This Week in Geographic History, May 15 – 21

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, May 15

Urban Parks
Commuters cross a bridge in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has one of the world’s highest literacy rates thanks in part to the Korean alphabet, created by Sejong the Great. Photograph by Simon Roberts, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Birthday of Sejong the Great

The 15th-century Korean leader’s legacy includes creating what many linguistics consider the best alphabet in the world.  

Map: North Korea and South Korea

Background: Short bio of Sejong

Activity: Read about why hangul, the Korean alphabet, is so unique. Ask students how it compares to English? Spanish? Other languages they speak?


Wednesday, May 17

TDIGH: Brown v. Board

In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in schools, declaring that “separate but equal” schools are “inherently unequal.”

Visual: 8 charts showing the return of school segregation

Background: The 14th Amendment

Activity: Answer these discussion questions and read testimonies on how Brown v Board impacted different people’s’ lives.


Thursday, May 18

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Mount Saint Helens in western Washington is one of 169 active volcanoes in the U.S. Photograph by Diane Cook, Len Jenshel, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Mount St. Helens Erupts

The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington was the worst volcanic eruption in U.S. history.

Visual: Photo gallery: Before and After

Background: Info about how volcanoes form, types of eruptions, and effects

Activity: Read about the Yellowstone supervolcano and scientists’ predictions on when it will erupt again.


TDIGH: International Museum Day

Since 1977 the annual event has honored museums’ importance to education and society overall.

Video: The history of museums

Background: More info about International Museum Day

Activity: Following this year’s theme of “”museums and contested histories: saying the unspeakable in museums,” explore the National Holocaust Museum’s resources.


Sunday, May 21

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Crowds in Surrey, England greet Charles Lindbergh after he completed his famous 1927 flight. Photograph courtesy of Corbis, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Lindbergh Completes Transatlantic Flight

In 1927 American aviator Charles Lindbergh completed a solo transatlantic flight, setting an aviation record and launching him to celebrity status.

Visual: Timeline of aviation

Background: First Successful Airplane Flight

Activity: Read about another thing Charles Lindbergh was in the news for.

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