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    Words (or words that have the same definition) The definition is case sensitive (Optional) Image to display with the definition [Not displayed in Glossary, only in pop-up on pages] (Optional) Caption for Image (Optional) External or Internal Link (Optional) Source for Definition
    (Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...") (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity") The infamous double helix CC-BY-SA; Delmar Larsen
    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    Aborigine the term for the indigenous people of Australia       Caitlin Finlayson
    absolute location references an exact point on Earth and commonly uses specific coordinates like latitude and longitude        
    acid rain a form of acidic precipitation caused by the emission of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from the burning of fossil fuels       Caitlin Finlayson
    African Union an interregional organization in Africa that seeks unity, integration, and sustainable development        
    agricultural density the ratio of the number of farmers to the area of land       Caitlin Finlayson
    al-Qaeda a group of militant Sunnis founded by Osama bin Laden        
    Altiplano a series of high elevation plains found in western South America       Caitlin Finlayson
    altitudinal zonation distinct agricultural and livestock zones resulting from changes in elevation        
    apartheid the ruling Dutch government’s policy of racial separation in South Africa       Caitlin Finlayson
    aquifers an underground layer of permeable rock that holds groundwater        
    Arab Spring a wave of protests and revolutions in North Africa and Southwest Asia that began in Tunisia in 2010       Caitlin Finlayson
    archipelago a chain of islands        
    arithmetic density the number of people in an area divided by the size of the area       Caitlin Finlayson
    Asian Tigers refers to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan which have experienced rapid industrialization and economic development led by export-driven economies, low taxes, and free trade, sometimes also called the Four Asian Tigers        
    assimilation when one cultural group adopts the language and customs of another group       Caitlin Finlayson
    Association of Southeast Asian Nations an international organization that seeks to promote political security, economic growth, and social development among member countries in Southeast Asia, also known as ASEAN        
    atoll a ring-shaped chain of coral islands surrounding a central lagoon       Caitlin Finlayson
    biodiversity having a wide variety of species present in an area        
    biogeography a branch of geography that explores the spatial distribution of the world’s flora and fauna       Caitlin Finlayson
    Bolsheviks a Marxist political party led by Vladimir Lenin that overthrew the interim government following the Russian Revolution and created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics        
    boreal forest a cold biome characterized by coniferous trees, also known as taiga       Caitlin Finlayson
    brain drain refers to the emigration of highly skilled workers “draining" their home country of their knowledge and skills        
    Buddhism religion that emerged from Hinduism and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama       Caitlin Finlayson
    buffer states a country situated between two more powerful states        
    caste system a form of hereditary social hierarchy found in Hinduism       Caitlin Finlayson
    central business district the central commercial and business area of a city, also known as the CBD        
    centrifugal forces forces that threaten national unity by dividing a state       Caitlin Finlayson
    centripetal forces forces that tend to unify people within a country        
    choke point a narrow passage to another region, such as a canal, valley, or bridge       Caitlin Finlayson
    Christianity a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus        
    climate change global changes in temperature and the patterns of weather over an extended period of time       Caitlin Finlayson
    Cold War a time of political and military tension primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union following World War II and lasting until the early 1990s with the fall of the Soviet Union        
    colonialism the control of a territory by another group       Caitlin Finlayson
    command economy an economic system where the production, prices of goods, and wages received by workers is set by the government        
    commodities raw materials or agricultural goods that are easily bought and sold       Caitlin Finlayson
    communal conflict violence between members of different communities        
    communism a social, political, and economic system that seeks communal ownership of the means of production       Caitlin Finlayson
    continental climate areas near the center of a continent that experience more extremes in temperature due to their location away from bodies of water        
    coral bleaching occurs when coral experience “stress" due to warm waters and expel the colorful, algae-like organisms that live within them       Caitlin Finlayson
    deindustrialization the process of shifting from a primarily manufacturing-based economy to service industries        
    demographic transition model a model that demonstrates the changes in birth rates, death rates, and population growth over time as a country develops, also referred to as the DTM       Caitlin Finlayson
    desertification the process of previously fertile land becoming desert        
    development economic, social, and institutional advancements       Caitlin Finlayson
    diffusion refers to the spreading of an idea, object, or feature from one place to another        
    distortion changes that occur in area, shape, distance, and/or direction when representing a spherical Earth on the flat surface of a map       Caitlin Finlayson
    domino theory refers to the fear that the fall of one country to communism would lead to the fall of other surrounding countries to communism        
