“The history of geography constitutes an investigation into the way in which geographic subject matter was recognized, perceived, thought about, and evaluated over the course of centuries” (Martin 2005). Two major periods are defined in developing the field we call geography: the classical and the modern period. In the classical period, little attention was paid to the definition of separate fields of study. A scholar could not become a master of something because the world’s knowledge was not so great. Various scholars could’ve possibly been confused with being in a certain discipline, while overlapping another. The modern period came about in the latter part of the nineteenth century. It is in this period when Friedrich Ratzel, Halford Mackinder, Paul Vidal de la Blache, and William Morris Davis emerged. While these men are all responsible for the appearance of the professional field called geography, they also have differences amongst each other.
The University of Berlin was founded in 1809 and was established separate from the church. This allowed students to venture their minds outside of their religious barrier that was restricting their education. First appearing in Germany in 1874, geography was a field of advanced study taught by professional qualified individuals. It soon spread to France, Britain, and other places around the world. Geographers around the world were seeking to establish the status of geography as an independent discipline. Geography departments started offering graduate training leading to advanced degrees. Thus, Geography was finally known and taught by professional geographers.
Friedrich Ratzel was born in 1844 to a fairly wealthy family in Karlsruhe, Germany. He attended high school and apprenticed at age fifteen to an apothecary. In 1863, he went to Switzerland, where he began to study the classics. Later on, he became a student of zoology at the universities of Heidelberg, Jena, and Berlin (Martin... [continues]
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