Browse Primary Sources
Locate primary sources, including images, objects, media, and texts. Annotations by scholars contextualize sources.

The Miracles of Sainte Foy, Bernard of Angers, c. 1013–1020

In 1013, Bernard of Angers visited the relics of Sainte Foy at the abbey of Conques, in southern France. Initially skeptical of the cult which had formed around this little girl martyr, Bernard nonetheless fell under her spell.

... Read More »

Theophilus, On Diverse Arts (De diversis artibus), c. 1120

Theophilus’ De diversis artibus is the only complete treatise on art to survive from the High Middle Ages. Written under the pseudonym Theophilus, who seems to have been a Benedictine monk of the early twelfth century, it describes techniques of painting, stained glass, and metalwork, introducing each with a prologue deep in religious significance.

... Read More »

Bernard of Clairvaux, Apology (Apologia), 1125

Bernard of Clairvaux was abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux, in Burgundy, France, and a well-known preacher who travelled widely and was involved with many of the most pressing issues of his day, from papal power to the Crusades.

... Read More »

Abbot Suger, On What Was Done In His Administration (De administratione), 1144–1148

In the later 1140s, Abbot Suger of the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis, outside Paris, wrote an account of his extensive project to rebuild and redecorate his abbey church.

... Read More »

Map of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, 1768

In 1768, Sir William Johnson received permission from the British Crown to hold a treaty council with the Iroquois Confederacy and its dependents in order to establish a more official and lasting boundary line without French pressures. A clear boundary line between the Indians and Europeans would prevent colonial encroachments on Indian lands and minimize violence between the two parties.

... Read More »

Excerpts from the Treaty of Logg's Town (1752)

As French and British powers jostled for dominance in the Ohio Country, both courted the Six Nations and their allies. The Six Nations held sway and power over mass amounts of territory—territory that French and British interests wished to control. British colonies had already attempted to secure much land from the Six Nations through treaties.

... Read More »
Handwritten invoice listing items and costs.

Invoice of goods shipped from New Orleans to Matamoros, Mexico in 1847

This image is of an invoice of items shipped from an English firm in New Orleans, Thorn & McGrath, to José San Román in Matamoros, Mexico. It consists primarily of men’s clothing. Studying this invoice gives us a significant insight into how European networks drew the local into the global.

... Read More »

Francois Guilbeau letter on Loredo trade

This source is a favor letter, one of the most common forms of communication among merchants along the Rio Grande in the nineteenth century. This is a longer form of that type of letter, but they all share a general format that includes letting the recipient know that their payment (favor) was received, how much remained on the account, and current market conditions.

... Read More »
Painting of a Chinese junk at sea with the emperor and several functionaries on deck

Chinese Junk, early 18th century

Junks encompass a range of different ships that were essential for maritime trade in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean for centuries. Original junks built in China were likely inspired by the design of ships visiting Chinese ports from Austronesia and Southeast Asian archipelagos.

... Read More »
Painting of a Spanish Galleon at sea firing its canons

A Naval Encounter between Dutch and Spanish Warships

Spanish galleons were large ships specifically built to carry a huge amount of cargo across the vast distances of the Spanish maritime empire. The Manila Galleon Trade is a common topic in world history courses and represents the first truly global trade in world history. The manila galleons, specifically, could reach over 160ft in length.

... Read More »

Pages