William Swinton.

Introductory geography in readings and recitations online

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Copyright, 1882, by


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This book forms an introduction to the author's " Grammar School Geography," anc
the two books furnish a complete course of geographical study for common schools.

The plan of this "Introductory" is similar to that which has met wide approval ir
the author's " Elementary, or Brief Course ; " that is, it combines reading-lessons (tc
enliven and stimulate) with recitation-lessons (to emphasize and fasten).

By its moderate size, simple style, and close relation of matter read to matter recited
it is suited to the capacity of beginners, while the text is so graded that the " Intro-
ductory" connects with the "Grammar School Geography" without the need of an)
intermediate manual.

w. s.

New York, March, 1882.




INTRODUCTORY LESSONS . . „ o . » » » . 1-21

NORTH AMERICA ............. 23

United States 32

New England States 35

Middle Atlantic States 41

Southern States 45

Central States 53

Pacific Highland and Coast 59

Review Questions on United States 63

Other Countries of North America .... 64


SOUTH AMERICA ........,»,.. 75










Western Hemisphere 14

Eastern Hemisphere 15

The Zones. . 17

North America 22

Physical North America , . . . . 25

United States 3°) 31

New England States 34

Middle Atlantic States 40

Southern States, Eastern Division 46

Southern States, Western Division 48

Central States ,,,.... 52

Pacific Highland and Coast .,.,..... 58


Eastern Provinces of Canada, with Newfound-
land 68

South America 74

Physical South America 76

Europe 82^

Physical Europe - 84

British Isles 85

Asia ■ • 94

Physical Asia 96

Africa 104

Physical Africa .............. 106

Oceanica .......o..=...»..»iii

Reading-Lesson I.







We live on the outside, or surface, of a great
■Surface of b^^l Called the earth, or world. Already
the earth, ^yg know a little about the surface of
the earth. We know something about the place
Avhere we have our home, and about our own

Every child has learned the name of the
Its state in which he lives, and knows

countries. \\y^x^ our country is called the United
States. But even the United States is only a

part of the earth's surface. It is but one coun
try out of many countries in the world.

So, too, we know the kind of people anions
whom we have always lived. But Their in-
there are many kinds of people in the ^^^i^'^^nts.
world, — white people and black people, yellov
people and copper-colored people ; and thes(
have very different ways of living.

There is a study that teaches us about th(
surface of the earth, its countries, and
their inhabitants. This is Geography.

Geography has many useful things to teacl
us. It teaches us how all the different what it
people in the world make their living ; Reaches,
what things each country has the most of ; anc
how in the different countries the people tak(


About the Earth,



the articles of which they have a plenty, and
trade them off for articles which they need.
It has also many wonderful tales to tell, —
true stories of flaming mountains and
moving ice-rivers, of huge waterfalls
and great spouting springs, of vast deserts and
strange underground caves, of lands where it
is always summer and lands where it is always
winter, of places where the people have only
one long day and one long night in the year, —
each lasting six months.

But, after all, is there any thing that seems
The world much Stranger than what we learned
a ball. ^|- ^YiQ beginning of this lesson, — that

we live on the surface of a great ball ? For
who would think this without being told it ?
The earth looks flat, — it appears to be a great
plain. And in olden times even the wisest
men believed the earth to be a great plain.
They thought that if a person should travel
far enough he would come to the end of the

At last a wise man here and there began to
think that the earth could not be flat.
One of these men was Columbus. You
have heard how he set out on the
voyage that led to his finding America. Now,
he would never have started on that darins:
voyage if he had not believed the world to be
round. He found America by believing that
the earth is round.

About fifty years after the time of Colum-




bus another daring navigator named Magellan
made a still more wonderful voyage. He sailed
quite around the earth. The word ^^^^^
circimniavigate means the same as Mageiiaa
"sail around;" and so wc say that ^"^"^^
Magellan v/as the first man who circumnavi-
gated the world. He set out from a port in
Spain, and after sailing on and on, without
turning back, his ships reached the same port
from which they had started. The voyage took
more than three years.

