Geography is the science that has as its object the study of the Earth and the phenomena and facts that occur on its surface
The study of the Earth and the surface phenomena are carried out: observing and analyzing them to understand them; describing them, that is to say, specifying how they are or what their characteristics are; locating them, that is to say, locating them in the geographical space and specifying the area they occupy; explaining them, that is to say, analyzing their causes and effects and relating them to each other and to the population.
- Geographical phenomena are those that occur by themselves in nature, such as eclipses, the succession of days and nights, seasons, volcanic activity, seismic movements, droughts, frosts, rains, etc.
- Geographical facts are the works carried out by man on the earth's surface through time, such as dams, canals, hydroelectric power stations; ports and airports; roads and railways; economic activities in general, etc.
- Geographical phenomena and facts make up the landscape. That is why it is also said that Geography is the science of the landscape.
1. The importance of its study
Geography is a science that has a great formative value in teaching, because through it we form the geographic conscience of our population that is expressed in the reflective knowledge of the national reality .A people with geographic conscience has a reflective knowledge of their country, and, using its experience, it identifies and participates in the solution of its problems that it feels as its own. People who know Peru and its problems become active agents that act to solve them; that is to say, active agents of national development. We love what we know, what we feel, what we carry within us. You love your country. You cannot love what you do not know. You cannot solve the problems of a country if you do not know them. In order to solve the national problems it is necessary to know Peru, in a reflexive way and not by rote. That knowledge gives us the Geography of Peru. Knowing our Homeland, we will be able to contribute to its development. All the studies that are carried out in the country or in the world, be they human, economic or political, require previous knowledge of the national reality. This real and reflexive knowledge gives us Geography as a science of the geographical space where we live.
2. Division of Geography
To better understand the field of action of Geography, let's analyze the different areas covered by its study, emphasizing that they are very broad. General Geography is divided into the following areas of study:
2. Astronomical Geography
That which has as its object the study of the Earth considered as a star and its relations with the other celestial bodies of the universe: planets, stars, comets, galaxies, etc.
2.2. Physical geography
That which studies the phenomena that occur in the three constituent elements of the Earth: the lithosphere or solid element, the hydrosphere or liquid element and the atmosphere or gaseous element. - The study of the lithosphere or solid part and the phenomena that occur in it is called Geomorphology or Physiography: the relief and its modifications, for example, in its constant dynamics. The study of the hydrosphere or liquid part, which forms the seas, oceans, lakes and rivers, is called hydrology. It has the following branches:
a. Oceanography , which studies the oceans and seas;
b. Limnology , which studies lakes and lagoons;
and c. Fluviology or pathology , which studies rivers; the study of the atmosphere and the phenomena that occur in it, is called climatology, or in a more restricted form, meteorology.
2.3. Biological geography or biogeography
Which studies the Earth in relation to living beings, specifying how these are distributed on its surface.
- Phytogeography , which studies the distribution of plants on the earth's surface;b.
- Zoogeography , which studies the distribution of animals on the globe; andc.
- Anthropogeography , which studies the Earth as a stage for human activities. It is subdivided in its turn in:- Social anthropology or human geography, that which studies the population, its characteristics and problems, relating them to the environment where it lives; - Political anthropogeography or simply political geography, that studies the organization of a people on a territory, conforming a State, its demarcation, its administration and its relations with other States. - Economic anthropogeography or simply economic geography, which studies the natural resources of a country and how man exploits them to transform them into wealth and satisfy his vital needs.
3. Geographic principles and their application in research and learning
Geography is the science that studies the Earth as the scenario of human activities . It studies what exists by itself in the nature shaping the natural landscape and what the man has done, through the time, in his eagerness to dominate it and to put it to his service and that shapes the cultural landscape:
3.1. The principle of localization
This principle holds that every geographical fact or phenomenon that is studied must be located, that is to say, it must be located in the geographical space or in the representation materials such as maps and charts, specifying its area and indicating its form There is no geographical study without geographical location. The location is made on the maps, including those illustrating school texts and atlases. If we study, for example, the political demarcation of Peru, learning does not consist in memorizing its content and then reciting the names of the departments and their capitals, but in locating them on the map, indicating their location, specifying their limits, and reading their names. The facts and geographical phenomena in the geographical environment or in educational materials are observed and analysed. To analyze is to break down the whole, of what is observed or read, into its parts, in order to understand its structure and content.
