Browse Primary Sources
Locate primary sources, including images, objects, media, and texts. 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.

... Read More »

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.

... Read More »
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.

... Read More »

Excerpt from "A Voyage to Surat in the Year 1689"

Ovington’s travelogue “The City of Surat and Its Inhabitants,” an excerpt from John Ovington’s A Voyage to Surat in the Year 1689 provides students with a European trader’s point of view as he confronts the world of Islam during the Mughal rule of India. Its themes and habits of mind supplement the study of the years 1450-1750.

... Read More »

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?

... Read More »

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.

... Read More »

Rivonia Trial Speech

On April 20, 1964, Nelson Mandela gave what is now known as the Rivonia Trial Speech (also known as "I Am Prepared to Die") while on trial for crimes against the South African government. Mandela and several other leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) were arrested for their attempts to overthrow South African apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation.

... Read More »

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.

... Read More »

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."

... Read More »

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.

... Read More »