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I have suggested this one before, but breaking up Europe into the drainage basins of the various rivers and grouping these by which sea they empty into gives a "natural" grouping of European countries and regions. You can see a lot of historical political units in this map:

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_divide)

Examples: the Ostsee basin is the Hansa you're talking about now. Donau is the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You can see the contour of Switzerland at the south end of the Rhine Basin. The border between Castilla and Aragon, between the French speaking and the Germanic regions are visible, and so on...

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 06:52:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
interesting concept...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 06:55:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finland doesn't appear to have any significant drainage. Is the 'stability' of lakes archetypal? ;-=

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 06:59:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The wikipedia map is incomplete. Finland has a long list of rivers and most of the country drains into the Baltic sea anyway:

(http://www.grida.no/baltic/)

(right-click on the image to see it larger)

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 07:11:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn those cartographers! I'd still like to believe that there are cultural/geographic folk memories that have an influence on historical social development. How has the flatness of the Netherlands affected the development of particular society ? The insularity of the UK? The DNA segregation of the Glens, the Atlantic for the Portuguese, the wilderness of the Steppes etc.

Particular geographical matrices fill 'classical' European literature. Before metropolii you lived in a landscape that affected every part of your life. How long does that 'folk memory' survive down through the generations?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 07:26:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a time, not so long ago, when travelling between basins necessarily involved crossing a mountain ridge. Most people didn't do it, and neither did most trade, so you naturally get a horizon that doesn't extend beyond the boundaries of your home basin, for generations. Travel and trade by sea was easier so you get natural political and economic units around seas.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 07:33:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One might almost talk about the influence of gravity upon trade. Something sadly lacking today, I feel.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 07:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Sargon on Tue Dec 11th, 2007 at 07:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not based on any new ideas.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 8th, 2007 at 07:11:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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