Here’s one of many reasons:
“… And then the strange people of Asia- the Tartars, who are such splendid horsemen; the Arabs, who travel over the deserts upon camels, and at night stop and tell stories to each other; and the Hindoos, who burn their widows and drown their children, thinking these things are pleasing to God; and the Chinese, who eat puppies and rats, and furnish all the world with tea; and the Turks, with their big turbans- what a wonderful thing it is that in one little book we may learn all about these queer [sic] people.
Perhaps I like geography the more for this reason: Uncle Ben has a great many pictures of different countries, with the people who live there; and when I am studying about a country I look over these pictures…”
[Goodrich, Samuel G [Peter Parley]. pp 45. Chapter V- Geography. The Adventures of Billy Bump on the Pacific Coast- A tale of ’49. 1793-1860. http://www.openlibrary.org/details/billybump00goodarch ]