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Below is TIME magazine’s list of the most influential places in history. They must have a very strange definition. I haven’t been able to come up with an inclusive one which makes any sense at all from what they have presented. It would seem more reasonable when discussing world historical locations based on the geography of places to follow in the military locations laid out by Halford Mackinder, and Alfred Mahan.

  • Sequoia National Park – It’s a beautiful place but its influence on human history is negligible.
  • Silicon Valley – This place has real traction for modern influence, but it is the people and their activities which are historical and not the location. They could have come together and worked in many other places.
  • The Grand Canyon – Once again a beautiful place but its effect on history is nil.
  • Sutter’s Mill – Gold had been found before in California, but it was a political spin on that finding which was intended to populate the West with Americans.
  • Central Park – A beautiful park and worthwhile but not of world historical importance
  • Wall Street – This place is of historical importance for money and for the first American presidential inauguration. It was located at the tip of New York City.
  • New York City – This is the first location of geographical historical importance because it was a gateway to northern America. So was New Orleans but it’s not on TIMEs list as are many foreign places like Singapore.
  • Cape Canaveral – Rockets took off here, but they could have gone from many other places.
  • Iguaçu National Park, Brazil – Beautiful jungle and rivers and waterfalls but of little historical importance.
  • Vatican Museums, Vatican City – This is a place of great historical importance, but not because of geography.
  • Stonehenge, Britain – They called it the first monument – only in the island’s history.
  • Dublin – Some nuns helping people is wonderful but it isn’t Earth shaking.
  • Mainz, Germany – The first movable type printing press was here but it wasn’t the geography which made it happen.
  • Waterloo – Geography is important to all battles but this battle wasn’t created by or for geography.
  • The Galápagos Rift – It was associated with where some very common things were first recognized.
  • The Louvre – A storehouse of great things done elsewhere.
  • The Bastille – One of thousands of revolutionary events happened here.
  • European Central Bank, Frankfurt – People manage money at some location, but the location is arbitrary.
  • Athens – One of the better places to build a city but not the best.
  • Western Wall, Jerusalem – A significant place because human events took place there but not because of geography.
  • Calvary Hill, Jerusalem – Another unremarkable place except for the unusually important social events.
  • Istanbul – Here is a truly important location because it controls the flow of traffic both across the land and across the seas.
  • Mecca – A remote city in a desert where important thoughts occurred and were recorded.
  • Damascus – An important crossroads city but there are many of those in Asia.
  • Ethiopia – This is an important location, where pre-humans have been found during our evolution; perhaps it couldn’t have happened elsewhere.
  • Africa – Same as for Ethiopia but more inclusive.
  • The Great Pyramid and Sphinx, Giza – Perhaps the pyramids of the world require a geographic confluence of factors to have been created. They are important.
  • Timbuktu – Another one of many crossroads cities in the desert.
  • Simien National Park, Ethiopia – Some gorgeous mountains but there are many examples of gorgeous mountains.
  • Taj Mahal, India – This monument is an artifact of personal power and could have been built in other locations.
  • Mahabodhi Temple, India – This location like other religious locations is irrelevant to the message of the prophets.
  • Angkor, Cambodia – This city was dependent upon the water supply and dams for its location and thus it is geographically significant.
  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia – The reef is unique and can exist in no other place so it is geographically significant but not particularly significant for human history.
  • Sydney Opera House – Took ten times longer to construct than the original contract and cost ten times a much. A beautiful monument to human folly.
  • Fukushima, Japan – Writing of human folly – building a reactor right on the shores of a mega-quake zone ranks as an historical event based on geography.
  • Koshima – The evocative picture of red-faced monkeys sitting in hot water should have included TIME’s editors.
  • The North Pole – It is hard to imagine a place with less geographical impact on all but a handful of explorers.
  • The Moon – A dozen have walked the Moon. $170 billion for 841 pounds of rocks.

 

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