N orthern Dvina
S e a
f C r e t e
B l a
c k S e a
S e a o f
A z o v
Sea of Marm
P E R L O W L A N D
TA U R U S M O U
TA I N
Kryv yy R
R A I N
T U R K
Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area Projection Scale 1:15,000,000
0 km 600200 400 800
100 200 300 400 500
below sea level
FIGURE 1-1 © H. J. de Blij, P. O. Muller, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
CONCEPTS, IDEAS, AND TERMS
1 Land hemisphere 2 Physiography 3 Infrastructure 4 Local functional specialization 5 The Isolated State
6 Model 7 Industrial Revolution 8 Nation-state 9 Nation
10 Centrifugal forces 11 Centripetal forces 12 Indo-European language family 13 Complementarity 14 Transferability 15 Intervening opportunity 16 Primate city 17 Metropolis 18 Central business district (CBD) 19 Supranationalism 20 Devolution 21 Four Motors of Europe 22 Regional state 23 Site 24 Situation 25 Conurbation 26 Landlocked location 27 Break-of-bulk 28 Entrepôt
29 Shatter belt 30 Balkanization 31 Exclave 32 Irredentism
STATES OF THE MAINLAND CORE THE CORE OFFSHORE: THE BRITISH ISLES THE CONTIGUOUS CORE IN THE SOUTH THE DISCONTINUOUS CORE IN THE NORTH THE EASTERN PERIPHERY
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● Why Europe is becoming the world’s home for the aged
● Europe’s unifying express hits several roadblocks
● Provinces behaving like countries rile national governments
● How Islam is changing Europe’s cultural geography
● Why the British are different
In This Chapter
IT IS APPROPRIATE to begin our investigation of theworld’s geographic realms in Europe because over the past five centuries Europe and Europeans have influenced and changed the rest of the world more than any other realm or people has done. European empires spanned the globe and transformed societies far and near. European colonial- ism propelled an early wave of globalization. Millions of Europeans migrated from their homelands to the Old World as well as the New, changing (and sometimes nearly oblit- erating) traditional communities and creating new societies from Australia to North America. Colonial power and eco- nomic incentive combined to impel the movement of mil- lions of imperial subjects from their ancestral homes to distant lands: Africans to the Americas, Indians to Africa, Chinese to Southeast Asia, Malays to South Africa’s Cape, Native Americans from east to west. In agriculture, indus- try, politics, and other spheres, Europe generated revolu- tions—and then exported those revolutions across the world, thereby consolidating the European advantage.
But throughout much of that 500-year period of Euro- pean hegemony, Europe also was a cauldron of conflict. Religious, territorial, and political disputes precipitated bit- ter wars that even spilled over into the colonies. And dur- ing the twentieth century, Europe twice plunged the world into war. The terrible, unprecedented toll of World War I (1914–1918) was not enough to stave off World War II (1939–1945), which drew in the United States and ended with the first-ever use of nuclear weapons in Japan. In the aftermath of that war, Europe’s weakened powers lost most of their colonial possessions and a new rivalry emerged: an ideological Cold War between the communist Soviet Union and the capitalist United States. This Cold War lowered an Iron Curtain across the heart of Europe, leaving most of the east under Soviet control and most of the west in the Amer- ican camp. Western Europe proved resilient, overcoming the destruction of war and the loss of colonial power to
w as this photo taken? Find out at www.wiley.com/c
Photos: © H. J. de Blij
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G E O G R A P H I C A L F E A T U R E S 41
regain economic strength. Meanwhile, the Soviet commu- nist experiment failed at home and abroad, and in 1990 the last vestiges of the Iron Curtain were lifted. Since then, a
massive effort has been underway to reintegrate and reuni- fy Europe from the Atlantic coast to the Russian border, the key geographic story of this chapter.
1. The European geographic realm lies on the western extremity of the Eurasian landmass.
2. Though territorially small, Europe is heavily popu- lated and is fragmented into 40 states.
3. Europe’s enduring world influence results mainly from advantages accrued over centuries of colonial and imperial domination.
4. European natural environments are highly varied, and Europe’s resource base is rich and diverse.
5. Europe’s geographic diversity, cultural as well as physical, created strong local identities, specializa- tions, and opportunities for trade and commerce.
6. European nation-states, based in durable and pow- erful core areas, survived the loss of colonies and evolved into modern democratic states.
7. Europe’s states are engaged in a historic effort to achieve multinational economic integration and, to a lesser degree, political coordination.
