Geography Other Essay Topics

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Other Essay Topics

  • How has a region’s geography shaped its history?
  • How has man adapted his environment to shape his needs?
    • Irrigation (dams, dykes)
    • Roads (Romans, Silk, Incan – Suspension Bridges)
    • Walls (Great, Roman)
    • Terrace Farming (Inca, Japan, Yellow)
    • Houses (Stilt – Indonesia, Yurts - Mongols)
    • Chinampas - Aztecs

June 2013

  • The Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall were both intended to
  • (1) halt the spread of communism
  • (2) isolate unpopular governments
  • (3) limit the movement of peoples
  • (4) keep people from smuggling illegal goods

Typical Multiple Choice Questions

  • Location of countries/physical features – England, India, Vietnam, Japan, Suez Canal, Andes Mountains, Mediterranean Sea etc.
  • Types of maps – cartographic, physical, political
  • Geographic feature – archipelago, peninsula, strait, canals, savannah, tundra
  • Interpreting Maps – trade, migration

August 2013

  • What would a geographer conducting research be
  • most likely to do?
  • (1) use carbon-14 to determine the age of artifacts
  • (2) analyze the reasons women vote for certain candidates
  • (3) observe the effects of wind patterns on regional trade
  • (4) design a survey to determine the online spending habits of young people

June 2013

  • • The Americas are referred to as the “New World.”
  • • Eastern Asia is referred to as the “Far East.”
  • • Southwest Asia is referred to as part of the “Middle East.”
  • Whose perspective is best represented by these
  • regional place names?
  • (1) Chinese (3) European
  • (2) African (4) Indian

June 2013

  • Based on this map of 13th-century world systems, which of these circuits was limited to one continent?
  • (1) I (3) V
  • (2) II (4) VI
  • Which letter identifies the peninsula that is home to Mecca, the religious center of Islam?
  • (1) A (3) C
  • (2) B (4) D
  • 46 Which letter identifies the peninsula that was the site of the Vietnam conflict and the
  • atrocities of Pol Pot?
  • (1) A (3) C
  • (2) B (4) D

August 2013

  • Which letter represents the location of a country
  • created in part as a result of the Zionist
  • movement?
  • (1) A (3) C
  • (2) B (4) D

June 2013

  • Which geographic feature presented an obstacle to Simón Bolívar’s forces?
  • (1) Sahara Desert
  • (2) Great Rift Valley
  • (3) Andes Mountains
  • (4) Strait of Malacca

Jan 2014

  • Charlemagne’s 9th century empire covered territory which today would include the countries of
  • (1) Poland and Russia
  • (2) Spain and Portugal
  • (3) France and Germany
  • (4) Ireland and the United Kingdom
  • Which feature would most likely appear on a physical map?
  • (1) population densities
  • (2) land usage patterns
  • (3) climatic patterns
  • (4) mountain ranges
  • A geographic similarity between Italy and India is that both of these countries are located
  • (1) on peninsulas
  • (2) on archipelagos
  • (3) between two oceans
  • (4) south of the equator
  • Which geographic factor has often made Korea a key region for those seeking to control East Asia?
  • (1) long coastline (3) mountains
  • (2) location (4) climate
  • 11 Which statement about the trip taken by Emperor Mansa Musa is accurate?
  • (1) The trip extended beyond North African trade routes.
  • (2) Mansa Musa used the Mediterranean Sea to reach Mecca.
  • (3) The route primarily followed major rivers.
  • (4) Mansa Musa traveled to Fez on his way to Mecca.
  • 12 Which conclusion about trade is best supported by the information on this map?
  • (1) Timbuktu was a center of trade in West Africa.
  • (2) The Sahara Desert prevented trade.
  • (3) Cairo and Mecca were trading partners.
  • (4) West African gold and salt were traded along the Zaire River.
  • Jan. 2014
  • Which nation is located on a peninsula?
  • (1) Brazil
  • (2) Philippines
  • (3) Saudi Arabia
  • (4) Austria