People who live on the seashore, or on a large
lake, can see any day something that ^^^^
shows the earth is round. When a ships at
ship is coming into port, the tops of
the masts are always seen first, then the sails,
and last of all the hull. So when a ship is
going out to sea, the hull is first lost to sight,
then the sails, and last of all the tops of the
masts. This would not be so if the earth were

That the earth is round there are many-
other proofs given us by learned men. other
These reasons you will understand 1"^°°^^-
better when you have studied geography more;
and indeed, they are so many that we know
the earth is round, nearly like a ball.

Any thing that is round like a ball is called
a globe, or sphere. And so, when we ciobe, or
are asked what is the shape of the ^p^^''^-
earth, we say that it is nearly the shape of a
globe, or sphere.


Direction and Distance.


1. What is Geography ?

Geography is the study that teaches us about
the surface of the earth, its countries, and
their inhabitants.

2. What is the surface of the earth ?

The surface of the earth is its outside.

3. What is the shape of the earth ?

It is round nearly like a globe, or sphere.

4. How was the trite shape of the earth first found out ?
By sailing around the earth.

5. Give another proof that the earth is round.

When a ship is coming in from sea the tops
of the masts are seen first, then the sails,
and last the hull.

♦ »

Reading-Lesson II.




We are going to learn about many places.
Giving so let us start with the place where
direction, ^^g ^j-g^ — ^.]-^g schoolroom. The first

thing we ask about a place is, " Where is it .-* "

Showing Direction.

Now, we may point toward a place, as our
school, the church, the post-of^ce ; but if we
wish to tell a person where a place is, we must

direct him which way to go to it. That is, we
must give him the directioti.

All over the world people have come to learn
direction by the sun ; for the sun can „,

-' ' The sun as

be seen by people everywhere, even the great

by the Indian in the deep forest, or

by the mariner on the wide ocean. So in every

Mariner and his Compass.

language there are words that mean the same
thing as east and tucst ; and, whatever the
word may be, " east " means where the sun
seems to rise, and "west" where it seems to set.

When one stands with the right arm stretched
toward the rising sun, like the boy in Direction
the picture, his face will be turned by the sun,
toward the north and his back toward the
south. Then toward his right hand will be
east and toward his left hand west. Or, if we
go out at noon, when the sun is shining, the
direction in which our shadow falls is north, and
the opposite direction south. Now, if we face
toward our shadow at noon, we can easily tell
which way is east and which way is west : cast
is toward the right hand, west toward the left.

At night, travelers on the land and By.the
sailors on the sea often lind their dircc- ^orthstar.
tion by looking at a bright star called the
North Star. On a clear night you may ask

Direction and Distance.

some one to point out to you this star, and tell
you how direction is found by it.

But the very best way of telling direction at
Direction ^^^ timcs is by SL compass. This won-
by the derful little instrument shows not only

compass. ^^^ ^^^^ chicf poiiits OX dircctious, —

north, south, east, west ; but the points between
these, — north-east, south-east, south-west, north-
west ; and even points between these again.

Measuring Distance.

Perhaps you have seen
a compass such as the
steersman on board a
ship uses, called the
"mariner's compass,"
or a compass such as
surveyors use ; or, if
not, you very likely
have seen a pocket-
To locate a place exactly, that is, to tell
About where it is, we must be able not only

distance. ^-^ ^g]| jj^ what dircction it is from us,
but how far off it is. We must know its dis-
tance as well as its direction.

Every day you hear people speaking of the
About common measures of length, as a foot,

measuring a yard, a mile. You have seen the
carpenter measuring by his foot-rule.
Perhaps you have seen a surveyoi out with his
men, measuring distance by means of a marked
chain. We can understand how these things are
done ; but is it not very wonderful to think that
the astronomer, by the use of the telescope and

other instruments, can tell the distance from the
earth to the sun, or from star to star }

The mile is the measure most used in speak-
ing about places. Now, if you have in size of
your mind a pretty good idea of how ^"^^ ^^'■*^-
long a mile is, it will help you to understand
what a very great globe the earth is. The dis-
tance through it is about eight thousand miles,
and the distance around it is nearly twenty-five
thousand miles. The measure through the
center of a ball, or globe, is called its diameter ;
the measure arotmd it is called its circumference.