8. Europe’s relatively prosperous population is highly urbanized, rapidly aging, and in demographic decline partly offset by significant immigration.
9. Local demands for greater autonomy, and cultural challenges posed by immigration, are straining the European social fabric.
10. Despite Europe’s momentous unification efforts, east-west contrasts still mark the realm’s regional geography.
11. Relations between Europe and neighboring Russia are increasingly problematic.
MAJOR GEOGRAPHIC QUALITIES OF
Defining the Realm GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES
As Figure 1-1 shows, Europe is a realm of peninsulas and islands on the western margin of the world’s largest land- mass, Eurasia. It is a realm of just under 600 million peo- ple and 40 countries, but it is territorially quite small. Yet despite its modest proportions it has had—and continues to have—a major impact on world affairs. For many cen- turies Europe has been a hearth of achievement, innova- tion, and invention.
Europe’s Eastern Border
The European realm is bounded on the west, north, and south by Atlantic, Arctic, and Mediterranean waters, respectively. But where is Europe’s eastern limit? Some scholars place it at the Ural Mountains, deep inside Rus- sia, thereby recognizing a “European” Russia and, pre- sumably, an “Asian” one as well. Our regional definition places Europe’s eastern boundary between Russia and its numerous European neighbors to the west. This defini- tion is based on several geographic factors including
European-Russian contrasts in territorial dimensions, population size, cultural properties, and historic aspects, all discernible on the maps in Chapters 1 and 2.
Europe’s peoples have benefited from a large and var- ied store of raw materials. Whenever the opportunity or need arose, the realm proved to contain what was required. Early on, these requirements included cul- tivable soils, rich fishing waters, and wild animals that could be domesticated; in addition, extensive forests provided wood for houses and boats. Later, coal and mineral ores propelled industrialization. More recent- ly, Europe proved to contain substantial deposits of oil and natural gas.
From the balmy shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the icy peaks of the Alps, and from the moist woodlands and moors of the Atlantic fringe to the semiarid prairies north
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42 C H A P T E R 1 ● E U R O P E
of the Black Sea, Europe presents an almost infinite range of natural environments (Fig. 1-2). Compare west- ern Europe and eastern North America in Figure G-7 (pp. 16–17) and you will see the moderating influence of the warm ocean current known as the North Atlantic Drift and its onshore windflow.
The European realm is home to peoples of numerous cul- tural-linguistic stocks, including not only Latins, Ger- manics, and Slavs but also minorities such as Finns, Magyars (Hungarians), Basques, and Celts. This diver- sity of ancestries continues to be an asset as well as a lia- bility. It has generated not only interaction and exchange, but also conflict and war.
Europe also has outstanding locational advantages. Its relative location, at the heart of the land hemisphere, creates maximum efficiency for contact with much of the rest of the world (Fig. 1-3). A “peninsula of peninsulas,” Europe is nowhere far from the ocean and its avenues of seaborne trade and conquest. Hundreds of kilometers of navigable rivers, augmented by an unmatched system of canals, open the interior of Europe to its neighboring seas and to the shipping lanes of the world.
Also consider the scale of the maps of Europe in this chapter. Europe is a realm of moderate distances and close proximities. Short distances and large cul- tural differences make for intense interaction, the con- stant circulation of goods and ideas. That has been the hallmark of Europe’s geography for more than a millennium.
10°0°10°20°30°40°50° 20 ° 30° 40° 50° 60° 70°
10° 20° 30°0°10° Longitude East of Greenwich
B lack Sea
A T L A N T I C O C E A N
M e d i t e r r a n e a n S e a
a=hot summer b=cool summer c=short, cool summer d- very cold winter
E COLD POLAR CLIMATE
Tundra and iceE
H HIGHLAND CLIMATE Undifferentiated highlands
B DRY CLIMATE
C HUMID TEMPERATE CLIMATE
No dry season
Dry summer (Mediterranean)
D HUMID COLD CLIMATE
No dry season
0 800 1200400 1600 Kilometers
200 400 600 800 1000 Miles
© H. J. de Blij, P. O. Muller, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.FIGURE 1-2
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tains, the Western Uplands, and the North European Lowland (Fig. 1-4.)
The Central Uplands form the heart of Europe. It is a region of hills and low plateaus loaded with raw materials whose farm villages grew into towns and cities when the Indus- trial Revolution transformed this realm.
