Browse Primary Sources
Primary sources from world and global history, including images, objects, texts, and digitally-born materials – annotations by scholars contextualize sources.
Painting of a man on horseback.

A Hindu Princess Committing Sati against the Wishes of Emperor Akbar

This 18th century painting by Mohammad Rizā Naw'ī depicts Sati, the practice whereby an elite Hindu widow would commit suicide through self-immolation upon the death of her husband. Sati was featured prominently in European depictions of Hinduism where it reinforced “exotic” stereotypes of South Asians, and was used as an excuse to justify British Imperialism.

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Mameluke with a basket of flowers, 1641

Albert Eckhout was the first European painter in Brazil. Eckhout was an official painter, hired by Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, a prince of the House of Orange. These paintings tell us much about Brazil in the first half of the seventeenth century, and but also about the activities of the Dutch, and Dutch perceptions of the colony.

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Thumbnail image of a three story mansion

William Livingstone House

William Livingstone House. Constructed in 1893 in the once elegant Brush Park neighborhood, this home, designed by architect Albert Kahn, was moved from its original location by preservationists who hoped to maintain it. It has been since demolished.

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Hobo-Dyer Projection Worldmap

On a typical world map, such as the classic Mercator projection, Greenland appears misleadingly enormous – yet few observers pause to note the inaccuracies. Mapmakers rarely question other basic assumption, such as drawing north at the top. But if the Earth resembles ball spinning through space, are ‘up’ and ‘down’ so self-evident?

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Mr. de Lafayette, Commander of the Paris National Guard, Receives the City’s 'Sword for the Defense of Liberty'

During the French Revolution the most visible connection between America and France was Lafayette, who had volunteered for service in the American Revolution and had been mentored by Washington and Jefferson. This special status vaulted him to prominence in 1789 as he became a delegate in the Estates–General, head of the National Guard, and a general in the military.

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Triumph of Napoleon, First Consul

Napoleon encouraged comparisons between the post-revolution French republic and the Roman republic. The French adoption of the term "Consul" was a clear reference to the Roman Republic, for that was the name given the men chosen to direct the republican government in Roman times.

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British Liberty Tree

These painted engravings ridicule the unrest wrought by French revolutionaries by contrasting French subversion with British stability. The "British Liberty Tree" in this image is assigned to the mock Latin genus of "Stabilissimus," while the more sickly looking "Foreign Tree" (depicted in the following image) is put in the genus "Subitarius."

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Bonaparte Visiting the Hospital in Jaffa

This undated post-French Revolutionary print shows Bonaparte visiting a hospital in Jaffa. Of classical proportions, this image is centered on Bonaparte, who appears to be bringing order to an otherwise disorderly and chaotic scene. However, Napoleon’s actual interest was limited, far less than this print would suggest.

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Festival of Supreme Being

These depictions show the Festival of the Supreme Being during the French Revolution, a massive pageant staged by Jacques–Louis David on 8 June 1794, in open air on the "Field of Reunion," formerly the royal army’s parade ground. At David’s orders, a huge mountain was erected on the field, as seen in this engraving.

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Expulsion of the Girondins

Throughout the spring of 1793, radicals in the Convention, in the Paris Commune, and in the sections struggled for power against Brissot and his allies, known as the "Girondins." They differed over how the Revolution should be affected by popular pressure. In late May, Robespierre proposed a motion that accused the Girondins of being a threat to the Republic and ordered their arrest.

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