    dual economy when plantations or commercial agriculture is practiced alongside traditional agricultural methods       Caitlin Finlayson
    Eastern Orthodox Church a branch of Christianity that split from Roman Catholicism in 1054 CE and includes a number of different denominations such as the Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox churches        
    economies of scale the savings in cost per unit that results from increasing production       Caitlin Finlayson
    El Niño the warming phase of a climate pattern found across the tropical Pacific Ocean region        
    endemic a disease found within a population in relatively steady numbers       Caitlin Finlayson
    entrepôt a French term meaning a commercial center of trade        
    environmental degradation the deterioration of resources like air, land, and water       Caitlin Finlayson
    epidemic a disease outbreak        
    ethnicity the identification of a group of people with a common language, ancestry, or cultural history       Caitlin Finlayson
    exclusive economic zone a 200 mile zone extending out from a country’s coastline where it has exclusive control over any natural resources, also known as the EEZ        
    failed state when a government deteriorates to the point where it is no longer functional       Caitlin Finlayson
    federal state a political system characterized by regional governments or self-governing states        
    Fertile Crescent an early area of human civilization in North Africa and Southwest Asia surrounding the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile rivers       Caitlin Finlayson
    floating population members of a population who reside in an area for a period of time but do not live there permanently        
    foreign direct investment the control of a business in one country by a company based in another country, also known as FDI       Caitlin Finlayson
    formal regions a region that shares at least one common characteristic, sometimes also called homogeneous regions        
    forward capital a capital that has been intentionally relocated, generally because of economic or strategic regions, and is often positioned on the edge of contested territory       Caitlin Finlayson
    fossil fuels nonrenewable sources of energy formed by the remains of decayed plants or animals        
    functional region a region united by a particular function, often economic, sometimes also called nodal regions       Caitlin Finlayson
    genocide the systematic elimination of a group of people        
    gentrification where increased property values resulting from the arrival of middle and upper class residents displace lower-income families and small businesses       Caitlin Finlayson
    geographic information science also referred to as geographic information systems, or GIS; a program that uses computers and satellite imagery to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial data        
    globalization the increasing interconnectedness and integration of the countries of the world resulting from advances in communication and transportation technology       Caitlin Finlayson
    Great Barrier Reef a massive underwater coral reef off the coast of northeastern Australia        
    Great Leap Forward a campaign begun in 1958 by the Communist Party of China that sought to reshape China’s agrarian society into an industrial power       Caitlin Finlayson
    Green Revolution changes in agricultural technology and productivity beginning in India in the 1960s        
    gross domestic product the value of all the goods and services produced in a country in a given year       Caitlin Finlayson
    gross national income the value of all the goods and services produced in a country in a given year and the income received from overseas        
    Group of Eight a political forum of the world’s leading industrialized countries including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, also knwon as the G8       Caitlin Finlayson
    growth pole a cluster within a region that has attracted economic development        
    hacienda a Spanish estate where a variety of crops are grown both for local and international markets       Caitlin Finlayson
    hajj a pilgrimage to Mecca that is expected for all physically and financially able Muslims to complete at least once in their lifetime        
    high islands islands that were formed from volcanoes and have relatively high relief       Caitlin Finlayson
    Hinduism an ancient polytheistic religion that first developed in South Asia and is characterized by a belief in karma, dharma, and reincarnation        
    Horn of Africa a protruding peninsula in East Africa that contains the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia       Caitlin Finlayson
    humanism a philosophy emphasizing the value of human beings and the use of reason in solving problems        
    import-substitution industry a strategy to replace foreign imports with domestic production of goods       Caitlin Finlayson
    Industrial Revolution the changes in manufacturing that began in the United Kingdom in the late 18th and early 19th centuries        
    informal sector refers to the part of the economy where goods and services are bought and sold without being taxed or monitored by the government       Caitlin Finlayson
    insurgent state a territory beyond the control of government forces        
    invasive species a species of plant, animal, or fungus that is not native to an area but spreads rapidly       Caitlin Finlayson
    Iron Curtain an imaginary dividing line between the Soviet Union and its satellite states who aligned with the Warsaw Pact, a collective defense treaty, and Western European countries allied through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)        
    Islam a monotheistic religion that emphasizes the belief in Muhammad as the last prophet       Caitlin Finlayson
    Islamism a religious ideology characterized by a strict, literal interpretation of the Qur’an, conservative moral values, and the desire to establish Islamic values across the entire world.        
