National Geographic : 1894 Dec 29
The Field of physical and economic Geography. 205 of the wonderful fitness of the earth for man's habitation and workshop. It includes the distribution of the animal, vegetal and mineral kingdoms; the atmospheric phenomena; the limits, forms and movements of land and water and their interrelations. The broad field of physical geography is of extreme practical importance as furnishing a vast array of knowledge not only in teresting in itself, but also as furnishing the fundamental bases on which necessarily rest the ultimate conclusions of economic geography in its efforts for the perfect evolution of man's material interests. The course and degree of permanency of the great currents of air and sea, the intensity and variation of the im portant factors of climate, the distribution of rain and snow, the prevalence of storms, the diversifications of land surfaces and ocean beds, the extent and relation of navigable waters and practicable roads, the habitat of faunas and the distribution of floras useful to mankind, and the ethnographic characteristics of different nations and races are the most important subjects that it furnishes for study and consideration. Economic geography-which may be said to be the compara tive treatment of the political and physical branches-owing to its practical bearings, is the most important part of this science, since it illustrates where, when and how the latent resources of the earth may be most advantageously exploited for the benefit of mankind. It involves a knowledge of the natural resources of different regions, of transportation routes, of natural elements that militate against or are favorable to special pursuits or indus tries, and of numberless social conditions that may affect the ini tiation, development or continuance of any material enterprise. In economic geography efforts should be made to supplement the accumulated data of political and physical geography by special study of soil, climate, trade routes, mineral and vegetal deposits and aggregations, transference and acclimatization of plants and animals, raw industrial materials, industrial appli ances, financial methods, trade restrictions, race prejudices or peculiarities, and other elements calculated to assist in the prac tical solution of the problem of bringing the producer and con sumer into such relations as will insure the greatest possible benefit to the world. Problems of this character offer endless and attractive means of cultivating the intellect, since the powers of thought are necessarily exercised and the faculties of observa tion stimulated.
1895 Apr 20