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Upper View of the Castillo del Morro Situated at the Mouth of the Bay of Havana
This 18th-century manuscript map shows the plan of Morro Castle, located at the entrance of Havana Bay, Cuba. The fortress was built by the Spaniards, starting in 1585. The Italian military engineer Battista Antonelli (1547–1616) was commissioned to design the fortifications. The structure originally was conceived as a small fort surrounded by a dry moat, but it was expanded and rebuilt on several occasions and became a major fortress of great strategic importance for the island. The map is oriented with north to the left and tilted up at ...
Contributed by
National Library of Spain
His Excellency: George Washington Esq: L.L.D. Late Commander in Chief of the Armies of the U.S. of America and President of the Convention of 1787
In 1787, the confederation of the 13 American states was descending into disarray. The coffers were empty, New York and New Jersey were in a dispute over duties charged on goods crossing state lines, farmers in Massachusetts were rebelling, and Spain and Britain were encroaching on American territories in the west. The Federal Convention was called to address the problems of governing the young republic under the existing Articles of Confederation. The convention responded by framing the document that became the United States Constitution. The convention delegates elected George Washington ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
The Art of Making Mechanical Timepieces for Church Towers, Rooms, and Pockets
Manuel del Río was a Spanish Franciscan, said to have been a skilled watchmaker, who probably learned the trade in Oporto, Portugal, with Tomás Luis de Sáa. Del Río belonged to the Franciscan community in Santiago, where in 1759 he published Arte de los reloxes de ruedas (The art of making mechanical timepieces). The work was reissued in 1789 in Madrid by del Río’s disciple Ramón Durán. That edition is presented here. The prologue states that one of the reasons for writing the book was the lack of manuals ...
Contributed by
National Library of Spain
Map in Which the Rivers on Argentina, Parana and Paraguay are Described Most Exactly for the First Time, When a Beginning was Made by the New Colony as Far as the Mouth of the Jauru River
This atlas of colonial South America is by Miguel Antonio Ciera. A noted mathematician and professor of astronomy at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, Ciera was part of an expedition sent to demarcate the border between Spanish and Portuguese holdings in South America following signature of the 1750 Treaty of Madrid and the 1756 Guarani War. The atlas focuses on the southern part of the continent, in the watershed of the Paraná River, where the borders were most disputed. The territory in the atlas includes present-day Argentina and Paraguay ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Declaration of Independence. In Congress, July 4, 1776, a Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled.
This document is the first printed version of the American Declaration of Independence. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia introduced a resolution urging Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, to declare independence from Great Britain. Four days later, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed as a committee to draft a declaration of independence. The committee’s draft was read in Congress on June 28. On July 4, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, containing a list of grievances against the British ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Map of Poland: Outlining Its Provinces and Voivodeships, 1772
Because the territory of present-day Belarus was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and, since the end of the 18th century, part of the Russian Empire, the history of the mapping of the Belarusian lands is closely connected with the development of cartography in Western Europe and in Russia. Józef Aleksander Jabłonowski, governor of the town of Novogrudok (present-day Belarus), was an avid collector of cartographic works. Under Jabłonowski’s supervision and with his financial support, the Italian cartographer Giovanni Antonio Rizzi-Zannoni created the ...
Contributed by
National Library of Belarus
Topographical Notes on Notable Places Visited by Her Imperial Majesty in Belarusian Vicegerencies
This book, published in Saint Petersburg in 1780 by the Russian Imperial Academy of Science, is about the history of and conditions in the eastern Belarusian lands visited by the Empress Catherine (the Great) in May of that year. The work includes detailed information about localities in the Polotsk and Mogil'ov territory (namestnichestva), including the population and descriptions of castles, palaces, churches, and monasteries. Descriptions of places in Belarus start on page 38. The book also contains information about places along the route from Saint Petersburg to Belarus, such ...
