This Week in Geographic History, December 18 – 24

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, December 18

slavery RR
This painting depicts Harriet Tubman leading slaves from the U.S. to freedom in Canada through the Underground Railroad. Artwork by Jerry Pinkney, National Geographic

TDIGH: Slavery is Abolished

A few months after the Civil War ended in 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution officially abolished slavery.

Map: Underground Railroad Routes

Background: Interactive Timeline of Slavery in the U.S.

Activity: Why didn’t President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 end slavery? Why was the 13th Amendment necessary to abolish slavery?


Tuesday, December 19

TDIGH: Britain Agrees to Return Hong Kong to China

In 1984, the United Kingdom agreed to return the colony of Hong Kong to China, though the official handover did not happen until 1997.

Map: China

Background: Timeline: British control of Hong Kong

Activity: Read about how Hong Kong’s culinary scene reflects its history.


Wednesday, December 20

NGS Picture Id:618230
People gather in Panama City in 1970 to celebrate the anniversary of a new provisional government. The government was led first by General Torrijos, and then by General Noriega, whom the U.S. removed in 1989. Photograph by Albert Moldvay, National Geographic.

TDIGH: U.S. Invades Panama

In 1989 the U.S. invaded the Central American nation to remove General Manuel Noriega from power.

Map: Panama

Background: Manuel Noriega

Activity: Discuss the pattern of U.S. military interventions abroad. Do you think this use of force is justified? Why or why not?


Friday, December 22

Argentine women wear photographs of relatives who were “disappeared” (abducted or killed) during the Argentine government’s campaign against political dissidence from 1976 to 1983. Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Archives of Terror Discovered

These files, discovered in Paraguay in 1992, document “Operation Condor,” a campaign of violent political repression carried out by U.S.-backed governments in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s.

Map: South America

Background: Human Geography of South America

Activity: Analyze and discuss this timeline of leftist movements and U.S. involvement in Latin America.


Sunday, December 23

TDIGH: Happy Birthday, Madam C.J. Walker

The African American entrepreneur, who lived from 1867 to 1919, was the first woman to be a self-made millionaire in the U.S.

Visual: Video: “Meet Madam CJ Walker”

Background: Biography

Activity: Check out this list of America’s wealthiest self-made women in 2017.

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