This Week in Geographic History, September 19-25

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 20

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A baby chimpanzee hangs from a tree in the Goualougo Triangle region of the Congo Basin. Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

TDIGH: Megatransect Protects African Wilderness

NG Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay’s 1999 expedition documenting biodiversity in the Congo River Basin helped lead to creation of a national park system in Gabon.

Map: Congo River Basin

Background: Physical geography of Africa

Activity: Watch this video to learn about another expedition documenting biodiversity in Africa: the Okavango Wilderness Project.


Thursday, September 22

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Peace Corps volunteers play American football with children in Gabon. Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic

TDIGH: Peace Corps Established

President John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corps in 1961 to promote cross-cultural understanding between Americans and people of other countries.

Map:  Interactive map of all the places Peace Corps volunteers serve

Background: Interview with NG staff who served in the Peace Corps

Activity: Read and discuss a first person account from a Peace Corps volunteer.


TDIGH: First Issue of National Geographic Magazine

In 1888 the National Geographic Society published the first issue of its scientific journal. Though National Geographic magazine is now famous for its photography, it did not include photos until 1905.

Visual: 5 famous NGM covers and the stories behind them

Background: History of the National Geographic Society

Activity: Brainstorm story ideas that students would want to see in the magazine.


Friday, September 23

Hurricane-like storms regularly move across Neptune’s surface, as shown in this photograph taken by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft. Photograph by NASA

TDIGH: Neptune is Discovered

The outermost planet in our solar system was discovered in 1846 by scientists following mathematical predictions.

Visual: Photo gallery of Neptune and its moons

Background: What is a planet?

Activity: Compare the sizes of different planets and their distance from the sun


Sunday, September 25

TDIGH: Treaty of York

Signed in 1237, the treaty established the border between England and Scotland, which is now one of the oldest existing political borders in the world.

Map: The United Kingdom

Background: What is a border?

Activity: Drawing political borders



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