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Environmental and Cultural Interchange Essay

The territory of the United States of America has been shaped and cultivated for hundreds of years. So, people could have their homes and live independently and without oppression on their own land.

As such, it is possible to distinguish several prominent events or factors that influenced the migration, cultural interchange, and geographic development or expansion of the United States. Each of those factors contributed to migration of people from other continents and within the North American continent leading to settlement of new territories and their development.

The first event to be mentioned that contributed greatly to the settlement of the Californian coast is the California Gold Rush that took place in the middle of the nineteenth century. The gold was first found by “James Marshall… at Sutter’s sawmill” in 1948 right before the beginning of the Mexican War (1846-1848) that prevented this territory from becoming one of the states (Fradin, 2008, p. 31).

As the California Gold Rush was not the first discovery of gold deposits, Mormons were told to have already accumulated some gold. Another contribution of these people was that they have opened new routes for new miners that wanted to answer to the call of the gold deposits. As such, the people that were mostly coming to California in 1849 and were called 49ers followed Mormons’ routes in order to reach the California gold fields.

When people want easy money, they are ready to believe in their chances to win. The same happened with the information about the gold in that region which influenced the migration to California from all over the world including people that took their families and went to California expecting to find gold and get rich there without having necessary skills or knowledge about gold deposits or conditions of living in that region.

In this respect, thousands of people set off for California without having sufficient fortune for living in case they do not find any gold. At the same time, migrants were ready for any type of obstacles because they were sure about finding gold as they heard some stories about friends of their friends that have found gold in that region.

As California Gold Rush is only one of the gold rush phenomena that took place on the territory of the current United States of America, every new rush contributed to the settlement of a definite region.

San Francisco became the capital of California with constantly growing population (Fradin, 2008, p. 32) while the California Gold Rush transformed the U.S. economy in terms of enrichment as “at least $400 million in gold was found in California between 1848 and 1857” (Fradin, 2008, p. 36). Moreover, many miners stayed in this land even when the rush was over because the farming and ranching opportunities were still great.

The next significant environmental factor that contributed greatly to the development of the United States is the Dust Bowl that took place on the territory of five American states including Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico during 1930s when the Great Depression was the main devastating factor that made people search for alternative ways of making money and improving their financial conditions.

The thing is that the Dust Bowl was the phenomenon that was caused by the farming activity of the people that populated that area. As such, people that wanted richer harvests and started the farming activity in the prairies got those harvests though this led to no natural coverage on the land which was blown off by the seasonal winds.

As the high grass was removed from the land so that it could serve the farming purposes, the soil was not protected against the winds. People that came to the prairies with their families to settle there had to move to other areas due to the thick dust that was lifted up into the air and would not go down. In this respect, people came to other regions though came to know about the natural consequences of their activity which enabled them to develop the farming in other areas and in another way than they used to do that before.

One of the first responses to the phenomenon of Dust Bowl by the US government was the soil conservation measures as the soil had to be restored due to its location. As the Great Plains are located on the territory of those five states as Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico, it was clear that people started migration to other states that were located to North from the Dust Bowl. The economic impact was huge as the soil was blown away making it impossible to farm.

Farming was one of the leading factors that influenced many civilizations in the way that made them learn new ways of making their harvests richer and protecting those against floods and droughts. Mesopotamian civilization is considered the first civilization that occurred in chronology of other civilizations that rose in other territories.

Mesopotamia was the territory between rivers of Euphrates and Tigris and their farming activity depended greatly on the waters of these two rivers. At the same time, this environmental factor contributed greatly to the development of the Mesopotamian civilization in terms of farming activity and the methods cultivated by people to make their harvests richer.

As reported in the study by Duiker and Spielvogel (2010), “in such circumstances, farming could be accomplished only with human intervention in the form of irrigation and drainage ditches” (p. 8). In other words, the fact that Mesopotamians adapted this way of intervention into the irrigation can be considered as the evidence of development of the culture due to such environmental factor as floods.

Though farming can be considered one of the major activities of people that became settled population of a certain area, the ancient world was full of invasions that were another way of cultural interchange along with trading and natural migration. As such, Ancient Egypt was one of the countries that was influenced by the culture of Mesopotamia – it is better to distinguish Assyrians in this scope of civilizations that settled the valley of two great rivers – when the Assyrian ruler invaded Egypt.

As a rule, ancient rulers had a natural reason to expand the territories of their civilizations that were often related to scarce land in relation to the population growth and necessity of providing food to all people. In this respect, delta of Nil was one of the alternative variants for settling with its rich soils. Moreover, Mesopotamians were familiar with the methods of interventions into the irrigation and drainage ditches.

Though there is no evidence that Egyptians copied from Mesopotamians, it is possible to talk about common features in the cultures of these both kingdoms. At the same time, there are many differences that let us assume that a third part intruded and shared knowledge and influenced both Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures.


Duiker, W. J., & Spielvogel, J. J. (2010). The essential world history (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Fradin, D. B. (2008). The California Gold Rush. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

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"Environmental and Cultural Interchange." IvyPanda, 25 Mar. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-and-cultural-interchange/.

1. IvyPanda. "Environmental and Cultural Interchange." March 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-and-cultural-interchange/.


IvyPanda. "Environmental and Cultural Interchange." March 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-and-cultural-interchange/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Environmental and Cultural Interchange." March 25, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/environmental-and-cultural-interchange/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Environmental and Cultural Interchange'. 25 March.

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