This Week in Geographic History, March 6 – 12

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, March 6

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Frederick Douglass, depicted here in a collage of famous African Americans, believed that because the Dred Scott decision focused the nation’s attention on slavery, it would ultimately help lead to its abolition. Artwork by Fred Otnes, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Dred Scott Decision

The Supreme Court’s 1857 ruling denied citizenship to African Americans and established each state’s right to allow slavery.

Map: The Missouri Compromise (which Dred Scott overturned)

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

Activity: Watch this video about the Dred Scott decision. What did the Supreme Court’s ruling mean for freed blacks? For the abolitionist movement?


Tuesday, March 7

TDIGH: Civil Right’s ‘Bloody Sunday’

Police violently attacked civil rights protesters’ first attempt to march to Selma, Alabama, in 1965.

Map: Selma to Montgomery trail

Background: More info about the Selma-to-Montgomery marches

Activity: Read about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and discuss its impact.


Friday, March 10

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Children sit on an old cannon overlooking the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri. With the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi River became the “gateway to the West.” Photograph by Bruce Dale, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Louisiana Purchased

The Louisiana Territory doubled the size of the United States when it was officially transferred over from France in 1804.

Map: Interactive map of Lewis and Clark’s trail

Background: The Louisiana Purchase

Activity: Read this summary of the purchase and answer the discussion questions.


Saturday, March 11

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This house in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake. Photograph by Michael S. Yamashita, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

The magnitude 9.1 earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 was the fourth largest in recorded history and caused a devastating tsunami.

Map: Tectonic plates (Japan sits atop a “triple junction”: where 3 plates meet)

Background: The Ring of Fire

Activity: Watch and discuss this video about the Tohoku Tsunami.


TDIGH: Flu Pandemic Begins

From 1918 to 1919 more people died from a powerful strain of influenza than from fighting in World War I.

Visual: Photo gallery: Influenza  

Background: CDC info about the flu

Activity: Test your knowledge about pandemics and epidemics with this quiz!

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