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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 ...
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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 ...
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National Library of Spain
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 ...
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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 ...
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National Library of Brazil
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 ...
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National Diet Library
Map Presenting the Discoveries of Russian Navigators in the Pacific Ocean, as Well as Those of Captain Cook
This 1787 map shows the voyages of the leading Russian explorers of the North Pacific: Bering, Chirikov, Krenitsyn, Shpanberg, Walton, Shel'ting, and Petushkov. It also shows the 1778-79 voyage of British Captain James Cook. The route of each voyage is depicted in great detail, with ship locations plotted by the day. Other details on the map include administrative borders, population centers, Chukchi dwellings, and impassable ice. The inset map is of Kodiak Island, Alaska, denoted here by its Russian name of Kykhtak.
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National Library of Russia
Palestine, Tribes, and Jerusalem
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville (1697-1782) was one of the most important French geographers of the 18th century. He worked during the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. D’Anville’s approach to geography was geometric; he believed that man’s presence was worthy of acknowledgement only insofar as it helped the cartographer to establish the boundaries of a place. He focused on fidelity to what was documented about the territory in question using knowledge gleaned from travel journals, historical accounts, old maps, poems, and more. D’Anville was ...
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Library of Congress
Map of the Empire of Germany: Including All the States Comprehended Under that Name with the Kingdom of Prussia
Produced on the eve of the Industrial and French revolutions, this 1782 map by Louis Delarochette represents the German Empire nearly a century before Otto von Bismarck’s unification of the country. It is part of Thomas Kitchen’s General Atlas, originally created by Louis Stanislas d'Arcy Delarochette and purportedly designed to show the entire universe. Kitchen, whose name was also frequently spelled “Kitchin,” was a London-based cartographer and engraver of maps of England, greater Europe, and parts of the British Empire who was employed as a senior hydrographer ...
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Library of Congress
Map of the Bay of Concepción of Chile
This pen-and-ink and watercolor map of the Bahía de Concepción is based on an original prepared by Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa in 1744 during one of their scientific expeditions to South America, with extensive additions and revisions made in the early 1780s. It shows the location of the old city of Concepción and its new location further from the sea after the city was rebuilt following the devastating earthquake of 1751. The map is oriented with north at the lower left. Latitude and the longitude are set in ...
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Library of Congress
Map of the Uruguay River from Yapeyu to the Farm of Sn. Gregorio
This Spanish map of the Río Uruguay from Estancia San Gregorio to Yapeyu was prepared by Joseph Varela y Ulloa (1739-94), the commander of the Spanish party of the joint Spanish-Portuguese boundary commission that surveyed the Uruguay and Paraguay river basins between 1784 and 1788. The survey took place after the signing, in October 1777, of the First Treaty of San Ildefonso between Spain and Portugal, which settled the outstanding border disputes between the two empires in the region of the Rio de la Plata. The map shows the route ...
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Library of Congress
A Chart of the Gulf Stream
This map, from the Peter Force Map Collection at the Library of Congress, was created by the Philadelphia engraver James Poupard. It was the third in a series featuring a chart of the Gulf Stream. The latter was well known to Spanish ship captains, who relied on it to sail from the Americas to the Iberian Peninsula, but there were no universal charts or maps due to Spanish secrecy. This map originally was sketched by Timothy Folger, a Nantucket fisherman and a cousin of Benjamin Franklin, who conceived the map ...
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Library of Congress
A Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, and in Quest of a North-West Passage Between Asia & America, Performed in the Years 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1779
The American explorer and adventurer John Ledyard was born in Groton, Connecticut, in 1751. After studying briefly at Dartmouth College, he went to sea as a common sailor. He was forced to join the British Navy, and from June 1776 to October 1780 was a marine on Captain James Cook’s third voyage to the Pacific. This book recounts his observations of Alaska, Kamchatka, southern China, and the islands of the South Pacific. Ledyard later conceived of a plan to cross Russia, continue across the Bering Strait to Alaska, and ...
