Halford J. Mackinder

Halford J. Mackinder (1861-1947) was a geographer and politician. Although he disliked the term, he was also one of the founding fathers of ‘geopolitics’, the study of physical and human geography in the context of political power.

Mackinder was director of the first British university geography department at Oxford (1899). He was involved with Reading, overseeing its elevation from extension college to university, the LSE, establishing the geography department there, and London University.

He was a Conservative MP from 1910 to 1922. He was an imperialist, though a visionary one believing the empire should become a league of democracies with a common defence policy.

Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919) was his most important book. An earlier book was Britain and the British Seas (1902).