Contributed by
National Library of Belarus
The Precious Book on Noteworthy Dates
This short work, entitled Kitāb al-yawāqīt fī ma‘rifat al-mawāqīt, and copied by an anonymous scribe in Shawwāl in June-July 1775 (AH 1168), is attributed to Ḥusayn (or Ḥasan) b. Zayd b. ‘Alī al-Jaḥḥāf, who is said to have dedicated it to Abū ‘Alī Manṣūr al-Ḥākim bi Amr-Allāh, the sixth Fāṭimid ruler (died 996). The manuscript lists the 12 months of the year, each on one sheet, in the form of an almanac. The last page is a one-page guide to the interpretation of dreams, reportedly prepared at the behest ...
Contributed by
National Library and Archives of Egypt
Letters, Essays, and Sermons by Saint Gregory Nazianzus
This 18th-century manuscript is a collection of letters, essays, and sermons by Saint Gregory Nazianzus (died circa 389). The manuscript is thought to be the first Arabic translation from the original Greek and has not yet been edited or published. It is the second volume of a two-volume work. Gregory of Nazianzus, also known as Gregory the Theologian, is recognized as a Father of the Church in both the Eastern and Western traditions. He was born in Cappadocia (eastern Anatolia), where he spent much of his life. He was a ...
Contributed by
The American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library
Letters, Pedagogical Teachings, and Sayings of Saint Anthony of Egypt
This manuscript opens with the 20 letters “to the sons who follow his [Anthony’s] gentle path…and prayers to keep us from Satan’s example.” The letters are for the most part short, many not exceeding five folios. According to an introductory note, they are addressed to both men and women. The work is in a bold but relaxed hand. Each letter or other significant section is set off in red. There are no contemporary marginal glosses, but comments and corrections (some in English) in pencil were made by ...
Contributed by
The American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library
Extent and Location of the Governments of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Matogroso, Cuyaba, and Towns of Native Americans Called Chiquitos
This map shows the present-day Bolivian provinces of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Chiquitos, and the Brazilian state of Mata Grosso. The map indicates the settlements of native people, known at that time as Chiquitos. This area was a center of Jesuit activity and many of the settlements may have been the remnants of Jesuit centers, called reducciones (reductions or townships). The Jesuits began their missionary work in South America in 1609. At the height of their activity, they sponsored 40 communities that were home to more than 150 ...
Contributed by
National Library of Brazil
Guide to Astronomy
This handwritten copy of Tian wen bei kao (Guide to astronomy) was made in 1790 by Pingbo, whose seals are on the cover of the first of the two juan. No other information on the copyist is available. Juan one is a collection of texts taken from Xing jing (Star manual) by Shi Shen (circa 350 BC), Tian wen xing zhan (Astronomic star observation) by Gan De (between 475 and 221 BC), Shi ji (The records of the grand historian), Tian wen zhi (Astronomy treatise) in Han shu (History of ...
Contributed by
National Central Library
A Summary View of the Rights of British America: Set Forth in Some Resolutions Intended for the Inspection of the Present Delegates of the People of Virginia, Now in Convention / by a Native, and Member of the House of Burgesses
This pamphlet is Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of A Summary View of the Rights of British America, which he originally drafted in July 1774 as a set of instructions for the Virginia delegates to the first Continental Congress. Jefferson argued that the British Parliament had no rights to govern the colonies, which he claimed had been independent since their founding. He also described the usurpations of power and deviations from law committed by King George III and Parliament. Jefferson was not present in the Virginia House when his draft ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Different Views of the Major Cities in Persia
This map by the Nuremberg engraver and publisher Johann Baptist Homann (1663-1724) features 15 aerial views of cities in Persia (present-day Iran), Afghanistan, southern Russia, eastern Turkey, and the Caucasus region. Beneath each city portrait is a number or letter key indicating the most important points in each city, including city gates and walls, bodies of water, royal palaces, and markets. The cities depicted are (1) Astrakhan, Russia; (2) Derbent, Dagestan, Russia; (3) Tiflis, Georgia; (4) Kars, Turkey; (5) Erzurum, Turkey; (6) Baku, Azerbaijan; (7) Sultanieh (Zanjān Province), Iran; (8 ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
European Turkey and Part of Asian Turkey, Divided into Large Provinces and Governorships
This mid-18th century French map shows the Balkan Peninsula, most of Anatolia (present-day Turkey), and the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Crete. The map bears the inscription “Sr. Janvier” (“Le Sieur Janvier”), a designation that refers to a cartographer active in Paris between 1746 and 1776 whose name was either Jean or Robert Janvier. The map offers a striking view of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire. Although past the peak of its power, the empire still controlled Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. The borders of ...
