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Portal:Geography

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Introduction

True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
True-color image of the Earth's surface and atmosphere. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center image.
Physical map of Earth with political borders as of 2016

Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. The first person to use the word γεωγραφία was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be.

Geography is often defined in terms of two branches: human geography and physical geography. Human geography deals with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. Physical geography deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere.

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Downtown Minneapolis
Minneapolis, nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City", is the county seat of Hennepin County and the largest city in the state. Its name is attributed to the city's first schoolteacher, who combined mni, a Dakota Sioux word for water, and polis, the Greek word for city. As of the 2010 Census, the population of the city of Minneapolis is 382,578, making it the 48th largest in the United States. Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital. The two cities are known as the Twin Cities, and comprise the country's 16th-largest metropolitan area. Minneapolis is abundantly rich in water, with over twenty lakes and wetlands, the Mississippi river, creeks, and waterfalls, many of which are connected by parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Among cities of similar densities, Minneapolis has the most dedicated parkland. It was once the world's flour milling capital and a hub for timber, and today is the primary business center between Chicago and Seattle, with Minneapolis proper containing the fifth highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. The Minneapolis metropolitan area is the second largest economic center in the Midwest, behind Chicago.

In this month

Friedrich Ratzel

Did you know...

Ruins of Gamleborg

  • ... that Gamleborg (fortress ruins pictured) represents Bornholm's oldest defence works?
  • ... that Chao Mae Tuptim in Bangkok is a site crammed full of wooden circumcised penis statues which are said to endow good fortune and fertility on anybody coming into contact with them?
  • ... that the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood in Aleppo, Syria, was originally a 13th-century gate planned by the Ayyubid ruler az-Zahir Ghazi, but built by his successor al-Aziz Muhammad?

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Featured biography

The mark of Rossier's studio
Pierre Rossier was a pioneering Swiss photographer whose albumen photographs, which include stereographs and cartes-de-visite, comprise portraits, cityscapes and landscapes. He was commissioned by the London firm of Negretti and Zambra to travel to Asia and document the progress of the Anglo-French troops in the Second Opium War and, although he failed to join that military expedition, he remained in Asia for several years, producing the first commercial photographs of China, the Philippines, Japan and Siam (now Thailand). He was the first professional photographer in Japan, where he trained Ueno Hikoma, Maeda Genzō, Horie Kuwajirō, as well as lesser known members of the first generation of Japanese photographers. One of his works became the earliest known hand-coloured Japanese photograph. In Siam, Rossier took ethnographic portraits for French zoologist Marie Firmin Bocourt, who was on a scientific expedition. In Switzerland he established photographic studios in Fribourg and Einsiedeln, and he also produced images elsewhere in the country. Rossier is an important figure in the early history of photography not only because of his own images, but also because of the critical impact of his teaching in the early days of Japanese photography.

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La Défense
Credit: Photo: Dimitri Destugues

A panoramic view of the Paris business district of La Défense, which includes the cities of Puteaux, Courbevoie and Nanterre, as seen from the Tour Défense 2000. The area holds many of the Paris urban area's tallest high-rises. With its 77.5 acres (314,000 m2), its 72 glass-and-steel slick buildings including 14 high-rises above 150 m (490 ft), its 180,000 daily workers, and 3.5 million m2 (37.7 million sq ft) of office space, La Défense is Europe's largest purpose-built business district.

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Jacques-Yves Cousteau

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