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Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years

Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, February 1948, S.C.S. MP-32,
First published as USDA Bulletin No. 99, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, 1939


In 1938 and 1939, Dr. W. C. Lowdermilk, who was an assistant chief of the U. S. Soil Conservation Service at that time, made an 18-month tour of western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East to study soil erosion and land use in those areas. This tour was sponsored by the Soil Conservation Service at the request of a congressional committee. The main objective of the tour was to gain information from those areas -- where some lands had been in cultivation for hundreds and thousands of years -- that might be of value in helping to solve the soil erosion and land use problems of the United States.

During the l938-39 tour, Dr. Lowdermilk visited England, Holland, France, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, Tripoli, Egypt, Palestine, Trans-Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Syria, and Iraq. Prior to that time, he had spent several years in China where he had studied soil erosion and land use problems.

After his return to this country, Dr. Lowdermilk gave numerous lectures, illustrated with lantern slides, about his findings on land use in the old world. Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years is the essence of those talks. It was first published in l942, in mimeograph form, as a lecture. It has been used extensively in conjunction with lantern slides by many school teachers and other lecturers. It proved to be so popular that it now has been slightly revised and illustrated, and is published in its present form with the hope that its usefulness will be greatly extended.

Most of the illustrations used in this publication were made from photographs taken by Dr. Lowdermilk during his travels.

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