Geographical Basis Of History, Part II.

Philosophy Of History

Author:      Hegel, G.W.F.

Date:        1857

Translation: Sibree, J., M.A.



     The more special geographical distinctions must now be established, and

they are to be regarded as essential, rational distinctions, in contrast with

the variety of merely accidental circumstances.  Of these characteristic

differences there are three: -


     (1.) The arid elevated land with its extensive steppes and plains.


     (2.) The valley plains, - the Land of Transition permeated and watered by

great Streams.


     (3.) The coast region in immediate connection with the sea.


     These three geographical elements are the essential ones, and we shall

see each quarter of the globe triply divided accordingly.  The first is the

substantial, unvarying, metallic, elevated region, intractably shut up within

itself, but perhaps adapted to send forth impulses over the rest of the world;

the second forms centres of civilization, and is the yet undeveloped

independence [of humanity]; the third offers the means of connecting the world

together, and of maintaining the connection.


     (1.) The elevated land.  We see such a description of country in middle

Asia inhabited by Mongolians, (using the word in a general sense): from the

Caspian Sea these Steppes stretch in a northerly direction towards the Black

Sea.  As similar tracts may be cited the deserts of Arabia and of Barbary in

Africa; in South America the country round the Orinoco, and in Paraguay.  The

peculiarity of the inhabitants of this elevated region, which is watered

sometimes only by rain, or by the overflowing of a river, (as are the plains

of the Orinoco) - is the patriarchal life, the division into single families.

The region which these families occupy is unfruitful or productive only

temporarily: the inhabitants have their property not in the land, - from which

they derive only a trifling profit, - but in the animals that wander with

them.  For a long time these find pasture in the plains, and when they are

depastured, the tribe moves to other parts of the country.  They are careless

and provide nothing for the winter, on which account therefore, half of the

herd is frequently cut off.  Among these inhabitants of the upland there exist

no legal relations, and consequently there are exhibited among them the

extremes of hospitality and rapine; the last more especially when they are

surrounded by civilized nations, as the Arabians, who are assisted in their

depredations by their horses and camels.  The Mongolians feed on mare's milk,

and thus the horse supplies them at the same time with appliances for

nourishment and for war.  Although this is the form of their patriarchal life,

it often happens that they cohere together in great masses, and by an impulse

of one kind or another, are excited to external movement. Though previously of

peaceful disposition, they then rush as a devastating inundation over

civilized lands, and the revolution which ensues has no other result than

destruction and desolation.  Such an agitation was excited among those tribes

under Zengis Khan and Tamerlane: they destroyed all before them; then vanished

again, as does an overwhelming Forest-torrent, - possessing no inherent

principle of vitality.  From the uplands they rush down into the dells: there

dwell peaceful mountaineers, - herdsmen who also occupy themselves with

agriculture, as do the Swiss.  Asia has also such a people: they are however

on the whole a less important element.


     (2.) The valley plains.  These are plains, permeated by rivers, and which

owe the whole of their fertility to the streams by which they are formed.

Such a Valley-Plain is China, - India, traversed by the Indus and the Ganges,

- Babylonia, where the Euphrates and the Tigris flow, - Egypt, watered by the

Nile.  In these regions extensive Kingdoms arise, and the foundation of great

States begins.  For agriculture, which prevails here as the primary principle

of subsistence for individuals, is assisted by the regularity of seasons,

which require corresponding agricultural operations; property in land

commences, and the consequent legal relations; - that is to say, the basis and

foundation of the State, which becomes possible only in connection with such



     (3.) The coast land.  A River divides districts of country from each

other, but still more does the sea; and we are accustomed to regard water as

the separating element.  Especially in recent times has it been insisted upon

that States must necessarily have been separated by natural features.  Yet on

the contrary, it may be asserted as a fundamental principle that nothing

unites so much as water, for countries are nothing else than districts

occupied by streams.  Silesia, for instance, is the valley of the Oder;

Bohemia and Saxony are the valley of the Elbe; Egypt is the valley of the

Nile.  With the sea this is not less the case, as has been already pointed

out.  Only Mountains separate.  Thus the Pyrenees decidedly separate Spain

from France.  The Europeans have been in constant connection with America and

the East Indies ever since they were discovered; but they have scarcely

penetrated into the interior of Africa and Asia, because intercourse by land

is much more difficult than by water.  Only through the fact of being a sea,

has the Mediterranean become a focus of national life.  Let us now look at the

character of the nations that are conditioned by this third element.


