Illustration shows an island with a collection of buildings in the center

Kilwa Map Illustration


This illustration is of the trading city state of Kilwa or Kilwa Kiswani on the Swahili Coast (that is modern Tanzania) which flourished between the 12th and 15th century C.E. It illustrates well the welcoming nature of the city in which much of this trade occurred: indigenous Kilwanese traded on behalf of themselves and their inland neighbors with the Muslims and Chinese traders and explorers... Read More »

Kuttab, or Primary Level Qur’an School


This public building of Mamluk Cairo in Egypt has two functions. Its lower level housed a sabil, or fountain, for dispensing water to thirsty travelers and denizens of the city, and its upper level was a public primary school for the teaching of Qur'an, called a kuttab. Kuttab schools taught basic literacy skills such as arithmetic and grammar along with recitation of the Qur'an needed to... Read More »

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Legal Protection for Scout Uniform, 1935: Tanganyika Government Ordinance


Many African boys, teachers, and community leaders were genuinely inspired by scouting and founded their own unauthorized independent troops. In other cases, individuals dressed as scouts to claim the benefits of belonging to the movement. Scout leaders and government officials in East Africa paid little attention to these informal adaptations of scouting, but they became alarmed when dance... Read More »

Liberated Africans

This website retraces the lives of over 250,000 people emancipated under global campaigns to abolish slavery, as well as thousands of officials, captains, crews, and guardians of a special class of people known as "Liberated Africans."
Image of one of the handwritten letters from the collection

Liberian Letters

Liberian Letters will fascinate teachers and students interested in the late history of slavery, manumission, and repatriation of people of African descent to Sub-Saharan coasts.
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Long Teaching Module: African Scouting (20th c.)


Conceived by General Sir Robert Baden Powell to reduce class tensions in early 20th-century Britain, the Boy Scout movement evolved into an international youth movement that offered a romantic program of vigorous outdoor life for boys and adolescents as a cure for the physical decline and social disruption caused by industrialization and urbanization. One of scouting's main goals was to create... Read More »

Title page for The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

Long Teaching Module: Children in the Slave Trade


From the 16th to the 18th centuries, an estimated 12 million Africans crossed the Atlantic to the Americas in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Used on plantations throughout the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, enslaved Africans were shipped largely from West Africa. With an average life span of five to seven years, demand for slaves from Africa increasingly grew in the 18th... Read More »

Image of a fort

Long Teaching Module: Cultural Contact in Southern Africa


The Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz first saw the Cape of Good Hope—the southernmost point in Africa—in 1488. No attempt was made by a European nation to establish a permanent settlement there, however, until 1652, when the Dutch East India Company (VOC) set up a refreshment station. The Cape was approximately midway between Europe and India, which made it an ideal stopping point where... Read More »

Long Teaching Module: North African Women and the French Empire, 1850-2000


From the 18th century on, expanding European imperialism across the globe began to pose acute challenges to states and societies throughout Asia and Africa. These challenges held enormous repercussions for indigenous women of all social classes, religions, and ethno-racial backgrounds. Until the late 18th century, the four states of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria were provinces of the... Read More »

Thumbnail image of The Secret of England's Greatness painting.

Long Teaching Module: Women in the British Empire, 1800-2000


This module will help students explore the importance of women—both British women and women from British colonies—to the British Empire, as well as their importance in developing an understanding of Britain as an imperial power to a domestic audience at home. As a result, these materials provide some insight into the ways in which concepts of racial purity and proper gender roles bounded the... Read More »