Human geography

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Human geography is one of the two major sub-fields of geography. Human geography is the study of human use and understanding of the world and the processes which have affected it. Human geography broadly differs from physical geography in that it has a greater focus on studying human activities and is more receptive to qualitative research methodologies. Broadly speaking, human geography is a social science discipline, whilst physical geography is an earth science. Human geography is concerned with the study of spatial patterns of interactions between human beings and their physical environment.

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History

In the History of geography geographers have often recorded and described features of the Earth that might now be considered the remit of human, rather than physical, geographers. For example Hecataeus of Miletus, a geographer and historian in ancient Greece, described inhabitants of the ancient world as well as physical features.

It was not until the 18th and 19th Centuries, however, that geography was recognised as a discrete academic discipline

The Royal Geographical Society was founded in England in 1830, although the United Kingdom did not get its first full Chair of geography until 1917. The first real geographical intellect to emerge in United Kingdom geography was Halford John Mackinder, appointed reader at Oxford University in 1887.

The National Geographic Society was founded in the USA in 1888 and began publication of the National Geographic magazine which became and continues to be a great popularizer of geographic information. The society has long supported geographic research and education.

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