This Week in Geographic History, September 5-11

Here’s an advance look at a some of the “This Day in Geographic History” (TDIGH) events coming up this week.  For each date, we’ve matched it with a map or visual, background information, and a classroom activity so you can plan ahead.

Monday, September 5

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A Ruppell’s griffon vulture and an African white-backed vulture fight over a wildebeest carcass in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Photograph by Charlie Hamilton James, National Geographic

TDIGH: International Vulture Awareness Day

This day was created in 2009 to recognize vultures’ vital role in ecosystems and raise awareness about the threats they face from poisoning and poaching.  

Visual: Check out photos, graphics and video from the NGM article about vultures

Background: Learn about scavengers

Activity: What are the differences between New World and Old World vultures?


Wednesday, September 7

TDIGH: London Blitz

In 1940 Nazi Germany began a bombing campaign of London. Though ultimately a failure, this blitzkrieg or “lightning war” tactic  killed over 40,000 civilians and significantly damaged the city.

Map: See how the bombings damaged London

Background: Interactive timeline of WWII in Europe

Activity: Watch a video of the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz.


Thursday, September 8

A child does schoolwork at Mount Kailash Boarding School in Nepal. Though Nepal’s adult literacy rate remains under 60%, its youth literacy rate has increased to around 82%. Photograph by Aaron Huey, National Geographic

TDIGH: International Literacy Day

The United Nations proclaimed this day in 1965 to acknowledge the power of literacy, or possessing basic reading, writing, and math skills, and mobilize people to continue increasing literacy rates.

Map: Youth literacy rates around the world

Background: More info about developing countries

Activity: Learn about another kind of literacy: geo-literacy.


Saturday, September 10

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The Law of the Sea gives a nation autonomy over marine resources within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This coral reef in Kimbe Bay is included in the EEZ of Papua New Guinea. Photograph by David Doubilet, National Geographic

TDIGH: UN Approves Law of the Sea

This 1964 treaty established a nation’s rights and responsibilities concerning commerce and conservation in its waters.

Map: See the ocean areas the U.S. has jurisdiction over (page 2)

Background: Read about how the Law of the Sea affects ocean conservation.

Activity: Ocean and Sea Borders


Sunday, September 11

TDIGH: 9/11

The 2001 terrorist attack, orchestrated by members of al-Qaeda, was the deadliest in U.S. history.

Visual: Photo gallery of items left behind at the World Trade Center

Context: Survivors’ Stories

Activity: Read about the Pentagon Memorial and discuss what each part of its architecture symbolizes.

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