This Week in Geographic History, January 16 – 22

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.

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Members of the UN Security Council discuss Arab-Israeli relations at a meeting in 1961. Photograph by B.A. Stewart and J.E. Fletcher, National Geographic.

TDIGH: First Meeting of the Security Council

The United Nations Security Council, which is tasked with the responsibility of “maintaining international peace and security,” first met in 1946.

Map: Current peacekeeping operations

Background: The United Nations

Activity: Read info about the UNSC and complete the quick quiz.


Wednesday, January 18

TDIGH: Paris Peace Conference Opens

Following the end of WWI, diplomats met in Paris to outline the terms of peace, including redrawing borders and placing restrictions on Germany.

Map: Europe after the Paris Peace Conference

Background: The end of WWI

Activity: The Paris Peace Conference resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919. Ask students: Why do many historians think the terms of the treaty helped lead to the rise of the Nazis in Germany?


Thursday, January 19

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A group of Adelie penguins walk on an ice sheet in Antarctica. Photograph by Jeff Mauritzen, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Antarctica Discovered

U.S. naval officer Charles Wilkes was the first person to identify the continent of Antarctica in 1840.

Map: Antarctica

Background: Facts and photos about Antarctica

Activity: Watch this video about the coldest place on Earth.


Friday, January 20

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dance at the Governors Ball at the White House in February 2009. Photograph by Pete Souza, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Obama Inaugurated

In 2009 Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president, and the first African-American president, of the United States.

Visual: Satellite image of the 2009 Inauguration

Background: Biography of President Obama

Activity: Use this blog post and video to discuss how the rhetoric used by Obama before he took office differs from the rhetoric used by President-elect Trump.


Saturday, January 21

TDIGH: ‘Underway on Nuclear Power’

The U.S. launch of the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautlius in 1954, changed the nature of naval warfare.  

Visual: Interactive diagram of a nuclear reactor

Background: Nuclear energy

Activity: Trace the evolution of submarines during the Cold War using these photos and statistics.

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