     The sea gives us the idea of the indefinite, the unlimited, and infinite;

and in feeling his own infinite in that Infinite, man is stimulated and

emboldened to stretch beyond the limited: the sea invites man to conquest, and

to piratical plunder, but also to honest gain and to commerce. The land, the

mere Valley-plain attaches him to the soil; it involves him in an infinite

multitude of dependencies, but the sea carries him out beyond these limited

circles of thought and action.  Those who navigate the sea, have indeed gain

for their object, but the means are in this respect paradoxical, inasmuch as

they hazard both property and life to attain it. The means therefore are the

very opposite of that which they aim at.  This is what exalts their gain and

occupation above itself, and makes it something brave and noble.  Courage is

necessarily introduced into trade, daring is joined with wisdom.  For the

daring which encounters the sea must at the same time embrace wariness -

cunning - since it has to do with the treacherous, the most unreliable and

deceitful element.  This boundless plain is absolutely yielding, -

withstanding no pressure, not even a breath of wind. It looks boundlessly

innocent, submissive, friendly, and insinuating; and it is exactly this

submissiveness which changes the sea into the most dangerous and violent

element.  To this deceitfulness and violence man opposes merely a simple piece

of wood; confides entirely in his courage and presence of mind; and thus

passes from a firm ground to an unstable support, taking his artificial ground

with him.  The Ship, - that swan of the sea, which cuts the watery plain in

agile and arching movements or describes circles upon it, - is a machine whose

invention does the greatest honour to the boldness of man as well as to his

understanding.  This stretching out of the sea beyond the limitations of the

land, is wanting to the splendid political edifices of Asiatic States,

although they themselves border on the sea, - as for example, China.  For them

the sea is only the limit, the ceasing of the land; they have no positive

relation to it.  The activity to which the sea invites, is a quite peculiar

one: thence arises the fact that the coast-lands almost always separate

themselves from the states of the interior although they are connected with

these by a river.  Thus Holland has severed itself from Germany, Portugal from



     In accordance with these data we may now consider the three portions of

the globe with which History is concerned, and here the three characteristic

principles manifest themselves in a more or less striking manner: Africa has

for its leading classical feature the Upland, Asia the contrast of river

regions with the Upland, Europe the mingling of these several elements.


     Africa must be divided into three parts: one is that which lies south of

the desert of Sahara, - Africa proper, - the Upland almost entirely unknown to

us, with narrow coast-tracts along the sea; the second is that to the north of

the desert, - European Africa (if we may so call it), - a coast-land; the

third is the river region of the Nile, the only valley-land of Africa, and

which is in connexion with Asia.


