a good study by Lieutenant Charlet, "Les Palmiers du 
Mzab," Bull. Soc. de geographie d' Alger, X, 1905, pp. 11-87; and various articles which 
we shall have occasion^to quote: Captain de l'Eprevier, M. Idoux, etc. See finally the 
exact work of Feliu, Etude sur la legislation des eaux dans la chebka du Mzab. 

2 Again, some rather superficial remarks are to be found in certain works such as 
Largeau's Le Sahira algerien, les dsscrts de I' Erg (2d edition, Hachette, Paris, 
1881), pp. 325-338, etc. But one may always consult with profit, for the Suf as well 
as for the Mzab, the general and fundamental works by G. Rolland and H. Schirmer, 
and one will find very useful information in the " Revues bibliographiques des travaux 
sur la geographie de l'Afrique septentrionale," which Augustin Bernard has published 
every year since 1898, Bull, de la Soc. de geographie d' Alger, as well as in A. Bernard and 
N. Lacroix, Historique de la penetration saharienne, Algiers- Mustapha, 1900. See 
finally the paper by R. Rousseau on the countries of the Soafas in La Geographie, 
May 15, 1907, pp. 393-395. From the point of view of "La Position geographique 
a El-Oued (Suf)," we adopt the conclusions of the article by Paul Pelet, which 
appeared under this title in La Geographie, XII, 1905, pp. 29-34 and pi. 1. 


in the open desert. These oases, thus established in the Sahara 
by men who had at their disposition neither streams nor springs, 
are veritable masterpieces of the art of cultivation and at first 
view, genuine paradoxes. In both places the result is obtained 
by extraordinarily persistent toil. In the Suf a continual 
struggle must be maintained against the sand-laden winds; in 
the Mzab, an unceasing toil to obtain the indispensable water. 
In short, these two groups of oases, so unlike each other, 
seem to show two extreme types of careful and productive 
cultivation under exceptionally unfavorable conditions. . 

2. the dunes of the suf. the gardens, the houses, and the cities. 

the soafas 

The Setting: The Dunes 

The dunes which form the Eastern Erg stretch out to the 
shots; but the Erg, which is spread out wide from west to 
east between 30 and 32 north latitude, grows narrower 
toward the north. The most northern part is a small 
area of sand shut in by a large semicircle of depressions; to 
the west, the Wad Rir' with its almost lagoon-like series of 
lowlands, shebkas, or shots, bordered by artesian wells; to the 
north, the great depression of the northern shots; and to the 
east, the Shot el Jerid (see Fig. 155). 

It is in the middle of this northern part of the Erg, that is, 
in the midst of the dunes, that we find the oases of the Suf. 
Lost amid the sands and separated by a journey of several 
days 1 from all other groups of oases, they form a little world 
apart. One must know their setting in order to understand 
the exceptional character of these oases. One must have 
traveled through the dunes in order to appreciate at their full 
value the curious gardens of the Suf. Traveling to El Wed 2 

x To go from the oases of the Suf to Tugurt requires a hard two days' journey; 
to go to D jerid, three days; and to Ziban, five days. 

2 From El Wed to Tugurt there are 57 miles (92 kilometers) of telegraph wire; 
it must be about 60 miles there on foot. It takes fifteen hours by horse; on foot, 
an Arab of the region, walking straight ahead, made the trip in fourteen hours, but 
that was an exceptional case. On the map (scale 1: 1,400,000) there is a mistake: 
El Wed is put too near Tugurt. Paul Pelet in his Atlas des colonies francaises has 
fortunately corrected this mistake; but, on the other hand, he has brought El Wed 
a little too near the 5th long. E. (Paris); see map No. 7, Sahara algerien et tunisien, 
and map No. 5, Algerie III, Prov. de Constantine. See "La Position geographique 
d'El-Oued," an article (mentioned above) by the same Paul Pelet in La Geographie, 
July 15, 1905, pp. 29-34, with a map, which adopts finally as coordinated with El Wed: 
Long.E. Paris, 4 57' 20": Lat. N. 33 19' 50". 



from Tugurt, one crosses successive strips of dunes, nearly- 
parallel with each other. The strips of active dunes, piled 
high with almost bare sand, stand out like bright lines (Fig. 
156), while the strips of dead or extinct dunes have more 
vegetation and from a distance appear as darker etches. 

Thus the zone of the dunes proceeds; to a zone upon which 
the wind is now acting, working and modeling it and giving it 
irregularities of relief which are constantly changing, there 
succeeds another zone, a little lower and much less irregular, 
which the wind is sprinkling more uniformly with sand. This 
is a zone of aggradation. The general direction of these suc- 
cessive and alternate zones is north-northwest to south-south- 
east; toward the south the direction becomes a little more 
north-south. Moreover, these zones, instead of being abso- 
lutely rectilinear, bend slightly, with a marked tendency to 
form arcs of a circle with very gentle curvature. 

Beyond the zones of the highest active dunes, such as the 
region of Ourmes (Bu-Ourmes), we find the flat surfaces or the 






I 7 " Neftao^ 


Jerid ' 
Bidl-Aoun n Debila 
Guemara $&$£? 






aibot-cl-guiljlia| 33 

AO° c Bor 

$ <$£* 

•Jk-(ihardaiaO "T\ a 
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O 524 j, 


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G. 155 





In fixing the orientation of this map the conclusions drawn from the investiga- 
tions of Paul Pelet have been adopted for El Wed, which is 33 19' 50* N. Lat. and 
4° 57' 20* E. Long, from Paris. See note p. 417. 

widest couloirs such as the relatively depressed strip which is 
now occupied by the oases of the Suf . This slight depression 
of the region of the oases gives it the appearance of a very wide 
valley of a Quaternary wadi (ravine) and explains the legend, 


still repeated by the oldest inhabitants, that formerly a wide 
river flowed through the country, the Wad Suf, which has 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 156. View of the Sands at the Suf Oasis. Typical Aspect of 
a Zone of Active Dunes 

disappeared and now flows underground. 1 That the Chris- 
tians, the predecessors of the Soafas, saw the Wad Suf flowing 
on the surface is purely legendary, but it is none the less true 
that the oases are situated, if not above a subterranean stream, 
at least above a water surface or a series of subterranean pockets 
in which water is stored up in rather large quantities. "The 
Wad Suf," says Georges Rolland, "must, in my opinion, 
correspond to a more or less distinct waterway — or at least 
to a zone of successive depressions — which must begin far 
above the present oases and run from southeast to northwest 
toward the Shot Melrir but the course of which is to-day 
almost entirely masked by the great sand dunes of the eastern 
Erg." 2 Moreover, as all the explorers and scholars who 
have studied the region insist, the great dunes throughout the 
Sahara play the part of veritable water reservoirs. 3 

iSee, H. Jus, article quoted, and G. Rolland, Hydrologie du Sahara,^. 224. 

2 Hydrologie da Sahara, p. 25. Georges Rolland, moreover, regards the surface 
of the Suf as slightly ascending; see Ibid., pp. 223-224. 

3 See, for example, G. B. M. Flamant, "La Traversee de l'Erg occidental," Ann. de 
geog., VIII, 1899, p. 234. See also H. Schirmer, Le Sahara, pp. 173 ff. 


To sum up, the gardens are irregularly distributed along one 
of those wide strips where the thick accumulations of sand 
have a flat surface in contrast to the sharp relief of the border- 
ing dunes. 

The Gardens of the Suf 

The Soafas have taken refuge in the midst of the sands and 
have patiently formed their gardens of date palms by digging 
out these masses of sand to a depth of several yards. To be 
able to plant their trees they have cleared away the sand until 
they were near the water surfaces 1 (or water table, as the surface 
of the ground- water is called), and the roots of the palm trees 
have themselves found the subterranean water. 

Thence comes the strange appearance of the gardens of the 
Suf. They are surrounded by high banks and are scattered. 
In these scattered funnel-like holes are grouped from seven or 
eight to some dozens of date palms. Thus more or less dense 
clusters formed by the tops of the trees appear scarcely to rise 
above the level of the sandy camel trails (Fig. 157). 

But these hollows thus dug in the sand are in constant dan- 
ger of being refilled. The dry sand of the desert is so easily 
moved that at the slightest breath of wind the fine grains 
are carried into the hollows, and, in spite of the little walls 
or fences made of the trunks of palm trees, the gardens would 
soon be filled up and the tall palm trees would soon be buried 
to their tops if the Soafas were not constantly at work carrying 
the sand back to the tops of the steep banks. They fill their 
couffins, put them on their heads, climb painfully up the slope, 
and empty their little baskets upon the top of these unstable 
banks; and this goes on indefinitely. Those who are richer 
use small asses loaded with a double couffin. 

On the other hand, the Soafas do not have to bother them- 
selves with watering their gardens ; in the Suf there are neither 
streams nor springs; the tree itself draws water that is unseen 
by man. Only now and then do we see wells on the sides 
of the embankments which furnish water for the inhabitants 
and their animals or for minor cultivation. The Soafas do not 

*For the details of these works of excavation, see G. Rolland, Hydrologie du 
Sahara, pp. 222-223. 



raise wheat or barley, which must be brought from the Tell. 
They do, however, carry on some minor cultivation, — onions, 
watermelons, henna, etc. — and for this they need a certain 

Jean Brunhes 

Pig. 157. General Aspect of the Gardens of El Wed 

There is seen only the high tops of the palm-trees rising above great hollows dug 
out of the sand of the desert; all the little black spots seen on the horizon indicate 
scattered hollows like those in the foreground. 

number of wells. Sometimes the water is drawn by means of 
a chain or by a sweep, called the khotara. 1 Certain of these 
wells are common wells to which everyone may go, and as one 
goes down the slopes toward them there are seen lines of women 
and children like those that go down to the banks of the Nile. 
The women carry large round water jars, while the small girls 
have smaller jars or carry on their backs goatskin bottles. 

x This contrivance consists essentially of a long wooden pole, resting in the middle 
on a point of support; to one of the two extremities is attached a rock or a piece of 
wood, acting as a counter-balance; at the other extremity is suspended a pouch of 
skin, which serves as the bucket; the pouch is called in the Suf, as elsewhere in the 
Ziban, etc., the delu. This rustic contrivance, very convenient as the wells are not 
deep, is very common in many countries, France, Germany, Hungary, etc.; the 
gardeners of Genoa and Savona make use of similar contrivances which they call 
"storks." And the Egyptian shaduf is of the same sort. 



In the Suf, more exclusively than anywhere else, the date 
palm is the principal object of cultivation. 1 The most impor- 
tant group of these queer palm gardens, these "excavated 
gardens," is in the neighborhood of El Wed. The gardens 
have not the same value throughout the Suf, their prosperity 
depending upon the quality and abundance of the subterranean 
water. A line of demarcation may be regarded as running in 
general northwest-southeast ; it passes through the very middle 
of the gardens of El Wed and in El Wed itself the line may be 
drawn from the abattoir on the north to the borj (storehouse) 
on the south. All the gardens situated to the east of this line 
are considered inferior in quality to those situated to the west ; 
the palm trees of the first group are sold for from $9.00 to 
$28.00 (50 to 150 francs), while those of the second group bring 
at least $48 (250 francs) each and sometimes even reach the 
enormous sum of $96 or $116 (500 or 600 francs). These 
prices are surprising, but the dates of the Suf are of a rare 
quality. The hollows in which the trees are planted are 
naturally overheated and form veritable hothouses which are 
very favorable to the ripening of the fruit. 

Moreover, the price of a product depends essentially upon 
the general geographic conditions. The farther away a center 
of cultivation is from all the great cultivated regions, and, like 
the Suf, lost in the midst of the desert, the more the prices of 
products cultivated on the spot are likely to rise. These are 
the characteristics that distinguish the Suf and, as we shall 
see, the Mzab. We should perhaps go further and give these 
prices reached by the palm trees of the Suf as an example 
showing that in these extreme cases labor is the essential 
measure of value. A product costs more because it has 
required more labor. If, in the oases of the east, palm trees 
sell much more cheaply than those of the west, is it because 
the dates are not so good? Is not that the explanation given 
by Europeans? Since it is clear that toward the east the 
subterranean waters are very good and abundant, is it not 
true that the palm trees are less dear there than in the west 

x On the distribution of the date palm, see again the study by Theobald Fischer, 
"Die Dattelpalme, ihre geographische Verbreitung und kulturhistorische Beieutung," 
Pelermanns Mitt., Ergdnzungsheft, No. 64, 1881, and the map which accompanies the 


simply because the sand is more humid than in the west and 
the trees grow more easily and demand less labor? 

The Characteristics of the Human Habitation 

It seems that where man gives great care to working the 
ground, he shows the same care in at least a few other ways and 
particularly in the art of building. It is certain that there are 
few Saharan oases where cultivation demands such constant toil 
as in the Suf , and there are no cities or villages in the Saharan 
country where the houses are so carefully and we might- even 
say so elegantly built as at El Wed, at Kuinine, or at Guemar. 