3.2. The principle of description
This principle establishes that every geographical fact or phenomenon must be described analytically, that is, in parts . The description consists of expressing in oral, written or graphic form the characteristics of a geographical event or phenomenon. The description is made both of natural phenomena and of human works: a landscape, a town, a region, the climate, the productions, etc. It describes geographical features, mountains and mountain ranges, plateaus or deserts, specifying how they are. If we contemplate only ten minutes of rain in the Jungle, we will have abundant information to describe this phenomenon in class. If we visit a hydroelectric plant, we will be able to describe it to those who do not know this work. The description is made in the classroom, using materials of representation, like maps, didactic plates, schemes or simply resorting to the memory. The description is oral, written or in graphical form. After observing a rural house in La Selva, we can represent it graphically, so that other people know what rural houses in that region are like.
3.3. The principle of causality
This principle was enunciated by the wise Alexander Von Humboldt. It is stated as follows: "The study of any geographical fact or phenomenon must be made by analyzing its causes and also its consequences". We must not forget that all geographical facts or phenomena have their causes. They also produce effects or consequences. When we study them we must analyze those causes and those consequences so that the learning is really reflective and scientific .We must not be satisfied with knowing that the Coast of Ica is desert. Our study should lead us to know why there is no regular rain there and what effects aridity produces in that part of our territory. We should not only be satisfied with stating that the population migrates from the countryside to the city, but we should also know why the rural population migrates to the cities and what effects this phenomenon produces in the countryside and in the urban areas. Students learn to reason, to think and, consequently, to understand and apply what they have learned.
3.4. The principle of relationship or coordination
This principle establishes that in the geographical setting geographical facts and phenomena exist in intimate interdependence and, therefore, we must study them by establishing the corresponding relationships between them, comparing them, finding their similarities and differences. This principle teaches us to differentiate some phenomena from others and to find the relations that could exist between them. If we study the phenomenon of the Lomas de Lachay, that is to say the dense vegetation that develops in spring in this part of the coastal territory, we have to relate it to the winter season, the atmospheric humidity, the fogs, the soils, the transhumant grazing, the presence of species of the wild fauna, etc. If we analyze the Peruvian current, we must compare it with the El Niño current to understand the differences between both. Students sharpen their ability to make comparisons.
3.5. The principle of activity
This principle holds that all geographical facts or phenomena are temporary or transitory; that nothing is eternal on the earth's surface; and that all are subject to constant mutability . Rocks disintegrate, mountains decrease or increase in height; the population varies, as it increases or decreases. This principle leads us to understand that every geographical fact or phenomenon is subject to permanent changes and variations. The altitude of the Andes today is different from what it was a few years ago. If Geography is a science that shows man the present reality, we will understand that it is also a dynamic science, which is in constant renovation.
4. The auxiliary sciences of geography
Geography, in its beginnings, was part of the general human knowledge. Later, by broadening its scope and deepening its knowledge, it became independent, becoming a scientific discipline and the mother of the sciences. From it emerged, later on, a series of disciplines that were forming independent sciences and that, at present, form what we call Auxiliary Sciences of Geography, whose approach facilitates the extension of the geographical studies. The main auxiliary sciences of Geography are
Which teaches us to represent the Earth, in a spherical way, on a flat surface (map), trying to avoid, as far as possible, the deformations . It is the science and the art of making maps and charts. The cartography uses for it the scale and the diverse projections.
Which studies the structure of the Earth and its composition, with special emphasis on the evolution of the rocks that form the globe . The geologist carries out the work of prospecting or searching for minerals, as a preview of the development of mining or to undertake any work.
Which studies climates, their elements and factors . There is a diversity of climates, due to the existence of different regions and climatic factors. Their knowledge is of great value for the development of agriculture.
4.4. Mineralogy and Petrology
Which study the physical-chemical composition of the minerals that make up the rocks, their structure, etc. .
Which studies the evolution of the Earth, seismology, volcanology, gravimetry, magnetism and terrestrial electricity, etc . The Geophysical Institute of Peru is the entity that studies these phenomena in the country.
Which studies organic beings that have fossilized.
Which studies the stars of the universe. Other auxiliary sciences of Geography are:
Ethnology , which studies human groups and their cultural creations;
Edaphology , which studies soils;
Sociology , which studies human groups independently;
Economics, anthropology, statistics, oceanography, meteorology, physics, botany, zoology, etc.
All these disciplines contribute to deepen the geographical knowledge.