This Week in Geographic History, May 29 – June 4

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 29

Tents and Tibetan prayer flags line Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Photograph by Andy Bardon, National Geographic.

TDIGH: First Successful Summit of Mount Everest

In 1953 two mountaineers were the first to make it to the summit of the highest elevation in the world.

Map: Surface Elevation

Background: Fast Facts about Mount Everest

Activity: Learn more about the 2014 disaster on Everest, including how avalanches happen, then engage your class in discussion questions about the business of climbing Everest.


Tuesday, May 30

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This composite image of Mars was captured by India’s Mars Orbiter Mission probe. Photograph by USGS, NASA, National Geographic.

TDIGH: NASA Launches Mariner 9 to Study Mars

The unmanned space probe that NASA launched in 1971 sent back images of volcanoes and canyons on Mars.

Map: Mars

Background: Mars facts from NASA

Activity: What does water on the Red Planet mean?


Wednesday, May 31

TDIGH: Johnstown Flood

The 1889 man-made flood in Pennsylvania resulted in more than 2,000 deaths and changed how lawsuits are handled.

Map: Interactive flood information map of U.S.

Background: What is a flood plain? and facts about the 1889 flood

Activity: Read about the negative results of dams and the positive. Ask students if they think that the good things about dams outweigh the bad.


Saturday, June 3

TDIGH: Zoot Suit Riots

In 1943 white police and military servicemen in L.A. engaged in a series of violent conflicts with Latinos.

Visual: Watch a brief video about the play “Zoot Suit”

Background: More information about the riots

Activity: Read and discuss this article about police brutality toward Latinos.


Sunday, June 4

Scanned by: Retouched by: DT-AA QC'd by: DT-KM
Students play dead on top of a Chinese flag to protest the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Tiananmen Square Massacre

Though the exact death toll remains unknown, several hundred to a thousand people were killed in China in 1989 for peacefully protesting government policies.

Visual: Photo gallery: “Tiananmen, Then and Now”

Background: The Two Chinas

Activity: Explore this timeline of the 1989 protests and massacre and discuss the impact of the Chinese government’s decision to use military force.

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