It should also be said that the very original characteristics of 
the house in the Suf depend upon the materials which the Soaf as 
have at their disposal. Stone is rare, and the only stones that 
are found buried in this sea of dunes are very silicious, with 
curious forms that have long caught the eye of travelers. They 
sometimes take the form of roses, whence the name ' ' roses of 
the Suf." 1 The stones of the dunes contain sulphate of lime 
in sufficient quantity to furnish a very good mortar used in 
laying the- walls. Thus the Suf, though it has only one kind 
of building material, has it in a unique form that supplies both 
stone and mortar. Because of the ease with which the blocks 
are superposed this material lends itself to difficult building. 

In all countries, and especially in the Saharan oases, the 
part of the habitation most difficult to construct is not the 
walls but the roof (Chap. Ill, § i). 

The walls may be and often are built — as at Biskra, at La- 
ghuat, or at Bu-Saada — of simple bricks of clay dried in the 
sun. But the overhead covering of the house is a much more 
difficult problem to solve. Fortunately the two opposing walls 
may be joined by trunks of palm trees cut into three or four 
pieces and the problem of a roof is often solved in the Sahara 
of southern Algeria and Tunis, as also in Egypt, by placing 
palm stalks and dried earth upon this skeleton of a covering. 

The stone of the Suf has not only permitted the building 
of very solid walls, but also, above the four walls, hemispheri- 
cal cupolas, so that all the houses, even the most humble, end 

l This monograph on the Suf and the Mzab was published in La Geographic, 1902, 
with twenty illustrations, nine of which are in this book; the map, Fig. 155, p. 418* 
is new. 



above in good architectural forms. With such materials the 
inhabitants of the Suf are indeed past masters in the art of 
building. Above their four walls they make pendentives and 

Joan Brunhea 

Fie. 158. A House with Cupola, between El Wed and Kuinine 

then raise their hemispherical vaults directly without taking 
the trouble to construct supporting arches; tightly drawn cords 
give them their dimensions and directions. One can easily 
imagine what skill the builder must have in order to attain the 
form of a cupola with such perfection. The cupolas have at 
the most a diameter of 6 feet 6 inches (2 meters), and at the 
least of 4 feet eleven inches (1.50 meters). A group of two, 
three, or four cupolas belong to a single house. The small 
rooms corresponding to each cupola communicate with each 
other by a very regular semicircular arch. 1 Often at the 
upper central point of the vault rises a small truncated cone. 
Such is the typical house which characterizes this group of 
oases, and which adds another striking feature to the appearance 
of the Suf. All these houses formed of cubes of masonry 
capped with perfect hemispheres have a geometrical regulari- 
ty of alignment that is surprising, especially in the desert 
(Fig. 159, general view of Kuinine). From a distance they 
resemble cities of beehives, immense colonies of bees. 2 

1 "These little houses have only a single opening with no door to close it; all those 
belonging to the same family open on a^ closed court with a stone wall the same height 
as the rooms" (Com. A. Monsegur, "Etude sur la province de Constantine," Rev. 
de geog., December, 1899, p. 427). 

2 In southern Tunis also one meets with very clever and curious constructions. 
L. Pervinquiere, the geologist of Tunis, describes them in an article which is in every 
way remarkable, "Le Sud-Tunisien," Rev. de geog. ann. Ill, 1909, pp. 395-468. 
The storied houses of the ksar Mednine are quite different from those of the Suf (see, 
in Pervinquiere, p. 455, Fig. 23); but it is interesting to compare general views of 
this ksar (p. 454, Fig. 22) with those of the cities of the Suf. Finally, one will find 
in the study mentioned some information on the troglodytes of south Tunis. 



The Distribution of the Settlements; the Inhabitants 

The settlements follow the gardens. The main center of 
the houses is near the main group of gardens — for example, 
El Wed, whose kasha is to-day occupied by the Arab Bureau 
and the garrison. El Wed has at least a thousand cupolas, 
the tall minaret of a great mosque rising above them. The 
city, which is situated at the extreme southeast, commands 
the group of oases of the Suf and there the most important 
market is held. A little north and west of El Wed are the 
two centers, Kuinine and Ourmes (more exactly Bu-Ourmes). 
Toward the north, the ancient fortified village of Guemar, 
which still important, ends the strip of small western 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 159. General View of a Type of Settlement in the Suf, at Kuinine 
Note the rows of cupolas which cover the different rooms of each house 

centers. On the east, strung in a line, are the little clusters 
of houses of Z'goum, El-Behima, and Debila. One more 
recent than the others, Sidi-Aoun, is only half a century old. 1 

*It is well to mention also, as connected with the same geographic type of human 
settlement, the very small groups of houses of Dmirini and of Taibet-el-Gueblia; 
Taibet, for example, does not, properly speaking, form part of the Suf, but is much 
farther south, about 21 miles (35 kilometers) to the east of Tugurt; but it is a grou^ 
of houses situated in the midst of the dunes in the same natural environment as the 
little cities of the Suf; the gardens there are similar to those of the Suf; and the houses 
there are crowned with cupolas identical with those of the Suf. 


Finally, south of El Wed, is a special center, Hamich, 
whose complex character it is important to note. Hamich 
is intermediate between the fixed, sedentary settlement, such 
as those mentioned above, and the transient settlement, the 
agglomeration of nomads' tents. It is in truth a vast camp of 
nomads whose tents spread over more than 4.9 miles (8 kilo- 
meters). The camps are established beside gardens which are 
exactly like those of which we have spoken above. The 
extraordinary fact is that the tents are accompanied by small 
houses built after the model of those of El Wed or of Guemar; 
but they are not dwelling-houses, they are storehouses. During 
the winter the Arab nomad comes and camps in front of his 
storehouse, while he and his family live in a tent or in a hut 
of palm leaves. 

The Shamba nomads cannot bring themselves to live in 
houses. The following facts illustrate this point: South of 
the Suf a number of borjs were built and it was desired to 
intrust the guarding of them to some Shambas; but the 
Shambas are inferior guardians, for it is very difficult to get 
them to live within the borj. They are willing to use the 
buildings and the rooms of the borj as storing places while 
they themselves pass the night outside in a tent or in huts 
made of jerid (palm branches and leaves) or of branches of 
retem. In any case, if one of the Shambas finally consents to 
live within the borj, he is never willing that his family should 
leave the tent. 

The populations of the Sahara have been divided into the two 
great opposing and often hostile classes of nomads and seden- 
tary peoples. But it goes without saying that, along'with these 
exclusively sedentary or nomadic groups, there are certain 
groups which show the characteristics of both classes. The 
oases of the Suf offer us a rather rich collection of such 
intermediate groups. 1 

It is a small detachment of the great family of the Shambas, 
those nomads par excellence, that comes every year and estab- 
lishes itself near the cupola-capped storehouses of Hamich. 
These Shambas are the owners of a few gardens. They have 

] It is well to connect these facts with those which we have mentioned in sec- 
tion 6 at the end of chapter IV. 


not planted palm trees, but bought them. They are still 
nomads, but nomads who own palm trees and who build houses 
like the dwellings of sedentary peoples to serve as granaries. 

The Ashesh and the Messaaba are nomadic tribes that have 
become in part sedentary. They are to-day cultivators and 
shepherds and have at the same time gardens and herds. The 
Ashesh and the Messaaba form the bulk of the population 
of El Wed. Among the inhabited centers of the Suf , El Wed is 
somewhat exceptional. It has not the character of the ancient 
ksur of sedentary people; it has not the same appearance as 
Guemar or even Kuinine; it is built over a wider space, with 
less care to crowd the houses together and with less thought 
of defense. El Wed is not gathered within walls like Guemar. 
There is between Guemar and El Wed the same difference 
that there is in other lands between an ancient city with a 
girdle of walls and a more modern city that has had a freer 

A great tribe that is entirely sedentary, the Uled-Saud, 
has peopled almost all the centers of which we have spoken — ■ 
Kuinine, Ourmes, Z'goum, Guemar, El-Behima, and Debila. 
These sedentary populations are chiefly cultivators, but they 
are also merchants. The inhabitants of Guemar manufacture 
carpets, the famous carpets of the Suf, and sell them as far 
away as the Tell. 

Finally, a large number of the inhabitants of the Suf, not 
finding the means of subsistence in the Suf where natural 
conditions are so unfavorable to cultivation, emigrate to the 
Tell, to Constantine, Philippeville, and Bone, and here form 
that class of economical and poor laboring people who furnish 
the unskilled labor — porters, peddlers, etc. They are the 
Uled-Passa. They remind us of other emigrants in the 
great European cities who are water-carriers, floor-polishers, 
porters, 1 etc. 

Thus the oases of the Suf form a complete whole from the 
point of view of the Arab tribes. They contain a few Arabs 
who are purely nomadic, who have remained nomads, besides 

1 In an article on the Jebel-Demmer (Ann. de geog., May 15, 1897, pp. 239-254) Paul 
Blanchet describes the Matmata and the Duiri, whose dwellings are so curious. The 
Duiri and especially the Matmata live in the Tell also; from the north they come to Tunis 
and Sousse to fulfill the modest functions which the Soafas fufill in the Algerian Tell. 



other nomads who have become sedentary but a short time 
ago, and also of course a majority of inhabitants who are 
purely »sedentary. 

The administrative organization of the Suf is not based 
entirely upon a division by tribes nor upon a division by inhab- 
ited centers; it has aimed at depending upon local conditions 
rather than at uniformity. The inhabitants of the Suf are 
grouped in three tribes under the control of kaids, and in four 
sheikhats under the control of sheikhs. The three tribes are 
the Ashesh, the Messaaba, and the Uled-Saud, and the four 
sheikhats are those of Guemar, of El-Behima, of Debila, and 
that of the Shambas. It is according to these natural group- 
ings that the Arab Bureau at El Wed draws up the tax lists. 

The following table gives some interesting figures on the 
number of animals and trees belonging to each of the groups : l 


Number of 





Palm Trees 










A I essaaba 




Guemar, ksar. . . 
El-Behima, ksar. 
Debila, ksar . . . . 
Shambas, tribe . . 























1 ,650 


A commentary upon this table is not without interest. The 
Uled-Saud and the people of Guemar, El-Behima, and 
Debila represent the sedentary part of the population. They 
number 13,119 and own all together only a thousand camels 
(and it must be further noted that more than half of these camels 
belong to the inhabitants of Guemar, who are the most inter- 
ested in commerce and have the greatest need of camels for 
transportation). On the other hand, they own 125,309 palm 

1 By the authority of Captain Davy de Verville and the kindness of Lieutenant 
Gascuel, these interesting figures concerning the number of animals and trees belonging 
to each of the groups, were obtained from the local Bureau for the year 1899. 

2 This is the total number of palm trees giving revenue (since they have been 
taxed) inj:he year 1899. Comparing this, number with the figures for 1875. according 
to the "Etat detaillee des oasis de l'Oued-Souf." which G. Rolland has given in the 
"Appendice statistique" of his Hydrologie du Sahara algerien, p. 323, there were in 
the Suf in 1855, 154,350 palm trees being taxed, which means, if the figures are correct, 
an increase of 25 per cent in a quarter of a century. 


trees, or almost two-thirds of all the palm trees in the Suf. 
But the small group of 273 nomadic Shambas own only 1,650 
palm trees, while they have 868 camels. As to the Ashesh 
and the Messaaba who form the main part of the popula- 
tion of El Wed, they represent, as we have said, a transi- 
tional type as nomads who have become in part sedentary 
and are both cultivators and shepherds. They number 9,200 
and, while owning about 65,000 palm trees, also possess rather 
large herds (more than 5,000 camels, more than 22,000 sheep, 
and more than 21,000 goats). 

All these different populations, however, take from their 
like geographical environment certain like characteristics. 
We speak commonly of the inhabitants of the Suf, of the Soafas, 
in spite of all the differences from ksar to ksar and from tribe 
to tribe to which we have just called attention. It would be 
childish to make all the distinctive manifestations of human 
activity depend upon natural conditions. The attempts to 
set out with a sort of fatalistic determinism to explain every- 
thing by geography end in such absurdities that they run the 
risk of ruining the conception of a certain dependence of man 
upon nature, a dependence that is relative and limited, or 
conditional. It is, however, important to bring clearly to 
light the facts of human life which manifestly spring from 
geographic conditions. The sandy environment of the oases 
of the Suf furnishes a typical example. - 

It is generally known to. what a degree the wind, creator 
and fashioner of dunes, sets its mark upon the sands; the form 
and direction of the dunes show the force and the direction of 
the winds. There is a also a network of ripples in the sand 
which, when closely examined, is only a network of miniature 
dunes due to minor currents of air. The same effect is seen 
on the surface of a sheet of water roughened by the wind. 1 

Likewise the "writing" of the rain remains for several days 
on the sand, if the wind does not blow ; and thus the sand keeps 

1 The study of these "ripples" of water and these "waves" of sand, as well as 
of all similar movements, is in the process of being established as a branch of geo- 
graphical science, under the name oikymatology yXv/xa, wave); see, for example, Otto 
Baschin, "Die Entstehung wellenahnlicher 'Oberflachenformen, Ein Beitrag zur 
Kymatologie." Zeitschr. der Ges. fiir Erdkunde za Berlin, XXXIV, 1899, No. 5, pp. 
408-424; and the various publications by Vaughan- Cornish (see Ann. de geog., Bibl. 
de iqoo, No. 86). See also Jean Brunhes, "L'Allure reelle des eaux et des vents 
enregistree par les sables," La Geographie, XIV, 1906, pp. 193-210 and Figs. 22-31. 


the traces of almost everything that passes over its surface — 
the six feet of an insect, or the sinuous line of a serpent, or, 
more pronounced because of their greater weight, the imprints 
of the feet of men or animals. The inhabitants of the Suf 
are accustomed to observe and recognize these imprints. They 
know the feet of their own camels and of those of their neigh- 
bors. When they see the tracks of a caravan in the midst of 
the dunes, they easily make out to what tribe the caravan 
belongs. The men of El Wed let their camels run free to 
pasture and when they have need of them they find them by 
following their tracks over the sand. In short, among the 
thousand tracks which cross each other on a trail or on a 
village square and which seem to us absolutely indistinct, 
the skillful Soafas can find the ones they seek. 

