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Geography is the science that studies the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the phenomena of the Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Four historical traditions in geographical research are the spatial analysis of the natural and the human phenomena (geography as the study of distribution), the area studies (places and regions), the study of the human-land relationship, and research in the Earth sciences. Modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical science". Geography is divided into two main branches: human geography and physical geography.

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Carabane
Carabane is an island and a village located in the extreme south-west of Senegal, in the mouth of the Casamance River. The earliest known inhabitants of the island were the Jola people, the ethnic group which is still the most populous on the island. On January 22, 1836, the island was ceded to France by the village leader of Kagnout in return for an annual payment of 196 francs. In 1869, Carabane became autonomous, but it merged with Sédhiou in 1886. Since World War II, the population of the island has gradually declined for a variety of reasons including periods of drought, the Casamance Conflict and, more recently, the sinking of the Joola in 2002. Because the Joola was the primary means of travel to and from Carabane, much of the village's ability to trade and receive tourists has been lost. Although Carabane was once a regional capital, the village has since become so politically isolated from the rest of the country that it no longer fits into any category of the administrative structure decreed by the Senegalese government. Although there have been attempts to cultivate a tourism industry on the island, the inhabitants have been reluctant to participate.

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Ferdinand Magellan

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Title page Certaine Errors in Navigation
Edward Wright was an English mathematician and cartographer noted for his book Certaine Errors in Navigation, which for the first time explained the mathematical basis of the Mercator projection, and set out a reference table giving the linear scale multiplication factor as a function of latitude, calculated for each minute of arc up to a latitude of 75°. This was the essential step needed to make practical both the making and the navigational use of Mercator charts. In 1589 Elizabeth I requested that he carry out navigational studies with an expedition organised by the Earl of Cumberland. The expedition's route was the subject of the first map to be prepared according to Wright's projection, which was published in Certaine Errors in 1599. The same year, Wright created and published the first world map produced in England and the first to use the Mercator projection since Gerardus Mercator's original 1569 map. Apart from a number of other books and pamphlets, Wright translated John Napier's pioneering 1614 work which introduced the idea of logarithms from Latin into English. Wright's work influenced, among other persons, Dutch astronomer and mathematician Willebrord Snellius; Adriaan Metius, the geometer and astronomer from Holland; and the English mathematician Richard Norwood.

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Shasta Dam
Credit: Photo: Russell Lee, FSA-OWI; Restoration: Chick Bowen

Shasta Dam, an arch dam across the Sacramento River at the north end of the Sacramento Valley, California, during its construction in June 1942. The dam mainly serves long-term water storage and flood control in its reservoir, Shasta Lake, and also generates hydroelectric power. At 602 ft (183 m) high, it is the ninth-tallest dam in the United States and forms the largest reservoir in California.

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