Relate the expansion of the discipline of geography before 1900 to social, technological, and ideological change.
"GEOGRAPHY The discipline has many interpretations, which might best be understood if they are taken chronologically It would take considerable temerity to find a unifying definition throughout the twists and turns that the discipline has taken- (Mayhew 1997,191).
The above quote is taken from a dictionary of geography and shows how geography' is almost indefinable as a word, concept or subject. More interestingly it shows that the difficulty in defining it lies in its varied history.
Since 1900 geography has made relatively little change compared to its formation and transformation in previous centuries. Having said this the period 1880-1950 did see some important adjustments, with the influences of Darwinism, Environmental Determinism, Possibilism and Social Anarchism. Today it is a popular taught and valued subject and a key component of the UK's (and much of European countries') National Curriculum. Geography has come to be the theoretical study of the world and it's populations and how they work and interact, and the application of data to test and process these theories, in order to manage and sustain the world.
Geographic history dates back long before 1900, with origins as old as Ancient Greece. Although geographical thinking continued throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, mostly by Arab and Islamic thinkers, its biggest expansion occurred later in the 15th and 16th centuries, with the exploration and missionary works of European geographers and the imperialist expansion of countries such as Britain. Later the works of prominent geographers such as Immanuel Knat, Richard Hartshorne and Carl Ritter shaped the subject bringing it ever closer to its present understanding.
The expansion of geography owed much to the social, technological and ideological changes that occurred in the run up to the 20th century.