This exceptional facility in following the tracks of any 
passer-by is doubtless the reason that at El Wed and in all the 
Suf thefts are less numerous than elsewhere. The Soafas are 
no better than the other natives of the Sahara; they are even 
considered as inferior to many of them and as cowards by 
nature; but this respect for the property of others, which is 
extraordinary in the desert, is there a geographical fact. The 
robber can be too easily pursued and caught. Moreover, 
certain men devote themselves especially to this minute 
observation of tracks left in the sand. They are known as 
"trackers" and are held in high respect. When a crime is 
committed, a murder for example, these trackers are of the 
greatest assistance to the police; they find the criminal with 
incredible speed and certainty. 

In the oases of the Suf a man cannot go anywhere, cannot 
take a step, without leaving on the sand the trace of his pas- 
sage. This geographical fact is too general and too unavoid- 
able not to have some influence upon human activity. 


The Environment: The Shebka 

The dunes, being reservoirs of water, have in places a rather 
abundant vegetation and form pastures for the camels and the 
sheep. When, leaving the dunes, one penetrates the stony 


desert of the hamadas, it seems as if one were leaving a rather 
hospitable region and facing for the first time the true desert. 
On the large, indefinite, stony patches of the hamadas there 
are no large tufts of plants; only in the gullied bottoms of the 
dried-up wadi a few scattered sprigs of vegetation may furnish 
meager forage for the limited herds of sheep that find diffi- 
culty in living there. 1 

The Shebka of the Mzab is formed upon limestone and its 
broad surface is yellowish white, harsh, and bare. It has been 
eroded and fashioned by the waters, especially in the north- 
east, so that it appears as if cut into confused and irregular 
series of steep- walled ravines which the natives have naturally 
compared to the entangled threads of a net — the word shebka 
means "net." 

To find oases in the midst of the Shebka seems more aston- 
ishing than to find them in the midst of the dunes of the Suf . 
It is well not to forget that the Shebka is from 1,900 to 2,300 
feet (600 to 700 meters) above the level of the sea, while no 
point in the Suf exceeds 300 feet (100 meters). The Shebka 
is at a very high level in comparison with the depression of the 
Wad Rir' and the ground-water surface that marks that 

One must have traveled on foot over the wrinkled and 
hillocky surface of the Shebka 2 or have seen the steep and 
sterile sides of the smallest slopes in order to have a clear idea 
of the desert conditions. Between Berrian and Ghardaia, for a 

x In Le Pays de mouton, we read (p. 232): "There are about 33,000 sheep within 
the limits of Ghardaia. In proportion to the immense extent of the country, this 
flock is quite small as to numbers. However, one can scarcely hope to see it increase, 
because of the poverty of the pasture lands." We must remember that the limits 
of Ghardaia comprise not only the region of Mzab, but also the country of Wargla, 
of El Golea, and of Hassi-Inifel (it was only in 1897 that the capital of the extreme 
south, which was originally at Ghardaia, was transferred to El Golea; see Augustin 
Bernard and N. Lacroix, Hislorique de la penetration saharienne, p. 125). The number, 
33,000, seems to me less than the true number of sheep; but when it is a question of 
wandering flocks, everything depends upon the time of year which one has chosen, 
and the statistics are even more liable to error than usual. 

2 "The soil, consisting of dolomites, yellow-brown on the outside and white 
inside, of crystalline structure and well stratified, presents at the surface fragments of 
sandstone made of quartz, grayish-black, often numerous enough to form great 
blotches on the earth, which attract the attention from a long distance. The rough 
rock, sharp-edged and hard, is sometimes remarkably polished, sometimes curiously 
chiseled, carved, hollowed, transformed in places into veritable lace-work. Various 
meteorological agents play their part in such modifications. Chief among them are 
the wearing away by sands which the winds carry, the dilations and contractions 

resulting from sudden changes of temperature and the action of certain rains, 

heavily charged with carbonic acid" (Dr. Ch. Amat, Le M'zab et les M'zabites, p. 70). 


distance of 27 miles (44 kilometers), it was impossible to find 
a single source of water supply where a relay post for the 
stage service could be established. 

The Wells and the Dams of the Mzab 

Fortunately there are in the plateau of the Mzab some 
underground stores of water where the limes and the marls 
which lie beneath them come in contact. 1 These water sur- 
faces are, however, rather deep down, and naturally it is ;i easiest 
to dig wells to reach them in the beds of the wadi. Of the seven 
oases of the Mzab, five are close to the thalwegs 2 of a single 
wad and its affluents; these five are Ghardaia, Melika, Beni- 
Isguen, Bu-Nura, and El Ateuf. The two other oases, Berrian 
and Gerrara, are likewise situated in depressions, as well as the 
more southern oases of Metlili, which resemble in character the 
oases of Mzab proper. But, even in the depressions, one is 
often far from the subterranean water, and the wells of the Mzab 
vary in depth between 26 and 180 feet (8 and 55 meters). 3 

The subterranean waters of the Mzab are not artesian; 
the water must be drawn up from depths of 98, 130, 165 feet 
and more (30, 40, 50 meters). 4 How will it be possible to keep 
up vast gardens under such conditions, when all the water 
must be drawn from such a depth? Will men have the cour- 
age and perseverance to carry on such a task unceasingly? 
The Beni-Mzab, heretical Mussulmans, beaten and hunted, 
have established themselves in the midst of the Shebka and 
have had and still have the tenacity and the energy to draw 
this deep-lying water. All life is dependent upon water; 
the first and essential task is to obtain water. It is then with 

1 See G. Rolland, Hydrologie du Sahara, p. 34. Moreover, according to the in- 
vestigations made by J. E. Lahache, the water in the wells of Mzab is some of the 
best in the whole Sahara (Etude hydrologique sur le Sahara francais oriental, Paris, 
1900, p. 41). 

2 The lowest line of drainage of a valley is known technically as a thalweg, literally 
vallev-way. Valley floor is nearly equivalent for the purpose of human geography 
(W. S. Slichter, Water Supply Paper, No. 67, U. S. Geol. Surv.). 

3 According to Ville (whose Exploration geologique du Beni Mezab, du Sahara el 
de la region des steppes de la province d' Alger [1872] it is always well to consult and 
to re-read), a well of Melika — which is moreover the deepest well in all the Mzab — is 
almost 233 feet (71 meters) deep and contains 12 feet (3.72 m.) of water (p. 50). 

4 The Mozabites call a great many of the watering places of the Shebka, Ain (for 
example, Ain Massine, Ain Goufafa, etc.), holding the belief that the water is fur- 
nished by some sort of springs. It is the same in other cases of the Sahara — as in the 
oases of Dakhleh and Khargueh, where they give the name ain to artesian wells. 


the wells (hassi) and the gardens that a human geographical 
study of the oases of the Mzab must begin. 

The means of drawing the water are well adapted to the 
surroundings. The great depth has caused the principle of the 
lever applied in the khotara and in the Egyptian shaduf to 
be rejected. Instead of a pole working on a lever, a rope and 
pulley are employed. At the end of the rope is attached a 
receptacle consisting of a leather sack holding from 10 to 13 
gallons (40 to 50 liters). Instead of winding the pulley rope 
around an axle, a tiresome task that could be performed only 
by a man, it is drawn over the pulley and away from the well. 
This can be done by man or animal — negro, donkey, or camel. 
The deeper the well, the farther along the path must the man 
who does the drawing go. The Mozabites have arranged this 
path on a slight incline, thus reducing the effort somewhat 
since the drawing agent is going slightly down hill as the sack 
is being raised. 1 

At certain points the deep pockets, rich in water, are particu- 
larly scarce. At Beni-Isguen, for example, water points are 
much rarer than at Ghardaia ; there are only three or four wells 
that always have water even in times of drought. These 
belong to several proprietors who sell hours of watering to 
others who are cultivators. These wells are used constantly, 
even during the night, and the water is drawn by means of 
two animals which, with their driver, go at a trot. 

If we wish to have a clear idea of the amount of work involved 
in this method of obtaining water in spite of its ingenuity, 
we must not forget the weight of the sack containing from 
10 to 13 gallons of water nor the minimum of time required 
for such a process. In the Mzab it is necessary to draw water 
without ceasing in order to supply a thirsty soil that so 
quickly drinks up all the water given to it. 2 

The greatest precautions are therefore taken to husband 
carefully a supply obtained with so much difficulty. The 

1 This type of well is really very practical for drawing water from great depths, 
and to-day one finds that it has spread and has become common even beyond Mzab, 
for example, in the whole Tunisian 'Sahel. It is also known in India, where the rope 
of the pulley is often worked by yoked cattle. 

2 0ne surmises also what the intensity of evaporation is during the day; on this 
subject, see Ch. Amat, Le M'zab et les M'zabites, p. 214. In a general way, see the 
whole chapter devoted to "Meteorologie" (chap. IV). 



i- 1, 

Mozabites strive as best they can to prevent infiltration by- 
lining the little canals, the little seguia which carry the water 
from their wells to their palm trees. This is the only place in 
the Sahara where we have seen the natives take such a precau- 
tion. It is where 
water is scarcest 
that it is treated 
with the most 
jealous care. 1 

Thus the ditch- 
es are not merely 
dug, but, in a 
sense, built. It 
is important to 
note how the 
digging of wells 
as deep as theirs, 
with the upper 
part generally 
walled for several 
yards, and the 
building of the 
two uprights of masonry upon which to rest the beam for the 
pulleys, 2 impose upon the inhabitants of the Mzab habits of 
serious building. Now, according to the Arab Bureau at Ghar- 
daia, there are at least 3,300 wells of this sort in the Mzab. 

Further, in order to obtain and distribute water, the Moza- 
bites not only dig wells but they build admirable dams of 
masonry. They set too high a value on water to neglect any 
means of obtaining it. Showers are rare in the Mzab; in rainy 
years there are only two or three, and entire years pass without 
a single drop of water from the atmosphere. A. Coyne says 

Georges Rolland has with good reason supported the fight against infiltration 
in Wad Rir'; at his instigation, and under the direction of MM. Cornu and Bonhoure, 
the little irrigating trenches have been gradually paved with earthen tiles made and 
baked there in the oases of Sidi-Yaya, of Ayata, and of Urir. It is interesting to 
compare this innovation with the traditional usage of the Mozabites. See Brunhes, 
L Irrigation dans le peninside iberique et dans V Afrique du Nord. 

2 The Mozabites came from Wargla, whence they were driven out; and at Wargla 
they had acquired the habit of boring artesian wells, the walls of which had to be 
stone- work because of the weakness of the earth strata; see Paul Blanchet, "L' Oasis 
et le pays d'Ouargla, " Ann. de geog., March 15, 1900, p. 142. 

Joan Brunhoa 

160. How the Water Necessary for Cultivation 
is Obtained in the Oases of Mzab 

There is seen at the top of the path the uprights of the 
well, and the stream of clear water from the previous draw- 
ing is distinguished; when this is emptied the man and the 
donkey, at the end of their path, return for the next 


very truly that "for the Beni-Mzab the year may be character- 
ized briefly : the river flowed or it did not flow." l However, in 
anticipation of exceptional rain floods the Mozabites have built 
with their usual care works of considerable importance. Thus, 
in the single oasis of Ghardaia, six large retaining dams, several 
of them of masonry, cross the thalweg from side to side so as 
not only to obstruct the underflow but also to gather up the 
run-off — the exceptional treasure of an abundant rainfall. 2 

Above the oasis of Ghardaia a large dam, the Bushen, is 
constructed to store the water and form a sort of large lake 
in the exceptional case of a flood. The reservoir is often abso- 
lutely dry, yet everything is built as if it were to be in continual 
use. A subterranean gallery with manholes, after the fashion 
of the feggaguir of the Tidikelt, conducts the water, when there 
is any, from Bushen to the oasis and allows a moderate and 
temperate flow of this unusual and temporary treasure. 3 

1,1 The statistical and chronological documents kept by the tolba of Ghardaia 
record, for the period from 1 728-1 872, only twelve great risings for the Wad-Mzab, 
or one rising every 13 years" (Ch. Amat, Le M'zab et les M'zabites, p. 217). 

