This Week in Geographic History, March 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.

Tuesday, March 14

NGS Picture Id:131815
Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, E = mc², revolutionized the field of physics. Artwork by Jean-Leon Huens, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein

Born in 1879, the German theoretical physicist invented the most famous equation in history and changed the way we think about gravity, space, and time.

Visual: Video of Einstein explaining his theory of relativity

Background: Biography

Activity: Read about Einstein’s theory of general relativity and take this quick quiz!


Wednesday, March 15

This 1865 painting depicts the moment right before senators stabbed Roman dictator Julius Caesar in 44 BCE. Artwork by Karl von Piloty [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
TDIGH: Julius Caesar Assassinated

Julius Caesar’s brutal murder in 44 BCE led to a series of civil wars and the eventual transformation of the Roman republic into the Roman empire.

Map: The Roman Empire

Background: Collection of resources about Ancient Rome

Activity: Watch a clip from the movie Mean Girls and discuss how the movie’s plot is similar to Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.


Thursday, March 16

TDIGH: My Lai Massacre

In 1968, U.S. troops killed more than 400 Vietnamese civilians at the My Lai hamlet, a war crime for which only one officer was convicted.  

Map: The Vietnam War

Background: The Tet Offensive (January 1968)

Activity: Watch this 1 minute clip, “My Lai: When Should a Soldier Say No?” and ask students to share their views.


Friday, March 17

NGS Picture Id:1123639
Irish youth pose on a caravan in this 1951 photo. According to the 2010 Census, 34.5 million Americans list their heritage as primarily or partially Irish. Photograph by Dorothea Sheats, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Though less connected to the original 4th-century saint, the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day has endured as a celebration of Irish identity.

Map: Interactive map: the Irish diaspora

Background: History of Irish Immigration and St. Patrick’s Day facts, myths, and traditions

Activity: Try out St. Patrick’s Day Quiz!


Sunday, March 19

TDIGH: U.S. Declares War on Iraq

In 2003 the U.S. began what would become an 8-year war over the claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Map: Iraq

Background: Iraq invades Kuwait and The First Gulf War

Activity: Explore this interactive photo timeline of major events in the Iraq War.

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