The trend of dichotomy was initiated by the Greeks. Hecatateus studied physical geography while Herodotus and Strabo were more interested in human geography. Verenius in Geographia Generalis (1650) stressed on the differences of physical and human geography. Reclus was more interested in systematic physical geography called la terre. In 1848 Physical Geography was published by Mare Somerville. Albrecht Penck coined the term ‘geomorphology’.
By the second half of the 19th century, geomorphology became an important aspect of physical geography. Apart from Humboldt and Ritter, Koppen, Davis, Mill, Jafferson, Martonne, Ratzel, Semple, Huntington, Mackinder, Chisohlm, Herbertson were also interested in this branch of geography.
However, geographers like Wrigley have mentioned that, in physical geography, law statements assume paramount importance in contrast to human geography, where the issue is irrelevant. Supporters of the Weber- Winch thesis argue that, due to the multivariate nature of geography, no law can be established.
To understand the depth of the dichotomy, we may go into the historical development of human geography. Ritter and Ratzel were among the early geographers to consider man as an important agent to change the existing landscape. Febvre termed dichotomy as a process of ‘humanisation’ of the environment. Vidal de Lablache considered natural and cultural phenomena as part and parcel of the same discipline. Albert Demangeon was a disciple of Vidal.
In the USA, human geography received a further impetus from the ideas put forward by Mark Jafferson’s ‘central place’, ‘primate city’, ‘the civilising rails’. D.N. Anuchin argued in favour of ‘economic determinism’.
Therefore, human geography basically deals with the symbiotic man-nature relationship, which is interdependent. Thus the spatial variation of physical and social phenomena is the hallmark of the study of geography. For the survival of geography, the dichotomy between physical and human geography should be eliminated.