This Week in Geographic History: February 26-March 4

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 or lesson plan so you can plan ahead.

Check out our Pinterest board for more related resources!

Monday, February 26

TDIGH 1917: First Jazz Record Released

The record’s two songs, “Livery Stable Blues” and “Dixie Jass Band One Step,” (above) became instant hits and introduced millions of people to the new genre of music.

Map: Navigate the geography of jazz with our interactive GeoStory.

Background: We love getting into the swing of things with this terrific glossary of jazz terms from Jazz in America—and the beautifully aligned lessons they support.

Activity: How does jazz support a “Global Sounds Project”? Learn how one teacher introduces her students to new music through exploration, innovation, and visiting faculty.


Tuesday, February 27

NGS Picture Id:1504186
This monument marks the mass grave of those killed in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The 1973 occupation occurred in the same place.
Photograph by Aaron Huey, National Geographic.

TDIGH 1973: Indians Occupy Wounded Knee

Native Americans occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, for three months to protest the U.S. government’s unjust policies toward Native Americans.

Map: Navigate the long series of battles between Native Americans and the U.S. Army in the 19th century.

Background: Learn about the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, the event that protesters recalled 80 years later.

Activity: Read and discuss the history of Native American protests including the recent protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota.


Thursday, March 1

The hydrogen bomb that exploded as part of a test codenamed “Castle Bravo,” above, was the largest nuclear device ever detonated by the United States.
Photograph courtesy U.S. Department of Energy

TDIGH 1954: Castle Bravo

Nine years after dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. tested “Castle Bravo”: the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated by the U.S.

Map: Where was Castle Bravo launched? Download our map of the Marshall Islands here, and put it in perspective with our MapMaker Interactive map of nuclear test sites here.

Background: Watch this video about the evolution of American public opinion on nuclear weapons. (Stop at 3:10)

Activity: Thousands of films showing U.S. atmospheric nuclear weapons tests are freely, publicly available in an online archive. Use our inquiry-based resource to help students understand what nuclear tests are, where they took place, and  how scientists are still evaluating their data.


Thursday, March 1

George Jacobs, in red cape, was accused and convicted of practicing witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of the 1690s. His accusers included his granddaughter, shown pointing in this image, painted almost two centuries later. Jacobs was sentenced to death and hung.
Painting by T.H. Matteson, courtesy the Peabody Essex Museum

TDIGH 1692: Salem Witch Trials Begin

The Salem witch trials continued for more than a year. Throughout the course of the trials, nearly 200 people were accused of witchcraft, 19 were hanged, and several others died in jail.

Map: Navigate these maps of Salem, Salem Village, and the witchcraft trials. How do you think rural and urban conflict may have influenced the trials?

Background: Witch trials are not a thing of the past. Indeed, charges of witchcraft and trials of suspected witches are increasing. Use our resource to learn about witches, accusations, and 21st-century “witch hunts.”

Activity: Experience the 1692 Salem witch-hunt in a terrifying online trial: Are you a witch? How long have you been in the snare of the devil? Confess!


Saturday, March 3

Map by Winsor McCay, courtesy Library of Congress

TDIGH 1913: Thousands March for Woman Suffrage

While the march increased attention for the suffrage movement, it wasn’t until 1920 that American women gained the right to vote.

Map: Navigate this interactive map of women’s suffrage around the world.

Background: What is woman suffrage, and how did it come to the United States? (via Wyoming!)

Activity: How did a riot lead to the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote?

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