This Week in Geographic History: February 5 – 11

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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Tuesday, February 6

TDIGH: Happy Birthday, Bob Marley!

Bob Marley’s legacy extends beyond reggae music. He is associated with Jamaican national identity and Rastafarian spirituality.

Map: Bob Marley played hundreds of concerts in his life, all of them listed here. Have students use Esri’s Story Maps or Google’s Tour Builder to navigate Marley’s career, and include music when you can!

Context: Read this interview with filmmaker Jeremy Marre, who made the American Masters portrait of Bob Marley, Rebel Music. Why do you think Marre calls Marley and reggae music “a dynamic political force that reflected the history, politics and aspirations of” Jamaica?

Activity: Although he never identified as a social or political activist, Bob Marley used his music and his status as a celebrity to advocate for causes he supported. Can students think of other artists who use their fame to draw attention to their political or spiritual beliefs? How do students think celebrities contribute to social and political conversations in the world?


Tuesday, February 6

NGS Picture Id:1961625
Workers head to a palm oil plantation in Liberia. Despite the nation being founded by former slaves, the League of Nations ruled in 1930 that conditions on Liberian plantations were “hardly distinguishable from slavery.”
Photograph by Robin Hammond, National Geographic

TDIGH: African Americans Migrate to Liberia

In 1820 the American Colonization Society created the colony of Liberia to serve as a “home” for freed American slaves.

Map: Liberia

Context: More info about the founding of Liberia

Activity: Watch this short video about the history of Liberia. Discuss the pros and cons of creating the colony of Liberia. How were the actions of U.S. presidents toward Liberia hypocritical?


Friday, February 9

Illustration by the Catechetical Guild, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain

TDIGH: McCarthy Launches Red Scare

Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950 speech incited a witch hunt against teachers, union supporters, and government workers for supposed communist sympathies.

Map: Read through our DOGSTAILS definition of what makes a good map, then take a look at the map Sen. McCarthy displayed during his later testimony. What is wrong with Sen. McCarthy’s map?

Background: The start of the Cold War

Activity: Choose a section from this activity about the American perception of the Soviet Union from 1920 to 1950.


Saturday, February 10

NGS Picture Id:1112178
Though France lost its Canadian colonies as a result of the Seven Years’ War, French influence remains strong in parts of Canada, such as Quebec City.
Photograph by Jack Fletcher, National Geographic

TDIGH: Seven Years’ War Ends

The 1763 treaty which ended the war between Britain and France (and their respective allies) forced France to give up its colonies in North America.

Map: The French and Indian War

Background: More about the Treaty of Paris, 1763

Activity: How did the Seven Years’ War help lay the groundwork for the American Revolution? (Answer can be found in this video.)


Sunday, February 11

Nelson Mandela, president of South Africa from 1994-199, fought to dismantle apartheid.
Photograph by Chris Johns, National Geographic

TDIGH: Nelson Mandela Freed

After 27 years in prison for his work fighting against South Africa’s system of racial apartheid, Mandela was freed in 1990.

Map: Homelands in South Africa during apartheid

Background: Timeline of Mandela’s life, including fast facts and photos

Activity: Listen to an audio clip from NPR’s series about Nelson Mandela and his legacy.

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