Thumbnail of The Dutch Ambassador on his Way to Isfahan

The Dutch Ambassador on his Way to Isfahan


This painting by Jan Baptist Weenix depicts the Dutch ambassador Joan Cunaeus and his secretary, Cornelis Speelman, on a diplomatic mission to Isfahan in Persia in 1651-52. The men were sent to Isfahan on behalf of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to stimulate trade in horses and silk. Cunaeus, prominently depicted on a white horse, is wearing a silk cloak, a gift from the Shah of Persia.... Read More »

The Good Sans–Culotte


Reflecting values of the French Revolution, Male and female sans–culottes were supposed to embody frugality, thrift, hard work, and, above all, honest devotion—whether to pets, the nation, or fellow comrades.

Detail of the header for The Illustrated London News showing the word "News" over part of the London skyline

The Illustrated London News

In sum, the archive has a variety of delights for the historians to search through, and a well-organized website, though no great depth of coverage or supporting material.
Logo of the International Children's Digital Library abstractly showing an open book with a children running across the cover

The International Children's Digital Library

The International Children's Digital Library is a feast for children who are bookworms. It is also a treasure trove for teachers of reading, literature, science, social studies, and world cultures or geography. Scholarly researchers will find in its global collection a wealth of material for comparison, thematic exploration, historical studies of childhood and reading, and interdisciplinary studies of all kinds.

The Joyous Accord


This allegorical image represents the sentiments of social unity that the National Assembly sought to promote through the Festival of the Federation of 14 July 1790 during the French Revolution. This festival, though technically but a military parade of units from around the country, also implied to most observers the unity of all orders and classes.

The Palmer Family


Painted by Francesco Renaldi in 1786, The Palmer Family depicts Major William Palmer (seated in the center) surrounded by his two bibis, children, and female servants. Bibis are common-law wives of British men in India. Seated to Palmer's left is Bibi Faiz Bakhsh. She is holding one of Palmer's children, a sleeping baby boy named Hastings. Standing to either side of her is Palmer's... Read More »

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

The Secret of England's Greatness


There are many paintings that represent the British Empire, but The Secret of England’s Greatness (1863) by Thomas Jones Barker is one of the most powerful. It depicts Queen Victoria presenting a bible to a kneeling African chief in the Audience Chamber at Windsor. In the background are her husband, Albert, and members of the government. The painting was reproduced in engravings and... Read More »

Image of the website header reading "The Story of Africa: African History from the Dawn of Time"

The Story of Africa

Each segment provides a selection of quotes from primary sources that illuminate specific issues. There are many gems to mine. They range from original lyrical quotations that capture the arresting images of initiation rituals and political power.

The Third Estate Marrying Priests with Nuns


The National Assembly also eliminated monasteries during the French Revolution, since monks and nuns had increasingly become figures of ridicule. This image depicts the dissolution of the religious orders, rather than the confiscation of lands, as the crucial element in religious reorganization. It shows "the National Assembly marrying nuns and monks" so they will become productive citizens.... Read More »

The Tragic End of Louis XVI


As 80,000 crowded into the square to watch the execution of Louis XVI, they cannot have been unaware that the guillotine sat where a statue of Louis XV had been. Here Sanson, the executioner, snatches the detached head of Louis XVI to show to the crowd. He leans forward with approving eagerness. If the head of the King was the most recognizable old regime symbol, then the demise of that... Read More »