Geography matters to a countries wealth for two reasons:
- The physical location in the world – affecting climate and weather;
- The natural resources found in that country, such as gold, oil, iron etc.
The hot desert climate of Saudi Arabia would normally lead to poverty, as you can’t grow crops or raise many animals to sell meat or wool. However, it also has vast reserves of oil that have made it a very wealthy country indeed. 25% of the world’s oil (that we know of) comes from Saudi Arabia. The average income for a person in Saudi Arabia (as of 2006) was US$11,770 (compared to the United Kingdom US$37,600). This is slightly unfair as most of Saudi Arabia’s wealth rests with a ruling elite (see politics) but it shows that at least they’re not poor!
Compare this with Sudan, only a few hundred miles away and with a very similar climate and the average income there was US$640 in 2006, obviously much less. This is because despite the similar climate Sudan has no natural oil reserves or other resources to dig up and sell.
Other examples of how location can affect a countries wealth can be seen be contrasting, e.g. Britain and the United States with Chile and Bangladesh.
Britain and the U.S. have largely temperate climates where food grows well and certain types of animals thrive. Much of Britain’s money was made in the wool trade during the industrial revolution as it was cheap and easy to make wool here. The U.K. also has natural reserves in the form of iron and oil (in the North Sea). Britain and the U.S. are More Economically Developed Countries.
Chile, on the other hand, is a very mountainous country with only very thin strips of useable land. There is little you can grow in the mountain and getting natural resources out of them is expensive as it can be hard to get there. South America did have a lot of gold and silver but most of it was stolen by the Europeans during the colonisati9on of the Americas.
Bangladesh has a tropical climate where food ought to grown well but it is located in a natural bay making it prone to flooding and monsoon damage. This has limited its ability to grow economically. Chile, and Bangladesh are thus less economically developed than Britain for very natural reasons.