If a railroad could be built around the earth,
it would take a very fast train, going Along
all the time, thirty days to make the Jo^'-ney-
trip. If there were no sea to stop you, and you
could walk ten hours a day at the rate of four
miles an hour, it would take nearly two years
to make the whole journey.


1. What are the four chief points of the compass ?
They are east, west, north, and south.

2. Where is east f

East is where the sun seems to rise.

3. Where is west?

West is where the sun seems to set.

4. Where are north and south ?

If we stretch our right arm towards the east,
and our left arm towards the west, the north
is in front of us and the south behind us.

5. Which way does our shadow point at noon ?
It points toward the north.

6. What names are given to the points of the compass

between the four chief points ?

North-east, south-east, south-west, and north-

7. What is the size of the earth ?

The earth is nearly eight thousand miles
through (in diameter), and about twenty-five
thousand miles around (in circumference).

About a Map.

Reading-Lesson III.



pho'to- graph

The Schoolroom. —A Picture.

Here we start from the schoolroom again.
The In the picture we see maps hung on

picture. ^|^g ^Y^]| . ^^[d wc must Icam what a

map is, for without maps we could know very
little about geography.

The drawing shows us the inside, or interior.
What it of a schoolroom. We see the floor,
shows us. ceiling, walls, windows, and the desks
and other objects in the room. Every part of
this drawing is really equally far off and equally
near to us ; but this does not seem to be so :
the part in the center of the drawing appears to
be the farthest off, and the different objects in
the schoolroom are shown as in the various posi-
tions in which we should see them if we stood
at the door, and looked in. It is a picture.
Now, if we could lift off the roof and look
down, we should see the floor, and all
the objects on it. And, if a drawing
of the schoolroom were made as we
. ould then see it, we should have what is called
a qroiind-plan, or a plan of the schoolroom, as
at the top of the next column.

Suppose you draw a plan oi your schoolroom.
Measuring First, you must measure it. Let us
for a plan, gg^y \^ jg forty fcct long and thirty feet
wide. Of course you can not draw on your slate

What a
plan is.

The Schoolroom — A Plan.

or on the blackboard a line forty feet long : so
let us make one inch stand for ten feet, then
the lines for the longer sides of the room will
be four inches, and those for the shorter sides
three inches.

This is making the drawing on what is called
a scale, — a scale of one inch to ten a scale
feet. We have all seen a photograph "'"strated.
of a man six feet tall ; but was the figure in the
photograph six feet in length .-' No : perhaps
it was only three inches. Now, if the man was
six feet (seventy-two inches) high, and the pic-
ture only three inches long, we should say
that the picture was on a scale of three inches
to seventy-two, or one inch to two feet.

As we have measured the schoolroom, and
made a plan of it, so we may measure
the school-grounds, and make a map of
them. We speak of a "plan" of a building,
and of a " map " of the school-grounds, or the
school-district, or our state, or the United
States, or the world. A map is a plan of the
whole or any part of the earth's surface.

When we drew the plan of the schoolroom
we did not make pictures of the objects on the
floor : we represented the objects by lines and
marks. So we draw the map of the school-
grounds by using signs that stand for the dif-
ferent objects in them.

A map.

Divisions of Land.


Picture of the School-grounds.

If you think a little, you will see that we can
Why maps not get along at all in learning about
are useful. |-|^g different parts of the earth without
maps. No matter how many pictures of any
part of the world you may have seen, you can
not tell where it is, nor of what shape it is, nor
how large it is, unless you have a map of it.

One thing must be kept in mind all the time
in looking at a map, — its scale. We
may make a map of a country on a
small scale or on a large scale. Sometimes we
make quite a large map to show a small country ;
and we need to do this when the country has
many rivers and mountains and places that we
wish to show clearly. And sometimes we make
quite a small map to show a large country in a
general way. We might make a map of the
whole world on a space no larger than that
used in drawing the map of the school-grounds.

