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Let there be this quantitative question: how do the specifics of a natural environment influence the development of a newborn culture?

Following are the specifics of the question:

  • Which environmental factors are to be considered relevant here? Is it the climate, temperature zone, humidity, weather characteristics, fertility of land, local ecosystems and animals, availability of resources, natural dangers and diseases, etc.? Where in the cultural mosaic do these specific factors manifest themselves (one by one)?
  • Can the natural environment be a decisive factor in the development of a culture? Take the (un)availability of basic resources (foods) for example: can this be a determining factor in developing into, say, a liberal or restrictive/hostile society? Etc. What other decisive factors could be considered here (if any) - and to which societal characteristics should they lead?
  • To flesh out the explanation in all angles, do you have any qualitative examples that may be shown here? (as in significant environmental factors on cultures in the classical mediterranean, in the viking society, etc. ...)
  • A bonus question (to be able to apply all that theory onto something): what could an underground society (lots of rocks and caves) develop into, culture-wise? (assuming that some limited amounts of sunlight and food sources are available). Note: if this sub-question seems too vague (as in lacking some required data), feel free to use your imagination (to add that lacking data to the big picture by yourself).
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While the question is interesting, it's still one of those you could write a book about, what makes it not fitting this particular website. It's also not exactly history, rather anthropology. Speaking about particular examples of such influence would do, but talking about it in overall is a different matter. –  Darek Wędrychowski Apr 20 '13 at 15:24
    
@DarekWędrychowski: I can see you have a point; still, posting this question on the history subsite may be the closest match possible (i see no anthropology site here). Also, the particular examples, if diverse, may be good enough an answer, as applying some induction on the examples alone may get us at least close to the underlying rules. –  Johnny Apr 20 '13 at 16:19
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Some elements are covered by Jared Diamond in his book, Guns, Germs, and Steel. I agree with @Darek that this question is too broad. –  coleopterist Apr 20 '13 at 16:50
    
Hi. I've noticed you've also posted this on RPG.SE. You didn't really have to re-post it here, we can move questions between sites automatically. Next time, just flag the question for moderation attention and ask the moderators to migrate it to the more suitable site. It'll save you some time, and any answers and upvotes you got on the first site will follow the question (but not the downvotes, those are automatically removed when a question is moved ;). –  Yannis Rizos Apr 21 '13 at 0:29
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closed as not a real question by Darek Wędrychowski, coleopterist, American Luke, Mark C. Wallace, Steven Drennon Apr 21 '13 at 4:35

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