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Child in Ramdan Lantern Family Workshop

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In the weeks and months before the start of Ramadan, the ninth lunar month when Muslims fast, traditional workshops like the one on Ahmad Maher Street in the medieval quarter of Cairo, turn recycled tin cans into glittering lanterns. In this "Street of the Lanterns," skills in cutting, hammering, perforating and framing colored glass that have been passed down through artisan families (who... Read More »

Thumbnail of girl holding plastic baby doll

Child with Purple Plastic Doll near Kumasi, Ghana

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The girl in the photograph is from the Asante peoples in Ghana. She is holding a purple plastic baby doll of a type that is frequently found in markets in Ghana. The doll is both imported from Taiwan and made domestically in Ghana. The modern plastic doll is based on an older, traditional form of wooden figurine manufactured by village blacksmiths to represent the adult, female figure. Girls... Read More »

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Child's Sock

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Archaeologist W. M. Flinders Petrie found this child's sock, dated to the 2nd century C.E., in a cemetery at Oxyrhyncus, a Greek monastic centre on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. The sock is made of wool yarn in a technique called "sprang," or loop knitting, in which short pieces of yarn were looped in a circular pattern using a needle. The sock features a separate section for the large toe... Read More »

Children in the Slave Trade Table thumbnail

Children in the Slave Trade Table

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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM, edited by David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein, contains the best quantitative evidence to date on the number of Africans sold into the slave trade. A collection of trader inventories, the CD-Rom serves as a searchable database of voyages that took place during from the 16th to 19th centuries.... Read More »

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Children's Tunics

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These two children's tunics, found in Egypt by archaeologist Wm. Flinders Petrie, date to the Islamic period, 9th or 10th century. The blue tunic measures 45.5 cm long and 51 cm wide (18 x 20 inches). The tunic is made of three different fabrics cut from an adult garment into 11 separate pieces, with sleeves and side gores. Red and white zigzag patterned bands decorate the neck and sleeves,... Read More »

Claude Antoine Rozet Paintings

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One of the first tasks undertaken by the French military after the 1830 invasion was to visually depict, and thus classify, places, things, and people so as to rule more effectively. This is a pattern seen in all modern colonial regimes worldwide. To this end, in addition to cannons, rifles, and supplies, the French expedition also included a cohort of skilled artists and draftsmen. Since... Read More »

Commission Hearing Excerpt

Commission Hearing Excerpt

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This is an excerpt from a commission hearing conducted in southeastern Nigeria in 1930 by British colonial officials. The hearing investigated a series of disturbances by local women following a rumor that the British were going to tax women. This excerpt is a statement by one of these woman. These commission records are one of the few places in the colonial record where West African women’s... Read More »

Copper-alloy cast crucifix, with two kneeling figures resting on bar above hands, with a third projecting below the central figure's feet.

Crucifix (Nkangi Kiditu)

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This 17th-century brass Kongolese crucifix was based on European models, but transformed by the local artisan who made it. In the center is Jesus, but with large hands, flattened feet, and African facial features, including protruding eyes that convey spiritual connection. This way of representing Christ developed in Kongo during the sixteenth century, and continues to today. Surrounding him... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Law, Alcohol Sale

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The following law suggests that slaves and Khoikhoi were considered particularly prone to alcohol addiction. There is some anecdotal evidence that this was a common stereotype held by Europeans at the Cape. Some scholars argue that alcoholism may indeed have been more prevalent among the Khoikhoi and African slaves because indigenous fermented drinks were not as strong as those brewed by... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Law, Slave Women and Children

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Although marriage was not forbidden between Europeans and slaves or other non-Europeans, it was quite rare and entailed a drop in social status for the European. Nevertheless, sexual relationships occurred—sometimes coerced, sometimes by mutual agreement. The children born to slave women by these relationships were seldom openly acknowledged by their fathers, and thus usually followed the fate... Read More »

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