This Week in Geographic History, September 11 – 17

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.

Check out our Pinterest board for more related resources!

Monday, September 11

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The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, above, were targeted in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack by al-Qaida. Photograph by Robert Madden, National Geographic.

TDIGH: 9/11

The 2001 terrorist attack resulted in the U.S. government’s declaration of “The War on Terror,” which led to extended wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Visual: Photo gallery

Background: al-Qaida

Activity: Read and discuss Survivors’ Stories. Use this blog post for discussion ideas.


Thursday, September 14

TDIGH: Arctic Ice Reaches Record Low

In 2007 satellite imagery revealed that sea ice in the Arctic had shrunk to the smallest area ever recorded, providing additional evidence of climate change.

Map/Graphic: Arctic Ice

Background: More about the Arctic’s geography and climate

Activity: Why Melting Glaciers Matter to Coasts


Friday, September 15

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The Galapagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador, are home to numerous endangered species, like the Galapagos green turtle shown here. Photograph by Thomas P. Peschak, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Darwin Explores Galapagos Islands

Naturalist Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection from his research in the Galapagos Islands, which began in 1835.

Map: Galapagos Islands and Route of the HMS Beagle

Background: Charles Darwin and more about the Galapagos Islands

Activity: Learn about “Darwin’s Paradox” and how scientists recently solved it.


TDIGH: Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month, which began as a week in 1968, celebrates the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

Map: Latino Population of the U.S.

Background: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Activity: Watch this video of author Junot Díaz accepting the Hispanic Heritage Literature Award in 2016. Discuss his speech in the context of President Trump’s recent decision to end DACA.


Saturday, September 16

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Children play at one of the schools Gandhi established for members of India’s “untouchable” caste. Photograph by Rena Effendi, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Gandhi Protests Caste Separation

In 1932 Indian reformer Mahatma Gandhi began a six-day fast to protest caste separation in British-controlled India.

Map: India

Background: What is India’s caste system? and Gandhi Arrested

Activity: Watch this video about Gandhi and his belief in nonviolence.


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