In this essay, I will present 3 or more reasons, citing textual evidence that answers the essential question, “How do both the Physical Geography and the Human Geography contribute to the areas of Europe and Russia?” and close with how it relates to today.
First, bordered by many oceans and continents, the physical geography of Europe and Russia possess features such as complex rivers, sweeping plains, and rugged mountains. According to the World Geography textbook, page 204 quotes, “The Ural Mountains, at 60°E longitude, mark the dividing line between Europe and Asia and between western Russia and eastern Russia.” Both Europe and Russia are part of Eurasia, a landmass so vast that it stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The landmass is divided into two continents, known as Europe and Asia. Europe is surrounded by bodies of water on its northern, southern, and western sides, and bordered by Asia in the east. With an appearance resembling a peninsula, accompanied by many smaller peninsulas peaking out throughout Europe, this continent is mostly lying on the 2,500-mile Northern European Plain, one of the largest flat lands in the world. The Alps mountains separate central and southern Europe, with the Pyrenees dividing France and Spain; Italy is cut in half by the Apennines. The winding rivers provide water highways, drinking water, and hydroelectric power. Meanwhile, the Danube River flows through 10 countries, and the Rhine River valley produces the most efficient farming industry in the world. Europe and the British Islands create the English Channel. As one of the largest countries in the world, Russia lies on broad plains, primarily on the Northern European Plain; Russia stretches from the Ural Mountains in the east, and in the south, the Caucasus. Siberia occupies the eastern side of the Urals, all the way to Asia. For physical features, the West Siberian Plain has many lakes and swamps, with the Central Siberian Plateau carving tight canyons in the large piece of land. The Kamchatka Peninsula reaches into the Pacific Ocean and more than 100 volcanoes jut out from the area. Russia is home to thousands of lakes, the largest and oldest being Lake Baikal, taking up one-fifth of fresh water on Earth; during the winter time, this can become three feet deep when frozen. The Northern European Plain stretches all the way from about 6°E to 60°E longitude, taking up roughly a third of Russia. Both Europe and Russia have complex, winding rivers that source from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans; nearly all of the mountain ranges are 611 to 1,525 meters tall. Due to the complex geography, many transportation routes are limited in certain places with rugged mountains. For example, there are no railroads or roads to connect the Kamchatka Peninsula to Siberia, resulting in only airplane or boat use to access this peninsula. To summarize, the mountainous terrain, plateau-filled plains, and winding, complex rivers make up the physical features of Europe and Russia.
Second, Europe has a Mediterranean and marine west coast climate, while Russia has a tundra, humid continental, and southern semiarid climate. According to the World Geography textbook, page 206 says, “Three factors shape Europe’s climates. The first is latitude. Areas south of the Alps have more temperate climates than areas to the north.” The distance the location is from the equator, circles, or zones creates the weather patterns for that area. Since the south of the Alps is closer to the equator, that means those places are not too hot or too cold. The relative location also has an effect on the climate; for example, areas near the ocean have a marine climate, full of mild winters and cool summers, with rather neutral precipitation levels. Factors such as ocean winds and currents keep marine climates warm despite being near a body of water. Northern Europe is a good example of this; the warm current from the Gulf of Mexico keeps the seasons stable. Meanwhile, continental climates are more central of the landmass, where the breezes and currents can’t affect the climate. Summers end up being warmer, and winters are colder. Additionally, mountains such as the Alps and Carpathians block wind directions, changing the weather patterns accordingly to a place’s elevation as well as side of the physical feature. This is most obvious with air from the north, influencing the climate of southern and eastern Europe. In Europe, many tourists are drawn to the Mediterranean sea that creates the Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The summers here are longer, while the winters are shorter. In Russia, the region primarily consists of long and harsh winters. Since the Arctic Ocean is frozen all the time, currents or wind breezes can’t affect the climate; some areas have snow frozen on the ground for eight to nine months. The very northern part of Russia has a tundra climate, where winter temperatures can drop to -90°F. Despite this, a majority of this region is subarctic (cold, snowy winters; cool, rainy summers.) Farming is unsuitable for these temperatures. Furthermore, southern and western areas are humid continental conditions. Although the winters are freezing, the summers are very warm. The very southern parts area a semiarid climate, where both summer and winter are dry, with their according temperatures. Russia’s farming industry mainly grow in these areas.
