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“A Procession of Artisans at Istanbul”  

Evliya Çelebi

Born on the Golden Horn and raised in the Sultan’s palace in Istanbul, Çelebi traveled throughout Ottoman domains between 1640 and 1680. He published an account of his travels and ... More

An Arab Merchant Visits TAng China  

Ibn Wahab

Ibn Wahab was an Arab merchant from Basra (Iraq) who sailed to China via the Indian Ocean around 872 CE. His travel account includes a description of his interview with the Chinese emperor. ... More

“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

China in the Sixteenth Century  

Matteo Ricci

When European Christian missionaries first came to Ming China, they made very little progress in converting the Chinese, in large part due to their limited training in Chinese language and ... More

The Conquest of New Spain  

Bernal Díaz

In the course of the fifteenth century, the Aztecs conquered an empire centered in the Valley of Mexico (present-day Mexico City, after the drainage of most of the valley) but encompassing ... More

Cosmas Indicopleustes (Cosmas The India-Voyager), Christian Topography  

Cosmas

This remarkable account of a merchant’s travels throughout Eastern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and India resulted from the singular obsession of a monk in retirement. Determined to prove ... More

Documents Concerning the Slave Ship Sally, Rhode Island  

Anonymous

Rhode Islanders were the principal American slave traders during the eighteenth century, during which a total of approximately 1,000 slave-trading voyages set out from the colony to Africa. ... 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

First Inaugural Address  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s four terms as President marked a turning point in American history, establishing the principle of the federal government’s responsibility for public welfare and ... More

“First Premises of the Materialist Method,” The German Ideology  

Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818–1883), the German socialist philosopher, worked alongside Engels to shape the Communist Party, which Marx outlined in his seminal text The Communist Manifesto (1848). The ... More

Letter of Nzinga Mbemba (Afonso I) of Kongo to the King of Portugal  

Nzinga Mbemba (Afonso I)

A Portuguese sailor came into contact with the Kingdom of Kongo, which occupied a vast territory along the Congo River in central Africa, in 1483. When he returned in 1491, he was ... More

Letter to the Rev. H. Venn  

Samuel Crowther

In 1807 most of the countries involved in the centuries-long Atlantic slave trade signed an international agreement to abolish the shipments of Africans to the western hemisphere. The ... 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

The Mystery of the Harappan Seals  

Thomas R. Trautmann

Few things are more tantalizing to historians than an undeciphered script. Hundreds of broken and intact Harappan seals have been discovered in numerous sites throughout the Indus Valley, ... More

On Effective Government  

Tang Taizong

Tang Taizong (d. 649), a founder of the Tang dynasty, was determined to create an empire that expanded upon the consolidation achieved under the Sui dynasty. The result was a large empire ... More

Photograph of an enslaved Chinese coolie, Peru  

Anonymous

Chinese migration to Latin America was a major part of the pattern of mass migration streams across the world that typified the nineteenth century. “Coolies” (from the Urdu word kuli, or ... More

“Secret Plan for Managing the Country”  

Honda Toshiaki

Drawing on the conclusions of his “Western” education, Japanese economist Honda Toshiaki (1749–1821) advocated a three-pronged plan of action to level the playing field between the Tokugawa ... More

“Signs of the Times”  

Thomas Carlyle

A Scottish historian and writer, Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) turned the difficulties of his life—a sickly nature, a crisis of faith in the Christian Church, and a tempestuous marriage—toward ... More

The Story Of Ali Cogia, a Merchant of Baghdad  

Anonymous

With the possible exception of the Qur’an itself, no other work of Arab–Muslim culture is as widely known in the west as is the Arabian Nights. The story presented here, “The Story of Ali ... More

“The Friend of the People”  

Johann Georg Eccarius

Johann Georg Eccarius (1818–1889) worked as a tailor until he became a dedicated Marxist in the 1840s, after which he worked in journalism and as a Communist organizer. In 1851 he moved to ... More

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