2 For detailed information on these dams and the various other dams of Mzab. 
see Ch. Amat, Le M'zab et les M'zabites, pp. 54 ff.; and take note especially of the 
technical descriptions, exact and minute, which Ville has given of them in his 
Exploration geologique du Beni Mezab, etc. 

3 0ne still finds some feggaguir at El-Golea and in several other oases, such as the 
little oasis of Bu-Kais to the west of Sfisiffa (De la Martiniere and N. Lacroix, 
Documents pour servir a V etude du Nord-Ouest Africain, II, p. 402); and one finds 
some also in the oasis of Menchia in Nefzaua (South Tunis) ; one can compare with 
the foggara the shegga of Ed-Dis, a little oasis situated near Bu-Saada (the shegga 
is a trench in the rock for conducting water, sometimes making the water pass in a 
tunnel under the houses). But the Saharan province where the foggara is the chief 
device for conducting water is Tidikelt. These are oases to be counted among the 
most important, whether from the political or from the economic point of view. 
The feggaguir allow the conducting of subterranean water in streams to the gardens. 
An original foggara can become, if the main source of water is abundant, the central 
branch of an infinity of feggaguir. The main foggara belongs to the community, 
and all those who have worked to increase its producing power have a share in it 
in proportion to their work. There is still a subterranean canal system of the feg- 
gaguir type in use at the foot of the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, on the Atlantic 
slope, for example, in the great oasis of Marrakesh. There they call these subter- 
ranean conduits shattara, plural shatatir; Theobold Fischer has described at length 
their ingenious construction. (See " Wissenschaf tliche Ergebnisse einer Reise im 
Atlas- Vorlande von Morokko," Petermanns Mitt., Ergdnzungsheft, No. 133, pp. 
86-89). It is moreover a process known and practiced in all the deserts of the ancient 
world: kanat in Iran, sahrig in Yemen, etc. What made the natives build such costly 
systems for the circulation of water beneath the earth? The first to treat this 
problem very clearly was G. B. M. Flamant. E. F. Gautier discussed it in his turn, 
mentioning the fact that in Tuat alone there are at least 1,200 miles of feggaguir, 
and noting especially "the disproportion between the great size of the work and 
the small resources at the command of those who executed it"; his theory is that 
this could hardly be the result of a preconceived plan, but was born of increasing 
necessities ("Etudes Sahariennes," Ann. de geog., XVI, 1907, p. 66). Similar 
reservoirs have been built in many other desert situations. Back of Mollendo, Peru, 
there is an expensive dam to obstruct the surface flow down ravines that have living 
streams but once in several years. 


But, more surprising still, water is so valuable that here and 
there even on the arid and inhospitable slopes of the Shebka 
little dams of masonry are seen built upon the rough rocks that 
seem never to have known the friendly trickling of water. 
These little retaining dams are meant to gather up the water 
from the smallest local showers and form one of the most 
striking peculiarities of the Mzab. 

The Gardens of the Mzab 

What obstinate toil is implied by such enterprises and to 
what costly cultivation they must lead! The Mozabite is a 
skillful gardener who spares neither care, time, nor trouble. 1 
He, as well as the Soafa, knows the value of fertilizers and he 
uses systematically all of the few fertilizers that he can obtain. 
The gardens of the Mzab are better cared for, richer, and also 
more costly than anywhere else. They are not gardens for 
profit, but true luxuries. 2 In the Mzab, as in the Suf, the 
price of the tree no longer depends upon what it produces but 
upon the work that it has cost and represents. In the Suf, 
as we have said, a palm tree costs all the way from $10 up to 
the incredibly high price of $120 (50 to 600 francs); in the 
Mzab it costs easily from $60 to $80 (300 to 400 francs) and 
goes as high as $100 or $120 and even $200 (500, 600, 1,000 
francs). A palm tree which is worth an average price of $50 
or $60 (250 or 300 francs) does not produce on the average 
more than $2.00 worth (10 francs) of dates per year. 

It is to be noted that the only profitable palm groves owned 
by the Mozabites are those outside of Mzab, particularly in 
Wargla. 3 

And yet what magnificent vegetation in these gardens of 

*It was a Mozabite who first introduced the palm to Orleansville, by taking 
there a quick-growing species from Mzab which could come to maturity under a 
northern sky. The Mozabites fertilize their palms with the pollen of the male blossoms 
saved from the preceding year. It is very natural that they should have had the 
idea of accomplishing fertilization at Orleansville with flowers brought from the 

2 Captain Cauvet gives these calculations: it cost about $220 a year to keep up 
a garden of fifty palms, and such a garden can bring a maximum return of barely 
$200; for instance, some $100 for dates, $40 for fruits, $30 for summer vegetables, 
520 for winter vegetables and cereals, and about $4 for various products such as 
grass, wood, etc. 

3 Many of the million palm trees in the great forest of the different oases of Wargla 
belong to the Mozabites. See Paul Blanchet, "L'Oasis et le pays d'Ouargla," Ann. de 
geog., March 15, 1010, p. 153. 


the Mzab! They are veritable thickets that make one think 
of climates where the humid heat gives to vegetation a spon- 
taneous exuberance. Between the tall palm trees are planted 
enormous fig trees with multiple trunks hidden under the 
foliage of their spreading branches. Pomegranate, apricot, 
and peach trees form a veritable underbrush beneath the 
palms, while huge vine stalks send their branches in all direc- 
tions, their shoots clinging like creepers to the trunks of the 
palm trees. The sun can hardly penetrate these arbors of 
branches and leaves, and, while in other Saharan oases barley 
and beans' are cultivated at the foot of the palm trees, here 
they are often relegated to the border of the palm grove, form- 
ing around the gardens a fringe of brighter green. 

There are, of course, some differences between the several 
oases of the Mzab. For example, at Beni-Isguen the wad is 
more confined between the two rocky and arid slopes. There 
is less room between the wad and the mountain, with the result 
that, since the barley, beans, carrots, radishes, and felfel (a 
red pimento very much liked by the Arabs) cannot be sown 
on the edges, they are sown under the palm trees. The fruit 
trees are therefore much less numerous and do not form such 
dense thickets as at Ghardaia. In short, the impression 
produced by the Mzab is very complex. 

Throughout the Mzab there are sights that remind one of 
Egypt. Doubtless the first and chief reason of this is to be 
found in those steep slopes of arid rock of the valleys of the 
Shebka, the colors of which, yellow, tawny, or red, according 
to the time of day, recall the long Libyan and Arabian cliffs, 
the bare and colored slopes that border the valley of the Nile. 
Then, too, it often happens in the Mzab that cultivation 
stops at a more precise limit than in other Saharan oases. At 
Berrian in particular little squares of green barley form minute 
oases entirely surrounded by rocks and sand. The continuous 
creaking of the pulleys of the kassi (wells) reminds one also 
of the creaking of the Egyptian sakiyeks; and those wells of 
Beni-Isguen, where the proprietors divide the hours of use or 
sell them to others and where the work goes on night and day, 
make one think involuntarily of those sakiyeks of Upper 
Egypt which the Nubians own in common and to which each 


comes in turn with his animal to draw the water, so that 
there is no interruption in the important work. 

But, on the other hand, mixed gardens thick with foliage, 
like those of Ghardaia and Metlili, carry our thought far from 
the flat and homogeneous fields of cotton or sugar cane on the 
banks of the Nile and call to mind the pleasure gardens of 
Cairo or Alexandria. # 

The Houses and the Cities of the Mzab 

The Mozabites, who are such skillful builders, have in fact 
at their disposal an admirable mortar, the timshent. A dark, 
reddish-brown limestone mixed with earthy gypsum and 
called kaddan gives, when burned, this timshent, which has a 
pinkish color and as a mortar has the double advantage of 
drying very quickly and of having a solidity that withstands 
any test. It "sets" rapidly and has the qualities of cement. 
The Mozabites, therefore, like the Soafas, have very good 
facilities for building. Since they live on the rock, they have 
available a large supply of stone, in addition to the valuable 
timshent. It should be noted that again in this case the work 
demanded of man in the geographical environment of the 
Mzab is much more laborious and costly than that of the Suf. 
The timshent, like lime, is a product obtained by burning. 
In a country like the Mzab where wood and other fuels are 
scarce the burning of the kaddan means much labor. The 
people burn drinn or retem and have to go far to gather these 
tufts of fuel. But the Mozabites are accustomed to laborious 
and continuous effort and their dams give proof of a perfection 
in building also to be seen in their houses and cities. The 
houses of recent times also seem higher than the old. From 
a distance some of them resemble those quadrangular towers 
of masonry that rise above the gates of our European cities. 

The Mozabites have always built houses of stone, consisting 
of two stories and constructed with much care. 1 The ground 
floor opens on an inner court or the rooms of the first floor 
open on a terrace in the form of a court and these openings are 

1 Some houses are of pise work, but this is the exception. The stone house ceases 
farther south: "The houses of this little city [El Golea] are different from those of 
Metlili; they consist of four earthern walls covered by a roof of palm branches" 
(Duveyrier, "Coup d'ceil sur le pays des Beni-Mezab et sur celui des Chaanba occi- 
dentaux, Bull, de la Soc. de geog. de Paris, 4th series, XVIII, 1859, p. 239). 




Jean Brunhes 

161. The Market Square at Ghardaia with 
Irregular Semicircular Arches 

generally arcades with semicircular arches (Fig. 163, p. 441), 
of which they are very fond. The market square of Ghardaia 
is bordered with such arcades (Fig. 161). The Mozabites 

make the arches 

by means of bent 
palm branches 
upon which they 
place the timshent, 
afterward remov- 
ing the branches. 1 

The Mzab house 
is on the whole 
less original than 
the Suf house, 
but when grouped 
together the gen- 
eral appearance is 
not comparable. 
The Mozabite city 
has a physiognomy entirely its own (Figs. 162, 163, and 164). 

The seven cities, eight if we include Metlili, in spite of their 
differences have a family resemblance which they owe not 
only to the large number of arcades and to their notched walls 
of timshent but also to the tall minarets of their mosques, to those 
somars in the form of obelisks which are built of timshent 
and of which the red color is as characteristic as the form. 

Melika is built like a fortress on the edge of an escarpment 
of the Shebka, crowning it with a horizontal strip of white 
and red buildings; and above this strip rises the red obelisk 
of the mosque (Fig. 164). Beni-Isguen extends from the top 
of the slope, where there is a high gate, to the bottom of the 
wad in two stages, the minaret rising midway. But several 
of the Mozabite cities have been grouped upon isolated hills. 
This is true of Gerrara, 2 Bu-Nura, Berrian, the ksar Metlili, 
and especially Ghardaia, the chief city of the Mzab. 

^Amat (Le M'zab et les M'zabites, p. 130) seems to say that the Mozabites also 
built vaults without making use of girders, but he is not very explicit. 

2 Gerrara is built, at the edge of the Shebka limestone, on a peak of sandstone. 
For the history of Gerrara see A. de C. Motylinski, Guerrara depuis sa fondation 
(translation of a narrative edited by Si Mohammed ben Chetioui ben Slimane of the 
Cheurfa of Gerrara), Jourdan, Algiers, 1885. 



None of the cities of the Mzab has a more striking situation 
and appearance than Ghardaia. It is built upon a rocky island 

Jean Brunhes 

Fig. 162. Ghardaia, the Principal City of the Mzab, seen from the 


Compare this picture of Ghardaia with that of Melika (Fig. 164) 

that rises in the midst of a valley. Its light-colored, sunlit 
houses, mingled with the dark shadows of the arcades and 
separated by narrow circular streets, rise above each other 
in harmonious strength and, to crown this confused yet 
ordered and aspiring mass, at the very top rises the highest of 
the minarets of the Mzab, seeming higher still because of this 
compact pedestal of houses surrounding and supporting it. 1 
Evidently there are some differences between the various 
oases of the Mzab. At Beni-Isguen, as we have already said, 
the wad is much narrower than at Ghardaia and the inhabitants 
of Beni-Isguen have built their houses on the edges of the 
slopes rather than at the bottom where they would have run 
the risk of being inundated in time of flood. 

1 See the plan of Ghardaia in 1882, on the "Carte des Kzour du M'zab" which accom- 
panies the article by Dr. Huguet, " Dans le Sud-Algerien, " Bull, de la Soc. de geog., 1899. 



