This Week in Geographic History, March 27 – April 2

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 28

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The Hagia Sophia mosque is an iconic landmark in the Turkish city of Istanbul, previously known as Constantinople. Photograph by Keystone View Co., National Geographic.

TDIGH: Istanbul, not Constantinople

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the new Republic of Turkey officially changed the city of Constantinople’s name to Istanbul in 1930.

Map: Turkey

Background: The Ottoman Empire (scroll down to “Dissolution of the Empire”)

Activity: Use this article to discuss Turkey’s geographical position between Europe and Asia and its role in international trade.

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Smokestacks from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant loom over the town of Middleton, Pennsylvania. Luckily no one was killed in the meltdown. Photograph by Chris Hamilton, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Three Mile Island Reactor Melts Down

The 1979 partial meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania greatly damaged the American public’s trust in nuclear energy.

Map: Alternative Energy Use

Background: What is nuclear energy?

Activity: Play our “You Have the Power” game. Bonus: Read about nuclear waste and how one country is handling the problem.


Thursday, March 30

TDIGH: Bleeding Kansas

The violence that arose in 1855 over whether or not to allow slavery in Kansas was one of the primary factors in the outbreak of the Civil War.

Map: 1856 U.S. Political Map

Background: The Kansas-Nebraska Act and The Missouri Compromise

Activity: Looking at this 1861 map of slave and free states, what geographic characteristics do the slave states share? Which do the free states share? (Hint: access to waterways, rural vs. urban, climate, etc.)


Friday, March 31

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The hour we lose each spring due to daylight saving time can cause sleep deprivation and a feeling similar to jet lag. Photograph by Maggie Steber, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Daylight Saving Time Observed

Contrary to popular belief, the system of springing ahead an hour and falling back an hour was not invented to help farmers, but rather to conserve coal.

Visual: Video: Daylight Saving Time 101

Background: North American Time Zones Created and  5 Myths about DST

Activity: Read this blog post and have students debate whether or not they think countries should observe daylight saving time.


Sunday, April 2

TDIGH: Haile Selassie Becomes Emperor of Ethiopia

The Ethiopian emperor, who ruled from 1930 – 1974, is best remembered for his support of African unity and his role in inspiring Jamaica’s Rastafari movement.

Map: Ethiopia

Background: Ethiopia Country Profile and Timeline

Activity: Read about Rastafari and listen to NPR’s segment “A Visit to Ethiopia’s Rastafarian Diaspora”.

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