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Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία, geographia, literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the 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 the Earth and its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be.

Geography is often defined in terms of the two branches of 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.

The four historical traditions in geographical research are: spatial analyses of natural and the human phenomena, area studies of places and regions, studies of human-land relationships, and the Earth sciences. Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences".

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Belarus
Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Gomel (Homiel), Mogilev (Mahilyow) and Vitebsk (Viciebsk). Forty percent of its 207,600 km2 (80,200 sq mi) is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing. Until the 20th century, the lands of modern day Belarus belonged to several countries. The parliament of the republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country's president since 1994. Under his lead and despite objections from Western governments, Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of the economy, have been implemented. Most of Belarus's population of 9.85 million reside in the urban areas surrounding Minsk and other voblast (regional) capitals. More than 80% of the population are ethnic Belarusians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a controversial 1995 referendum, Russian has been an official language alongside Belarusian.

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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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Deadvlei
Credit: Ikiwaner

Dead Acacia erioloba trees in Deadvlei, a white claypan inside Namib-Naukluft Park in the Namib Desert of Namibia. Deadvlei is surrounded by the highest sand dunes in the world, averaging 350 metres (1,150 ft) high. About 900 years ago, drought caused the dunes to block the Tsauchab river, which in turn killed the trees. However, because the desert is so dry, they do not decompose.

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Horace Walpole
Horace Walpole, letter to Sir Horace Mann (1774)

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