This Week in Geographic History, January 2 – 8

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, January 4

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Greece has suffered a financial crisis since 2010, which some blame on the euro. This square in Athens was once an elegant shopping district but is now deserted and dangerous. Photograph by Alex Majoli, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Euro Makes its International Debut

Though the euro became the official currency of the European Union in 1999, today only 19 out of the 28 EU member countries use it.

Map: Countries using the euro

Background: Creation of the European Union

Activity: The euro is a reserve currency—take our Reserve Currency Quiz!


Thursday, January 5

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Doctors at a cardiology clinic in Poland examine an X-ray. Photograph by James L. Stanfield, National Geographic.

TDIGH: X-Rays Discovered

The type of radiation known as X-rays revolutionized dentistry and medicine by allowing doctors to create pictures of the inside of bodies.

Visual: Electromagnetic Spectrum

Background: Video – 60 Seconds of Science: How do X-Rays work?

Activity: Explore this interactive to see how NASA uses X-ray technology to study the universe.


Friday, January 6

TDIGH: Morse Demonstrates his Telegraph

By using Morse code to send signals through a cable, the telegraph made worldwide communication possible for the first time.

Map: Global telegraph network (1872)

Background: How events in Morse’s life may have inspired his invention

Activity: Have students use the international Morse code chart to practice sending messages to each other. *If you have more time,  try part of this activity.


Saturday, January 7

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Composite view of the moons of Jupiter including (left to right): Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Photograph by NASA, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Galileo Discovers Jupiter’s Moons

In 1610 the Italian astronomer discovered Jupiter’s four moons, helping disprove the theory that everything revolves around the Earth.

Visual: NASA photos of Jupiter and its moons

Background: What is a moon?  

Activity: Use this interactive to test some of Galileo’s famous experiments.


Sunday, January 8

TDIGH: Battle of New Orleans

In the final battle of the War of 1812 American forces, led by future president Andrew Jackson, defeated the British.

Visual: Photos and drawings about the Battle of New Orleans

Background: Timeline of the War of 1812

Activity: Watch this video about how the War of 1812 began.

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