This Week in Geographic History, September 12-18

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.

Tuesday, September 13

NGS Picture Id:1277686
The first time the national anthem was played at a sporting event was at a baseball game in 1862. Since then the tradition spread to most sports, including this rodeo in California. Photograph by National Geographic

TDIGH: Star-Spangled Banner Yet Waves

After proudly watching Americans fend off the British at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that later became the national anthem of the U.S.

Visual: See photos related to the final battle of the War of 1812

Background: What defines a nation?

Activity: Listen to national anthems from around the world and learn about how they were created.


Wednesday, September 14


Created in 1960 to coordinate global oil policies, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is made up of 12 nations.

Map: The world’s crude oil reserves  

Background: Learn more about petroleum

Activity: Read about and discuss the effects of the 1973 OPEC embargo.


Thursday, September 15

NGS Picture Id:622101
This painting depicts Charles Darwin surrounded by the species that were integral to his theory of natural selection. Artwork by Ned M. Seidler, National Geographic

TDIGH: Darwin Explores Galapagos Islands

Naturalist Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection, part of the process of evolution, from his observations of plants and animals in the Galapagos Islands.

Visual: Watch this video about the Galapagos Islands

Background: What is speciation?

Activity: Learn about a species of finch that Darwin studied and why it’s endangered.  

TDIGH: Hispanic Heritage Month

In 1988, September 15 through October 15 was officially designated as a month to honor the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

Map: Where do Hispanic and Latino people live in the U.S.?

Background: Read about why people migrate

Activity: Watch the above video explaining the difference between the terms Hispanic and Latino, and why ethnicity is real but race is not.


Saturday, September 17

NASA officials and members of the Star Trek television series stand by the shuttle Enterprise at its 1976 unveiling. Photograph by NASA

TDIGH: First Space Shuttle Unveiled

Named after the fictional Star Trek starship, Enterprise served as the prototype for NASA’s next five space shuttles.

Visual: Panorama photos of inside space shuttles

Background: What is the atmosphere?

Activity: Test your knowledge about our solar system with this quiz.


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