This Week in Geographic History, December 12 – 18

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.

Tuesday, December 13

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President George W. Bush walks with his parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush on the South Lawn of the White House a week after taking office. Photograph by Eric Draper, National Geographic.

TDIGH: George W. Bush Claims U.S. Presidency

Despite Al Gore winning the popular vote and the recount in Florida being unfinished, the Supreme Court declared Bush the winner of the 2000 election.

Map: The Electoral College

Background: Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore

Activity: Read this article and ask students to make connections between the 2000 and 2016 elections.


Wednesday, December 14

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A sled dog belonging to Amundsen’s rival, Robert Falcon Scott, checks out a gramophone during their expedition to the South Pole. Photograph by Herbert G. Ponting, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Amundsen Reaches South Pole

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen outraced Robert Falcon Scott to become the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911.

Map: Race to the Pole

Background: The South Pole

Activity: Watch a video clip of Amundsen’s 1911 expedition.


Friday, December 16

TDIGH: Boston Tea Party

In 1773 American colonists dumped tea into the Boston Harbor to protest “taxation without representation” under British rule.

Map: Battles of the Revolutionary War

Background: Video about the Boston Tea Party

Activity: Test your knowledge about the American Revolution with this game!


Saturday, December 17

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Boys play with toy airplanes outside the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina: site of the first flight. Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart, National Geographic.

TDIGH: First Successful Airplane Flight

In 1903 the Wright brothers successfully flew an engine-powered, manned airplane for the first time.

Visual: Photo gallery of the 1903 Wright flyer

Background: Resources on aviation history

Activity: Choose an airplane-related activity from NASA Aeronautics.


Sunday, December 18

TDIGH: Slavery is Abolished

A few months after the Civil War, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution officially abolished slavery.

Map: Slave states vs. free states, and Underground Railroad routes

Background: Interactive timeline of slavery in the U.S.

Activity: Why didn’t Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 end slavery? Why was the 13th Amendment necessary to abolish slavery?

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