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But unless the facts be accurately stated, it is evident that all arguments drawn from them are inconclusive. Political geography is therefore a science of facts, and not of hypothesis or speculation; it shows things as they are, and leaves to others to decide whether they ought to be so, or are likely to remain so.
The elements of the condition of a country are of two kinds, natural and artificial. The former, which belong properly to physical geography, are, its extent and coast-line, the configuration of its surface, its position on the globe, and its climate, its boundaries, and the nature of the countries or seas which border on it, the quality of its soil, and the character of its rivers, its natural productions, whether mineral, vegetable, or animal, and lastly its population. The artificial elements, which, being the work of man, are temporary and susceptible of modification, or even total change, consist of the dwellings of the inhabitants, their agriculture, and other branches of industry and trade, which constitute the wealth and capital of the country; the civil and political institutions, the social habits of the people, their religion, and language.
It is the business of political geography to furnish data to show the influence which the various elements above mentioned exercise upon the intellectual, moral, and economical habits of a people, and upon their political condition. The natural or topographic elements of a country being mostly permanent, their influence may be calculated according to certain rules. Thus, for example, the civilization of Europe has been greatly promoted by its geographical position, its temperate climate, and its peninsular form indented by two large inland seas, the Mediterranean and the Baltic, and by numerous gulfs and great rivers, all which circumstances must have facilitated colonization at first, and social intercourse and trade afterwards. Africa, massive and unbroken in its shape, with few navigable rivers, a burning climate, and vast deserts, has remained for the most part uncivilized to this day. And in Europe itself, which are the countries that have been most forward in civilization? Greece, Italy, and England. Greece, indented by numerous gulfs and creeks, surrounded by clusters of islands, affording numerous natural harbours, and placed on the threshold of Asia, and in a fine climate, was most favourably situated for commerce. Italy, long and narrow, with an extensive line of coasts, but with few bays or natural harbours, is inferior in this respect to Greece, while the want of tides in the Mediterranean sea renders the rivers nearly useless for the purpose of ship navigation. It is in great measure the want of natural harbours that has made Italy inferior in maritime commerce to Greece and to England. On the contrary, Greece is not so rich an agricultural country as Italy; she has not such an expanse of well-watered plains, nor so many fine valleys ; her mountains are more rugged and bare. And in Italy itself, we find that Venice, seated on her group of islets, forming natural harbours and canals, soon felt the influence of her position, and consequently became the principal maritime power of Italy, and in latter ages the only one. Man may do much to correct local disadvantages, but he can seldom wholly conquer them. In some cases, the geographical advantages remain neglected, through the agency of other causes, but these are exceptions, and not the rule. The coast of Dalmatia, with its numerous bays, inlets, and islands, is
excellently situated for maritime trade, but Dalmatia having always been a dependency of other states, first of Venice, jealous of its commercial monopoly, and lately of Austria, its resources have remained comparatively neglected, and it has not derived the advantages which might have been expected from its geographical situation. Yet the Dalmatian sailors are the boldest and best in the Mediterranean, while on a spot of its coast where an independent state long existed, Ragusa was a centre of trade and maritime enterprise. So true it is that geographical position will determine the industry of a country, if not trammelled by external circumstances.
Navigable rivers are the great arteries of social life. The free towns of Germany during the middle ages, and those of Holland, are instances of this. What makes the striking difference between Egypt, where civilization is older than history, its origin being lost in the obscurity of the mythic ages, and the rest of Northern Africa, which, in spite of so many colonies and conquests from different nations, still remains in the same wild half barbarous state as it was two thousand years ago and more? The Nile has been the great civilizer of Egypt, while Numidia and Mauritania, mountainous, and destitute of large navigable rivers, have never admitted civilization to penetrate far into the interior. Again, Spain, square and compact in its shape, with hardly any navigable river, and its centre forming a high naked table-land, labours under great obstacles to internal communication, and accordingly has never been a great commercial country; while Portugal, narrow, with a long line of coast fronting the Atlantic Ocean, and two noble æstuaries, the Tagus and the Douro, was for ages one of the great maritime powers of Europe. In the bleak north, the coast of Norway, with its innumerable ports, has been always a nursery of bold seamen. Manufactures may prosper in countries remote from the sea and from navigable rivers, and even on the mountains of Switzerland, as manufactures chiefly depend on the supply of fuel and water, and of the raw materials, which often are produced near the spot. In the case of bulky raw materials being brought from distant parts, the disadvantage of a remote internal manufacturing site is much greater. Those manufactures which, having these supplies at hand, are at the same time situated near the sea or a navigable river, must have a great advantage over all others. England unites all these requisites above every other country in Europe; its configuration, long line of coast, numerous natural harbours and navigable rivers, its inexhaustible supply of coals, its iron and tin mines, all these have established its supremacy in manufactures and maritime trade, and this supremacy it must retain as long as it retains its independence as a nation.
The natural elements of a country, by determining the industry of the people, influence at the same time their social and moral habits. The shepherd who grazes his flocks for one half of the year in the solitude of the Alps, the Apennines, and the Pyrenees, is a being of simpler habits, fewer ideas, and fewer words, than the labourer or artizan who lives in the crowded towns or villages of the plain. The nomadic Arab, being obliged to wander in quest of pasture for his cattle, lives constantly encamped, ever on the watch, and prepared for defence. He acquires habits of alertness and courage and of extreme sobriety. Milk and a few dates
are his general food. The Sheiks of the wandering Arab tribes, having no fixed habitations, no castles, or prisons, can only enforce their authority by popular consent. Hence the independent spirit of the nomadic Arabs, and the impossibility of conquering them, or at least of keeping them in subjection.
As we advance towards the pole, heat, as a general law, decreases, and the duration of daylight during one half of the year becomes more and more contracted: this occasions additional wants of fuel, warm clothing, and artificial light. The labourers of southern countries have fewer wants than those of northern ones, and therefore are less inclined to work hard. The precocity of women, and their early decay, in the countries near to or within the tropics, may account in a great measure for the custom of polygamy among many tropical nations, though polygamy is not confined to the natives of hot countries. The appearance of the sky influences the taste of the people for the arts. The sky of Greece and that of Southern Italy, their rich tints and brilliant appearance, the cheerfulness which they seem to spread over all nature, have impressed the people of those countries with a lively sense of beauty, and have contributed to form the style of their music, their poetry, and their architecture.
Climate affects the productions of a country, the habits of the people, and their commercial relations. The temperature of a country may be the result of the following circumstances : latitude, elevation of the surface, aspect or exposure to a particular point of the horizon, situation with regard to some great range of mountains, or to a sea or lake, prevailing winds, &c. The effects of mere latitude are often counteracted by