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Regional Geography: Third World Issues

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A Third World Country is a term used for developing countries, and least developed countries

These countries are economically underdeveloped. Characteristics of a third world country are poverty, agriculture economy, disease, high birth and infant mortality rates, over-population, poor infrastructure, unstable governments, poor health care, environmental problems, non educated people, starvation, and death. Those characteristics are the first thing that comes to someone’s mind about a third world country. Most third world countries are located in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The populations of third world countries are generally very poor but with high birth rates.

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However, the term ‘Second World’ has never gained any recognition. Egypt, India and Yugoslavia were the original members of the third world countries. Today, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America are considered as ‘Third World’ as most of the countries belonging to these continents are underdeveloped. Underdeveloped in the sense that they are still struggling to get rid of the issues related to poverty, water and sanitation, population growth, low per capita income, and unemployment leading to unrest and less industrialization. This unjustified distribution of resources has divided the world into “have” and “have not” countries. In general terms, they are identified as Developed and Developing Countries. Developed countries are well-equipped with resources and are progressing to advancement while the developing countries are under severe stress due to the above factors. All such countries known as Third World Countries face the same problems of stigmatization by the developed countries – First world Countries. The underdevelopment of the Third World Countries is marked by a number of common traits; distorted and highly dependent economies devoted to producing primary products for the developed world and to provide markets for their finished goods; traditional, rural social structures; high population growth; and widespread poverty. Nevertheless, the Third World is sharply differentiated, for it includes countries on various levels of economic development. And despite the poverty of the countryside and the urban shantytowns, the ruling elites of most Third World Countries are wealthy. One of the major problems of Third World Countries is water. Since the advent of humankind, civilizations fought for water for their survival whether through democratic processes or military escalation. It has been said that the future wars will be fought in a struggle to control the water resources where third world countries will be hardly hit.Availability of drinking water and its accessibility for other uses lead to conflicts within the nations and ethnic groups. For instance, Indo-Pak political confrontation can be viewed from a different angle, which is the distribution of water through rivers. Though both the countries are following the ‘Indus Water Treaty’, very often there is a conflict over river water distribution and dams’ construction. A solution by the governments of these nations, be it through policy formulation or other mechanical means may help plough their ways to economic growth. Poverty is another major problem facing Third World Countries. It has various serious consequences on human lives. With the rising rates of poverty, many of the local citizens face problems of famine and lack of lodging. An obvious example would be India. Poverty comes with lack of hygiene and this favors the proliferation of various harmful bacteria which results in the development of diseases such as cholera, malaria, etc

People either do not have enough facilities or these facilities are too expensive to overcome such diseases.

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The Arabs on the eastern coast received slaves in exchange for gold and copper. As mentioned before these regions developed into city centers with Timbuktu and Kano exemplifying some of the ancient cities. Moreover, several states were formed including ancient Ghana which encompassed the current states of Mali and Mauritania

This particular one was well organized with routine tax collections and tolls on the imported goods a common place. In other places as well states and kingdoms rose. For instance, Ethiopian state and Buganda kingdom happened on the east (Kimble 320). With European contact, came in slave trade that played a major role in disorienting African cultural settings. Primarily, the initial habitats of the whites were the coastal regions which later overshadowed the interior states’ developing pace. Consequently, coastal states such as Dahomey (currently Benin) owe their existence to slave trade. Reorientation of the trade also happened with the interior states steadily becoming depopulated thanks to white man’s insatiable quest for slaves. As the Europeans started getting a foothold on the African continent, their political spheres of influence started overlapping prompting the stakeholders to carve out boundaries that would bring together cultural diversities into what are now the present states of Africa. Today, this has resulted in mixed fortunes with some states experiencing tribal wars e.g. Rwanda and Nigeria while others appreciate the need of cultural diversities e.g. Kenya with a host of 42 tribes but live peacefully.The aftermath of trans-Atlantic slave trade is widely evident in the regions of the south Americas Caribbean and northeastern South American states. The south Americas Caribbean states include Venezuela, the Guianas and Colombia. A closer look at the population constituents in these states underscores the fact that these were the destinations of the slave laborers of African descent. As portrayed by the cultural fragmentation map, it is evident that the south Americas Caribbean states are categorized as tropical-plantation sphere epitomized by the dominant African culture that are largely dependent on agriculture. As such, adverse climatic conditions are an anticlimax to this region reducing people to abject poverty as is present (MacLeod and Jones 66).

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On the whole, whereas Humboldt laid the groundwork for what later became known as systematic geography, Ritter focused on regional geography, the study of the connections between phenomena in places. This involved defining regions, or separate areas with distinct assemblages of phenomena. He relied on secondary data sources in compiling his 19-volume Die Erdkunde im Verhältniss zur Natur und zur Geschichte des Menschen (“Earth Science in Relation to Nature and the History of Man”), which he never finished.

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Kimble, Hebert. “The Inadequacy of the Regional Concept” London Essays in Geography 2.17 (1951): 301-617. Print.
MacLeod, George, and Jones Mother. “Renewing The Geography of Regions.” Environment and Planning 16.9 (2001): 66-70. Print.

Schaefer, Frankline. “Exceptionalism in Geography: A Methodological Examination.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 43.3 (1953): 82-104. Print.

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