This Week in Geographic History, February 13 – 19

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, February 13

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Two young Australian girls play together in King Junction, Queensland, Australia in 1968. Photograph by Winfield Parks, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Australia Apologizes to the ‘Stolen Generations’

In 2008 the prime minister of Australia formally apologized for the practice of forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their families.

Map: Australia

Background: Australia’s human geography

Activity: Listen to prime minister Kevin Rudd’s apology. Compare the treatment of Australia’s indigenous peoples to the treatment of Native Americans in the U.S. Why hasn’t a U.S. president given a formal apology speech to Native Americans?


TDIGH: Bombing of Dresden

Toward the end of World War II, Allied forces carried out a firebombing campaign that devastated the city of Dresden, Germany.

Visual: Photo Gallery: Dresden

Background: Interactive timeline of WWII in Europe

Activity: Discuss Kurt Vonnegut’s experience living through the bombing of Dresden and how he wrote about it in Slaughterhouse-Five.


Tuesday, February 14

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This heart, the symbol of Valentine’s Day, was made by using the photographic technique of a light trail. Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Happy Valentine’s Day

The holiday devoted to love originated in ancient Rome and was romanticized by authors like Chaucer and Shakespeare during the Middle Ages.  

Visual: Animal Pair Pictures

Background: History of Valentine’s Day and related vocab

Activity: Read about and discuss Valentine’s Day traditions around the world.


Saturday, February 18

TDIGH: Chicago 7 Found Not Guilty

Following the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention, a trial found the seven protesters not guilty, while the one black activist was tried separately.

Visual: Newspaper photo of the original Chicago 8

Background: Film about the events leading up to the 1968 riots at the DNC

Activity: Read this 1973 New York Times article about Black Panther activist Bobby Seale’s trial. Why do you think Seale was treated differently from the other seven?


Sunday, February 19

Siberian Oil
An oil worker lays a pipeline in Siberia, Russia. Photograph by Gerd Ludwig, National Geographic.

TDIGH: First Oil Pipeline Completed

Since the first oil pipeline was built in Pennsylvania in 1863, networks of underground pipelines have been constructed around the world.

Map: Interactive map of U.S. pipelines

Background: Non-renewable energy

Activity: Connect this to the current debate over the Dakota Access Pipeline by reading “Dakota Access Pipeline: What You Need to Know” and NPR’s series on the topic.

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