    isthmus a narrow strip of land that connects the two large landmasses       Caitlin Finlayson
    Jainism a religion emerged in India in the first century BCE and emphasizes ahimsa, nonviolence toward all living beings        
    jihadism a militant form of Islam that seeks to combat threats to the Muslim community       Caitlin Finlayson
    Judaism an ancient monotheistic religion founded in the Middle East that holds the Torah as its holiest religious text        
    Khmer Rouge a communist organization in Cambodia that opposed Westernization and believed in a return to an agrarian society       Caitlin Finlayson
    land alienation when land is taken from one group and claimed by another        
    latitude imaginary lines that run laterally, parallel to the equator, around the earth and measure distances north or south of the equator       Caitlin Finlayson
    liberation theology a form of Christianity that is blended with political activism and places a strong emphasis on social justice, poverty, and human rights        
    lingua franca a common language spoken between speakers of different languages       Caitlin Finlayson
    longitude imaginary lines that circle the earth and converge at the poles, measuring distances east and west of the equator        
    low islands islands that were formed mostly from coral and have relatively low elevations       Caitlin Finlayson
    Maori the term for the indigenous people of New Zealand        
    maquiladora a manufacturing plant that takes components of products and assembles them for export       Caitlin Finlayson
    maritime climate a climate zone that features cool summers and cool winters with few extremes in temperature or in rainfall        
    Marxism an analysis of social class and conflict based on the work of Karl Marx       Caitlin Finlayson
    megacity a metropolitan area with over 10 million people        
    megalopolis a region of overlapping metropolitan areas       Caitlin Finlayson
    Melanesia a region of islands to the northeast of Australia that include Papua New Guinea and Fiji        
    melting pot a metaphorical term referring to the mixing of cultural groups to create a more homogeneous national culture       Caitlin Finlayson
    mestizo a term referring to someone of mixed European and Ameridian descent        
    microfinance financial and investment services for individuals and small business who otherwise do not have access to traditional banking services       Caitlin Finlayson
    Micronesia a region of very small islands north of Melanesia and east of Polynesia        
    migration a move from one place to another intended to be permanent       Caitlin Finlayson
    monotheistic the belief in one god        
    monotreme an egg-laying mammal       Caitlin Finlayson
    monsoon a seasonal shift in winds that results in changes in precipitation        
    nation-state a sovereign political area that has a homogenous ethnic and cultural identity       Caitlin Finlayson
    nationalism the feeling of political unity within a territory        
    neocolonialism the practice of exerting economic rather than direct political control over territory       Caitlin Finlayson
    Neolithic Period also known as the New Stone Age, a time of key developments in early human technology, such as farming, the domestication of plants and animals, and the use of pottery        
    North American Free Trade Agreement an agreement established in 1994 with the goal of increasing economic cooperation between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, also referred to as NAFTA       Caitlin Finlayson
    offshore banking financial services located outside a depositor’s country of residence and offer increased privacy and little or no taxation        
    orographic precipitation rainfall that results from a physical barrier forcing air masses to climb where they then cool, condense, and form precipitation       Caitlin Finlayson
    Outback a remote area of extensive grassland pastures in central Australia        
    outsourcing contracting out a portion of a business to another party, which might be located in a different country       Caitlin Finlayson
    Pacific Rim refers to the countries that border the Pacific Ocean        
    Pacific Ring of Fire an area of high tectonic activity along the Pacific Ocean basin       Caitlin Finlayson
    partition the division of a territory into smaller units, as with the former British Empire in South Asia        
    permafrost soil that is consistently below the freezing point of water (0°C or 32°F)       Caitlin Finlayson
    physiologic density the number of people per unit of arable land        
    Pidgin English a simplified form of English used by speakers of different languages for trade, in addition to their native tongue       Caitlin Finlayson
    plantation an agricultural system designed to produce one or two crops primarily for export        
    plate tectonics a theory that describes the movement of rigid, tectonic plates above a bed of molten, flowing material       Caitlin Finlayson
    Polynesia a large, triangular region of Pacific islands stretching from New Zealand to Easter Island to the Hawaiian and Midway Islands        
    population pyramid a graphical representation of a population’s age groups and composition of males and females       Caitlin Finlayson
    primate city a city that is the largest city in a country, is more than twice as large as the next largest city, and is representative of the national culture        
