United States Geography

United States Geography

This section is about the geography of the United States. And although we look at the country's physical geography, our central interest is not landforms, climate, soils, or vegetation but the human imprint on the landscape.

This does not mean that the physical environment is ignored. In fact, in some instances it holds a central role since the physical environment often plays a significant role in the pattern of people's activities. One factor in the importance of New York City is certainly its location on one of the world's finest natural harbors. Southern Florida's long growing season and mild winters enable it to be a leader in the production of oranges, lemons, and sugarcane.

Still, Florida's mild climate does not automatically mean that it will be a supplier of oranges, and New York City's harbor is only one of many important reasons for the city's growth. The physical environment helps define human opportunities, but it does not in itself determine human activities. In general, the more advanced the level of technology, the greater the leeway a population has in dealing with the land.

It is obviously impossible to cover all the material that might fit into a geography of the United States. We have therefore chosen to divide the country into a number of areas, each of which has a special identity developed out of several interacting elements. We use these elements to form the themes around which each regional chapter is organized.

Read about Themes and Regions.

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Source: U.S. Department of State