     Africa proper, as far as History goes back, has remained - for all

purposes of connection with the rest of the World - shut up; it is the

Gold-land compressed within itself, - the land of childhood, which lying

beyond the day of self-conscious history, is enveloped in the dark mantle of

Night.  Its isolated character originates not merely in its tropical nature,

but essentially in its geographical condition.  The triangle which it forms

(if we take the West Coast, - which in the Gulf of Guinea makes a strongly

indented angle, - for one side, and in the same way the East Coast to Cape

Gardafu for another) is on two sides so constituted for the most part, as to

have a very narrow Coast Tract, habitable only in a few isolated spots.  Next

to this towards the interior, follows to almost the same extent, a girdle of

marsh land with the most luxuriant vegetation, the especial home of ravenous

beasts, snakes of all kinds, - a border tract whose atmosphere is poisonous to

Europeans.  This border constitutes the base of a cincture of high mountains,

which are only at distant intervals traversed by streams, and where they are

so, in such a way as to form no means of union with the interior; for the

interruption occurs but seldom below the upper part of the mountain ranges,

and only in individual narrow channels, where are frequently found innavigable

waterfalls and torrents crossing each other in wild confusion.  During the

three or three and a half centuries that the Europeans have known this

border-land and have taken places in it into their possession, they have only

here and there (and that but for a short time) passed these mountains, and

have nowhere settled down beyond them.  The land surrounded by these mountains

is an unknown Upland, from which on the other hand the Negroes have seldom

made their way through.  In the sixteenth century occurred at many very

distant points, outbreaks of terrible hordes which rushed down upon the more

peaceful inhabitants of the declivities. Whether any internal movement had

taken place, or if so, of what character, we do not know.  What we do know of

these hordes, is the contrast between their conduct in their wars and forays

themselves, - which exhibited the most reckless inhumanity and disgusting

barbarism, - and the fact that afterwards, when their rage was spent, in the

calm time of peace, they shewed themselves mild and well disposed towards the

Europeans, when they became acquainted with them.  This holds good of the

Fullahs and of the Mandingo tribes, who inhabit the mountain terraces of the

Senegal and Gambia.  The second portion of Africa is the river district of the

Nile, - Egypt; which was adapted to become a mighty centre of independent

civilization, and therefore is as isolated and singular in Africa as Africa

itself appears in relation to the other parts of the world.  The northern part

of Africa, which may be specially called that of the coast-territory, (for

Egypt has been frequently driven back on itself, by the Mediterranean) lies on

the Mediterranean and the Atlantic; a magnificent territory, on which Carthage

once lay, - the site of the modern Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli.  This

part was to be - must be attached to Europe: the French have lately made a

successful effort in this direction: like Hither-Asia, it looks Europe-wards.

Here in their turn have Carthaginians, Romans and Byzantines, Mussulmen,

Arabians, had their abode, and the interests of Europe have always striven to

get a footing in it.


     The peculiarly African character is difficult to comprehend, for the very

reason that in reference to it, we must quite give up the principle which

naturally accompanies all our ideas, - the category of Universality. In Negro

life the characteristic point is the fact that consciousness has not yet

attained to the realization of any substantial objective existence, - as for

example, God, or Law, - in which the interest of man's volition is involved

and in which he realizes his own being.  This distinction between himself as

an individual and the universality of his essential being, the African in the

uniform, undeveloped oneness of his existence has not yet attained; so that

the Knowledge of an absolute Being, an Other and a Higher than his individual

self, is entirely wanting.  The Negro, as already observed, exhibits the

natural man in his completely wild and untamed state. We must lay aside all

thought of reverence and morality - all that we call feeling - if we would

rightly comprehend him; there is nothing harmonious with humanity to be found

in this type of character.  The copious and circumstantial accounts of

Missionaries completely confirm this, and Mahommedanism appears to be the only

thing which in any way brings the Negroes within the range of culture.  The

Mahommedans too understand better than the Europeans, how to penetrate into

the interior of the country.  The grade of culture which the Negroes occupy

may be more nearly appreciated by considering the aspect which Religion

presents among them.  That which forms the basis of religious conceptions is

the consciousness on the part of man of a Higher Power - even though this is

conceived only as a vis naturae - in relation to which he feels himself a

weaker, humbler being.  Religion begins with the consciousness that there is

something higher than man.  But even Herodotus called the Negroes sorcerers: -

now in Sorcery we have not the idea of a God, of a moral faith; it exhibits

man as the highest power, regarding him as alone occupying a position of

command over the power of Nature.  We have here therefore nothing to do with a

spiritual adoration of God, nor with an empire of Right.  God thunders, but is

not on that account recognized as God.  For the soul of man, God must be more

than a thunderer, whereas among the Negroes this is not the case.  Although

they are necessarily conscious of dependence upon nature, - for they need the

beneficial influence of storm, rain, cessation of the rainy period, and so on,

- yet this does not conduct them to the consciousness of a Higher Power: it is

they who command the elements, and this they call "magic." The Kings have a

class of ministers through whom they command elemental changes, and every

place possesses such magicians, who perform special ceremonies, with all sorts

of gesticulations, dances, uproar, and shouting, and in the midst of this

confusion commence their incantations.  The second element in their religion,

consists in their giving an outward form to this supernatural power -

projecting their hidden might into the world of phenomena by means of images.

