Today, the 23 July, is “Día del Geógrafo de México” (“Mexican Geographers’ Day”).
Grateful thanks to Annie Hansen for alerting us to the fact that 23 July was first proposed as “Día del Geógrafo de México” (“Mexican Geographers’ Day”) in a short paper published in 1999. Héctor Mendoza Vargas proposed that day because it marked the opening, in 1939, of the first National Congress of Geography ever held in Mexico. His suggestion was the winner in a competition to choose a suitable day on which to celebrate the work of geographers. Ever since then, 23 July has been a special day for all geographers in Mexico.
The first National Congress in 1939 ran from 23 July to 31 July, with sessions taking place in the Palace of Fine Arts (Palacio de Bellas Artes) in downtown Mexico City.
The full text (Spanish) of Mendoza Vargas’ short paper proposing 23 July as “Día del Geógrafo de México” can be seen here. It includes some interesting background history.
Feliz Día del Geógrafo – A Happy Geographers’ Day – to all our readers!
The U.S. Geography Awareness Week
For our north-of-the-border readers, the nearest U.S. equivalent of Día del Geógrafo is the National Geographic Society’s “Geography Awareness Week“, celebrated in the third week of November each year. Geography Awareness Week, signed into law in 1987 by former President Ronald Reagan, seeks “to promote geographic literacy in schools, communities, and organizations, with a focus on the education of children. The need to address geographic literacy came about in 1987 after the NGS conducted a geography survey among adults 18 years and older in the United States. The findings revealed such facts as: the average American adult could identify less than 6 of 10 U.S. states; 3 in 10 adults could not use a map to tell direction or calculate the approximate distance between two points; only 57% of adults could identify England on a map of Europe; and Brazil was the only South American country correctly identified by even half of the respondents.”