The Mzab presents another curious fact with regard to the 
human dwelling. Not only does the Mozabite live on the prod- 
ucts of his gardens but he passes half his life in these gardens. 
Everyone owns, besides his town house in one of the villages 
we have named, a house in his garden. Here he lives with 
his entire family during the hot months, often remaining more 
than half the year, from May to the first of December, and 
living chiefly on the dates, vegetables, and fruits that grow on 
the spot. He thus has two houses, a town house and a coun- 
try house. While the town houses are grouped close together, 
the country houses are scattered in the gardens, almost hidden 

Fig. 163. 

Jean Brunhes 

Ghardaia, Seen from the Top of the Minaret of the Mosque 

The houses form terraces up the slope of the elevation which is dominated by the 
mosque. At the left is a type of interior court bordered by arcades. 

under the palms and the branches of the fruit trees. They 
are built, however, in the same way as the town houses and, 
like these, often have a second story. 1 

x The Duiri of South Tunis also build country houses in their gardens for the 
summer, but these are rudimentary houses; they are composed of four walls without 
a roof. See P. Blanchet, "Le Djebel Demmer," Ann. de geog, May 15, 1897, p. 245. 



Separate mention should be made of the curious settlement 
of Metlili. South of the oasis of the Suf we have seen that 
curious camp of Hamish where the nomads pitch their tents 

Jean Brunhes 

164. Melika, Seen from the Southwest 

near the gardens of the Suf type and in front of desheras (gran- 
aries) built exactly like the houses of the sedentary Soafas. 

South of the oases of the Mzab the settlement of Metlili marks 
a transition analogous to that of Hamich. Here also nomadic 
Shamba 1 have gardens entirely similar to those of the sedentary 
inhabitants of the Mzab and watered by wells of the same type. 
These nomads pitch their tents in their gardens, near summer 
houses, which are built in the same way as in the Mzab and, as 
in the- Mzab, are scattered in the midst of plantations. 

To explain this curious combination of nomadic and seden- 
tary life there is a tradition that there was once an exchange of 
sixty families between the little town of Melika and the ksa? 
of Metlili : sixty Mozabite families are said to have settled at 

1 Nomads of the Shamba- Berezga: the Ulad-Allush and the Ulad Abdelhad. 
(The Tableau des communes, etc., gives to the latter the name of Ulad Abdelkader.) 



Metlili while sixty Shamba families were received at Melika. 

When one has come to know the great difference in the 
Sahara between the nomad and the sedentary person, one is 
baffled by the complexity of such facts as are presented by these 
transitional types, like Metlili in the Mzab and Hamish in the 
Suf. Is it a case of the power of an exceptionally superior 
cultivation (sedentary) imposing itself upon those who despise 
cultivation (nomads) ? It would be rash to give this as the 
only reason. What is certainly true is that human estab- 
lishments in the desert show much greater cultural complexities 
than is generally believed, and this is a new and exact con- 
firmation of all that has been said in chapter IV of nomadism 
and semi-nomadism. 

Let us glance at the appended table, which is drawn up on 
exactly the same plan as the preceding table for the oases of 
the Suf and based upon figures dating from 1896 : x 

The Seven Cities of Mzab 

Number of 




Palm Trees 

Ghardaia, ksar 












Melika, ksar 

Beni-Isguen, ksar 

Bu-Nura, ksar 

El Ateuf, ksar 

Gerrara, ksar 

Berrian, ksar 







Group of Metlili 

Metlili, ksar 




1. 814 






Ulad Alush (nomads) 

Ulad Abdelhad (nomads) .... 







It is easy to see how the nomadic character of the inhabitants 
of Metlili (sedentary inhabitants of the ksar and nomads 

1 The figures given have been taken from the Arab Bureau of Ghardaia. Again 
thanks are due Captain Cauvet, whose courtesy and competence so many travelers 
have long appreciated. The Tableau general des communes de I'Algerie au i er Janvier, 
1897, prepared at the order of J. Cambon by F. Accardo, furnishes only the figures 
which have to do with the human population (p. 56) ; we have compared them with 
our own figures of population; they are very much alike, or even identical. The 
number of inhabitants by cities, which Ch. Amat gave in 1888 (Le M'zab et les M'zabites, 
p. 226), on the contrary, differs quite considerably from ours. It goes without saying 
that we do not pretend to attribute absolute correctness to the figures which we 
have here brought together, any more than to those of the table of the Suf; in regions 
where the census of human beings is only approximate, the statistical evaluation of 
herds is even more approximative. But in regard to their relative values and their 
general relation to each other, they are exact enough to be noted here and consulted. 


included) asserts itself: fewer than 6,000 in number, they own 
nearly 4,000 camels, while the 25,000 inhabitants of the seven 
cities possess in all only 500. 

But, on the other hand, the inhabitants of Metlili have 
almost as many palm trees (27,000, which is an average of 
5 palm trees per inhabitant) as the Mozabites of the cities 
(166,000, which is more than 6 palm trees per inhabitant). 1 

The Mozabites 

Thus the Mozabite inhabits several houses. He cultivates 
with a view to his own pleasure and varies his cultivation in 
order to have choice products at all times of the year. He 
provides himself with fruits of every sort. He does not export, 
but, on the contrary, he imports many products, particularly 
meat; he even brings in from outside foods that are produced 
in the Mzab, but in insufficient quantities, such as dates, fruits, 
etc. The Mozabite is rich and lives well, and yet, strange to 
say, he works hard. 

After all, what is this strange personage who lives a life so 
refined and cultivated in an environment so sterile that at 
first glance it seems to exclude all cultivation and all life, 
even though rudimentary? The Mozabite is becoming more 
and more an abnormal phenomenon; he can no longer be 
explained by the Mzab alone. The Mozabite of former times, 
if he was merely a cultivator, doubtless led a simpler and less 
expensive life; the Mozabite of to-day cannot be understood 
without the Tell. 

The Mozabite is a cultivator in his childhood and late in 
life, but during middle life he is a business man. He is born 
and dies in the Mzab. Though he comes back at regular 
intervals, 2 he passes the greater part of his life far from his 
country; he emigrates to the Tell to earn his living and he 
often grows rich there. 

1 Again. it may be noted how much more Geirara and Berrian, the two cities of 
Mzab which are ex-centric, as it were, being more isolated, mingle with the nomads 
who surround them, and show more important flocks and herds (the 3,322 inhabitants 
of Gerrara have 1 18 camels, the 3,040 inhabitants of Berrian have 3,670 sheep and 
1.335 goats.) 

2 He must return to his country at least once in every two years; a woman whose 
husband does not return at the end of two years has the right to marry another. 
But these rules, which formerly were so rigorously observed and obeyed, are falling 
more or less into disuse. 


The Mozabites are emigrants who are not moved by great . 
appetites or great desires (like the Anglo-Saxons), since they 
dream of returning to pass their old age in their native country 
in a modest environment. They are not emigrants who are 
urged on by poverty in the strict sense of the word, for nothing 
is less poverty-stricken than the Mzab. They form a special 
class of emigrants who are poor only because their form of 
cultivation must be a rich man's cultivation, kept up at great 
expense; the poverty that urges them toward the Tell is 
relative. 1 

They are not absolutely all emigrants and they do not all 
become merchants; but, among the Mozabites, not to emigrate 
is to lose caste. In fact they are not outcasts, reduced to 
poverty, who go to seek their fortune in a more hospitable 
land. It is not as elsewhere, even in the Suf, the proletariat 
that furnishes the regular contingent of emigrants. Here in 
the Mzab it is the chosen few who set the example and main- 
tain the tradition; or, better still, it is the former emigrants 
who become the elite and from whom the chiefs are chosen. 
The kaids of the Ksur are former emigrants who have grown 
rich as merchants. 

In the Tell the Mozabite is a merchant, a small shopkeeper, 
notion-dealer, grocer, coal-seller, or butcher. 2 He is easily 
recognized in the little shops of Oran or Algiers by his round, 
flat face and his gandura with large colored stripes. 3 It is 

x And it is this relative poverty that has saved them. What fine types of humanity 
are to be met with in the Mzab! One must have visited other oases of the Sahara, 
especially the oases peopled by blacks, to realize by contrast the value of the people 
of the Mzab. See the frank and vigorous book by E. Gautier, La Conquele du Sahara, 
Essai de psychologie politique, Armand Colin, Paris, 1910, especially pp. 134 ff., where 
he speaks of the "physical abasement " of the " sixty thousand Ethiopians " of Gerrara, 
of Tuat, and of Tidikelt. Farther on, E. F. Gautier writes: "The sedentary inhab- 
itant, in the Sahara, is something like a foreign body in the organism; a black coolie 
attached to the soil. . . . The true Saharian, the aboriginal, is the nomad, as for 
instance the Tuareg" (pp. 175 ff.). On the subject of the Tuareg, consult Captain 
Aymard's fine volume, Les Touareg, Hachette, Paris, 191 1 — interesting, vivid, and well 

2 0ne-third of the male population migrate to the Tell, where they set up pros- 
perous shops. Each city has its favorite centers: the people of Ghardaia go to 
Algiers, to Oran, and to Constantine; those of 'Beni-Isguen to Djelfa, Tlemcen, and 
Laghuat; the inhabitants of El Ateuf settle at Bu-Saada, Aumale, and Setif; the 
natives of Melika go to Batna and Boghari; only at Algiers does one meet with the 
natives of Bu-Nura, and the people of Gerrara and of Berrian turn especially toward 
Tunis. Many Mozabites make fortunes; but their hearts are all set on their own 
land, there they all hope to return some day" (Amat, op. cit., p. 202). 

3 The Mozabite merchant of the Tell wears a many-colored gandura; at Mzab 
the ricn or learned Mozabite affects one of pure white wool. 


with the money that he makes elsewhere that the Mozabite 
is .able to keep up the expensive cultivation of the Mzab. 1 
It is because they are merchants that they can continue to 
cultivate their oases. 

The Mozabites are skillful merchants who do much more 
business in the Mzab than might be supposed. 2 At Beni- 
Isguen there is a Mozabite who has a sort of retail bazaar and 
who, in the first part of March, 1900, ordered of one traveling 
agent merchandise, liquids, preserves, etc., worth $4,000 
(20,000 francs) and of another hardware worth $1,000 (5,000 
francs). He sends the money at once, practically paying 
cash. This retailer often does $200 worth of business in a 

The Mozabite merchant comes once a year, toward Septem- 
ber, to the Tell. He goes from Algiers to Tunis to leave all 
his orders at once, and many of these orders together amount 
to $20,000 (100,000 francs). 3 

This is not the place to discuss the history of the Moza- 
bites, their religion, 4 their political life with its strong tendencies 
toward equality, their strong municipal constitution, the con- 
federation of their seven cities, 5 their struggles of sof with 
sof, 6 their customs and their laws, 7 nor their language. 8 The 
Mozabites govern themselves and do it well. Regarded by 

JThe Mozabites have lost much through the suppression of slavery; they used 
to work a great many negroes. 

2 For the varieties of commerce practiced by the Mozabites, see Ch. Amat, op. 
cit., pp. 205 ff. "The Mozabite is the banker for all the nomads of the central 
Sahara. He makes use of them for commercial operations, he employs them as 
simple commissioners or as contractors" (p. 205). 

3 The Mozabite strives by every means to earn money enough to live, and to 
live in the Mzab. The Mzab buys a great deal of wool. "The manufacture of 
native clothing and of wool rugs employs, in the Mzab, more than 6,000 working 
men and women, chiefly of that country" (Le Pays du moulon, note 1 on p. 171). 

4 They belong to the Mussulman sect of the Kharidjites (see Ch. Amat, op. cit., 
pp. 138 ff.; see especially E. Masqueray, Formation des cites, etc., pp. 178 ff.) 

5 See A. Coyne and especially Masqueray. 

6 See Masqueray and Dr. Huguet. 

7 See E. Zeys. 

8 See E. Masqueray, "Comparaison du dialecte des Zenaya du Senegal avec les 
vocabulaires des Chaouia et des Beni M'zab," Archives des missions, 1879, 3d 
series, Vol. V, especially the excellent works by Rene Basset on the Berber dialects 
(see Bernard, and Lacroix, Histoire de la penetration saharienne, p. 115), and also 
M. Idoux, "A propos d'une grammaire M'zabite," in Rev. bourguignonne de V enseigne- 
ment supericur, IX, 1899, No. 2, which contains at the beginning a bibliography. 
On the etymology of the word Zenata, the name of one of the greatest Berber families, 
see Ibn Khaldoun, Histoire des Berberes et des dynasties mussulmanes, translation by 
Slane, Algiers, 1852, III, pp. 188 ff. 


the Arabs as schismatics, they detest them 1 and are jealous of 
their own independence. 2 Some cities even retain the customs 
of rigorously closed ethnic and religious citadels. 3 In short, the 
Mzab is a type of race that has kept a religious belief intact. 4 


It has been our intention to emphasize the abnormal char- 
acter of these facts of human geography. They are facts such 
as our utilitarian civilization can no longer produce or even 

1 They themselves are broader minded toward believers in religions more unlike 
their own. In the Mzab there are a certain number of Jews; two synagogues have 
been built there; the Mozabites, I am told, live on a good understanding with the 
Jews. Duveyrier declared in 1859: "Ghardai'a is the only city of Wad Mzab with 
a Jewish population reaching as high as 290 or 300 individuals" ("Coup d'ceil sur le 
pays des Beni-M'zab," etc., Bull, de la Soc. de geog., Paris, 1859, p. 325)- P- Soleillet, 
who spent the months of February and March, 1873, in the Mzab, tells us that there 
were not yet any Jews, except at Ghardai'a, and "living to the number of 50 or 60 
families in a separate quarter" (L'Afrique occidentale, Algerie, M'zab, Tidikelt, Avignon, 
1877, p. 70). Ch. Amat, in 1888, counted more than 400 of them at Ghardai'a and 
more than 300 in Berrian and Gerrara together (p. 226). 