Key Terms for Essay on Egypt

  • Deserts – “Red Lands” – Nubian, Libyan, and Sahara
  • Nile River – “Black Lands” surround w/silt; floods annually – need to build irrigation, has cataracts (waterfalls), delta (tributaries protect)
  • Impact – protects, stability of dynasties, need for strong central authority, culture based on Nile “Land of Living” vs. “Land of Dead”, architecture of sandstone, papyrus for books; build Aswan High Dam (no oil); Suez Canal built to capitalize on strategic location btw Mediterranean and Red seas.
  • Which geographic feature had the greatest influence on the development of ancient civilizations?
  • Dense forests
  • Mountain passes
  • Smooth coastlines
  • River valleys
  • The Suez Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Strait of Gibraltar are important because they
  • prevent attacks on bordering nations
  • control access to vital trade routes
  • limit Russian access to warm-water points
  • prohibit the movement of ships carrying nuclear weapons


Key Term for Mesopotamia

  • Fertile Crescent – two rivers: Tigris and Euphrates
  • Flood erratically – need to build dams and dykes
  • Easy to navigate rivers – lots of invasions, cultural diffusion, political instability
  • Modern – desertification, Oil reserves (Persian Gulf War – 1980s – OPEC)

Jan 2014

  • Which geographic region has the greatest number of members in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)?
  • (1) South America
  • (2) sub-Saharan Africa
  • (3) Southeast Asia
  • (4) Middle East (Southwest Asia)

August 2013

  • One way in which the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, and Mayas are similar is that these civilizations developed
  • (1) irrigation systems
  • (2) iron weapons
  • (3) wheeled vehicles
  • (4) block printing systems


Key Terms for China

  • ETHNOCENTRISM – caused by geographic barriers – Gobi Desert, Tien Shen Mts., Himalayas, Pacific Ocean
  • Rivers – Yellow (Huange-He) “River of Sorrow” – heavy silt, cut deep into mts; Yangtze – both rivers flow west to east
  • Adaptations – Silk Road, Great Wall, Grand Canal, terrace farming along Yellow
  • Which statement best describes an impact of geography on the history of the Korean peninsula?
  • Large deserts have led to isolation
  • Location has led to invasion and occupation by other nations
  • Lack of rivers has limited food production.
  • Lack of natural resources has prevented development of manufacturing.

January 2014

  • China, Korea, and Japan share cultural similarities in part due to their
  • (1) clashes with Russian imperialists
  • (2) shared river systems
  • (3) contacts through trade
  • (4) unification under Mongol rule

January 2014

  • “River of Sorrows Floods Again”
  • “Thousands Missing After Huang He Overflows”
  • “Over 10 Million Reported Homeless After 1931 Flooding”
  • These newspaper headlines describe the effects
  • of geography on the people of
  • (1) China (3) India
  • (2) Japan (4) Vietnam


Key Terms on India

  • Sub-continent of Asia
  • Peninsula
  • Monsoons
  • Indus River – navigable (similar to Tigris)
  • Hindu-Kush mts and Himalayas protect and isolate
  • Deccan plateau – center – inhospitable
  • Lots of trade in Indian Ocean
  • British India - Railroad handy to unite large landmass
  • Bengal Famine 1943 – Green Revolution
  • Split in 1948 – Pakistan and India (fight over Kashmir)

August 2013

  • Which statement can best be supported by the information on this 2003 map?
  • (1) India and Pakistan have agreed on shared borders.
  • (2) Several borders are in dispute between India and China.
  • (3) India and Nepal are currently involved in border disputes with each other.
  • (4) The inhabitants of the territory claimed by both India and China have little voice in the conflict.

June 2013

  • Which geographic feature would have most likely hindered the expansion of the Guptas into what is modern-day China?
  • (1) Thar Desert
  • (2) Himalaya Mountains
  • (3) Deccan Plateau
  • (4) Bay of Bengal
  • In India, Bangladesh and much of Southeast Asia, agricultural productivity is most affected by the
  • Seasonal monsoons
  • Unnavigable rivers
  • Numerous deserts
  • Cold climates

Jan. 2014

  • The Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra were important to ancient India because they were
  • (1) high mountain ranges that protected India from invasion
  • (2) great rivers that flowed through India’s fertile northern plain
  • (3) Aryan gods to whom the priests prayed for rain
  • (4) ruling dynasties that united the people of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
  • Which generalization is best supported by the information on this map?
  • (1) No trade occurred between East Africa and the Persian Gulf region.
  • (2) The monsoon winds influenced trade between East Africa and India.
  • (3) Trading states developed primarily in the interior of East Africa.
  • (4) Trade encouraged the spread of Islam from East Africa to Arabia.