The Alpine Mountains, a high- land region named after the Alps, extend from the Pyrenees on the French-Spanish border to the Balkan Mountains near the Black Sea, and include Italy’s Appennines and the Carpathians of eastern Europe.
The Western Uplands, geologi- cally older, lower, and more stable than the Alpine Mountains, extend from Scandinavia through western Britain and Ireland to the heart of the Iberian Peninsula in Spain.
The North European Lowland extends in a lengthy arc from south- eastern Britain and central France across Germany and Denmark into Poland and Ukraine, from where it con-
tinues well into Russia. Also known as the Great European Plain, this has been an avenue for human migration time after time, so that complex cultural and economic mosaics developed here together with a jigsaw-like political map. As Figure 1-4 shows, many of Europe’s major rivers and con- necting waterways serve this populous region, where a num- ber of Europe’s leading cities (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Warsaw) are located.
3000 kilometers=ca. 1900 miles© H. J. de Blij, P. O. Muller, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
LANDSCAPES AND OPPORTUNITIES
In the Introduction we noted the importance of physical geography in the definition of geographic realms. The nat- ural landscape with its array of landforms (such as moun- tains and plateaus) is a key element in the total physical geography— or physiography—of any part of the ter- restrial world. Other physiographic components include climate and the physical features that mark the natural landscape, such as vegetation, soils, and water bodies.
Europe’s area may be small, but its landscapes are var- ied and complex. Regionally, we identify four broad units: the Central Uplands, the southern Alpine Moun-
Many picturesque southern European towns and villages are not only many centuries old but are also located in the realm’s most dangerous tectonic zone (see Figs. G-3 and G-4 on pages 10 and 11). With hilly terrain, many older buildings, and narrow streets, this can be a lethal combination when earthquakes strike. In April 2009, an earthquake in central Italy devastated many historic mountain towns including L’Aquila (a 90-minute drive northeast of Rome), shown here during the ensuing search and rescue operation. Nearly 300 people lost their lives and more than 1500 sustained serious injuries. From Portugal to Greece, Mediterranean Europe’s scenic beauty comes with ever-present risk. © Marco DiLauro/Getty Images, Inc.
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44 C H A P T E R 1 ● E U R O P E
Modern Europe was peopled in the wake of the Pleis- tocene’s most recent glacial retreat and global warming— a gradual warming that caused tundra to give way to deciduous forest and ice-filled valleys to turn into grassy vales. On Mediterranean shores, Europe witnessed the rise of its first great civilizations, on the islands and penin- sulas of Greece and later in what is today Italy.
A l p s
Balka n M
Transylvania n A
Erzge b Sudeten Mts.
C a r p a t h i a n
Dinaric Alps Rhodope Mts
Pindus Mts. TURKEY
Bale aric Is
A p p e n n i n e s RUSSI
MOROCCO ALGERIA Malta Cypru
N o r t h E u r o p e a n L o w l a n d
Black Se a
M e d i t e r r a n e a n S e a
W eser R.
Thames R. Vistula R.
R . Drava R.
Tag us R.
Danub e R.
0° 10° 20° 30°
30° 20° 10° 0° 10° 20° 30°
Longitude East of Greenwich
EUROPE'S PHYSICAL LANDSCAPES
North European Lowland
100 200 300 Miles
© H. J. de Blij, P. O. Muller, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.FIGURE 1-4
Ancient Greece and Imperial Rome
Ancient Greece lay exposed to influences radiating from the advanced civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley, and in their fragmented habitat the Greeks laid the foundations of European civilization. Their achieve- ments in political science, philosophy, the arts, and other spheres have endured for 25 centuries. But the ancient Greeks never managed to unify their domain, and their
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persistent conflicts proved fatal when the Romans chal- lenged them from the west. By 147 BC, the last of the sovereign Greek intercity leagues (alliances) had fallen to the Roman conquerors.
The center of civilization and power now shifted to Rome in present-day Italy. Borrowing from Greek cul- ture, the Romans created an empire that stretched from Britain to the Persian Gulf and from the Black Sea to Egypt; they made the Mediterranean Sea a Roman lake carrying armies to distant shores and goods to imperial Rome. With an urban population that probably exceed- ed 1 million, Rome was the first metropolitan-scale urban center in Europe.
The Romans founded numerous other cities through- out their empire and linked them to the capital through a vast system of overland and water routes, facilitating political control and enabling economic growth in their provinces. It was an unparalleled infrastructure, much of which long outlasted the empire itself.
