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Environmental Factors Leading to Civilization Along the Nile Essay

A. ) The two most significant environmental or physical geographic factors that contributed to the development and expansion of the United states had to be the Gold Rush, and the Irish Potato Famine. The Irish potato famine was devistating to Ireland and laid waste to it’s population, but ended up spurring Irish immigration to the United States, leading to both growth and expansion. The gold rush that took hold in the United States was one of the biggest factors that pushed people west and lead to a greater settlement of the west coast and all areas between. These two major events helped to shape the country that we know today.

The Irish Potato Famine was one of the most significant environmental factors that helped develope and expand the United States because it not only lead to a population swell, but contrubuted to our work force due to the large number of immigrants that came to the U. S. as a result of it. Before the famine, the Catholic Irish peasents lived a very poor lifestyle and were constantly under fear of being evicted by their land lords as their farms were downsized and their rents were raised. They grew potato crops in the fertile Irish soil and used those crops to pay their rents and feed their families.

This was many families’ sole source of income and nutrition. When the potato famine began in September of 1845, the potato crops failed universaly in Ireland, something that had never happened before. The poor Irish had been acustomed to a bad crop in a spot or two and they always had adjusted to circumstances before, and there was little loss of life over this previously. From 1845 and for the next 4 years, the crops would fail repeatedly and this caused wide-spread death, from both starvation and opportunistic infections such as typhus, that mowed people down by the thousands in their hunger weakend condition.

There were many theories about just why the crops failed, both superstitious and religious, but we know now that it was the fault of a fungus, carried on the winds from England where it had been brough over by the North American ships. This fungus, phytophthora infestans, florished in the damp cool climate of Ireland and consistently ruined the potato crops. By 1847, two years into the Irish Potato Famine, people began to seek greener pastures either as a result of eviction, or the promise of a new and better life in the United States.

There had been Irish imigration prior to this, but 1847 was really the first year where major waves of Irish families began to come to the United States. This lead to a population explosion on the eastern coast of the United States and the Irish immigrants who lived through the voyage found little welcome, often being taken advantage of and stolen from. The Irish immigrants brough with them new ideas about culture and religion and provided laborers for road work and other tasks that helped expand the United States. The Civil War is another event in wich the Irish took part.

The immigrants joined the Union Army in droves and some atribute the northern victory in that war to the seemingly endless supply of Union troops, composed largely of the immigrant population flooding into the United States at that time. How different would our country be had the famine not happened and the immigrants not come? The other major event that contributed to the expansion and developement of the United States was the California Gold Rush. The Gold Rush was an exciting time in the history of the United States.

It lead to a huge amount of expansion and settlement of the western-most poritions of the United States that were largely under-explored wilderness at that time. In May of 1848 gold was found along the banks of the American River near Sacramento, California. By August of that same year the New York Herald published an article about these findings, and so the Gold Rush was born! Men flocked to California to seek their fortunes in the hopes of a better life for themselves and thier families. They left their wives and children and came over land and by sea via Panama.

Prospectors seeking to strike it rich brought with them their American ideals and values, and are a big part of the reason that California became a state in 1850. The California gold fields were an exciting and dangerous place to be, with few laws and really no way to inforce those that they had. Prostitution and drunken brawls and shootings were common place and many-a-fortune was won and lost in gambeling at camp. Most prospectors did not, in fact, strike it rich and left disallusioned to either go back to their families, or to settle the area around San Francisco.

As a result of the Gold Rush, California’s population swelled from just 25,000 people to well over 220,000, when all was said and done. The population increase helped to settle the area and made San Fransico a major trade port for the Western United States as well as a gateway of sorts for travel and immigration. The influx of interest and travel in the west also paved the way for industries such as mining for silver in Nevada and the building of a transcontinental railroad to the west. The Gold Rush played a huge part in the expansion and development of the United States in that it had such an impact on California and the west.

California and the west coast as a whole just wouldn’t be what they are today had the Gold Rush not taken place. B. ) The most significant environmental or physical geographic factor that contributed to the development of Egyptian society was the Nile river. The area in question is made up of harsh, sandy desert and mountains. The river Nile flows down through this area and, due to the run-off from melting snow in the mountains each spring, carries with it rich, fertile soil that is really the only soil in the area suitable for crop production.

The people in the area could use this fertile soil to plant crops and, based this new-found dependability, begin to settle and build permanent dwellings and villages. Since the villagers could count on two harvests per year, in most years, this would create and excess of product that could then be used for trade. The area near the Nile river is the only area that is very suitable for a sustainable way of life. That is why civilization grew up there due to the ability to grow crops, domesticate animals, and build permanent dwellings.

People no longer had to be nomadic and search out food, they could grow and raise their own! The Nile also had a big impact on the religion of the time. Egyptian religion was ploytheistic and Egyptians worshiped many gods, usually based on nature. They had a sun god, a water god, an earth god, and so-forth. Each year when the Nile river flooded, this encouraged the belief in such gods and their devine will. The destruction that the flooding could cause was thought of as punishment for wrong doing and people created rituals to ward off the anger of their gods.

A good crop grown from the soil brought down by the flooding was considered a sign of the gods’ pleasure with their people. The Nile’s influence could also be felt in it’s natural ability to be a trade route for Egypt. The arid desert climate makes it anything but an ideal area to travel through, and many found the river was a swift and cool route over wich to do business.

The waters brought not only fertile soil for farming, but a measure of wealth and prosperity that contributed hugely to the growth and developement of the civilization. B1. One example of cultural diffusion is the relationship between Egypt and Rome. After being defeated by Rome, Egypt prospered as a province and was the main residence of Augustus Ceaser. This had a huge cultural impact on Egypt because Augustus began to rule the city under Roman laws and this was a whole new way of doing things. There are also the effects on Rome to look at. Egypt was a boon to the Roman Empire due to the trade routes through the desert, the abundant desert minerals that could be mined and later used to make statues and ornaments, and the glass that could be found in Egypt as well.

One would have to wonder how different Grecian art would have been without the natural contributions that were made by Egypt. There was a natural diffusion that took place simply by co-existence with people of a different culture and background. The depictions of Egyptian people and gods began to look more Roman in dress and features and, likewise, the Egyptian architecture such as Obelisks became popular in Roman art and architecture.


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