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Whitbeck, R. H., 1871-1939 (Ray Hughes) / The geography of the Fox-Winnebago valley

Chapter I. Valleys,   pp. [4]-6 ff. PDF (1.0 MB)

Page [4]

During the long ages of the past the land surface of the earth
has been worked upon by air and frost, furrowed by streams, and
wrinkled by the mountain-making forces. For ages, of whose
great length we have no conception, the rains have fallen upon
the land, collected into brooks, joined into rivers, and flowed to
the sea. In so doing they have slowly carved the valleys in which
they now flow. Some valleys are narrow and deep with steep
sides. Others are broad and open. From the earliest times
men have chosen to live in the broad, open valleys because life in
them is easier than life on the hills or among the mountains or
on the plateaus.
It is a notable fact in history that most of the rich and powerful
nations of the ancient world grew up in the valleys of the great
rivers, particularly in those which had fertile flood plains-in the
valleys of the Nile, of the Tigris-Euphrates, of the Indus and the
Ganges, and on the rich alluvial plains of China. The rivers and
valleys of Europe were for centuries the main routes along which
trade and travel moved, and at favorable places the principal
centers of population have grown up. The richest and most
cultured part of Italy is the flood plain of the Po, known as the
Plain of Lombardy. The larger part of the people of Austria-
Hungary live in the broad basin drained by the Danube and its
branches. For 2000 years the Rhine has been the great natural
highway of western Europe. In the rugged plateau of Spain the
broader valleys are almost the only cultivated and populous parts;
and the valleys of the Rhine and the Garonne, of the Loire and
the Seine, are the most thickly peopled regions of France.

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