Triumph and Collapse
Roman rule brought disparate, isolated peoples into the imperial political and economic sphere. By guiding (and often forcing) these groups to produce particular goods or materials, the Romans launched Europe down a road for which it would become famous: local functional spe- cialization. The workers on Elba, a Mediterranean island, mined iron ore. Those near Cartagena in Spain produced silver and lead. Certain farmers were taught irrigation to produce specialty crops. Others raised live- stock for meat or wool. The production of particular goods by particular people in particular places became and remained a hallmark of the realm.
The Romans also spread their language across the empire, setting the stage for the emergence of the Romance languages; they disseminated Christianity; and they established durable systems of education, administration, and commerce. But when their empire collapsed in the fifth century, disorder ensued, and mas- sive migrations soon brought Germanic and Slavic peo- ples to their present positions on the European stage. Capitalizing on Europe’s weakness, the Arab-Berber Moors from North Africa, energized by Islam, con- quered most of Iberia and penetrated France. Later the Ottoman Turks invaded eastern Europe and reached the outskirts of Vienna.
Rebirth and Royalty
Europe’s revival—its Renaissance—did not begin until the fifteenth century. After a thousand years of feudal tur- moil marking the “Dark” and “Middle” Ages, powerful
monarchies began to lay the foundations of modern states. The discovery of continents and riches across the oceans opened a new era of mercantilism, the competi- tive accumulation of wealth chiefly in the form of gold and silver. Best placed for this competition were the kingdoms of western Europe. Europe was on its way to colonial expansion and world domination.
THE REVOLUTIONS OF MODERNIZING EUROPE
Even as Europe’s rising powers reached for world dom- ination overseas, they fought with each other in Europe itself. Powerful monarchies and land-owning (“landed”) aristocracies had their status and privilege challenged by ever-wealthier merchants and businesspeople. Demands for political recognition grew; cities mushroomed with the development of industries; the markets for farm prod- ucts burgeoned; and Europe’s population, more or less stable at about 100 million since the sixteenth century, began to increase.
The Agrarian Revolution
We know Europe as the focus of the Industrial Revolu- tion, but before this momentous development occurred another revolution was already in progress: the agrari- an revolution. Port cities and capital cities thrived and expanded, and their growing markets created econom- ic opportunities for farmers. This led to revolutionary changes in land ownership and agricultural methods. Improved farm practices, better equipment, superior storage facilities, and more efficient transport to the urban markets marked a revolution in the countryside. The colonial merchants brought back new crops (the American potato soon became a European staple), and market prices rose, drawing more and more farmers into the economy.
Agricultural Market Model
The transformation of Europe’s farmlands reshaped its economic geography, producing new patterns of land use and market links. The economic geograph- er Johann Heinrich von Thünen (1783–1850), himself an estate farmer who had studied these changes for several decades, published his observations in 1826 in a pioneering work entitled The Isolated State, chronicling the geography of Europe’s agricultural transformation.
Von Thünen used information from his own farmstead to build what today we call a model (an idealized repre- sentation of reality that demonstrates its most important
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Urban market center
Intensive farming and dairying
Increasingly extensive field crops
Ranching, animal products 75
0° 10° 20° 30°
70° 30° 50°
Intensity of Production Based on Index of Yields of 8 Leading Crops.
VON THÜNEN RINGS: EUROPE
Longitude East of Greenwich
After van Valkenburg & Held, 1952.
© H. J. de Blij, P. O. Muller, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
reality, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe had been industrializing in many spheres, long before the chain of events known as the Industrial Revolution began. From the textiles of England and Flanders to the iron farm implements of Saxony (in present-day Ger- many), from Scandinavian furniture to French linens, Europe had already entered a new era of local function- al specialization. It would therefore be more appropriate to call what happened next the period of Europe’s indus- trial intensification.
In the 1780s, the Scotsman James Watt and others devised a steam-driven engine, which was soon adopted for numerous industrial uses. At about the same time, coal (converted into carbon-rich coke) was recognized as a vastly superior substitute for charcoal in smelting iron. These momentous innovations had a rapid effect. The power loom revolutionized the weaving industry. Iron smelters, long dependent on Europe’s dwindling forests for fuel, could now be concentrated near coalfields.
46 C H A P T E R 1 ● E U R O P E
properties) of the location of produc- tive activities in Europe’s farmlands. Since a model is an abstraction that must always involve assumptions, von Thünen postulated a self-contained area (hence the “isolation”) with a sin- gle market center, surrounded by flat and uninterrupted land without impediments to cultivation or trans- portation. In such a situation, transport costs would be directly proportional to distance.