Maps are generally made with the top for the
north, the right side for the east, the bottom
for the south, and the left side for the west.


1. What is a plan., or ground-plan^ of the schoolroom ?
It is such a drawing as we might make if we

could look down from above on the room.

2. What is a map ?

A map is a plan of the whole or of any part
of the earth's surface.


Map of l-Ue School -grounds.

3. What 7n7ist we bear in j/iind in drawing a map or in

studying one?

We must bear in mind its scale.

4. How are the directions generally shown on maps ?
The top generally represents north, and the

bottom south ; the right side east, and
the left side west.

Reading-Lesson IV.



isth'mus (^is'mus)

pla-teau' i-td)

Where do people live and build their houses .''
You say, on the land ; and that is right. Land and
The solid land is the dwelling-place ^^'^r.
of man. Where do fishes live, and on what
do ships sail .-' You say that fishes live in the
water, and ships sail on the water. Now, the
earth's surface consists of land and water ; for
there is no part of the earth that is not either
the one or the other of these.

If you have ever been at the seashore, you
know that the edges of the land, where ^^^j^
they touch the water, are not straight different
and even, but are notched and uneven. ^ ^'^^^'
Parts of the land stretch out into the water
more than others, and between these are open-

Divisions of Land.

Picture of Land Divisions.


ings through which the water flows up into the
land. Then, again, every one knows that some
parts of the land are higher than others.

There are different names for the different
parts of land and water. And as these
different forms of land and water were
not made by man, but are as we find them in
nature, we call them natural divisions of land
and water.

Islands, peninsulas, capes, isthmuses, valleys,
Their plains, platcaus, and mountains are

names. nam.cs of the natural divisions of land,
— eight divisions. They are all shown in the
picture and on the map above.

Almost every pupil must have seen an island,
and knows that it is a body of land
surrounded by water. Even if you
have not seen an island in the sea, you may
have seen one in a
lake or river. Isl-
ands are of all sizes,
some very small,
others very large.
Some are quite near
the coast, others are
hundreds of miles
out in the ocean.

An island.


Map of Land Divisions.

The strangest islands of all are those called
coral islands. These have been built Thecorai
up from the bottom of the sea very 'siands.
slowly by millions and millions of little animals.
The coral animal, called the coral polyp, is
at first somewhat like a small drop of How they
jelly. Millions of these little creatures ^""^ '"^'^^•
fasten themselves to rocks at the bottom of the
sea, where the water is shallow. Soon a little
stony matter forms in the body of each polyp ;
and, when the animal dies, the stony matter re-
mains. This goes on in a way which the teacher
will explain to you, and at last a real island is
formed. The most beautiful coral islands are
of a round shape. These are called atolls.

You may be sure that if you live on the coast,
or near a large lake, you have seen a a penin-
peninsula. What does this word mean? ^"'^•

" Pene " in Latin
means almost, and
"insula" means isl-
and: so "peninsula"
signifies almost an
island. A peninsula
is a body of land
nearly surrounded
by water.



Divisions of Land,

A cape.

At the end of the peninsula (in the picture
of the land divisions) you see a high point of
land extending into the water. This
is called a cape (which is from a Latin
word meaning head), because a cape is gen-
erally a head of land, or as we say a headland.
If we were making a sea-voyage, we should hear
a good deal about capes ; for the first thing we
should see when we got in sight of land would
most likely be one of these headlands.

The only other division of land that is named
An from its shape is an istJnmis. The

isthmus. word " isthmus " means neck. And
this is just what an isthmus is. Look again
at the picture of the divisions of land : you see
the peninsula, which we may compare to a
head, and the mainland, which we may compare
to the body. These are joined by an isthmus,
which is a sort of neck. So an isthmus is a
narrow neck of land joining two larger bodies
of land.


1. Of what does the earth'' s surface consist ?
It consists of land and water.

2. How many natural divisions of land are there, and

what are they ?

