The idea that human systems are constrained by geography and that environment therefore dictates human history can be useful in understanding early development of human systems. However, this idea limits the ability to examine the role that human ingenuity plays in human history and also becomes less relevant as human systems become more advanced.
There are some very good examples of how geography has had long standing influence over the pace at which a cavitation will progress. One of the earliest examples during the Neolithic revolutions is the rise of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. This area was uniquely suited for agriculture to thrive because of ideal climate and readily available sources of water. The area was also endowed with many native species of animals and plants that could be easily domesticated which made the change from a hunter gatherer society to an agricultural and pastoral society and easier transition.
The rise of the Egyptian empire can also be partially credited to its geography. The Nile gave Egypt a reliable source of water even in times of drought, and this made the area ideal for a river valley civilization. Through the use of irrigation Egyptians increased food supplies and in turn population increased. Egypt was again able to use its geography to maintain order and stability as population grew because it was easy to transport goods within its boundaries and its geography kept it relatively isolated from the outside world (McNeill, pg. 53). During the medieval warming period geography also played a role in the rise of China to its golden age. The wetter climate in the south meant that three crops of rice could be harvested a year. The increase in food supply helped China to become the most developed and advanced country in the world. By studying the above examples it appears that the tyranny of geography does play a significant role in the development of some human systems.