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“At the Feet of the Village Elders”  

Oginga Odinga

The attitudes of British colonial authorities towards their subjects are reflected in Oginga Odinga’s memories of his childhood in a Kenyan village. The British government took over Kenya ... More

The Azamgarh Proclamation  

Firoz Shah

This proclamation was published in the Delhi Gazette in the midst of the “Great Mutiny” of 1857. The author was most probably Firoz Shah, a grandson of the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar ... More

The Battle of Blood River  

Sarel Cilliers

Between 1837 and 1845, more than five thousand Dutch Afrikaner settlers moved into the South African interior, followed by even larger numbers after 1845. Their timing was opportune, for ... More

Calico textile  

Anonymous

Calico was a fine printed cotton cloth first imported to England from Calicut, on the western shore of the subcontinent, by the British East India Company. A domestic manufacture of ... More

“Criticisn of Imperialism,” Imperialism  

John A. Hobson

John Atkinson Hobson (1858–1940) grew up during an economic depression in England that ultimately shifted his intellectual interests from literature to economics. One of his major ... More

Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier  

Jakob Walter

Jakob Walter (1788–1864), who fought in Napoleon’s Grande Armée for two stints, records the experiences of the average foot soldier. The poorly organized nature of early 19th-century armies ... More

Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Edict to King George III  

Emperor Qianlong

The reign of Qianlong (r. 1736–1795) marked both the high point and the beginning of the decline of the Qing dynasty. Several European nations, driven by their desire to corner the market ... More

The History of Shaka  

Jantshi ka Nongila

Shaka was born in 1787, the illegitimate son of Senzangakhona, chief of the Zulu. Treated as an unwelcome outcast by his father and his kin, he sought refuge among several neighboring ... More

Indian Home Rule  

Mohandas Gandhi

Gandhi wrote this book – called Hind Swaraj (1909) in his native language of Gujarati – on the steamer from London to South Africa, a voyage of ten days. The British banned its publication ... More

“King Leopold’s Soliloquy”  

Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens (1835–1910), who took his pen name from a command shouted on riverboats, was the quintessential American writer: his major works The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The ... More

Letter to his Brother Jerome  

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) started his political career as a Corsican officer in the French army and rose to be the self-styled “First Consul of the French Republic, and later Emperor ... More

Letters To George III  

The Qianlong Emperor

In 1793 the Earl of Macartney arrived in Beijing with a retinue of assistants and a baggage train of gifts carefully selected to impress the Qianlong emperor (1735–1795) with the ingenuity, ... More

The Life of the Sudanese Mahdi  

Ismail ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir

The religiously inspired uprising against the British in Sudan during the 1880s is associated with the figure of the self-styled “Mahdi.” However, the primary motivation of Muhammad Ahmad ... More

Lin Zexu’s letter to Queen Victoria of Great Britain  

Lin Zexu

In March 1839, the Daoguang emperor sent Lin Zexu (1785–1850), a widely respected official with a reputation for courage and honesty, to Canton as an imperial commissioner, charged with the ... More

“Manifesto of the Emigrant Farmers”  

Piet Retief

In 1652, the Dutch East Indies Company established a small settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to serve as a refueling station for its fleet of ships engaged in the Asian ... More

Memoirs of General Antonio López de Santa Anna  

Antonio López de Santa Anna

Santa Anna (1794–1876) is recognized today by Americans, and especially by Texans, primarily for his successful siege of the Alamo in March 1836. However, he also epitomized the caudillo ... More

Narrative of the British ship Nemesis during the First Opium War  

W. H. Bernard and W. D. Hall

When hostilities broke out between China and Britain in 1839, the British fleet was the most powerful in the world and in a high state of readiness. The Chinese had no real naval forces to ... More

Proclamation of the Boxers United in Righteousness  

Boxers United in Righteousness

The nineteenth century saw an accumulation of disasters for China. In two Opium Wars in the 1840s and 1850s, British invasion forced the trade concessions demanded earlier. These conflicts ... More

Speech of the 11th July  

Lajos Kossuth

Lajos Kossuth was a Hungarian political leader and lawyer. Born in 1802, he was a key participant in the Magyar nationalist movement. As the editor of a newspaper in Pest, he gained renown ... More

“The Battle of Omdurman,” The River War  

Winston Churchill

Twice Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965) led his country in uncompromising opposition to Nazi Germany during World War II. In addition to his prodigious political ... More

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