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The Sugar Mill

The Sugar Mill

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This depiction of a sugar plantation in Saint Domingue emphasizes the grinding mill and refining vats. An overseer with a gun supervises the enslaved labor. By 1789 Saint Domingue excelled at sugar production, outpacing other French colonies and the British alike.

The Winter of the Soviet Military

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By the end of December 1991, the Soviet Union was administratively dissolved. A few weeks beforehand, the United States' Central Intelligence Agency issued this report, assessing the state of the Soviet Military after its failed coup attempt in August of that year. The CIA observed that the Soviet Military suffered from two problems simultaneously. It was being starved of its traditionally... Read More »

Theses for the Discussion with the Polish Leadership

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In response to another rise in prices, for meat products in particular, strikes erupted in the summer of 1980 in Poland among workers throughout the country, especially in the cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Szczecin. Strikers listed a total of twenty-one demands, including higher pay, more openness in media, less censorship, and the formation of free trade unions. To quell the situation, Poland... Read More »

Tobacco Workers

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In addition to sugar, tobacco was important to Puerto Rico’s industrial agricultural order after the arrival of the United States. Puerto Rican women and men labored in a building called a fabrica (or factory). Women’s jobs consisted of being seated for long hours rolling tobacco leaves—as visible in this 1945 photograph of women working as tobacco-strippers in a factory.

In... Read More »

Thai 100-baht banknote thumbnail image

Traditional and Modern Primary Education in Thailand

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The image shows the reverse of a Thai 100-baht banknote, with engravings of of King Chulalongkorn and King Vajiravudha statues. The banknote's background theme is education. The detail on the right illustrates Thailand's traditional education system, showing a monk instructing boys in the courtyard of a temple. Until the 20th century, the village temple was a place where most young boys from... Read More »

Traditional Image of Soviet Women

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Soviet propaganda posters presented positive images of healthy, active people engaged in useful service to the state, including women. In this poster from 1974, three women, with their hair covered with a traditional kerchief, are depicted alongside a clear slogan: "Soviet Women! Be the first in line for the national struggle to successfully fulfill the Five-Year Plan in four years!" Since the... Read More »

Trafficking Child Beggars in Southeast Asia

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The young child in the photograph sits on a walkway in Jakarta, Indonesia, a victim of trafficking for the purpose of begging. Trafficking of women and girls for prostitution has been a well-known phenomenon in Southeast Asia, but trafficking for begging on the streets is a more recent trend. Children of poor, often rural, families are being captured at the borders, or parents are deceived... Read More »

Dutch treaty signed with the leaders of the Banda islands

Treaties Between the VOC and the Spice Islands

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The Amboyna trial was a famous conspiracy case that took place in 1623 when a group of Japanese mercenaries were accused of plotting with English merchants to seize control of a Dutch fort on a remote island in Southeast Asia. Despite occurring thousands of miles away in an unfamiliar part of the world, the trial on Amboyna swiftly escalated to become one of the most famous legal cases of the... Read More »

Turgot, "Letter to the King on Finance" (1774)

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In 1774, the newly ascendant Louis XVI appointed as his minister of finance a pro–Enlightenment economist and administrator named Anne–Robert–Jacques Turgot, a baron from a noble family with many generations of service to the kings of France. In office, Turgot sought to implement many reforms of the royal treasury. In this passage, he informs the King of the debts he has discovered in the... Read More »

Two Peasants Repairing a Cart

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This image of peasants repairing a cart demonstrates both the hard work done by cultivators and their fragile economic situation, which could easily be imperiled by a broken cart. Under such circumstances, poor people constantly repaired durable and personal goods, such as carts or clothing, because they could not afford to replace them with new ones.

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