Early life and education
Mackinder was born in
Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England, the son of a doctor, and educated at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Gainsborough (now
Queen Elizabeth's High School),
Epsom College and
Christ Church, Oxford. At Oxford he started studying natural sciences, specialising in
Henry Nottidge Moseley, who had been the naturalist on the
Challenger expedition. When he turned to the study of history, he remarked that he was returning "to an old interest and took up modern history with the idea of seeing how the theory of evolution would appear in human development". He was a strong proponent of treating both
physical geography and
human geography as a single discipline. Mackinder served as President of the
Oxford Union in 1883.
He received a degree in biology in 1883 and one in modern history the next year.