What they conceive of as the power in question, is therefore nothing really

objective, having a substantial being and different from themselves, but the

first thing that comes in their way.  This, taken quite indiscriminately, they

exalt to the dignity of a "Genius;" it may be an animal, a tree, a stone, or a

wooden figure.  This is their Fetish - a word to which the Portuguese first

gave currency, and which is derived from feitizo, magic.  Here, in the Fetish,

a kind of objective independence as contrasted with the arbitrary fancy of the

individual seems to manifest itself; but as the objectivity is nothing other

than the fancy of the individual projecting itself into space, the human

individuality remains master of the image it has adopted.  If any mischance

occurs which the Fetish has not averted, if rain is suspended, if there is a

failure in the crops, they bind and beat or destroy the Fetish and so get rid

of it, making another immediately, and thus holding it in their own power.

Such a Fetish has no independence as an object of religious worship; still

less has it aesthetic independence as a work of art; it is merely a creation

that expresses the arbitrary choice of its maker, and which always remains in

his hands.  In short there is no relation of dependence in this religion.

There is however one feature that points to something beyond; - the Worship of

the Dead, - in which their deceased forefathers and ancestors are regarded by

them as a power influencing the living.  Their idea in the matter is that

these ancestors exercise vengeance and inflict upon man various injuries -

exactly in the sense in which this was supposed of witches in the Middle Ages.

Yet the power of the dead is not held superior to that of the living, for the

Negroes command the dead and lay spells upon them. Thus the power in question

remains substantially always in bondage to the living subject.  Death itself

is looked upon by the Negroes as no universal natural law; even this, they

think, proceeds from evil-disposed magicians. In this doctrine is certainly

involved the elevation of man over Nature; to such a degree that the chance

volition of man is superior to the merely natural, - that he looks upon this

as an instrument to which he does not pay the compliment of treating it in a

way conditioned by itself, but which he commands. ^1


[Footnote 1: Vide Hegel's "Vorlesungen uber die Philosophie der Religion," I.

284 and 289.  2nd Ed.]


     But from the fact that man is regarded as the Highest, it follows that he

has no respect for himself; for only with the consciousness of a Higher Being

does he reach a point of view which inspires him with real reverence. For if

arbitrary choice is the absolute, the only substantial objectivity that is

realized, the mind cannot in such be conscious of any Universality. The

Negroes indulge, therefore, that perfect contempt for humanity, which in its

bearing on Justice and Morality is the fundamental characteristic of the race.

They have moreover no knowledge of the immortality of the soul, although

spectres are supposed to appear.  The undervaluing of humanity among them

reaches an incredible degree of intensity.  Tyranny is regarded as no wrong,

and cannibalism is looked upon as quite customary and proper.  Among us,

instinct deters from it, if we can speak of instinct at all as appertaining to

man.  But with the Negro this is not the case, and the devouring of human

flesh is altogether consonant with the general principles of the African race;

to the sensual Negro, human flesh is but an object of sense - mere flesh.  At

the death of a King hundreds are killed and eaten; prisoners are butchered and

their flesh sold in the markets; the victor is accustomed to eat the heart of

his slain foe.  When magical rites are performed, it frequently happens that

the sorcerer kills the first that comes in his way and divides his body among

the bystanders.  Another characteristic fact in reference to the Negroes is

Slavery.  Negroes are enslaved by Europeans and sold to America.  Bad as this

may be, their lot in their own land is even worse, since there a slavery quite

as absolute exists; for it is the essential principle of slavery, that man has

not yet attained a consciousness of his freedom, and consequently sinks down

to a mere Thing - an object of no value.  Among the Negroes moral sentiments

are quite weak, or more strictly speaking, non-existent.  Parents sell their

children, and conversely children their parents, as either has the

opportunity.  Through the pervading influence of slavery all those bonds of

moral regard which we cherish towards each other disappear, and it does not

occur to the Negro mind to expect from others what we are enabled to claim.

