This Week in Geographic History, April 17 – 23

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, April 17

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An image of Fidel Castro, who led Cuba from 1959 – 2008, is reflected in a window in Havana, Cuba. Photograph by Paolo Pellegrin, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Bay of Pigs Invasion

The U.S.’s failed attempt to overthrow the Cuban government in 1961 permanently damaged relations and pushed the island nation closer to the Soviet Union.   

Map: Bay of Pigs Invasion

Background: Timeline of U.S.-Cuba relations

Activity: Explore how the Bay of Pigs Invasion shaped the mindset of Fidel Castro.


Wednesday, April 19

TDIGH: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Jews in Warsaw, Poland created an armed resistance to oppose deportation by the Nazis in 1943.

Map: Poland

Background: More info about the Holocaust

Activity: Hear personal histories of survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.


Thursday, April 20

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A rescue worker saves a brown pelican in Queen Bess Island, Louisiana following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Deepwater Horizon Explodes

The 2010 explosion of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico is considered the worst environmental disaster in American history.

Map and Visual: Offshore oil in the Gulf and Effect on the ecosystem

Background: More info about the Gulf Oil Spill

Activity: Read about and discuss “invisible” oil spills affecting the Gulf of Mexico.


Saturday, April 22

TDIGH: First Earth Day

Founded by an environmentalist U.S. senator in 1970, Earth Day has evolved into a global holiday focused on protecting the Earth’s natural resources.

Visual: GeoStory: Climate Change

Background: Earth Day’s history and goals

Activity: Take our Earth Day Quiz! and Watch these video clips about how NG Explorers are protecting the planet.


Sunday, April 23

Photo of students courtesy of Josie Herbert, Alta Vista Elementary School
Students at Alta Vista Elementary School, a public school in Florida, display their projects. Photograph by Josie Herbert, National Geographic

TDIGH: First Public School in America

In 1635 Puritans in Massachusetts founded the first public school in what would become the U.S.

Map: Public School Funding

Context: Betsy DeVos and the current debate over public schools

Activity: Read about and discuss the new map Boston Public Schools are using.

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