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

Excerpts from the Treaty of Lancaster (1744)

With the threat of war with France looming on the horizon, the English colonies treated with the Iroquois Confederacy to determine a clearer boundary line between Indian lands and the western edges of the English colonies in pursuit of peace. The Treaty of Lancaster (1744) established the line at the eastern foot of the Shenandoah Mountains.

... Read More »

Excerpts from the Treaty of Albany (1722)

By the mid-18th century, the Iroquois Confederacy was a significant sovereign power and the main physical buffer between the English colonies in the northeast (New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and New England) and French settlements around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

... Read More »
Map showing railways across Eastern China, Korea, and Japan

Southern Manchuria Railway (1906-1945)

The world’s earliest locomotive-operated railroads, short stretches transporting coal and ore locally from mines to factories and furnaces, were developed in Britain between 1800 and 1825. Soon the potential for transporting all kinds of goods as well as passengers became apparent, and by the 1830s railways were also being built in France, Prussia and the United States.

... Read More »
Gold sculpture of a bird with it's head turned backwards

Akan Gold-Weight in the Shape of the Sankofa Bird

These intricate figurines, made by skilled West African smiths, were measuring instruments central to world flows of capital and commerce through medieval and early modern times.

... Read More »
Image of typed emmerton letter

Emmerton Letter, 1926

Between 1919 and 1935, citizens of the U.S. and Canada complained about industrial pollution from an American company called the Solvay Process Company (also called the Michigan Alkali Corporation), which dumped its wastes on Fighting Island, in the Detroit River. The island is in the United States, but the boundary line runs past it through the Detroit River.

... Read More »
View of the Coffee Plantation Marienbosch in Surinam

View of the Coffee Plantation Marienbosch in Surinam

This painting is a view of the Marienbosch coffee plantation along the banks of the Commewijne River in the Dutch colony of Surinam (present-day Suriname). Alongside coffee, the plantation also produced cotton and cocoa. The artist, Willem de Klerk, never visited Surinam. Instead, he based this painting on a drawing made by Alexander Ludwich Brockmann.

... Read More »
Men and women prepare copra in the Dutch East Indies

Copra Production in the Dutch East Indies

This photograph, taken by Onnes Kurkdjian, depicts men and women preparing copra in the Dutch East Indies in the early twentieth century. Copra is dried coconut kernels. Once sufficiently dried, laborers then crush the copra to expel its valuable coconut oil. The extracted oil is used for a variety of different products, such as soaps and cosmetics.

... Read More »
Page 10 from Gambar-Gambar akan Peladjaran dan Kasoekaän Anak-anak dan Iboe-bapanja

Coffee Production in the Dutch East Indies

This is a page from an educational print for children called Gambar-Gambar akan Peladjaran dan Kasoekaän Anak-anak dan Iboe-bapanja (Prints for the Benefit and Pleasure of Young and Old). The collection of prints, totaling 24 pages, depict various aspects of Indonesian life under Dutch colonial rule in the late nineteenth century.

... Read More »
Sheet 7 of Ancient Courses: Mississippi River Meander Belt Map

Ancient Courses: Mississippi River Meander Belt

This is one of fifteen maps of the Mississippi River created by cartographer and geologist Dr. Harold N. Fisk in 1944. The maps were part of Fisk's Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

... Read More »
Map of the earth showing areas where lights can be seen from space at night

World Light Map

In "38 maps that explain the global economy", Matthew Yglesias has captured for Vox the prominent features of our contemporary global economy and society. For example, this map from NASA is a composite satellite image that shows how each region of the world appears at night.

... Read More »

Pages