Browse Primary Sources

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

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.

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.

Painting shows king and queen at court

Sorghaghtani Beki and Tolui

In this illustration from Rashid al-Din’s Compendium of Chronicles Sorghaghtani Beki and Tolui sit together on a pillowed throne. Here the artist depicts different aspects of ideal Mongol masculinity than do illustrations of warriors, as Tolui interacts in a dignified way with the court ladies and officials surrounding him.

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Sorghaghtani Beki in the eyes of court historians

Sorghaghtani Beki, the wife and then widow of Chinggis Khan’s youngest son Tolui, appears in many contemporary written sources about the Mongol Empire, and is always viewed positively.

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The Anda Bond

Along with practices of male bonding that are shared with other times and places, such as membership in all-male groups with distinctive uniforms or clothing or socializing in places where women are not allowed or do not go, the Mongols also had a specific type of male bonding, the anda bond.

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Chinggis Khan and his wife Börte in The Secret History of the Mongols

Chinggis Khan had four sons by his principal wife Börte, though there is some question as to his eldest son Jochi’s true father. Börte and Temüjin were married as children, and shortly afterward, she was abducted by the rival Merkid confederation, and stayed with them several months before Temüjin recovered her.

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Chinggis Khan’s mother Hogelun in The Secret History of the Mongols

The Secret History of the Mongols, the story of the rise and rule of Chinggis Khan and his son and successor Ogodei produced by an anonymous court scribe in about 1240, is full of close mother-son relationships. One of these is the relationship between Temujin (the future Chinggis Khan) and his four brothers and their mother Hö’elun (or Hogelun).

Painting shows mounted warriors armed with bow and arrows in combat

Mounted Mongol Warriors

In this watercolor illustration from the Compendium of Chronicles, the enormous hemispheric history by the learned official Rashid al-Din finished around 1310, mounted Mongol warriors shoot bows and arrows while riding, a military tactic perfected by steppe warriors. The soldiers they are chasing are also Mongol dress, so this may represent a conflict between different Mongol groups.

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Chinggis Khan on his father Yesügei

This comment of Chinggis Khan about his father appears in the learned official Rashid al-Din’s Compendium of Chronicles, finished about 1310, so it was probably first handed down orally. In the first part of the comment, Chinggis Khan seems to be extolling his father’s toughness: he had great skills and did not suffer from hunger or thirst.

Frontispiece of Sir Thomas Roe

Frontispiece of Sir Thomas Roe

This image is the frontispiece of Sir Thomas Roe (ca. 1581-1644) from the book The Negotiations of Sir T. Roe in his Embassy to the Ottoman Porte from the year 1621 to 1628, a collection of his correspondence during his time as the English ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Roe advanced England's mercantile interests in Asia throughout the early seventeenth century.

The Archbishop's Palace of Alcalá de Henares

The town of Alcalá de Henares is located outside of Madrid, the current capital of Spain. In the late-fifteenth century, it served an important purpose as the home of the archbishop. His lavish palace was lavishly decorated, but considerably smaller than other royal homes. Yet, it still occasionally hosted other dignitaries, such as Queen Isabella (1451-1504).

“Contraste” by Joaquín Torres García

This painting, entitled “Contraste,” or Contrast, originates in Montevideo, Uruguay. The artist behind the work is Joaquín Torres García (1874–1949), whose downtown Montevideo home has been converted into a museum dedicated to the artist. Created in 1931, this painting reflects the linear style that Torres Garcia carries through much of his works.

Pound Homestead

This historic homestead was built in the mid-nineteenth century near modern-day Dripping Springs, Texas. It belonged to the family of Joseph M. Pound, a doctor who provided medical services to the local community, including the indigeous peoples (such as the Tonkawa). He had also served in the Confederate army. During this period, Texas was a sparsely-populated frontier region.

“Aparición de San Isidoro al Rey Fernando el Santo ante los muros de Sevilla” by Francisco de Goya

This religious painting belongs to the extensive works of Spanish painter Francsico de Goya (1746–1828). Although he grew up in Zaragoza, he trained as an artist in Madrid. There he completed much of his works, even becoming the official portrait painter for the monarchy. This work was a pratice piece that Goya used to prepare for altar that he was to paint in the city of Aragon.

San Antonio Convent

Located in the capital city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this convent is one of the oldest religious structures in the region. The current structure was built in 1780, during the final decades of Portuguese rule in the area. The Portuguese Crown had ruled this territory since the sixteenth century, and the monarch even lived there after having to flee from Europe when the French invaded in 1808.

A reservoir after evaporation – turning up the salt – salt fields, Solinen, Russia

Salt Fields in Solinen, Russia

This stereograph, captioned "A reservoir after evaporation – turning up the salt – salt fields, Solinen, Russia," is an image of female workers breaking up the crust of salt formed after the evaporation of a reservoir and forming the salt into mounds for later collection. While the stereograph's caption notes the image was taken in Solinen, Russia, it most likely depicts the Kuyalnik estuary.

“Entrando a la plaza” by Pedro Figari

This painting from 1922 depicts a bullfight in a crowded arena of Montevideo, Uruguay. Scenes of these types of public events (also including circus and horse shows) were a favorite subject for the artist, Pedro Figari (1861-1938).

Artwork by Calixto Mamaní

Calixto Mamaní was an Argentine artist from the city of Salta, in the north of the country. His work emphasized the influence of the Incas, the indigenous peoples who ruled over much of the Andes Mountain region before the Spaniards arrived. These masks likely provide an example of this theme in his work.

The Cathedral of Buenos Aires

The Catedral Metropolitana de Buenos Aires is the principal Catholic church in the capital city of Argentina. Although construction began around 1580, the church underwent a long building process, with expansions and repairs occurring over the next three-hundred years. It was built by the Spanish colonial government in the main town square, today called the Plaza de mayo.

“Mexican Officials Kick On Women in Knickers, Do not allow Oklahoma Tourists to Enter Mexico in Plus Fours," Mexico City, 14 July 1924

Mexican Newspaper Reports on American Women Crossing the Border

This story appeared in the two-page daily English-language supplement to El Universal, Mexico City’s most authoritative newspaper at the time. The story told of Mexican officials refusing entry to a group of women from the United States who made repeated attempts to get into the country.