The polygamy of the Negroes has frequently for its object the having many

children, to be sold, every one of them, into slavery; and very often naive

complaints on this score are heard, as for instance in the case of a Negro in

London, who lamented that he was now quite a poor man because he had already

sold all his relations.  In the contempt of humanity displayed by the Negroes,

it is not so much a despising of death as a want of regard for life that forms

the characteristic feature.  To this want of regard for life must be ascribed

the great courage, supported by enormous bodily strength, exhibited by the

Negroes, who allow themselves to be shot down by thousands in war with

Europeans.  Life has a value only when it has something valuable as its



     Turning our attention in the next place to the category of political

constitution, we shall see that the entire nature of this race is such as to

preclude the existence of any such arrangement.  The stand-point of humanity

at this grade is mere sensuous volition with energy of will; since universal

spiritual laws (for example, that of the morality of the Family) cannot be

recognized here.  Universality exists only as arbitrary subjective choice. The

political bond can therefore not possess such a character as that free laws

should unite the community.  There is absolutely no bond, no restraint upon

that arbitrary volition.  Nothing but external force can hold the State

together for a moment.  A ruler stands at the head, for sensuous barbarism can

only be restrained by despotic power.  But since the subjects are of equally

violent temper with their master, they keep him on the other hand within

limits.  Under the chief there are many other chiefs with whom the former,

whom we will call the King, takes counsel, and whose consent he must seek to

gain, if he wishes to undertake a war or impose a tax.  In this relation he

can exercise more or less authority, and by fraud or force can on occasion put

this or that chieftain out of the way.  Besides this the Kings have other

specified prerogatives.  Among the Ashantees the King inherits all the

property left by his subjects at their death.  In other places all unmarried

women belong to the King, and whoever wishes a wife, must buy her from him.

If the Negroes are discontented with their King they depose and kill him.  In

Dahomey, when they are thus displeased, the custom is to send parrots' eggs to

the King, as a sign of dissatisfaction with his government.  Sometimes also a

deputation is sent, which intimates to him, that the burden of government must

have been very troublesome to him, and that he had better rest a little.  The

King then thanks his subjects, goes into his apartments, and has himself

strangled by the women.  Tradition alleges that in former times a state

composed of women made itself famous by its conquests: it was a state at whose

head was a woman.  She is said to have pounded her own son in a mortar, to

have besmeared herself with the blood, and to have had the blood of pounded

children constantly at hand.  She is said to have driven away or put to death

all the males, and commanded the death of all male children.  These furies

destroyed everything in the neighbourhood, and were driven to constant

plunderings, because they did not cultivate the land.  Captives in war were

taken as husbands: pregnant women had to betake themselves outside the

encampment; and if they had born a son, put him out of the way.  This infamous

state, the report goes on to say, subsequently disappeared.  Accompanying the

King we constantly find in Negro States, the executioner, whose office is

regarded as of the highest consideration, and by whose hands the King, though

he makes use of him for putting suspected persons to death, may himself suffer

death, if the grandees desire it.  Fanaticism, which, notwithstanding the

yielding disposition of the Negro in other respects, can be excited,

surpasses, when roused, all belief.  An English traveller states that when a

war is determined on in Ashantee, solemn ceremonies precede it: among other

things the bones of the King's mother are laved with human blood.  As a

prelude to the war, the King ordains an onslaught upon his own metropolis, as

if to excite the due degree of frenzy.  The King sent word to the English

Hutchinson: "Christian, take care, and watch well over your family.  The

messenger of death has drawn his sword and will strike the neck of many

Ashantees; when the drum sounds it is the death signal for multitudes.  Come

to the King, if you can, and fear nothing for yourself." The drum beat, and a

terrible carnage was begun; all who came in the way of the frenzied Negroes in

the streets were stabbed.  On such occasions the King has all whom he suspects

killed, and the deed then assumes the character of a sacred act.  Every idea

thrown into the mind of the Negro is caught up and realized with the whole

energy of his will; but this realization involves a wholesale destruction.

These people continue long at rest, but suddenly their passions ferment, and

then they are quite besides themselves.  The destruction which is the

consequence of their excitement, is caused by the fact that it is no positive

idea, no thought which produces these commotions; - a physical rather than a

spiritual enthusiasm.  In Dahomey, when the King dies, the bonds of society

are loosed; in his palace begins indiscriminate havoc and disorganization.

