This Week in Geographic History, October 16 – 22

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.

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Monday, October 16

This 1870 lithograph entitled “John Brown -The Martyr,” depicts Brown meeting a slave and her child, while on his way to be executed for his raid on Harpers Ferry. Artwork by Currier & Ives, Courtesy of Library of Congress

TDIGH: Raid on Harper’s Ferry

The 1859 revolt led by abolitionist John Brown was a main catalyst in the outbreak of the Civil War.

Map: Battles of the U.S. Civil War

Background: Timeline of slavery in the U.S.

Activity: Watch this video clip about the attack at Harper’s Ferry. Why do you think no slaves joined the raid? Why do you think fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass took a different approach than John Brown?


Tuesday, October 17

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (in glasses) meets with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia in 1974 to discuss the oil embargo. Photograph by Emory Kristof, National Geographic

TDIGH: OPEC Embargoes Oil to U.S.

In response to U.S. support for Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, OPEC restricted oil exports to the U.S.

Visual: U.S. Oil Imports

Background: What is OPEC?

Activity: Watch part of this 1973 news clip about the oil embargo, and discuss.


Wednesday, October 18

TDIGH: U.S. Suspends Olympic Medalists

Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were suspended in 1968 after raising their fists during the national anthem as a protest against injustice.

Map: Police violence

Background: Free speech

Activity: Read this article about Colin Kaepernick and other players taking a knee. How do these protests compare to Smith and Carlos’ protests in 1968?


Thursday, October 19

TDIGH: Trial of Saddam Hussein Begins

In 2005 the Iraqi higher criminal court charged the former president for the murder and torture of Iraqi citizens during the Dujail Massacre of 1982.

Map: Iraq

Background: U.S. Declares War on Iraq

Activity: Read this Q&A about the trial.


Sunday, October 22

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The Cuban Missile Crisis was the defining event of President John F. Kennedy’s presidency. He is shown here with his daughter Caroline in 1963. Photograph by Cecil W. Stoughton, National Geographic

TDIGH: Kennedy ‘Quarantines’ Cuba

After finding Soviet nuclear facilities in Cuba, the U.S. quarantined the island in 1962, escalating the conflict known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Map: Cuba

Background: Bay of Pigs Invasion

Activity: “13 Days: President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis”


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