    qanat a system of irrigation first developed in modern-day Iran consisting of an underground tunnel used to extract groundwater from below mountains and transport it downhill       Caitlin Finlayson
    Qur’an the holiest book of Islam believed to contain the words of God as recited by Muhammad, also spelled Quran or Koran        
    rain shadow a region with dry conditions on the leeward side of a highland area       Caitlin Finlayson
    rate of natural increase the measure of a country’s population growth calculated by subtracting its death rate from its birth rate, also referred to as RNI        
    refugees people who have been forced to leave their country       Caitlin Finlayson
    relative location the location of a place relative to other places        
    Russification a system of cultural assimilation in Russia where non-Russian groups give up their ethnic and linguistic identity and adopt the Russian culture and language       Caitlin Finlayson
    Sahel a transitional region in northern Africa connecting the dry Sahara Desert to the tropical regions of the south        
    scale the ratio between the distance between two locations on a map and the corresponding distance on Earth’s surface       Caitlin Finlayson
    secularism the exclusion of religious ideologies from government or public activities        
    sex ratio the ratio of males to females in a population       Caitlin Finlayson
    shatter belt an area of political instability that is caught between the interests of competing states        
    shifting cultivation a system of agriculture where one area of land is farmed for a period of time and then abandoned until its fertility naturally restores       Caitlin Finlayson
    Sikhism a monotheistic religion founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak that combines elements of both Hinduism and Islam        
    Slavs an ethno-linguistic group loctaed in Central and Eastern Europe that includes West Slavs (such as Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks), East Slavs (including Russians and Ukrainians), and South Slavs (namely Serbs, Croats, and others)       Caitlin Finlayson
    Small Island Developing States small, coastal states with that face challenges related to sustainable development and have limited populations and natural resource bases, also known as SIDS        
    social stratification a system of social categorization where people in a society have differing levels of social status       Caitlin Finlayson
    social welfare a government policy where citizens pay a higher percentage of taxes to support universal healthcare, higher education, child care, and retirement programs        
    Special Economic Zones a special region in China where more free-market oriented economics are allowed, also known as SEZ       Caitlin Finlayson
    squatter settlement a housing area where residents do not own or pay rent and instead occupy otherwise unused land        
    state an independent and sovereign political entity recognized by the international community       Caitlin Finlayson
    steppe a biome characterized by treeless, grassland plains        
    structural adjustment programs a set of required economic changes that accompany a loan made by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to country that is experiencing an economic crisis       Caitlin Finlayson
    subduction zone an area where one tectonic plate is subducting, or moving below, another plate        
    subsistence farming where farmers grows food primarily to feed themselves and their families       Caitlin Finlayson
    sustainable agriculture a type of agriculture looks at farming’s effect on the larger ecosystem and seeks to minimize negatively impacts on the ecosystem in the long-term        
    taiga a biome characterized by cold temperatures and coniferous forests       Caitlin Finlayson
    territorial waters an area extending 12 miles offshore that is considered sovereign territory of a state        
    theocracy a government ruled by religious authorities       Caitlin Finlayson
    total fertility rate the average number of children born to a woman during her childbearing years, also referred to as TFR        
    Trans-Siberian Railway an east-west rail line completed in 1919 that stretches across Russia, connecting Moscow in the west with Vladivosktok in the east       Caitlin Finlayson
    transition zone n area between two regions that is marked by a gradual spatial change        
    tribe a group of families united by a common ancestry and language       Caitlin Finlayson
    tsunami a high sea wave resulting from the displacement of water        
    tundra a biome characterized by very cold temperatures and limited tree growth       Caitlin Finlayson
    unitary state a political system characterized by a powerful central government        
    urban decentralization the spreading out of the population that resulted from suburbanization       Caitlin Finlayson
    urban sprawl the expansion of human settlements away from central cities and into low-density, car-dependent communities        
    urbanization the increased proportion of people living in urban areas       Caitlin Finlayson
    value added goods a raw material that has been changed in a way that enhances its value        
    Wahhabism a strict form of Sunni Islam that promotes ultraconservative Muslim values       Caitlin Finlayson
    Westernization the process of adopting Western, particularly European and American, culture and values        
    World Trade Organization an intergovernmental organization that collectively regulates international trade, also known as the WTO       Caitlin Finlayson