Contributed by
National and University Library “St Kliment Ohridski” – Skopje
Geographical Map of Modern Northern Greece
The long subtitle of this Latin map of northern Greece explains that it depicts “the provinces of Macedonia, Thessaly, and Albania, in the last one of which the dwellings of the Montenegrin people located in the county of Zenta are indicated, together with the neighboring regions and islands, drawn by very recent and new auxiliary troops according to the rule of correct projections in use in the current war.” In 1770, when the map was published, these lands were all part of the Ottoman Empire. Zenta, or Zeta, refers to ...
Contributed by
National and University Library “St Kliment Ohridski” – Skopje
Album of Appreciation of the Fragrance of Spring
Takuhanga is a printing technique in which a cloth-covered cotton ball containing black ink is patted on wet paper placed on an intaglio-engraved woodblock. The technique derives from takuhon, the art of rubbing found in Chinese copybooks printed from the works of old masters of calligraphy. This late-18th-century takuhanga album includes poems in the Chinese style celebrating the spring scenery of Kyoto written by learned men from the city who were students of Chinese literature, including Iwagaki Ryūkei (1741−1808). The drawings are by prominent Kyoto artists from the time ...
Contributed by
National Diet Library
The Insect Book
Ehon mushi-erami (The insect book) is by the ukiyo-e painter Kitagawa Utamaro (circa 1753−1806). It was created by him before he produced the bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) for which he is famous. Each double page of the book contains a painted illustration of a plant and two species of insects, along with two kyōka (a poem style originating from waka, literally, Japanese poems). The kyōka are ostensibly insect-themed love poems. In all, 15 colored wood-block prints are included. The work demonstrates Utamaro’s skill at drawing, as well ...
Contributed by
National Diet Library
Beauties of Yoshiwara
Seirō Bijin Awase (Beauties of Yoshiwara) is one of the finest multicolored woodblock printed books in Japan. It was published in 1770. The book depicts 166 courtesans of the Yoshiwara, the pleasure quarter in Edo (present-day Tokyo), with the names of the courtesans and the brothels where they worked, with a haiku (a short poem) in the background of each illustration. The work consists of five sections in five chapters. The original title slip on which the book title and the volume title were printed is attached to the center ...
Contributed by
National Diet Library
History of Nadir Shah Afshar
Waqiat-i Nadiri (literally “Events of Nadir”) is a historical manuscript that chronicles the political and military career of Nādir Shāh, who was born in 1688 and rose to power in Iran during the 1720s; he became shah in 1736. He is known as a military warrior famous for his campaigns in Iran, Afghanistan, northern India, and Central Asia. He was assassinated by his officers in June 1747. The name of the author of this work, Mohammad Mahdi Munshi ibn Mohammad Nasir (also seen as Mahdī Khān Astarābādī), appears on page ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Edict Prohibiting Traveling Shows Throughout Tuscany
This edict, dated February 1, 1780, was promulgated by Domenico Brichieri Colombi, fiscal auditor of the city of Florence, in execution of orders issued by Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany (reigned 1765−90). It prohibited public performances by traveling entertainers so as not to give to the people “opportunities to dissipate themselves vainly.” The edict applied to “Charlatans, Cantimbanchi [street singers], Storytellers, Puppeteers, Peddlers, Jugglers, and all those who carry on freak shows, exhibit Machines, Animals, or who sell secrets, and to any other foreigner who goes ...
Contributed by
Educational Documentation Centre of Circus Arts (CEDAC)