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Influences of Geographic Environment
On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography

written by "Semple, Ellen Churchill, 1863-1932"
...ettlement. Similarly the early Dutch grants on the Hudson gave to the patroons four miles along the river and an indefinite extension back from the stream. In the early Connecticut River settlements, the same consideration of a share in the river and its alluvial bottoms distributed the town lots among the inhabitants in long narrow strips running back from the banks.710 Boatmen tribes or castes. In undeveloped countries, where rivers are the chief highways, we occasionally see the survival of a distinct race of boatmen amid an intruding people of different stock, preserved in their purity by their peculiar occupation, which has given them the aloofness of a caste. In the Kwang-tung province of southern China are 40,000 Tanka boat people, who live in boats and pile-dwellings in the Canton River. The Chinese, from whom they are quite distinct, regard them as a remnant of the original population, which was dislodged by their invasion and forced to take refuge on the water. They gradually established intercourse with the conquerors of the land, but held themselves aloof. They marry only among themselves, have their own customs, and enjoy a practical monopoly of carrying passengers and messages between the steamers and the shore at Macao, Hongkong and Canton.711 In the same way, the middle Niger above Gao possesses a distinct aquatic people, the Somnos or Bosos, who earn their living as fishermen and boatmen on the river. They spread their villages along the Niger and its tributaries, and occupy separate quarters in the large towns like Gao and Timbuctoo. They are creatures of the river rather than of the land, and show great skill and endurance in paddling and poling their narrow dugouts on their long Niger voyages.712 Reference has been made before to the large river population of China who live on boats and rafts, and forward the trade of the vast inland waterways. These are people, differentiated not in race, but in occupation and...

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