History is premiering new hourlong series “How the States Got Their Shapes” on May 3, and I have to admit, this looks like a fun one to me. It might even be a way to get my kids to watch something educational for once. (Don’t ask.)
From the press release:
Why does Montana look like it took a bite out of Idaho? Why is Georgia plotting to re-draw its border with Tennessee? Why does Florida have a panhandle? Why isn’t Chicago in Wisconsin? The map of the United States is a jigsaw puzzle of crooked lines, right angles and odd shapes. Some pieces are outsized; others are minuscule. The reason for our jagged geography? American history.
On “How the States Got Their Shapes,” a new one-hour series premiering Tuesday, May 3 at 10 p.m. on History, journalist and former Daily Show correspondent Brian Unger criss-crosses the nation in search of the stories behind our boundaries – and discovers not only how the states got their shapes, but how the states have shaped us.
When the founding fathers drew the first map of America, they confronted many of the same challenges that unite and divide us today. “How the States Got Their Shapes” explores how our borders evolved – and continue to change – in response to religion, transportation, communication, politics, culture clashes and even Mother Nature.
This is no textbook-style documentary series. Local experts and everyday folks lead Unger to insights about some of America’s most baffling questions. How are flying fish threatening to re-draw the shape of Illinois? What does the use of cell phones by Pennsylvania’s Amish have to do with the shape of their state? How is the phrase “sold down the river” linked to the shape of what might be our 51st state? Why did the invention of air conditioning change how America picks its Presidents? Unger uncovers the answers, hidden in our map.
Pictured above: plucky Rhode Island.