This Week in Geographic History, January 30 – February 5

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.

Monday, January 30

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Protesters demand an end to the Vietnam War during a 1969 candlelight march to the White House. The war did not end until April 1975, 19 years after it began. Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Tet Offensive

The 1968 surprise attacks carried out by communist-affiliated troops against South Vietnamese and American forces shifted public opinion of the Vietnam War.

Map: U.S. involvement in Vietnam

Background: Timeline of the Vietnam War

Activity: Watch this video about Vietnam War protests and the draft. Ask students what their thoughts are on the protests in the video and if they can make any connections to current protests on other issues.


Wednesday, February 1

TDIGH: Texas Secedes from U.S.

In 1861 Texas voted to secede from the Union largely due to its pro-slavery stance and belief in states’ rights.

Map: 1854 U.S. map showing slave and free states and territories

Background: Texas Becomes a State

Activity: Read Texas’ “Declaration of Causes” and discuss the primary reasons Texas seceded from the U.S.


Thursday, February 2

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The Atchafalaya Delta in Louisiana is the largest wetland in the U.S. Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic.

TDIGH: World Wetlands Day

Since 1997 this day has helped raise awareness about the ecological importance of wetlands.

Visual: American Wetlands Geostory

Background: What is a wetland?

Activity: Biodiversity in a Wetland Ecosystem


Friday, February 3

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The look of U.S. paper money has changed significantly from the first bill of credit was printed in Massachusetts in 1690. Photograph courtesy Department of Treasury

TDIGH: Paper Money Introduced in U.S.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony printed the first paper money, called a “bill of credit,” in 1690 in what would become the U.S.

Map: Massachusetts Bay Colony

Background: The History of American Currency

Activity: Read about the dollar’s influence around the world and review financial vocab. For a vocab game, divide the class into two teams, put the words on the board, call a student from each team to the board, say the definition of a term without saying which term, and students must tap the correct term on the board as quickly as possible- whichever student taps the correct term first, his or her team gets a point!


Saturday, February 5

TDIGH: Belgian King Establishes Congo Free State

The area that is now the Democratic Republic of Congo was a personal possession of the king of Belgium from 1885-1908.

Map: Africa

Background: Video: European Imperialism in Africa

Activity: Answer the questions at the end of the video above. Or, to learn more about the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, watch this Crash Course video.

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