The role of the river Rhine in the formation of spatial structure of the economy of European countries (1st century BC — 19th century AD)
This article considers the main historical stages of formation of spatial economic structure of the European countries, parts of whose territories lie within the Rhine basin. The analysis covers a protracted chronological interval from the Roman colonization until the beginning of the 20th century. The author emphasizes the role of the River Rhine in the course of territorial structure formation. This study aims to retrace the historical sequence of the formation of territorial structure of economies of the Rhine basin countries. The research and practical significance of the work lies in the identification of the periods of increased activity in the formation of spatial structural communications of the states mentioned. The author applies the historical-descriptive approach and cartographical-geographical modelling to identify the main stages of this process. The author arrives at the following conclusions. The beginning of the formation of spatial structure of economies of the Rhine basin countries dates back to the Roman period of the history of European states rather than the industrial revolution. Similarly, it is possible to assume that primitive integration processes started to develop in the region in the same period. Throughout history, the River Rhine has served as the central axis for economic structure development. The practical significance of the article lies in identifying the early — previously insufficiently studied — stages of formation of territorial economic structure in the historical and geographical context.
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