Browse Primary Sources
Sketch of nutmeg

Nutmeg from the Banda Islands

Here is a sixteenth century image of a nutmeg. The nutmeg tree produces two precious spices which are shown clearly here in the top right of the image. The nutmeg kernel itself can be seen at the center. When grown, this kernel is enveloped by a red skin, which produces the spice mace. Both spices were in high demand and could be sold for a significant markup.

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Psalm Book

Coulson's Psalm Book

Samuel Coulson was an English merchant who was arrested and confessed under torture to his involvement in the plot to seize the castle. In the days before his execution while he was lying in chains he wrote a declaration of innocence in a psalm book that was later smuggled out to London.

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Charter of the East India Company

Charter of the East India Company

This is the first charter issued to the English East India Company in 1600. It gives the new organization important powers but it also puts it at a clear disadvantage to its Dutch rival, which was given explicit powers to wage war and conduct diplomacy.

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Pamphlet on the Amboyna case

A True Declaration

The pamphlet attempts to systematically demolish the major objections to the Amboyna case. It is written as a personal investigation by an impartial observer determined only to get to the bottom of the matter. The pamphlet emphasizes the “full uniform examination and confession” of all the accused.

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Post-Soviet population table

Post-Soviet Population Table, 2006

This table provides population information for the fifteen successor states of the Soviet Union. While these figures do not provide a breakdown by national composition within each independent state, they do reveal the range in the sizes of these new states.

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Commonwealth of Independent States Map

Commonwealth of Independent States, Map 1994

This map outlines the political territories that took the place of the Soviet Union after 1991. The fifteen republics of the USSR became fifteen independent states: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine, Moldavia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

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Chart of Arms Reduction in Eastern Europe

Arms Reduction in Eastern Europe

Once in power, Mikhail Gorbachev began a reform process that followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe.

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