Von Thünen’s model revealed four zones or rings of land use encircling the market center (Fig. 1-5). Inner- most and directly adjacent to the mar- ket would lie a zone of intensive farming and dairying, yielding the most perishable and highest-priced products. Immediately beyond lay a zone of forest used for timber and fire- wood (still a priority in von Thünen’s time). Next there would be a ring of field crops, for example, grains or potatoes. A fourth zone would contain pastures and live- stock. Beyond lay wilderness, from where the costs of transport to market would become prohibitive.)
In many ways, von Thünen’s model was the first analysis in a field that would eventually become known as location theory. Von Thünen knew, of course, that the real Europe did not present the conditions postu- lated in his model. But it did demonstrate the econom- ic-geographic forces that shaped the new Europe, which is why it is still being discussed today. More than a cen- tury after the publication of The Isolated State, geog- raphers Samuel van Valkenburg and Colbert Held produced a map of twentieth-century European agri- cultural intensity, revealing a striking, ring-like con- centricity focused on the vast urbanized area lining the North Sea—now the dominant market for a realmwide, macroscale “Thünian” agricultural system (Fig. 1-5, inset map).
The Industrial Revolution
The term Industrial Revolution suggests that an agrar- ian Europe was suddenly swept up in wholesale indus- trialization that changed the realm in a few decades. In
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Engines could move locomotives as well as power looms. Ocean shipping entered a new age.
Britain had an enormous advantage, for the Industri- al Revolution occurred when British influence reigned worldwide and the significant innovations were achieved in Britain itself. The British controlled the flow of raw materials, they held a monopoly over products that were in global demand, and they alone possessed the skills necessary to make the machines that manufactured the products. Soon the fruits of the Industrial Revolution were being exported, and the modern industrial spatial organization of Europe began to take shape. In Britain, manufacturing regions developed near coalfields in the English Midlands, at Newcastle to the northeast, in southern Wales, and along Scotland’s Clyde River around Glasgow.
Resources and Industrial Development
In mainland Europe, a belt of major coalfields extends from west to east, roughly along the southern margins of the North European Lowland, due eastward from southern England across northern France and Belgium, Germany (the Ruhr), western Bohemia in the Czech Republic, Silesia in southern Poland, and the Donets Basin (Donbas) in eastern Ukraine. Iron ore is found in a broadly similar belt and together with coal pro- vides the key raw material for the manufacturing of steel. As in Britain, this cornerstone industry now spawned new concentrations of economic activity, which grew steadily as millions migrated in from the countryside to fill expanding employment opportuni- ties. Densely populated and heavily urbanized, these emerging agglomerations became the backbone of Europe’s world-scale population cluster (as shown in Fig. G-8).
Two centuries later, this east-west axis along the coalfield belt remains a major feature of Europe’s pop- ulation distribution map (Fig. 1-6). It should also be noted that while industrialization produced new cities, another set of manufacturing zones arose in and near many existing urban centers. London—already Europe’s leading urban focus and Britain’s richest domestic market—was typical of these developments. Many local industries were established here, taking advantage of the large supply of labor, the ready avail- ability of capital, and the proximity of so great a num- ber of potential buyers. Although the Industrial Revolution thrust other places into prominence, London did not lose its primacy: industries in and around the British capital multiplied.)
Consequences of Clustering
The industrial transformation of Europe, like the agrar- ian revolution, became the focus of geographic research. One of the leaders in this area was the eco- nomic geographer Alfred Weber (1868–1958), who published a spatial analysis of the process titled Con- cerning the Location of Industries (1909). Unlike von Thünen, Weber focused on activities that take place at particular points rather than over large areas. His model, therefore, represented the factors of industrial location, the clustering or dispersal of places of intense manu- facturing activity.
One of Weber’s most interesting conclusions has to do with what he called agglomerative (concentrating) and deglomerative (dispersive) forces. It is often advanta- geous for certain industries to cluster together, sharing equipment, transport facilities, labor skills, and other assets of urban areas. This is what made London (as well as Paris and other cities that were not situated on rich deposits of industrial raw materials) attractive to many manufacturing plants that could benefit from agglomer- ation and from the large markets that these cities anchored. As Weber found, however, excessive agglom- eration may lead to disadvantages such as competition for increasingly expensive space, congestion, overbur- dening of infrastructure, and …