2 The Mozabites, who are the first to go to the French school when they are in 
the Tell (for there French is of great service to them), rarely send their children to the 
the French- Arab schools of the Mzab; they are afraid of losing their character of a 
closed sect. It does not enter into our plan (and we regret it) to discuss the schools 
of the White Fathers. On the efforts of the White Fathers and of the White Sisters 
at Ghardai'a and in the Mzab, and on Mgr. Toulotte, see at least Captain de l'Epre- 
vier, "Voyage dans le Sud-Algerien, Un mois dans le Sahara," Bull. Soc. geog., Algiers, 
1897, pp. 401-402; see especially the very interesting bulletin which appears every 
two months, Missions d'Afrique des Peres Blancs (Paris, rue de Cassette, 27). With 
regard to the very subject of which we are speaking, the non-attendance of the 
Mozabite children at the French schools, Captain de l'Eprevier said very truly in 
1897: These missionaries "teach the children whom the parents are willing to 
entrust to them (these are especially the Jews)" (p. 402). However, the bulletin 
of the White Fathers, in its 151st No., January- February, 1902, tells us of what is 
really a revolution in the attitude so long observed by the Mozabites toward the 
French school; Father Chenivesse speaks of "a hundred or more pupils, almost all 
Mozabites," and adds: "The Jews were the chief clientele of our dispensary also; 
this year it is the distrustful Mozabites who are more numerous among the sick 
that are cared for" (p. 226). For the French influence we earnestly hope that 
these facts be confirmed and the new attitude become stronger; but these very 
"novelties" that surprise us confirm a contrario our observations. 

3 Beni-Isguen is the closed city par excellence; they do not allow strangers to pass 
the night there; after market days, at six o'clock, they make everybody leave the 
city, and then shut the gates for the whole night. The letter from Father Chenivesse 
quoted above verifies the uncompromising character of Beni-Isguen: "It is only at 
Beni-Isguen, the "holy city" of the Mzab, that the inhabitants receive us always 
with the same deliberate indifference. Even the Sisters of Charity, everywhere 
considered as angels to whom all doors open, are no more fortunate than we in this 
puritan city. In a whole day devoted to offering their services to the sick, they 
were enabled to care for only one" {Missions d'Afrique des Peres Blancs, No. 151, 
January-February, 1902, p. 227). 

4The co-religionists of the Mozabites, their brothers in schism, such as the in- 
habitants of the island of Djerba, have similarly preserved a marked ethnical in- 
dividuality. Ch. Amat, on one page of his book, has an expressive sentence which 
well sums up the characteristics of the Mozabites: "Combining a natural taste for 
building with a strong religious discipline, masons controlled by monks, they (the 
Mozabites) have been the colonizers of the Sahara, as their Romanized ancestors 
(the Berbers) had been the colonizers of the Tell" (p. 188). 


tolerate. All our agricultural enterprises are founded more 
or less, and certainly more and more, on the income from the 
soil. _Ou£jcapjtalistic habit of thought makes us less and less 
able to conceive as possible an establishment which costs 
large and continuous effort and yet serves only for the regular 
maintenance of ordinary daily life. We think too much of 
the future (of the future more than of the present) to establish 
activities that will demand constant and energetic toil for such 
a humdrum end, and the colonization of the Sahara will have 
to become more profitable or it will not be carried out. On 
the other hand, our present economic life is based upon the idea 
of bringing into relation — that is, into competition — different 
parts of the earth ; and that means, after a more or less extended 
period, the condemnation of those regions where the labor 
must be as great as the result is meager. Already the Moza- 
bites, those daring and economical merchants who know the 
Tell and live in it, look upon theirs as a poor country. 1 If 
they still love it, if they are still attached to it and return to 
it, they do so as the native of Auvergne who has grown rich in 
Paris returns to his country to build a new house in the valley 
of the Cere or the Jordane. In the return of the Mozabite, 
as in the return of the Auvergnat, there is proof of a traditional 
attachment to his country, but there is also a certain pride in 
displaying before the eyes of his fellow-countrymen the results 
of a life of toil. The son of the Parisian Auvergnat, born in 
Paris, still loves Auvergne but has much less desire to return 
to it. The Mozabites as yet are all born in the Mzab, since 
the Mozabite emigrates without his wife (like the Auvergnat 
who emigrates to Spain as a baker or horse-trader, or the 
French Canadian who works in the mills of southern New 
Hampshire). However, some of them have begun to remain 
in the Tell and, although religion, the strongest tradition, 
and the proud isolation of this people in the Shebka create 
bonds between the Mozabite and the Mzab that will last for 
a very long time, we can see the beginnings of an evolution 
among these practical and intelligent men. 

'The Kaid of Ghardai'a, a very intelligent man who made his fortune in the Tell 
of Oran and who, for that reason, speaks better Spanish than French, gave me some 
categorical statements from this point of view in the course of the long talks in 
Spanish which I had with him. 


As a fact of human and social geography the Suf presents, 
from every point of view, an exceptionally remarkable case. 
Property does not consist of land, for in those immense extents, 
covered with sand and crossed by dunes, each may take the 
space he needs to plant a few palm trees or build his house. 1 
Nor does property consist of water, for water extends beneath 
the sand in a relatively broad sheet, within the reach of all 
who have the perseverance to remove eight or ten yards of 
sand in order to get near enough to it to plant their trees or 
to dig their wells. The only thing that can be considered 
property is the tree, and particularly the date palm. 2 Each 
owns what he plants and the ownership of the tree brings with 
it the use of the land. On the other hand, he who has no 
tree has no land and can dig no wells. Having no inherent 
right to land and water, he acquires possession of them only if, 
wishing to plant trees, he digs out and clears away the space 
for a garden. In other words, the water and the land belong 
to all; it is only work that causes, limits, and fixes private 
appropriation of them. 

Moreover, no one may plant a palm tree within a certain 
number of yards of other palm trees, and no one has a right 
to dig a well within the space upon which falls the shadow of 
a palm tree already planted. Furthermore, only those who 
own trees on the outer edge of a hollow have the right to in- 
crease their gardens and plant new trees in it, and it is for 
their interest to leave sufficient distance — from 22 to 32 feet (7 
to 10 meters) — so that the palm trees may not interfere with 
each other. And since the owner of a palm tree on the edge of 
a garden can always by his labor increase his plantation, his 
palm trees command a much higher price than those surrounded 
by others in the midst of a garden. Thus the geographical 
conditions are extraordinary enough to make the tree alone the 
initial cause, the limit, and the end of all individual wealth. 

The inhabited " islands" of the Suf and of the Mzab are 

x It goes without saying that, on the elevated portions, at the natural level of 
the sands, anyone who wanted to build a house would have a right to the land which 
his building covered; but private ownership of land exists only where there is good 

2 Even in a garden containing 10 or 15 palms, the trees belong to four or five 
different proprietors; so an inhabitant of the Suf possesses a tree in one garden, two 
or three in another, 10 or 15 in a third situated some hundreds of feet away, etc. 


human establishments situated in regions which were fitted 
by nature to be uninhabited. In the one case the wind 
threatens constantly to fill up the gardens; in the other there 
is constant fear that the water may fail. 

On arriving at Ghardaia, one is surprised to see the pic- 
turesque white city rising in the center of barren surroundings. 
Only now and then are seen dark spots made by scattered 
groups of palm trees; here and there ruins of wells prove that 
formerly irrigation and therefore cultivation extended up to 
the walls of Ghardaia. To visit the oasis to-day it is necessary 
to go two or three miles (four or five kilometers) up the valley, 
whither cultivation has migrated. 

The whole recent history of irrigation in Ghardaia depends 
upon a fact which is the most eloquent illustration of the 
difficulties and the ruin that may be caused by the absence of 
a general organization. Since 1867 the little oasis of Daiet 
ben Daua has been allowed to become established some miles 
above the oasis of Ghardaia. This oasis is to-day in full 
development at the expense of Ghardaia, for it uses and 
exhausts the water that once supplied the gardens below. 
Cultivation is becoming more and more scattered. 1 

In the Suf and the Mzab the difficulties are such that the 
inhabitants are seeking resources outside of the oases. These 
two ethnic and geographic groups live more and more from the 
Tell. These sedentary peoples have become nomads of a 
certain sort — that is, emigrants. Sedentary and masters of 
the art of cultivation but drawn into commerce by necessity, 
they are becoming more and more hybrid types, cultivators 
and merchants. 

If the Mzab and the Suf have seemed to us worthy of a com- 
parative study from the point of view of human geography, 
we have pointed out how unlike they were in cultivation and 
in general aspect. In the Suf the trees stand alone, with 
nothing at their foot — no plants, no canals, not even a ditch ; 
the ground is flat. In the Mzab, on the contrary, the soil is 
worked, turned over and arranged, and at the foot of the palm 

!The causes and the results of these facts, as well as the lesson which is to be 
derived from them, are set forth at length in Brunhes, L' Irrigation, ses conditions 
geographiques, ses modes et son organization dans les regions arides et desertiques de la 
Peninsule iberique et de VAfrique du Nord (1902), and we refer the reader to it. 


trees are dense thickets of different kinds of trees. Nowhere 
in the Sahara does the palm tree live more by itself than in 
the Suf ; nowhere is it more intermingled with other trees than 
in the Mzab. 

But from this group of comparative observations some 
common conclusion may be drawn, as follows. 

The Beni-Mzab and the Soafas have been able to establish 
their oases in the Shebka only by introducing the most highly 
perfected cultivation. The geographical conditions inexorably 
demand perfection. An ordinary type of cultivation was im- 
possible and men had to acquire a taste for the most methodi- 
cal and persistent exertion in order to maintain themselves. 

It seems that the geographical environment has had a still 
more profound influence upon the temperament of the Moza- 
bite and the Soafa, while differentiating them somewhat. In 
the Mzab the labor to obtain water is regular and constant, 
and ceases only in time of flood ; in the Suf the struggle against 
the sand is more irregular and intermittent. Likewise the 
Mozabite certainly works more constantly and energetically, 
while the Soafa is much more inclined to spells and periods 
of idleness. 

The Mzab and the Suf are not human establishments which 
have value merely from the work accomplished and the relative 
amount of production and comfort obtained in spite of natural 
conditions. They have value because of their absolute per- 
fection; they represent the best that can be imagined and 
realized in the way of oasis cultivation. It is as if we were to 
find a market garden of Long Island or of the suburbs of 
Detroit in a remote valley of the Rockies at an altitude of 
9,000 feet (3,000 meters). 

They are not outposts of humanity on the geographical 
periphery where human life becomes impossible, rudimentary, 
and, so to speak, limit-forms of human establishment such 
as groups of Eskimo huts. They are perfect and complete 
establishments which are situated in natural "islands" where 
life is possible but not easy, where the inhabitants are on the 
whole relatively numerous but where the organization of 
labor corresponds to much less perfection or to forms of social 
organization entirely different; that is, for example, to the 


nomadic life of pastoral peoples living in tents and in tribes. 
When we speak of the Soafas and especially of the Mozabites 
we are not speaking of primitive peoples (Naturvolker) meeting 
their essential needs by elementary processes, but of advanced 
types of civilized peoples (Kulturvblker) . 

It will perhaps be allowable to compare this type of high 
perfection in the exploitation of natural forces under such 
unfavorable conditions with that skillful and successful ex- 
ploitation that we find among the Finns. The Finns have 
succeeded in transforming a niggardly country covered with 
snow during seven or eight months of the year into a country 
which is not only self-supporting but which is developing its 
exportations more and more (butter, for example). Or we 
may compare the perfect cultivation of these desert oases with 
the intensive cultivation found in regions laboriously won from 
the sea (polders). Man's labor in the winning of useful land 
from the salt water of the lagoons represents an effort so per- 
sistent and methodical that it would be folly not to cultivate 
the reclaimed land intensively. 

In fact, the interest in a study of these two groups of the 
Suf and the Mzab is in bringing out the perfection of cultiva- 
tion under conditions so difficult that an ordinary, easy, and 
indolent cultivation would not have been able to establish 
itself. And this is the geographical point of view that must 
here take precedence of all others: It is the unfavorable condi- 
tions themselves that determine the perfection of these human 
establishments. The effort that man puts forth to exploit 
the land is a factor both in what he wishes to do and in the 
difficulties which the land imposes upon him. The more diffi- 
cult and refractory the earth shows itself, the more this effort 
increases in energy, skill, and ingenuity. Under the direct 
influence and under the pressure of imperious necessities man 
sometimes succeeds in attaining a rare degree of perfection. 