Jan 2014

  • What is one way the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East are similar?
  • (1) Both conflicts concern territorial and religious issues.
  • (2) Hostilities within these regions were provoked by the United Nations.
  • (3) Both conflicts emerged as a result of the breakup of the Soviet Union.
  • (4) Tensions in these regions were caused by efforts to remain nonaligned.


Key Terms on Greece

  • Polis/Poleis will be divided by mountains
  • Great natural harbors for fishing and trade; strength of military is triremes for Athens not hoplites
  • Few natural rivers/springs – need to import food – colonies
  • Volcanic area – angry gods (land and sea – Zeus/Poseidon)
  • Rich volcanic soil good for olives and grapes
  • Which was one cause of the development of many small independent city-states in ancient Greece?
  • Greece and Rome were often at War
  • The mountainous terrain of Greece resulted in widely scattered settlements
  • Military leaders found small Greek settlements easy to control
  • The Greek people had many different languages and religions

August 2013

  • Which geographic factor contributed to the formation of independent city states in ancient Greece?
  • (1) tropical rainforests
  • (2) fertile farmland
  • (3) navigable rivers
  • (4) mountainous topography

Roman Empire

Key Terms for Roman Empire

  • Italy is Peninsula
  • Expanded over three continents around Mediterranean Sea
  • So large – Roman legions need to build roads, aqueducts, bridges, walls

August 2013

  • At the height of its power, which ancient civilization controlled the entire coastal region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea?
  • (1) Phoenician (3) Roman
  • (2) Persian (4) Carthaginian

Byzantine Empire

August 2013

  • The strategic location of the Byzantine Empire allowed control of the key trade routes between the
  • (1) South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca
  • (2) Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean
  • (3) North Sea and the English Channel
  • (4) Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea

Incan Empire

Key Terms for Inca

  • Andes Mountains
  • Incan Trail w/suspension bridges
  • Terrace farming

Aztec Empire

  • Chinampas
  • An effect of a mountainous topography on Inca and Chinese civilizations was the development of
  • industrialization
  • single-crop economy
  • desalinization projects
  • terrace farming
  • Which generalization about geography of Latin America is accurate?
  • geographic features prevented foreign imperialism
  • harsh climatic conditions have prevented the development of large-scale agriculture
  • the lack of geographic barriers facilitated the development of transportation and communication systems
  • great variations in latitude and landforms resulted in a diversity of climates

January 2014

  • The Encounter occurred as a result of European explorers crossing the
  • (1) Atlantic Ocean
  • (2) Sahara Desert
  • (3) Andes Mountains
  • (4) Mediterranean Sea


Key Terms for Africa

  • Deserts – Sahara (north), Kalahari in south
  • Continent is plateau – all rivers (Nile and Congo) have cataracts
  • Savannahs – high grasses where animals live – hard to farm, little urbanization, dispersed tribes
  • Rainforest (Congo)
  • Natural resources – gold, diamonds, rubber (Congo – King Leopold) – needs salt
  • Livingstone will map out country
  • Cape to Cairo Railroad – Cecil Rhodes
  • Berlin Conference – strategic breakup
  • Pan-Africanism – impossible to unite
  • Desertification – Sahara growing causing famine in Ethiopia

August 2013

  • Which area of the world was most directly affected by the decisions made at the Berlin Conference?
  • (1) Africa (3) India
  • (2) China (4) South America

June 2013

  • What was a major reason European nations
  • competed for control of Africa during the second
  • half of the 1800s?
  • (1) Africa had a wealth of natural resources.
  • (2) Slave labor was needed in the Americas.
  • (3) African nations offered religious and political freedom.
  • (4) Europeans needed land for their excess population.
  • Which statement about the geography of Africa is most accurate?
  • Much of the land in Africa is below sea level
  • The variety of geographic barriers had served to promote cultural diversity
  • Africa had an irregular coastline with many natural harbors
  • Much of the land in Africa is tundra and forest.
  • In Africa, an effect of topography and climate has been to
  • encourage rapid industrialization of the interior
  • prevent the development of kingdoms
  • promote large-scale trade between African and Asia
  • promote the growth of diverse societies

June 2013

  • Which conclusion about the geography of these continents is best supported by this passage?
  • (1) Europe and Africa have the same climate.
  • (2) Europe and Africa have many deep major ports.
  • (3) Waterways are a geographic blessing in both
  • Europe and Africa.
  • (4) River systems have helped development in Europe and hindered it in Africa.


