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Regional Identity and Economic ChangeThe Upper Rhine 1450-1600$
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Tom Scott

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206446.001.0001

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Regions and Frontiers

Regions and Frontiers

Chapter:
(p.16) (p.17) 1 Regions and Frontiers
Source:
Regional Identity and Economic Change
Author(s):

Tom Scott

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206446.003.0002

This chapter examines the configuration of the southern Upper Rhine to find out whether mountain ranges or the river itself acted as barriers or clasps, frontiers or crossing-points. Modern political geographers are accustomed to distinguish between frontiers and boundaries. This distinction is relevant to any consideration of whether mountains and rivers represented natural dividing lines on the Upper Rhine. At first glance, the Vosges massif to the west seems to present a formidable obstacle to passage. The peaks fall away sharply to the east into a string of narrow valleys which cut deep furrows in the landscape. Treaties reflect a sense of regional identity on the Upper Rhine in the later Middle Ages, an awareness of mutual needs and interests which was bounded by a sense of place. But the limits of the region were not narrowly circumscribed by the valley itself. To the unity of mountain and plain which spanned the river must be added the legacy of human settlement and political organization.

Keywords:   Upper Rhine, mountains, rivers, frontiers, boundaries, Vosges, regional identity, human settlement, political organization, valleys

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