All the Dahomey their number is exactly 3333) are massacred, and through the

whole town plunder and carnage run riot.  The wives of the King regard this

their death as a necessity; they go richly attired to meet it.  The

authorities have to hasten to proclaim the new governor, simply to put a stop

to massacre.


     From these various traits it is manifest that want of self-control

distinguishes the character of the Negroes.  This condition is capable of no

development or culture, and as we see them at this day, such have they always

been.  The only essential connection that has existed and continued between

the Negroes and the Europeans is that of slavery.  In this the Negroes see

nothing unbecoming them, and the English who have done most for abolishing the

slave-trade and slavery, are treated by the Negroes themselves as enemies.

For it is a point of first importance with the Kings to sell their captured

enemies, or even their own subjects; and viewed in the light of such facts, we

may conclude slavery to have been the occasion of the increase of human

feeling among the Negroes.  The doctrine which we deduce from this condition

of slavery among the Negroes, and which constitutes the only side of the

question that has an interest for our enquiry, is that which we deduce from

the Idea: viz. that the "Natural contravention of the Right and Just. Every

intermediate grade between this and the realization of a rational State

retains - as might be expected - elements and aspects of injustice; therefore

we find slavery even in the Greek and Roman States, as we do serfdom down to

the latest times.  But thus existing in a State, slavery is itself a phase of

advance from the merely isolated sensual existence, - a phase of education, -

a mode of becoming participant in a higher morality and the culture connected

with it.  Slavery is in and for itself injustice, for the essence of humanity

is Freedom; but for this man must be matured.  The gradual abolition of

slavery is therefore wiser and more equitable than its sudden removal.


     At this point we leave Africa, not to mention it again.  For it is no

historical part of the World; it has no movement or development to exhibit.

Historical movements in it - that is in its northern part - belong to the

Asiatic or European World.  Carthage displayed there an important

transitionary phase of civilization; but, as a Phoenician colony, it belongs

to Asia.  Egypt will be considered in reference to the passage of the human

mind from its Eastern to its Western phase, but it does not belong to the

African Spirit.  What we properly understand by Africa, is the Unhistorical,

Undeveloped Spirit, still involved in the conditions of mere nature, and which

had to be presented here only as on the threshold of the World's History.


     Having eliminated this introductory element, we find ourselves for the

first time on the real theatre of History.  It now only remains for us to give

a prefatory sketch of the Geographical basis of the Asiatic and European

world.  Asia is, characteristically, the Orient quarter of the globe, - the

region of origination.  It is indeed a Western world for America; but as

Europe presents on the whole, the centre and end of the old world, and is

absolutely the West, - so Asia is absolutely the East.


     In Asia arose the Light of Spirit, and therefore the history of the



     We must now consider the various localities of Asia.  Its physical

constitution presents direct antitheses, and the essential relation of these

antitheses.  Its various geographical principles are formations in themselves

developed and perfected.


     First, the northern slope, Siberia, must be eliminated.  This slope, from

the Altai chain, with its fine streams, that pour their waters into the

northern Ocean, does not at all concern us here; because the Northern Zone, as

already stated, lies out of the pale of History.  But the remainder includes

three very interesting localities.  The first is, as in Africa, a massive

Upland, with a mountain girdle which contains the highest summits in the

World.  This Upland is bounded on the South and South East, by the Mus-Tag or

Imaus, parallel to which, farther south, runs the Himmalaya chain. Towards the

East, a mountain chain running from South to North, parts off the basin of the

Amur.  On the North lie the Altai and Songarian mountains; in connection with

the latter, in the North West the Musart and in the West the Belur Tag, which

by the Hindoo Coosh chain are again united with the Mus-Tag.