Key Terms on Japan

  • Archipelago
  • Mountains (Fuji) – forced to terrace farm
  • Volcanic/Tsunami – nature spirits (kami) worshiped in Shinto religion
  • Protected by location and kamikaze winds (Mongols)
  • Used Korea as landbridge to China
  • Lacks natural resources – forced to imperialize to gain resources during Meiji Restoration
  • In Japan, a major economic problem has been the lack of
  • natural resources
  • investment capital
  • skilled labor
  • experienced management

August 2013

  • • Sino-Japanese War 1894–1895
  • • Russo-Japanese War 1904–1905
  • • Annexation of Korea 1910
  • These events in the history of Japan reflect its
  • (1) resistance to trade
  • (2) abundance of natural resources
  • (3) vulnerability to attack by neighbors
  • (4) emergence as an imperialistic country


Key Terms on England

  • Great natural harbors – makes it prime for naval supremacy (Armada, WW2), and imperialism
  • Natural resources – coal, tin, timber – sparks Industrial Revolution

January 2014

  • Which geographic feature most aided England during the Industrial Revolution?
  • (1) desert climate
  • (2) natural harbors
  • (3) mountainous terrain
  • (4) monsoon winds


Key Terms on Russia

  • EurAsia – two continents
  • Lacks warm water port
  • Blocked by Turkey/Ottomans from Black Sea entrance to Mediterranean
  • Cold and Large – difficult to conquer (Napoleon, Hitler) – center area is vast steppe
  • Used scorched-earth policy to deter invaders
  • Lacked sufficient oil and natural resources – build Tran-Siberian Railroad to get to Asia; fought Afghanistan War 1979 for oil; refuse to let Chechnya go because of oil need
  • Which geographic factor has most strongly influenced Russia’s foreign policies and economic development?
  • lack of natural resources
  • vast desert regions
  • limited access to warm-water ports
  • extensive mountain ranges
  • The Russian steppe is most similar in topography to the
  • mountains in Switzerland
  • deserts in the Middle East
  • rainforests in South America
  • savannas in Africa

August 2013 – trick one

  • One reason the Russian Empire was difficult to unite was that it
  • (1) had many diverse ethnic groups
  • (2) possessed limited natural resources
  • (3) served as a crossroads for trade
  • (4) lacked a navy


  • DIVIDE PEOPLE – creates cultural diversity (Andes Mts for Incas, Greece) even isolation (China)
  • PROTECTS PEOPLE – Alps for Italy, Himalayas for China and India, Andes for Inca
  • DIFFICULT TO FARM – have to introduce terrace farming – Japan, Incan, Yellow River (China)


  • UNITES PEOPLE – unifies cultures, ease of communication, increases trade
  • HELPS FARMING – creates fertile soils (early river civs – Nile (Egypt), Mesopotamia, Indus, and Yellow (China), may need to build dams/dykes/irrigation
  • SACRED – Ganges (Hindus)


  • DIVIDES PEOPLE – hard to cross, creates cultural diversity and isolation (Sahara in Africa)
  • LACK OF RESOURCES – no food can cause famines, need for trade


  • MONSOONS – India, China, Indonesia need rains to make food grow – if drought – famine, if floods – famine (build houses on stilts to protect from floods) // monsoon winds also help sailboats to travel Indian Ocean
  • COLD – Russian steppes frozen (permafrost) – can not farm, need special houses, need access to warm water ports


  • OIL – needed by many countries like US and Russia – will have to import from Middle East (OPEC – Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) – wars will take place over accessing oil (Afghanistan War, Iran-Iraq War, Persian Gulf War, etc), Suez Canal will be used to access region.
  • LACKING IT – Japan will have to imperialize China because lacks natural resources and wants to industrialize
  • HAVING IT – England will dominate Industrial Revolution early on because of access to water, timber, and coal.

Environmental Concerns

  • Deforestation due to logging, farming, development and acid rain in Amazon (Brazil) and Congo rainforests
  • Desertification – spreading of deserts – especially in Sahara – due to farming along savannahs, causes famine in Ethiopia
  • Global Warming, Acid Rain, Pollution (outgrowth of Industrial Revolution) – attempts to handle with Kyoto Accords

August 2013

  • Which global issue is a primary threat to biodiversity in the tropical regions of Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Amazon basin?
  • (1) deforestation (3) acid rain
  • (2) oil spills (4) drought

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