Browse Primary Sources

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

Large spreadsheet documenting each foreign vessel that arrived in the port of Zanzibar which kept track of things such as the origin, size, and cargo of each visiting ship.

List of Foreign Arrivals in the Port of Zanzibar from the 16th September 1832 to 26th May 1835

This is an ostensibly mundane document that contains a tremendous amount of information for interpreting the global dynamics of this period of history, all while peering out into the world from the tiny island of Zanzibar.

Clip of the Youtube recording of Kitchener's song "Birth of Ghana" from 1957

Lord Kitchener, “Birth of Ghana,” 1957

On March 6, 1957, the Gold Coast Colony declared its independence from Britain and became Ghana, the first West African nation to break from European colonial rule. The calypso musician Lord Kitchener (birth name Aldwyn Roberts) recorded his song titled “Birth of Ghana” to celebrate independence.

George Padmore article on George Browne's calypso "Freedom for Ghana" in the Ghanaian newspaper The Morning Telegraph (Sekondi) from February 5, 1952

George Browne “Freedom for Ghana”

While living in London in the early 1950s, the Trinidadian calypsonian George Browne (whose stage name was Young Tiger) penned a calypso called “Freedom for Ghana” that caught the attention of George Padmore, the Trinidadian pan-Africanist intellectual and journalist, who wrote about it in the Ghanaian newspaper The Morning Telegraph (Sekondi) in this article from February 5, 1952.

Construction drawing of a social housing high-rise in La Duchère, 1960.

Construction drawing of a social housing high-rise in Duchère

This image shows the standardized framework of a social housing high-rise, dubbed une cité.  These manufactured housing units were constructed quickly in French suburbs to accommodate a rapidly growing population.  Between 1960 and 1980, more than nine million housing units were constructed throughout France.

Les Minguettes in Vénissieux, south of Lyon, 1969.

Social Housing development in France

In addition to La Duchère, other social housing developments in greater Lyon included Les Minguettes in Vénissieux, where 9,200 units for 35,000 residents were constructed between 1966 and 1973, and the 8,300-unit Mas du Taureau, built between 1970 and 1980 (in addition to La Grappinière, with a population of approximately 30,000) in Vaulx-en-Velin, east of Lyon.

Djida Tazdaït in Lyon, France, 1989.

Picture of civil rights activist, Djida Tazdaït

One of the realizations of the 1983 March for Equality and Against Racism was the election to the new European Parliament the Lyon-based civil rights activist, Djida Tazdaït (1957- ).  In 1989, she was elected as the first woman of North African descent to serve in that capacity until 1994.

Plans for La Duchère, in western Lyon, c. 1960.  Lyon Municipal Archives, Lyon, France.

Plans for Social Housing in France

Most of the new housing was constructed on cities’ fringes, or on adjacent farmland just outside the central city, by a quasi-public company known by its French initials SCIC (Société central immobilière de la Caisse des dépôts, or Central Real Estate Company of the Deposits and Consignments Fund).

The mayor of Lyon, France, Louis Pradel, drives a bulldozer to initiate construction of social housing in La Duchère, in the city’s western edge, 1958.

The mayor of Lyon, France drives a bulldozer to initiate construction of social housing

The headline reads, in English, “Aboard a bulldozer, Mr. Pradel officially opened the site of the future city.”  In October 1958, Lyon Mayor Louis Pradel was seen riding a bulldozer to break ground for a new social housing development called “La Duchère” in the city’s western-most ninth arrondissement.

Toumi Djaïdja (third from right) in Lyon, 1983.

SOS Avenir Minguettes President Toumi Djaïdja in Lyon, France

Toumi Djaïdja (third from right) in Lyon, 1983.  Source:  Le Progrès photo archives.

Clip from Pittsburgh's North Hills News Record in 1993 with the headline "“PCRG challenges financial institution lending practices."

Pittsburgh News Coverage of the Community Reinvestment Group

"PCRG challenges financial institution lending practices,” Pittsburgh, Dec. 22, 1993.

Picture of the 1988 headline in the New Pittsburgh Courier “Bank Gives Boost to Black Areas"

Pittsburgh Newspaper Article “Bank Gives Boost to Black Areas”

“Bank Gives Boost to Black Areas,” New Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, July 2, 1988.

Picture of the title page of Edward Waring's book "Remarks on the Uses of Some of the Bazaar Medicines and Common Medical Plants of India"

Edward Waring on Borax as medicine in India

Waring published the book in several Indian languages and another publication Supplement to the Pharmacopoeia of India, written by Moodeen Sherriff, an Indian doctor working for the colonial administration, provided the translations and medical plant knowledge in 14 different languages.

Picture of the title page of Edward Waring's book "Remarks on the Uses of Some of the Bazaar Medicines and Common Medical Plants of India"

Edward Waring on Assafœtida as medicine in India

Medical publications appealed to a medical and popular audience in the hopes of providing surgeons with tips on how to obtain similar drugs and medicine in local bazaars which could not be obtained elsewhere. Waring compiled local and indigenous medical knowledge and provided the Latin and local name of each medicine found in markets in southern India.

Several pages taken from the Veritable Records of the Chosŏn Dynasty

Veritable Records of the Chosŏn Dynasty

In the twenty-first century, we are used to post-Westphalian norms of inter-state equality and noninterference. These norms, however, did not apply to interstate relations between the Qing empire and its tributary states.

Page from the Pentaglot Manchu Glossary from

Page from the Pentaglot Manchu Glossary

The Qing empire was founded by the Manchus, and they used a language and a script that were distinct from those used in China Proper. From the 1630s to the 1760s, the Manchus went on to build an early modern empire consisting of its core of China Proper as well as the Inner Asian frontiers such as Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang.

Page from the Qing Veritable Records

Page from Qing Veritable Records

The Qing court used a twelve-month lunar calendar based on the sexagenary cycle, distinct from the solar Gregorian calendar used by most of the world today. This page from the Qing Veritable Records (Da Qing shilu) provides a good example. Here, the date is given in the following format: Qianlong year 2, dingsi [year], month 4, jiaxu [date].

US pamphlet parody of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle

Somoza cartoon

This pamphlet cover, published in 1978 by a U.S. solidarity organization, is a fantastic focal point for exploring periodization in the history of U.S.-Nicaraguan relations. It depicts a cartoonish parody of the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle being propped up by the legs of the U.S. eagle.

1987 letter from the Nicaraguan embassy to Richland County Citizens for Peace and Justice

Letter from the Nicaraguan embassy

This 1987 letter from the Nicaraguan embassy to Richland County Citizens for Peace and Justice, RCCPJ, a Wisconsin solidarity organization, highlights the ways in which non-state actors can craft impactful foreign policies.

Frontpage of the French pamphlet Femmes Nicaragua

Femmes Nicaragua

This pamphlet is an excellent example of the alternative diplomacy pursued by the  FSLN in its struggle with the United States government in the 1980s.

First letter from the British military officer and diplomat Atkins Hamerton on British merchants in the East

1841 Letter from Atkins Hamerton

Atkins Hamerton (d. 1857) was a British military officer and diplomat, who served as the first British Consul to the Omani Empire based in Zanzibar. He left behind thousands of pages of sources, presently scattered between archives in the U.K., Zanzibar, and India.