This Week in Geographic History, December 5 – 11

Here’s an advance look at 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.

Wednesday, December 7

NGS Picture Id:36890
The Japanese military’s aerial bombing of Pearl Harbor killed more than 2,400 Americans. Photograph by US Govt. Army, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Date Which Will Live in Infamy

Japan’s 1941 attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii caused the U.S. to formally enter WWII.

Visual: Explore an interactive map of the attack on Pearl Harbor

Background: Timeline of WWII in the Pacific

Activity: Listen to FDR’s “Date of Infamy” Speech and analyze it as a primary source.


Thursday, December 8

TDIGH: NAFTA Signed into Law

While the free trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada has kept prices of consumer goods low in the U.S., critics claim it’s taking away American jobs.

Map: North America

Background: What is globalization?

Activity: Play “The Trading Game” to learn more about imports and exports.


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Nationalist Chinese soldiers undergo naval training in Taiwan in 1949. Photograph by J. Baylor Roberts, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Two Chinas

Since 1949 there have been “Two Chinas”: the democratic Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan and the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland.

Map: China and Taiwan  

Background: The Chinese Revolution of 1949

Activity: Read about Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Why was it in the U.S. national interest to recognize the PRC?


Friday, December 9

TDIGH: Smallpox Eradicated

Smallpox is the only disease to have been driven to extinction, thanks to a worldwide campaign by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Visual: Infographic about vaccines

Background: The first smallpox vaccine

Activity: Learn about polio and brainstorm reasons why it hasn’t been eradicated yet.


Sunday, December 11

Coal Conundrum
Greenhouse gas emissions, from sites like this power plant in Georgia, have increased despite the Kyoto Protocol. Photograph by Robb Kendrick, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Kyoto Protocol Signed

The 1997 agreement was the first major international effort to help combat climate change.

Map: Alternative Energy Use

Background: What is the greenhouse effect?

Activity: Learn about the most recent agreement to limit greenhouse gases: the Kigali Agreement.

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