     This high mountain-girdle is broken through by streams, which are dammed

up and form great valley plains.  These, more or less inundated, present

centres of excessive luxuriance and fertility, and are distinguished from the

European river districts in their not forming, as those do, proper valleys

with valleys branching out from them, but river-plains.  Of this kind are, -

the Chinese Valley Plain, formed by the Hoang-Ho and Yang-tse-Kiang (the

yellow and blue streams), - next that of India, formed by the Ganges; - less

important is the Indus, which in the north, gives character to the Punjaub,

and in the south flows through plains of sand.  Farther on, the lands of the

Tigris and Euphrates, which rise in Armenia and hold their course along the

Persian mountains.  The Caspian sea has similar river valleys; in the East

those formed by the Oxus and Jaxartes (Gihon and Sihon) which pour their

waters into the Sea of Aral; on the West those of the Cyrus and Araxes (Kur

and Aras). - The Upland and the Plains must be distinguished from each other;

the third element is their intermixture, which occurs in Hither [Anterior]

Asia.  To this belongs Arabia, the land of the Desert, the upland of plains,

the empire of fanaticism.  To this belong to Syria and Asia Minor, connected

with the sea, and having constant intercourse with Europe.


     In regard to Asia the remark above offered respecting geographical

differences is especially true; viz. that the rearing of cattle is the

business of the Upland, - agriculture and industrial pursuits that of the

valley-plains, - while commerce and navigation form the third and last item.

Patriarchal independence is strictly bound up with the first condition of

society; property and the relation of lord and serf with the second; civil

freedom with the third.  In the Upland, where the various kinds of cattle

breeding, the rearing of horses, camels, and sheep, (not so much of oxen)

deserve attention, we must also distinguish the calm habitual life of nomad

tribes from the wild and restless character they display in their conquests.

These people, without developing themselves in a really historical form, are

swayed by a powerful impulse leading them to change their aspect as nations;

and although they have not attained an historical character, the beginning of

History may be traced to them.  It must however be allowed that the peoples of

the plains are more interesting.  In agriculture itself is involved, ipso

facto, the cessation of a roving life.  It demands foresight and solicitude

for the future: reflection on a general idea is thus awakened; and herein lies

the principle of property and productive industry.  China, India, Babylonia,

have risen to the position of cultivated lands of this kind.  But as the

peoples that have occupied these lands, have been shut up within themselves,

and have not appropriated that element of civilization which the sea supplies,

(or at any rate only at the commencement of their civilization) and as their

navigation of it - to whatever extent it may have taken place - remained

without influence on their culture, - a relation to the rest of History could

only exist in their case, through their being sought out, and their character

investigated by others.  The mountain-girdle of the upland, the upland itself,

and the river-plains, characterize Asia physically and spiritually; but they

themselves are not concretely, really, historical elements.  The opposition

between the extremes is simply recognized, not harmonized; a firm settlement

in the fertile plains is for the mobile, restless, roving, condition of the

mountain and Upland races, nothing more than a constant object of endeavour.

Physical features distinct in the sphere of nature, assume an essential

historical relation. - Anterior Asia has both elements in one, and has,

consequently, a relation to Europe; for what is most remarkable in it, this

land has not kept for itself, but sent over to Europe.  It presents the

origination of all religious and political principles, but Europe has been the

scene of their development.


     Europe, to which we now come, has not the physical varieties which we

noticed in Asia and Africa.  The European character involves the disappearance

of the contrast exhibited by earlier varieties, or at least a modification of

it; so that we have the milder qualities of a transition state.  We have in

Europe no uplands immediately contrasted with plains.  The three sections of

Europe require therefore a different basis of classification.


     The first part is Southern Europe - looking towards the Mediterranean.

North of the Pyrenees, mountain-chains run through France, connected with the

Alps that separate and cut off Italy from France and Germany.  Greece also

belongs to this part of Europe.  Greece and Italy long presented the theatre

of the World's History; and while the middle and north of Europe were

uncultivated, the World-Spirit found its home here.


     The second portion is the heart of Europe, which Caesar opened when

conquering Gaul.  This achievement was one of manhood on the part of the Roman

General, and more productive than that youthful one of Alexander, who

undertook to exalt the East to a participation in Greek life; and whose work,

though in its purport the noblest and fairest for the imagination, soon

vanished, as a mere Ideal, in the sequel. - In this centre of Europe, France,

Germany, and England are the principal countries.


     Lastly, the third part consists of the north-eastern States of Europe, -

Poland, Russia, and the Slavonic Kingdoms.  They come only late into the

series of historical States, and form and perpetuate the connection with Asia.

In contrast with the physical peculiarities of the earlier divisions, these

are, as already noticed, not present in a remarkable degree, but

counterbalance each other.


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