Browse Primary Sources

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

Misión San Lorenzo de Picuris

In the mid-seventeenth century, Spanish friars built a mission near modern-day Taos. The goal of this settlement was to convert the native peoples to Christianity. In this area, the local communities were the Picuris.

Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro

The Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro was originally founded in the late-seventeenth century in modern-day New Mexico. It was moved in the eighteenth century to the El Paso region after local indigenous groups rebelled against Spanish rule, although flooding destroyed that structure soon after. The adobe church that stands today was built in the 1840s.

Misión San Miguel (New Mexico)

The San Miguel Chapel was built between 1610 and 1625 as part of the Spanish Crown’s efforts to evangelize the native peoples of the Americas. Located in modern-day Santa Fe, this church complex aimed to convert the Tlaxcalan community under the supervision of Francsican friars, while coercing them into Spanish ways of life.

Misión San José de Laguna

The San José Laguna Mission is one of several Spanish colonial churches that still stands in modern-day New Mexico. It was built in the late-seventeenth century by Spanish friars with indigenous labor. The objective for this type of settlement was to evangelize the native peoples, which here included the Kawaiks, teaching them about the Catholic church and European ways of life.

Misión San Estévan del Rey de Ácoma

Located in modern-day New Mexico, this church was founded in 1629 by Spanish priests in 1629. It belonged to the Spanish monarch’s larger project of converting the native peoples of the Americas to Christianity. The indigneous communities who lived, worked, and worshipped at the San Estévan del Rey de Ácoma mission built the structure. Many came from the Acoma people.

Misión San Elizario

Located in modern-day El Paso, Texas, the San Elizario Mission was originally established in 1789 by Spanish friars. The structure that stands today is considerably newer (1877) because a series of natural disasters destroyed previous buildings. Its name originates from the patron saint of the Spanish troops stationed in the region, San Elizario.

Misión Nuestra Señora del Refugio

The Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission was a Spanish colonial church complex built in the late-eighteenth century. By this period, Spanish friars had established dozens of similar communities throughout the modern-day US Southwest. At this time, this region functioned as a borderlands between Spain’s possessions and those of France and England.

Misión San Juan Capistrano

The Misión San Juan Capistrano was a Spanish colonial complex intended to evangelize the native peoples. Although Spain claimed vast stretches of territory throughout the Americas, it struggled to produce enough bureaucrats to staff local governments.

Misión San Agustin de Isleta

This church complex, located near Albuquerque, New Mexico, once belonged to a network of Spanish colonial missions. During the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the region that comprises the Southwetern United States became a borderlands between territories claimed by Spanish, French, English, and indigenous groups.

Misión San Ildefonso

The San Ildefonso Mission, once operated as a Spanish colonial church near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its adobe structure was built with indigenous labor under the supervision of Francsican friars. The objective of this church complex was to convert the native communities to Catholicism and introduce them to Spanish ways of life.

Misión Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña

The Spanish Crown claimed possession of vast territories throughout North, Central, and South America between the late-fifteenth and early and nineteenth centuries. The region that comprises the modern-day US Southwest served as borderlands between indigenous communities, and Spanish, French, and English colonies.

Misión San Francisco de la Espada

The Misión San Francisco de la Espada is one of the many churches that Spanish friars founded along the modern-day Southwestern United States. This area was a frontier-zone, bordering indigneous communities and British and French territories. It was established in the mid-eighteenth century near San Antonio, Texas to evangelize the native peoples.

Misión San José y San Miguel de Aguayo

The San Jose Mission in San Antonio, Texas is one of the most complete complexes in the southwest. It was built in the mid-eighteenth century to evangelize approximately 300 indigenous people.Their tiny, two-room living quarters lined the interior walls of the complex. These individuals lived and worked there under the supervision of the church authorities.

Misión Santa Cruz de San Sabá

The ruins of the Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabá are located in Menard, Texas. It once operated as a Spanish colonial church and military outpost. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Spanish friars established many such structures across the Southwestern United States. Each of these sites aimed to evangelize the local communities.

Nuestra Señora de la Bahía del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga

This church was built as part of the larger project of indigneous evangelization, in which the Spanish Crown sent missionaries along the northern border of its North American possessions to establish churches and convert the natives.

La Misión de Corpus Christi de San Antonio de la Ysleta del Sur

Although the Spanish Crown claimed possession of the modern-day US borderlands, it was not able to send many settlers to the region. As a result, the priests and missionaries stationed there often took on both religious and government responsibilities. They became the spiritual, political, and economic overseers of the local indigenous populations.

Map of the Travels of Xuanzang (629 AD - 645 AD) Journey to the West

This Schematic Map shows the entire "Journey to the West" as made by the Chinese Monk Xuanzang (Hsüan-tsang) on the Silk Road between China and India in the years 629 AD to 645 AD. The Path of the Journey to led from the Chinese Capital in Shaanxi Province of China acros the Yellow River to the westernmost pass of the Great Wall of China.

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Buddhist Records Of The Western World

Xuanzang ( or Hiuen Tsiang) was a Chinese monk ( 602-664) who went to India to study Buddhism. After he went back to China, he told his 17-year journey to his disciple, Bianji, who edited and wrote it in Chinese and published it with a title: da tang xi yu ji (the meaning of the title is the records regarding the western area of the Great Tang dynasty).

Edifying and curious letters of some Missioners of the Society of Jesus from foreign missions

After reaching and residing in foreign places, Christian missionaries sent different kinds of writings (letters, reports, notes, etc.) back to Europe. These writings, based on different Church orders to which missionaries belonged, are normally stored in different archives (most in Rome).

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"The Money Market" Article

The London Evening Standard reported in 1881 that one transaction from the Sursuq (Sursock) and Debbas families caused the French stock market to decline. The Levantine companies had accumulated significant capital from silk and futures trading throughout the mid-nineteenth century.