Third, the combined population of Europe and Russia in 2008 was 735 million, with a higher percentage of urban livings than rural. To elaborate, the World Geography textbook quotes, “Europe has long been very urban. Rome was the first city to reach 1 million people… In 1810, London became the first modern city to reach a million people”(210). One-seventh of the world’s people live in Europe and Russia; most of the population lives west of the Urals. People in this region now live in cities and towns (72.1%), with eastern Russia having very few rural settlements (27.9%). This is due to the increase in economic activity and the push for modernization; global trade provides building materials and natural resources that are lacking. In the 1950s, Europe and Russia’s combined population was 547 million. As the decades pass, there is an increasing number of urban infrastructure, with country-side buildings decreasing. However, even though most of the world has a growing population, Europe and Russia's population growth has halted, and some places are even decreasing. Birth rate is a main factor of this problem; in the World Geography textbook graph, studies show that by 2050, rural livings will increase as the population drops to 691 million. Although this region was home to the first cities to reach a million people, the population will decrease over time. On a population density map of Europe, there are over 250 people per sq. mile (highlighted in purple, indicated in the map legend) living in the more central part of the region. The rest of the Northern European plain has a population density mix of 125-250 and 25-125 per square mile. Iceland and Scandinavia's population is between under 2 to 2-25 people per square mile, much less than the other parts of Europe. London and Paris are the most densely populated cities, mainly in areas with purple/over 250 people per square mile. There are no cities in areas with less than 2 people per square mile. On the population density map of Russia, the western side of the region has 25-125 people per square mile and is also more densely populated. Moscow and St. Petersburg are cities that have the most people; any areas with less than 2 people per square mile have no cities. A noticeable pattern is that population is denser near areas with extremely populated locations.
To sum everything up, Europe and Russia have complex physical features, varying climate zones, and a total population (2008) of 735 million people. The essential question “How do both the Physical Geography and the Human Geography contribute to the areas of Europe and Russia?” relates to today with infrastructure and building arrangements. The rugged mountains are very unsuitable for living and would make constructing a house very challenging. The buildings need to be built a certain way; some need sturdier bases or the mountain needs to be carved in for space. This also prevents certain kinds of transportation between places, restricting to only planes and boats. Certain vegetation climates may be too dense or are more suitable for forestry industries as opposed to housing. With the help of the Word Geography textbook, we can find trends between physical and human geography. One factor may be economic activity; Europe cities with a strong coal industry tend to have higher population density. With a plethora of coal resources and trade and manufacturing, London and Paris have over 8 million people living in these cities. As a result, the buildings need to be crowded and there needs to be subways or other methods of transportation. Although Norway, Sweden, and Finland own gold as well as iron resources, their populations are less compared to other countries. Coal is a source of energy, making it very valuable; Italy doesn’t have any coal near them, but the natural gases can also be used for energy. Meanwhile, in Russia, the western side-- full of commercial farming and trade and manufacturing-- is more populated than the rest of the country. One of Moscow’s economic activities is trade and manufacturing, with the city having over 8 million inhabitants. The rest of Russia has many coal sources, but these places are not very populated. This could be explained by the Ural mountains dividing the Northern European Plain and the West Siberian Plain. Another explanation could be that the population density is less in areas with tundra and subarctic climates. Northern Europe has between under 2 and 2-25 people per square mile. Areas with these climates might need thick walls, sturdy material, or lower elevations in tundra climates to remain habitable. The population tends to decrease slightly with complex physical structures such as the Alps or the Caspian Depression. History or historical monuments also affect this; the ancient Greeks and other early civilizations are popular tourist spots. As a result, many booths, hotels, and museums are built around these sites. Buildings are a core part for civilizations to thrive; aspects of physical geography and human geography contribute to these cities, negative or positive. From the building material, the location of construction, and the crowding of infrastructure, this is one of the many uses the land of Europe and Russia is used for.