This Week in Geographic History, January 1 – 7

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, January 1

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A woman works on a computer prototype that stores data from phone calls in 1954. AT&T held a monopoly over the entire telecommunications industry until 1984. Photograph by Willard Culver, National Geographic

TDIGH: AT&T Breaks Up

In 1984 the U.S. government challenged the telecommunications company’s monopoly over the industry and forced it to break up.

Map: AT&T Coverage Map

Background: Invention of the telephone and First American Cellular Network

Activity: Read this article about monopolies. Why do you think the U.S. government wants to limit monopolies?

Wednesday, January 4

TDIGH: Euro Makes Its International Debut

Though the euro became the official currency of the European Union in 1999, today only 19 out of the 28 EU member countries use it.

Map/Visual: Countries using the euro

Background: Creation of the European Union

Activity: The euro is a reserve currency – take our Reserve Currency Quiz.

Friday, January 5

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National Bird Day helps raise awareness about endangered birds, like this golden-cheeked warbler in Fort Hood, Texas. Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic.

TDIGH: National Bird Day

Since 2008 this day has been celebrated in the U.S. to honor birds and their role in indicating the health of an ecosystem.

Visual: North American Birds

Background: Video: NASA Electromagnetic Spectrum X-rays

Activity: Explore our Year of the Bird page and learn how you can help protect birds.

Saturday, January 6

TDIGH: Morse Demonstrates his Telegraph

By using Morse code to send signals through a cable, the telegraph made worldwide communication possible for the first time.

Map: Global Telegraph Network (1872)

Background: How events in Morse’s life may have inspired his invention

Activity: Have students use the international Morse code chart to practice sending messages to each other.

Sunday, January 7

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Composite view of the moons of Jupiter including (left to right): Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL/DLR

TDIGH: Galileo Discovers Jupiter’s Moons

In 1610 the Italian astronomer discovered Jupiter’s four moons, helping disprove the theory that everything revolves around the Earth.

Visual: Jupiter and its moons

Background: What is a moon?

Activity: Use this interactive to test some of Galileo’s famous experiments.


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