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Gke1 Task 1

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GKE - Task 1: Geography and the Development/Diffusion of Human Societies

Part A

The Nile River was a significant geographic factor that contributed to the development of Egypt. This 6,695 Kilometer river; which is the largest river in the world contribution to Egypt's early human society in a way that is difficult to replicate. (The River Nile Facts, 2008). The Nile River provided drinking water for farmers and others who lived alongside the banks of the Nile. Also the Nile River floods predicted essentially how crops harvested. If there was too much water, the irrigation system could be damaged and if there was too little, there could be famine. This, however, did not deter the farmers, because they knew that this was their livelihood and their means of survival. The annual floods began from July to October. After the floods water receded, crops were ready for harvest from February. There were three seasons; the time of which the floods occurred , the receding of the water and the preparation for harvesting by preparing the soil and planting the seeds. There was also transportation of goods along the Nile River. This enabled the Egyptian civilization to attain economic growth. Therefore, it is clear what a significant factor the Nile River played and contributed to the development of Egypt. It's contribution was unprecedented. (Orlin, 2010)

Part B

The process of diffusion regarding Tea is a story that is truly amazing. The story of how Tea originated in China and spread geographically to the Western world is remarkable. Tea (dried leaves of the evergreen shrub camellia sinensis and soaked in boiling water) drinking originated in China, but there is uncertainty of the year it actually began. There is, however, evidence that it was first recognized about AD 350 by Kuo Po. Tea was being exported and traded during the Tang (618-907) Dynasty. (Tea: A Global History, 2010). Better quality tea was being produced and drunk by members of varied classes; upper class, scholars and priests. Tea was exclusive to China, but by the late eight century tea was being exported to Japan, Tibet and Burma. It eventually reached the West from China centuries later.
Tea finally reached the West. It was explained by Geographer Jan Huyghen Van Linschoten that in the Eastern civilization that when tea was drank the individual cherished the pots that they drank the tea from. (Tea: A Global History, 2010) It wasn't just about drinking the tea, it was an experience; beginning with the brewing of the tea and ending with the pot (sometimes very expensive pot) with which the tea was drank in. Like some of the other Eastern civilizations, tea was something that was enjoyed by persons from higher classes because of the use of an expensive tea set to enjoy it. The Dutch then marketed and exported tea to other European countries. Today tea drinking is synonymous with European countries; especially England. Tea and tea drinking began from humble beginnings in Eastern China and has been transformed, transplanted and incorporated into modern Western civilization (Saberi, 2010).

Part C

The United States of America has many geographical and environmental factors that has affected its expansion. There are two factors which evoke a lot of opinions and conversations. They are the Gold Rush and the Irish Potato Famine.

The Gold Rush was a time in history that had a great impact on resources and population. On the morning of January 24, 1848, James Marshall was working on John Sutter's Lumber Mill. Though the view from the mill was breathtaking, James Marshall eyes was not focused on the breathtaking scene. His eyes was focused on the tiny flecks of gold that he scooped up from the water. It was indeed gold. This started the Gold Rush. People from the West, East and all over the United States rushed to California. There were even people from foreign countries who traveled to California. Because of the influx of travelers that came to find gold, a lot of the gold was gone by the time many arrived. Most of the gold was found by the early 1850;s (“The California Gold Rush,” 2001, page 8). The miners were actually not benefiting from the Gold Rush; the supply companies, the camp stores and the drinking establishments benefited. What the Gold Rush did bring was “people”. A lot of people. The population grew in numbers. From 20,000 in 1846 to over 200,000 by the end of the 1850's (“The California Gold Rush,” 2001, pg 12). The Gold Rush changed California for good and bad. There was destruction of the land, but the what it did bring was an influx of miners and their families from many different parts of the U.S and foreign countries. It's safe to say that without the Gold Rush California would not have had the diverse population and culture that it has today.

The Irish Potato Famine brought many Irish to the United States to escape the inevitable death sentence due to the famine. Potato played a significant role in the diet of the Irish; it was a staple part of their diet. When the famine began in September 1845 the Irish were well aware that this would be detrimental. The fungal spores settled on the leaves of the healthy potato plants and destroyed/infected thousands of plants. By September 1846 many Irish from the West and Southwest were starving and dying. The area depended entirely on the potato. The Government was not doing enough for them. This resulted in the Irish embarking on an exodus to America. They left by the thousands and headed to the U.S. Some headed to Boston, South Carolina, Georgia, New Orleans, but the majority headed to New York. 75% (nearly 1,000,000) landed in New York (Irish Potato Famine, 2000). They were not always met with open arms. There were many challenges. They were viewed as second class citizens. They, however, rose above this discrimination. They contributed to the U.S. By building railroads, running factories and mines. They worked as carpenters and organized labor unions (Irish Potato Famine, 2000) They played a significant role in religion. They brought the Catholic religion with them. Because of vast amount of newly immigrant Catholics, schools and churches were built. They became assimilated with their new country and began to contribute in a way that allowed them to feel like they belonged. The famine that began in September 1845 was unfortunate, but it offered the Irish immigrants an opportunity to contribute their experience, knowledge and culture to the United States of America (Gavin, 2000)


Orlin, L.L. (2010). Life and thought in the ancient near east [ebrary book]. Retrieved from

The River Nile Facts, (2008), Retrieved From:

Saberi, H. (2010). Tea: A global history [ebrary book]. Retrieved from
The California Historical Society. (2001). The California Gold Rush: History through the collections series, part 1 [PDF]. Retrieved from

Gavin, G. (2000). Irish potato famine. Retrieved from

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