In the early modern era, physical place, health, and disease were integrally linked in a geographical and climatological theory of the environment. The Hippocratic treatise Airs, Waters, Places served as a template for viewing the relationships between places, health, disease, and the physical and mental constitutional nature of people and nations up to the early twentieth century. Central to this conception of the body and its environment is the perception of causal connections between a place, including its climate, season, water, and food, and the people born into it. This essay discusses some of the characteristics of the Airs, Waters, Places tradition and the way this conception of nature was embedded, especially in the discourse of colonial settlement, in the early modern period and beyond.

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