This Week in Geographic History, October 10 – 16

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, October 11

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Eleanor Roosevelt, right, and Amelia Earhart attended a luncheon at NGS in 1935. The two were friends, and the first lady even went on a plane ride with Earhart from D.C. to Baltimore. Photograph by Willard Culver, National Geographic

TDIGH: Happy Birthday, Eleanor Roosevelt!

The longest-serving first lady in American history, Eleanor Roosevelt was a dedicated advocate for minorities and women.

Audio: Listen to Marian Anderson’s 1939 performance on the National Mall (which was possible due to the support of Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband, FDR).

Background: Timeline of Eleanor’s life

Activity: Watch Eleanor interview President Kennedy on her show “Prospects of Mankind with Eleanor Roosevelt.”


Wednesday, October 12

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This cross marks where Columbus landed in 1492, on the island he renamed San Salvador. Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart, National Geographic

TDIGH: Columbus Makes Landfall in the Caribbean

Though intending to find a trade route to Asia, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus landed in what is now the Bahamas instead.

Map: The Bahamas

Background: Info about Columbus’ voyage

Activity:  Read and discuss this article about the common misconceptions of Columbus Day.


TDIGH: Gore Wins Nobel Peace Prize

In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), were recognized for their work in raising awareness about man-made global warming.

Map: Global carbon emissions

Background: Check out our resources on climate change

Activity: Test your climate change knowledge with this quiz.


Thursday, October 13

TDIGH: Prime Meridian Defined

The imaginary line that marks 0 degrees longitude and divides the Earth into the Eastern and Western hemispheres was agreed upon in 1884.

Visual: Interactive globe

Background: What is a hemisphere and how are they defined?  

Activity: Solve a map puzzle using latitude and longitude.


Sunday, October 16

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This farmhouse in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia served as John Brown’s headquarters. Photograph by Robert J. Szabo, National Geographic

TDIGH: Raid on Harper’s Ferry

Though abolitionist John Brown’s 1959 raid failed to incite a slave revolt, it did help ignite the U.S. Civil War.

Map: Battles of the U.S. Civil War

Background: Timeline of slavery in the U.S.

Activity: Read Frederick Douglass’ speech about John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry. According to Douglass, what did John Brown achieve?

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