The regional diagram. 

The canyon country. 

Intermont basins. 

Snow-clad mountains, and bordering valleys. 

The loftiest habitations, in the world. 

Seasonal nomadism in Northern Chile and Argentina. 

The mountain border. 

The Desert of Tarapacd. 

The Bolivian highland. 


The life zones in the Central Andes of South America are 
so closely compressed that in many places it is but a day's ride 
from snow to cane fields, from high cold pastures to low hot 
valleys. On the east side are heavy forests, on the west a long 
desert. Ignorant shepherds who understand scarcely a word 
of Spanish live within fifty miles of some of the principal towns. 
The railroad tributaries are still to a large degree the llama 
and the mule pack-train. Irrigation, nomadism, mining, the 
controls of insolation, the forest, and relief, are on every hand 
and the responses of human kind are clear and unmistakable. 
Yet even the general maps available do not express the geo- 
graphic features of the country. To supply this need for a 

!This chapter on the Central Andes is substituted for a chapter entitled "Le Val 
d'Anniviers" in the original. The material is taken from Isaiah Bowman's various 
books and papers but especially from: " The Andes of Southern Peru," N. Y., 1916; 
"Regional Population Groups of Atacama," Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc, XLI, 1909, pp. 
142-154 and 193-21 1 ; Results of an Expedition to the Central Andes, Bull. Amer. 
Geog. Soc, XLVI, 1914, pp. 161-183; The Highland Dweller of Bolivia: An Anthro- 
pogeographical Interpretation, Bull. Geog. Soc. Phil., VII, 1909, pp. 159-184; The 
Distribution of Population in Bolivia, Bull. Geog. Soc. Phil., VII, 1909, pp. 74-93. 

29 453 


region of such great scientific interest would require much time 
and expense if it were undertaken through the medium of topo- 
graphic surveys. What can take the place of maps in such 
a case? It is here proposed that the geographer should use 
a so-called regional diagram. The purpose of this chapter is 
to explain this new diagram in relation to seven type exam- 
ples of the geography of the Central Andes. 

Each diagram brings out the factors of greatest importance 
in the distribution of the people in a given region. Further- 
more, the facts are compressed within the limits of a small 
rectangle. This compression, though great, respects all essen- 
tial relations. For example, every location on these diagrams 
has a concrete illustration but the accidental relations of the 
field have been omitted; the essential relations are preserved. 
Each diagram is, therefore, a kind of generalized type map. 
It bears somewhat the same relation to the facts of human 
geography that a block diagram does to physiography. 

To take an illustration: In Fig. 165 we have the Apurimac 
region near Pasaje, Peru (see location map, Fig. 166). At the 
lower edge of the rectangle is a snow-capped outlier of the 
Cordillera Vilcapampa. The belt of rugged country represents 
the lofty, steep, exposed, and largely inaccessible ridges at the 
mid-elevations of the mountains below the glaciated slopes at 
the heads of tributary valleys. The villages in the belt of 
pasture might well be Incahuasi and Patapampa. The floors 
of the large canyons on either hand are bordered by extensive 
alluvial fans. The river courses are sketched in a diagram- 
matic way only, but a map would not be different in its general 
disposition. Each location is justified by a real place with 
the same essential features and relations. In making the 
change from the actual to the type representation there has 
been no alteration of the general relations of the alluvial lands 
to each other or to the highland. By suppressing unnecessary 
details there is produced a diagram whose essentials have a 
simple character and clear relations. When such a regional 
diagram is amplified, as in this chapter, by photographs of real 
conditions, it becomes a sort of generalized picture of a large 
group of geographic facts. One could very well extend this 
method to the whole of South America or to any region whether 


Fig. 165. Regional Diagram of the Deep Canyon and Grassy Upland 
Environment in the Lofty Mountain Zone of Peru 

For location see Fig. 166, A; the numbers I, 2, 3, correspond in position to the 
same numbers in Fig. 167. 

mapped or unmapped. It would be a real service to geog- 
raphy to draw up a set of, say, twelve to fifteen regional 
diagrams, still further generalized, for the frontier regions of 
the world now known only through reconnaissance surveys. 
The same symbols are employed on all the diagrams 
as follows: snow, heavy cross-lining; strong relief, close cross- 
lining; moderate relief, open cross lining; plains and plateaus, 



Fig. i 66. Location Map of Part of Southern 
Peru Showing the Positions of Five of 
the Regional Diagrams in this Chapter 

A corresponds to Fig. 165; B, to Fig. 170; C, 
to Fig. 173; D, to Fig. 178; andE, to Fig. 182. 

no cross-lining; cliffs and 
canyon walls, hachures ; 
woodland and forest, small 
circles ; grass land, dots ; fine 
alluvium, small dots; 
coarse alluvium, large dots ; 
towns and villages, squares 
roughly proportional to 
their size; trails, dotted 
lines; railroads,' cross-tie 
symbol; swamps, tuft 
symbol ; lakes, horizontal 
cross-lining; etc. 


Returning to Fig. 165, we 
first note its location in 
Peru (Fig. 166). It repre- 
sents a region unknown to 
scientific geography until 
within the past few years — 
the western slope of the 
Cordillera Vilcapampa and 
the deep canyon country 
adjacent thereto. First 
there is the unpopulated 
snow-clad region at the 
top of the country. Below 
it are grassy slopes, the 
homes of mountain shep- 
herds, or rugged mountain 
country unsuited for graz- 
ing. Still lower there is 
woodland, in patches 
chiefly, but with a few large 
continuous tracts. The 
shady sides of the ravines 
and the mountains have the 
most moisture, hence bear 
the densest growths. 


Finally, the high country terminates in a second belt of 
pasture below the woodland. 

Wherever streams descend from the snow or woodland coun- 
try there is water for the stock above and for irrigation on the 


Fig. 167. Climatic and Topographic Cross-Section of the Deep Canyon 
and Grassy Upland Type of Environment 

The numbers along the trail in this diagram correspond in position with the same 
numbers in Fig. 165. 

alluvial fan below. But the spur ends, dropping off abruptly 
several thousand feet, have a limited area and no running 
streams, and the ground water is hundreds of feet down. 
There is grass for stock, but not water. In some places the 
stock is driven back and forth every few days. In a few places 
water is brought to the stock by canal from the woodland 
streams above, as at Incahuasi. In the same way a canal 
brings water to Hacienda Pasaje from a woodland strip many 
miles to the west. The little canal shown in the diagram, 
Fig. 165, is almost a toy construction, as it is only a few 
inches wide and deep and conveys only a trickle of water. 
Yet on it depends the settlement at the spur end and if it 
were cut the people would have immediately to repair it or 
establish new homes elsewhere. 

The canal and the pasture are possible because the slopes are 
moderate. The slopes were formed in an earlier cycle of erosion 
when the land was lower. They are hung midway between 
the rough mountain slopes above and the steep canyon walls 
below (Figs. 167, 168). Their smooth descents and gentle 
profiles are in very pleasing contrast to the rugged scenery 
about them. The trails follow them easily. Where the slopes 
are flattest farmers have settled and produce good crops of corn, 
vegetables, and barley. Some farmers have even developed 


three- and four-story farms. On an alluvial fan in the main 
valley they raise sugar cane and tropical and subtropical 


Fig. 168. The Apurimac Canyon near Pasaje, Peru. It is 10,000 Feet 

from the Top of the Country in the Background to the Floor 

of the Canyon. It is a Mile from the Camera to the 

Canyon Floor. See Figs. 165 and 167 

fruits; on the flat upper slopes they produce corn; in the 
moister soil near the edge of the woodland are fields of moun- 
tain potatoes; and the upper pastures maintain flocks of sheep. 
In one district this change takes place in a distance that 
may be covered in five hours. Generally it is at least a full 
and hard day's journey from one end of the series to the other. 
Wherever these features are closely associated they tend to 
be controlled by the planter, who lives in some deep valley 
thereabouts. Where they are widely scattered the people are 
independent, small groups living in places that are nearly 
inaccessible. Legally they are all under the control of the 
owners of princely tracts that take in the whole country, 
but the remote groups are left almost wholly to themselves. 
In most cases they are supposed to sell their few commercial 
products to the kacendado who nominally owns their land, but 
the administration of this arrangement is left largely to 


chance. The shepherds and small farmers near the planta- 
tion are more dependent upon the planter for supplies, and 
also their wants are more varied and numerous. Hence they 
pay for their better location in free labor and in produce sold 
at a discount. 

So deep are some of the main canyons, like the Apurimac 
(Fig. 1 68) and the Cotahuasi* that their floors are arid or 
semi-arid. The fortunes of Pasaje are tied to a narrow canal 
from the moist woodland and a tiny brook from a hollow in 
the valley wall. Where the water has thus been brought 
down to the arable soil of the fans there are rich plantations 
and farms. Elsewhere, however, the floor is quite dry and 
uncultivated. In 
small spots here and 
there is a little seep- 
age, or a few springs, 
or a mere thread of 
water that will not 
support a plantation, 
wherefore there have 
come into existence 
the valley herdsmen 
and shepherds. Their 
intimate knowledge of 
the moist places is 
their capital, quite as 
much as the cattle 
and sheep they own. 
In a sense their lands 
are the neglected 
crumbs from the rich 
man's table. So we find the shepherd from the hills invading 
the valleys just as the valley farmer has invaded the country 
of the shepherd. 

*. . 



...' ■/.';.: r 




Fig. 169. Type of Twisted Growth Found in 
the Belt of Woodland Shown in Fig. 166 


The intermont basin type of topography, illustrated in a 
score of localities in Peru, Bolivia, and northwestern Argen- 
tina, calls into existence a set of relations quite distinct from 



those we have just described. Fig. 170 represents the main 
facts. The rich and comparatively flat floor of the basin 
supports most of the people. The alluvial fans tributary 
thereto are composed on their outer margin of fine material 
and at their heads of coarse stony waste. Hence the valley 

farms also extend 
over the edges of the 
fans, while only pas- 
ture or dense chapar- 
ral occupies the upper 
portions. Finally 
there is the steep 
margin of the basin 
where the broad and 
moderate slopes of 
the highland break 
down suddenly to the 
floor of the basin. 
(See Fig. 171.) 

If a given basin lies 
at an elevation which 
exceeds 14,000 feet 
there will be no culti- 
vation, only pasture. 
If it lies at 10,000 or 
1 1 ,000 feet there will 
be grain fields below 
and potato fields 
above (see Figs. 171 
and 172). If the 
basin lies at a still lower elevation, fruit will grow in the 
basin and finally sugar cane and many other subtropical 
products, as at Abancay. 

Much will also depend upon the amount of available water 
and the extent of the pasture land all about. Thus the densely 
populated Cuzco basin has a vast mountain territory tribu- 
tary to it and is itself within the limits of barley and wheat 
cultivation. Furthermore there are a number of smaller 
basins nearby, like the Anta basin on the north, which are 

Fig. 170. Regional Diagram of the Basin Type 
of Topography; Deep Alluvial Soil, High 
Level Pastures. Rugged Snow-Clad Moun- 
tains, and Concentric Drainage 

For location see B, Fig. 166. 
171 and 172. 

See also Figs. 


dependent upon the better markets and transportation facili- 
ties of the Cuzco basin. 

A dominance of this kind is self- stimulating and at last is out 


Fig. 171. Border of the Cuzco Basin to Show Alluvial Floor. Steep 
Margin, and Edge of Grass Covered Upland. See Fig. 170 

of all proportion to the original differences of nature. Cuzco 
has also profited as the gateway to the great northeastern 





Fig. 172. Climatic and Topographic Cross-Section of an Intermont Basin, 

Peruvian Andes. See Corresponding Regional Diagram, 

Fig. 170, and Photograph, Fig. 171 

The thickness of the dark symbol on the right is proportional to the amount of each 
product at the corresponding elevations. 

valley region of the Urubamba and its big tributaries. All of 
the varied products of subtropical valleys find their immediate 
market at Cuzco. 


The effect of this natural conspiracy of conditions has been 
to place the historic city of Cuzco in a position of extraordinary 
importance. Hundreds of years before the Spanish Conquest 
it was a center of far-reaching influence, the home of the 
powerful Inca kings. From it the strong arm of authority 
and conquest was extended; to it came tribute of grain, wool, 
and gold. If the rise of the Incas to power was not related to 
the topography and climate of the Cuzco basin, at least it is 
certain that without so broad and noble a stage the scenes 
would have been enacted on a far different scale. The first 
Inca king and the Spanish conquerors after the Incas found 
here no mobile nomadic tribes melting away at the first touch, 
nor a race of savages hiding away in the forest fastnesses, 
but a well-rooted agricultural race and a large city. 

