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Geography

"The two eyes of true history are geography and chronology."
- Fr. Albert Joseph Mary Shamon

To bring history to life we need to study all of its elements: 

When is the aspect of history most of us think of immediately 

Related to this question are :

Who were the movers and shakers? 

What were the events that changed the course of history?  What was life like for the common people?

But just as important is:

Where did these people live and events take place?

Geography affects events.  Did people live in deserts, fertile plains or dense forests?  What other cultures did they live near and how did their locations influence their interactions?  How have political boundaries change over time?  

Geography makes history real.  It's easy to forget that people long ago were actual human beings, not just characters in stories we read.  Placing them in tangible places on earth turns fiction into reality.

Don't ignore this crucial aspect of your historical journey through times AND places!