There are eight natural divisions of land, —
islands, peninsulas, capes, isthmuses, val-
leys, plains, plateaus, and mountains.

8. What is ati island?

An island is a body of land surrounded by

4. What is a penitisula ?

A peninsula is a body of land nearly sur-
rounded by water.

5. What is a cape ?

A cape is a point of land extending into the

6. What is an isthmus f

An isthmus is a narrow neck of land join-
ing two larger bodies of land.

Reading-Lesson V.









A PLAIN is a tract of low and generally level
land. There are different kinds of

1 • • i-rr • T 1 A plain.

plains in dirterent countries. In the
western part of our own country are vast level
or wave-like plains called prairies. A The
prairie is like a waving sea of grass, p''
and in the spring it is covered with many
kind? of beautiful wild-flowers. In some parts
you may see great herds of buffaloes feeding
on che grass. Sometimes a prairie takes fire,
burning the grass for many miles. All living
creatures then flee in dismay, for there is
scarcely any thing in the world so terrible as a
prairie on fire.

Lassoing Wild Cattle.

In some countries are other kinds of grassy
plains, as \.\\q. pampas in South Amer- jhe
ica. Over the pampas roam countless p^^p^^.
herds of wild horses and cattle. Men go out
on horseback to catch the cattle, which they do
by means of a long rope or strip of leather with
a slip-noose at one end. This is called a lasso,
and the herdsmen are very skillful in its use.

Divisions of Land.

An Oasis in the Desert.

The desert.

In some parts of the world there are vast
sandy plains, called deserts. As there is nei-
ther rain nor dew in the desert, you will not
wonder that no green thing can grow there.
For miles and miles there is nothing
but the hot, burning sand. The camel
can cross the desert, for he can go for days
without water. The desert of sand is a fright-
ful solitude, silent like the grave. Yet even in
the desert there are here and there green spots,
where palm-trees grow, and wells of water are
found. Such a spot is called an oasis, and
when the weary caravans come to one of these
they are much rejoiced.

In this picture we see a plain ; but instead
of being on a

A plateau. , . , ,

level with the
land in the fore-part of
the picture it is raised
high above it, just as
the top of a table is
raised above the floor.
Sometimes land of this
kind is called a table-
land. But the more

Plateau in Arizona.

common name for it is plateau.

A valley is the low land between hil';-; or
About mountains. Generally a brook or river

valleys. ruus through a valley. It is likely
that every pupil has seen a valley. But you
must not think that all valleys are sm^ll, or can
be seen at one view. Some valleys are very
long and vv^ide. Such, in our o//n country, is


the Mississippi Valley : it is so large that it
takes in many states, and is the home of mill-
ions of people.

When the land, instead of being sunk below
the surrounding country, is raised above About
it, we call it a hill ; and a very high
hill is called a mountain.

The highest mountain
in the world is Mount
Everest, in Asia. It is
nearly five and a half
miles high. Though it
is on the hottest part
of the globe, it is cov-
ered with snow all the
year round.

The strangest of all
mountains are., the
burning mountains,
called volcanoes. These
are mountain -peaks
that have great open-
ings in them like chim-
neys. The top of the great chimney is called
the crater of the volcano ; and through the
crater steam, melted stones, cinders, and other
substances are at times thrown out from within
the earth. In some cases the great outpourings
from volcanoes have covered up whole cities^
with all their inhabitants.

Mountains are generally seen standing, not
alone, but in long rows of peaks. Such a row is
called a mountain-(r/f«/;^ or mountain- chains,
raiige. Often several chains or ranges °'' "■^ng^s.
of mountains are found side by side, with wide
plateaus between them.


Mt. Everest, — Highest Mountain
on the Globe.

1 . Wliat is a plain ?

A plain is a tract of low and generally level

2. Describe three different kinds of plains.

The prairies and pampas are immense grassy
plains, deserts are vast sandy plains.


Divisions of Water.


What is a plateau ?

A plateau is a vast elevated plain.

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