The full occupation of the pasture lands about the Cuzco 
basin is in direct relation to the physical conditions that con- 
trol the food supply. Every part of the region feels the pres- 
sure of population. Nowhere else in the Peruvian Andes are 
the limits between cultivation and grazing more definitely 
drawn than here. Moreover, there is to-day a marked differ- 
ence between the types that inhabit highland and basin. 
The basin Indian is either a debauched city dweller or, as 
generally, a relatively alert farmer. The shepherds, on the 
other hand, are exceedingly ignorant and live for the most 
part in a manner that is almost as primitive as at the time 
of the Conquest. They are shy and suspicious. Many of 
them prefer a life of isolation and rarely go down to the 
town. They live on the fringe of culture. The new elements 
which have come into their lives have come to them solely 
by accident and by what might be called a process of human 
seepage. The slight advances that have been made have not 
happened by design, they have merely happened. Put the 
highland shepherd in the basin and he would starve in com- 
petition with the basin type. Undoubtedly he would live 
in the basin if he could. He has been driven out of the 
basin; he is kept out. 

And thus it is around the border of the Abancay basin 
southwest of Cuzco, and other basins like it, as for example 
the Cochabamba and Cliza basins in Bolivia and the Salta 


basin or Valle de Lerma in Argentina, save that the Abancay 
basin is lower and more varied as to resources. There the 
Indian is in competition with the capitalistic white planter. 
He lives on the land by sufferance only. Great sugar 
estates occupy the basin floor; farther up the slopes are 
the farms of the Indians, and above them are the pastures 
of the ignorant shepherds. Whereas the Indian farmer who 
raises potatoes clings chiefly to the edge of the- Cuzco basin 
where lie the most undesirable agricultural lands, the Indian 
farmers of Abancay live on broad rolling slopes so well 
cultivated and fenced, so clean and productive, that they 
remind one of the beautiful rolling prairies of Iowa. 


In the Vilcapampa region on the eastern border of the Andes 
we have a third type of distribution (Fig. 173) The Cordillera 
Vilcapampa is snow-crested, containing a number of fine white 
peaks like Salcantay, Soray, and Soiroccocha. There are a large 
number of small glaciers and a few that are several miles long. 
There was here in glacial times a much larger system of 
glaciers which lived long enough to work great changes in 
the topography. The floors of the glaciated valleys were 
smoothed and broadened and their gradients flattened. The 
side walls were steepened and precipitous cirques were formed 
at the valley heads. Also, there were built across the valleys 
a number of stony morainic ridges. With all these changes 
there was, however, but little effect upon the main masses 
of the big inter- valley spurs. They remain as before — bold, 
wind-swept, broken, and nearly inaccessible. 

The work of the glaciers aids the mountain people. The 
stony moraines afford them handy sizable building material 
for their stone huts and their numerous corrals (Fig. 175). 
The thick tufts of grass in the marshy spots in the overdeepened 
parts of the valleys furnish them with grass for their thatched 
roofs. And, most important of all, the flat valley floors have 
the best pasture in the whole mountain region. There is 
plenty of water. There is seclusion, and, if a wall be built 
from one valley wall to another, an entire section of the valley 
may be inclosed, and with little labor. Thus each valley floor 



Fig. 173. Regional Diagram of the Cordillera Vilcapampa, Peru 
For location see C, Fig. 166 

is marked by a band of population. A village like Choque- 
tira, located on a bench on the valley side, commands an 
extensive view up and down the valley — an important feature 


in a village where the corrals cannot always be built near 
the houses of the owners. Long, finger-like belts of highland- 
shepherd population have thus been extended into the moun- 
tain valleys (See Fig. 173). Sheep and llamas drift right 

Fig. 174. 


A Potato Field at 12,000 Feet, Vilcabamba, Peru 

There is no cultivation. The seed potato is merely dropped into a hole made in 
the sod, and left to grow without further attention. 

up to the snow line, for in some places not more than a 
few hours' journey separates a village from a permanent 
snow field. 

There is, however, a marked difference between the people 
on opposite sides of the Cordillera Vilcapampa. On the west 
the mountains are bordered by a broad highland devoted to 
grazing. On the east there is a narrower grazing belt leading 
abruptly down to tropical valleys. The eastern or leeward 
side is also the warmer and wetter side of the Cordillera. The 
snow line is several hundred feet lower. The result is that 



patches of scrub and even a little woodland occur almost at 
the snow line in favored places. Mist and storms are more 


Fig. 175. Corrals in the Zone of Pasture at 15,500 Feet between Lam- 
brama and chuquibambilla, peru 

For location, see Fig. 166. 

frequent. The grass is longer and fresher. Vegetation in 
general is more abundant. The people make less of wool 
than of cattle, horses, and mules. Vilcapampa pueblo is 
famous for its horses — wiry, long-haired little beasts, as 
hardy as Shetland ponies. Cattle are found grazing only 
five hundred feet below the limit of perpetual snow. Thus the 
limits of agriculture are higher on the east; likewise the limits 
of cattle grazing that naturally goes with agriculture. This 


is especially well shown in the difference between dry Arma, 
deep-sunk in a glaciated valley west of the crest of the moun- 
tains, and wet Puquiura, a half day's journey east of the 
crest. There is no group on the east at all comparable to 
the shepherds of Choquetira on the west, either in the mat- 
ter of thoroughgoing dependence upon grazing or in that of 
dependence upon glacial topography. 

Though the effects of glaciation are strongly marked at 
high altitudes the most important effects are to be found 
below the limit of glaciation. The rock waste detached by 
the ice was swept forward by streams and deposited in the 
middle and lower courses of the valleys where it became the 


Fig. 176. Junction of the Yanitili and the Urubamba Rivers near 
Pabellon, Peru 

The grass-covered slopes extend down the dry lower valley slopes while the moister 
slopes at higher elevations are covered with mountain forest. 

productive soil of the mountain farmer (Fig. 177). The 
narrow touques of pasture land on the floors of glaciated 



valleys at high elevations thus have their counterpart in 
the narrow cultivated bands on the aggraded valley floors 
of lower elevations. Where the deep soils of glacial origin 


'■ r 2#*u 

'v. .'■* 


~ ! ^§j|p 





"' i 



^ytfjr&t " 5 *^^^^ 

■ML a %viKirV • ? «■ / IT ;*.. ™ 

H. L. Tucker 

Fig. 177. Alluvial Fill in High-Level Mountain Valleys. Peruvian 
Andes. Elevation, 11,000 Feet, Ollantaybamba, Peru 

The fill is the result of overloading of the streams in glacial times, in turn due to 
intensive glacial scouring at the valley heads. 

fall below the limit of severe frosts the degree of cultivation is 
astonishingly high. The smooth green fields stand out in strong 
contrast to the naked mountain walls forming the valley sides. 


In Fig. 178 we have one of the most extreme sets of 
conditions to be found anywhere and they have led to the 
development of the loftiest habitations in the world (Fig. 179). 
Between Antabamba and Cotahuasi occur the highest passes 
in the Maritime Cordillera. At 17,100 feet, just below one 
of the highest passes, is the last outpost of the Indian shep- 
herds. The snow line, very steeply canted away from the sun, 
is between 17,200 and 17,600 feet. At frequent intervals 
during the three months of winter, snowfalls during the night 
and terrific hailstorms in the late afternoon drive both shep- 
herds and flocks to the shelter of leeward slopes or steep 


Fig. 178. Regional Diagram of the Maritime Cordillera of Peru on the 

73d Meridian 

The environment in the region of the loftiest habitations in the world. For loca- 
tion see D, Fig. 166. 

canyon walls. Here we have the limits of altitude and the 
limits of resources. The inter- valley spaces do not support 
grass. Some of them are quite bare, others are covered with 
mosses. It is too high an altitude for even the tola bush — 


that pioneer of Alpine vegetation in the Andes. The distance 1 
to Cotahuasi is 75 miles, to Antabamba 50 miles. Thence 
wool must be shipped by mule-back to the railroad, in the one 


Fig. 179. The Highest Known Habitation in the World 

Elevation. 17,100 feet. Maritime Cordillera of Peru. The snowline is but a few 
hundred feet higher. 

case 250 miles to Arequipa, in the other, 200 miles to Cuzco. 
Even the potatoes and barley, which must be imported, 
come from valleys several days' journey away. The question 
naturally arises how these people live on the rim of the world. 
The main tracts of lofty pasture above Antabamba cover 
mountain slopes and valley floor alike, but the moist valley 
floors supply the best grazing (Figs. 180 and 181). The main 
valleys, moreover, have been intensively glaciated. Hence 
their floors are broad and flat, though their sides are steep. 
Marshy tracts, periodically flooded, are scattered through- 
out, and here and there are overdeepened portions where 
lakes have gathered. There is a thick carpet of grass, also 
numerous huts and corrals, and many flocks. At the upper 
edge of the main zone of pasture the grasses become thin 

'Distances are not taken from the map but from the trail. 


and with increasing altitude give out altogether, except along 
the moist valley floors or on shoulders where there is seepage. 

If the streams head in dry mountain slopes without snow 
the grassy bands of the valley floor terminate at moderate 
elevations. If the streams have their sources in snowfields 
or glaciers there is a more uniform runoff, and a ribbon of 
pasture may extend to the snow line. To the latter class 
belong the pastures that support these remote people. 

With extensive grazing grounds at high elevations and 
bands of pasture along snow-fed streams in broad valleys 
there combines a third factor: the character of the soil. 
Large amounts of volcanic ash and lapilli were thrown out in 
the late stages of volcanic eruption in which the present cones of 
the Maritime Andes were formed. The coarse texture of these 
deposits allows the ready escape of rainwater. In their present 
condition they would 
therefore be arid in 
almost any climate. 
The combination of 
extreme aridity and 
great elevation result 
in a double restraint 
upon vegetation. Out- 
side of the moist val- 
ley floors with their 
film of ground moraine 
on whose surface 
plants find a more 
congenial soil there 
is an extremely small 
amount of pasture. 
Here are the natural 
grazing grounds of the 
fleet vicuna. They 
occur in hundreds, and 
so remote and little disturbed are they that near the main pass 
one may count them by the score. 

The extreme conditions of life existing on the lofty plateaus 
of the Central Andes are well shown by the readiness with 

Fig. 180. Temporary Shelter Hut of Grass- 
Covered Poles Used by Mountain Shep- 
herds in Their Wanderings above 
the Zone of Habitation in 
the Peruvian Andes 

This hut is at an elevation of 15,500 feet 



which even the hardy shepherds avail themselves of shelter. 
Wherever deep valleys bring a milder climate within reach of 
the pastures the latter are unpopulated for miles on either side. 

Fig. 181. Huichihua, Pkri\ at 12.500 Feet 
Type of village found at high elevation in the zone of pasture, Peruvian Andes. 

These belts of lava plateau bordering the entrenched valleys 
are, however, as distinctly "sustenance" spaces, to use Penck's 
term, as the irrigated and fertile alluvial fans in the bottom 
of the valley. This is well shown when the rains come and 
flocks of llamas and sheep are driven forth from the valleys to 
the best pastures. It is equally well shown by the distribution 
of the shepherds' homes. They are found not down on the 
warm canyon floor, separated by a half day's journey from the 
grazing, but in the entrenched tributary valleys of Fig. 182 or 
just within the rim of the canyon. It is not shelter from the 
cold but from the wind that chiefly determines their location. 
They are also kept near the rim of the canyon by the pres- 
sure of the farming population from below. Every hundred 


feet of descent from the arid plateau increases the water 
supply. Springs increase in number and size; likewise belts 
of seepage make their appearance. The gradients in many 
places diminish and flattish spurs and shoulders interrupt the 
generally steep descents of the canyon wall (Fig. 183). Every 
change of this sort has a real value to the farmer and means 
an enhanced price beyond the ability of the poor shepherd to 
pay. If you ask a wealthy hacendado on the valley floor, who 
it is that live in the huts above him, he invariably says "los 
Indios," with a shrug meant to convey the idea of poverty and 
worthlessness. Sometimes it is "los Indios pobres," or merely 
"los pobres." Thus there is a vertical stratification of society 
corresponding to the superimposed strata of climate and land. 

Fig. 182. Regional Diagram of the Canyon and Lava Plateau Type of 
Topography in the Western Cordillera of Peru on the 73d Meridian 

For location, see E, Fig. 166 

From the foregoing it .will be clear that there is a quite gen- 
eral shifting of the shepherd population of the Central Andes 
in response to the seasons. It will be well to remember, 



however, and especially before we examine the remaining 
regions, that the causes and results of migration are often con- 
tradictory. These will depend on the state of civilization and 


Fig. 183. Irrigated Terraces at Huaynacotas in the Cotahuasi Canyon 

at 11,500 Feet 

the extremes of circumstance. Dry years and extremely dry 
years may even have opposite effects. When moderate dryness 
prevails the results may be endurable. The oases become 
crowded with men and beasts just when they can ill afford to 
support them. The alfalfa meadows become overstocked, and 
cattle become lean and