Browse Primary Sources
Locate primary sources, including images, objects, media, and texts. Annotations by scholars contextualize sources.

Map of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, 1768

In 1768, Sir William Johnson received permission from the British Crown to hold a treaty council with the Iroquois Confederacy and its dependents in order to establish a more official and lasting boundary line without French pressures. A clear boundary line between the Indians and Europeans would prevent colonial encroachments on Indian lands and minimize violence between the two parties.

... Read More »

Excerpts from the Treaty of Logg's Town (1752)

As French and British powers jostled for dominance in the Ohio Country, both courted the Six Nations and their allies. The Six Nations held sway and power over mass amounts of territory—territory that French and British interests wished to control. British colonies had already attempted to secure much land from the Six Nations through treaties.

... Read More »
Handwritten invoice listing items and costs.

Invoice of goods shipped from New Orleans to Matamoros, Mexico in 1847

This image is of an invoice of items shipped from an English firm in New Orleans, Thorn & McGrath, to José San Román in Matamoros, Mexico. It consists primarily of men’s clothing. Studying this invoice gives us a significant insight into how European networks drew the local into the global.

... Read More »

Francois Guilbeau letter on Loredo trade

This source is a favor letter, one of the most common forms of communication among merchants along the Rio Grande in the nineteenth century. This is a longer form of that type of letter, but they all share a general format that includes letting the recipient know that their payment (favor) was received, how much remained on the account, and current market conditions.

... Read More »
Painting of a Chinese junk at sea with the emperor and several functionaries on deck

Chinese Junk, early 18th century

Junks encompass a range of different ships that were essential for maritime trade in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean for centuries. Original junks built in China were likely inspired by the design of ships visiting Chinese ports from Austronesia and Southeast Asian archipelagos.

... Read More »
Painting of a Spanish Galleon at sea firing its canons

A Naval Encounter between Dutch and Spanish Warships

Spanish galleons were large ships specifically built to carry a huge amount of cargo across the vast distances of the Spanish maritime empire. The Manila Galleon Trade is a common topic in world history courses and represents the first truly global trade in world history. The manila galleons, specifically, could reach over 160ft in length.

... Read More »
Photograph of a ship with three masts tied to a dock.

Balclutha

Balclutha was built in 1886 on the River Clyde near Glasgow, Scotland, for Robert McMillan, a Glaswegian shipbuilder who occasionally owned ships as a side-business.

... Read More »
Photograph of a large ship loaded with shipping containers

HMM Algeciras

As of the beginning of 2021, the Algeciras class is the largest container vessel in the world, able to carry nearly 24,000 TEU (twenty-foot long containers). It is constructed by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and owned by Hyundai Merchant Marine.

... Read More »
Hand drawn map showing islands with mountains

Selden Map

The Selden Map held by the Bodleian Library in Oxford, where it has been kept since 1659. This beautifully illustrated manuscript map shows East and Southeast Asia and marks maritime trading routes in the form of lines across the region. It was made in the first half of the seventeenth century somewhere in East or Southeast Asia.

... Read More »
Hand drawn map with a grid showing land and coastline

Guang yutu map

The map of the “South-Eastern ocean barbarians” from the 1568 edition of the atlas Guang yutu. This atlas is divided into two parts, the first one deals with the geography of China, the second one with the Chinese borderlands, thematic maps, and maps of non-Chinese regions. This map shows the coast of China surrounded by many islands, all shaped more or less in the same way.

... Read More »

Pages