Geography and History
Section 1 - Geography and HistoryHere on the right is a picture of the Iceman. The Iceman was discovered in 1991 in the Alps Mountains of Italy. Because he was frozen, the Icemans body was preserved for thousands of years. In fact, scientists have determined that the Iceman lived about 5,000 years ago! Due to the fact that he is so well-preserved, scientists have learned a lot about how people lived 5,000 years ago.
Scientists have determined that the Iceman came from a community with people who were skilled in sewing. He wore clothes made of stitched-together animal skins.
The Iceman also used many weapons and tools, including, from left to right, a copper axe, a bow with arrows, and a dagger. These tools were used for hunting, chopping down branches from trees, and skinning animal hides to make clothing.
Understanding HistoryHuman beings are interested in learning about what came before them. We want to know how our parents and grand-parents lived. We wonder about what life was like hundreds or even thousands of years ago. About 5,000 years ago, people in Southwest Asia and Africa developed a system of writing. That was what marked the beginning of history.History - the recorded (written-down) events of people.Prehistory - the events of people that happened before writing was invented.
Prehistory: Digging Up the PastTo learn about the things that happened before writing was invented (a.k.a. prehistoric times), scientists look at objects that they dig up from the ground. These scientists are called archaeologists, and they look at bones, weapons, tools, and other objects to learn about the past.
History: A Record in WritingPeople who study written records about human life are called historians. Historians read about the accomplishments of people, religion, wars, rulers, and other things to learn about people who lived in the past.
Oral Tradition: A Record in Spoken WordBefore things were written down, many societies had an oral tradition. An oral tradition means that stories were passed down from one generation to the next by word of mouth. Sometimes, the stories became exaggerated, so oral traditions are not the most accurate form of history.This man is a griot from the African country of Mali. Griots memorize important events from a villages past. They retell the stories, and pass the knowledge on to young people who become the new griots.
Linking Geography and HistoryRemember, geography is the study of the earth and its features. If we understand geography, we can begin to explain why events happened in history.For example, the ancient Egyptian civilization developed around the Nile River. Each year, the Nile River flooded, which deposited rich black soil on the river banks. The soil was good for farming. Egyptian farmers could grow enough food to feed a large number of people in their cities. That meant that other people could do things besides farming, such as build monuments and develop religion. Without the Nile River, the ancient Egyptian civilization would not have become so successful.