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Library of Congress
A Guide for the Good
This Muslim prayer book is a 1785 copy of an original 15th-century manuscript. The work includes a panorama of Mecca and Medina, the holy cities of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Mecca, where the Prophet Muhammad was born and lived for the first 50 years of his life, is the most sacred city in Islam. It is also where the Ka`bah is found, the holiest sanctuary in Islam and called the "house of God" (Bayt Allah). Muslims throughout the world pray facing in the direction of Mecca and the Ka ...
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Library of Congress
History of Armenia
Mik’ayel Ch’amch’yants’ was born in Istanbul in 1738. After training and working as a jeweler in his native city, in 1762 he joined the Armenian Catholic Mekhitarist order at the St. Lazar Monastery in Venice. Founded by Abbott Mekhitar (1676–1749) in 1700, the Mekhitarists were dedicated to the religious, cultural, and literary revival of Armenia, which at the time was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Ch’amch’yants’ was appointed instructor in the Armenian language at St. Lazar in 1774, and in 1784 he ...
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Library of Congress
A New, Authentic, and Complete Collection of Voyages Round the World: Undertaken and Performed by Royal Authority, Containing a New, Authentic, Entertaining, Instructive, Full, and Complete Historical Account of Captain Cook's First, Second, Third, and Last Voyages, Undertaken by Order of His Present Majesty
This compilation of British navigators' accounts of their voyages around the world covers the famous voyages of Sir Francis Drake and Captain James Cook, as well as expeditions by George Anson, John Byron, Samuel Wallis and Philip Carteret, and Constantine Phipps (Lord Mulgrave). In 1740-44, Anson led a three-year-and-nine-month mission that raided Spanish commerce off the coast of Peru before returning to England via the Cape of Good Hope. Byron made a voyage in 1764-65, during which he discovered the Islands of Disappointment (in present-day French Polynesia) and several smaller ...
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Library of Congress
Bill of Rights
During the debates on the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, its opponents charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolutionary War, so they demanded a "bill of rights" that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions, in their formal ratification of the Constitution, asked for such amendments. Others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would ...
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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Constitution of the United States
The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were present initially, the members adjourned from one day to the next until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles of Confederation, the convention would draft an entirely new framework for the government. All through the summer, the delegates debated, drafted, and ...
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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Treaty of Paris
This treaty, sent to Congress by the American negotiators John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay, formally ended the Revolutionary War. It was one of the most advantageous treaties ever negotiated for the United States. Two crucial provisions were British recognition of U.S. independence and the delineation of boundaries that would allow for American expansion westward to the Mississippi River. Two duplicate originals of the treaty exist in the American Original file of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. They are most easily distinguished from each other ...
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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Newton's Cenotaph
“Sublime spirit! Vast and profound genius! Divine being! Accept the homage of my weak talents... Oh, Newton!” With these words, French architect and designer Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728–99) dedicated his design for an imaginary cenotaph (empty tomb) in honor of the English physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727). Like many intellectuals of his day, Boullée was fascinated by Newtonian physics. His design illustrates perfectly the general characteristics of his work and that of the architecture of the end of the 18th century: large simple masses free from any superfluous decoration ...
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National Library of France
A View of Mimeguri Shrine from the Sumida River
This work by Shiba Kokan (1747-1818), a famous Western-style painter of the late Edo period (1600-1867), is the first copperplate etching by a Japanese artist. It depicts the landscape of Mimeguri Shrine at Mukōjima, eastern Edo (present-day Tokyo), as seen from the bank of the Sumida River. Because the etching was made for a peep-show box, left and right are reversed. Kokan was interested in Western science and wrote works on astronomy and geography. In this picture, he uses Western perspective drawing technique.
Contributed by
National Diet Library
European Cavalry Battle Scene
This is the first in a pair of original gouache paintings by F. Oetinger showing a violent cavalry battle during the Seven Years' War (1756-63), a conflict that involved all the major European powers and was fought on the European continent as well as in the colonies; it became known as the first global war. As a result of the conflict, France lost most of its North American colonies, Prussia reemerged as the dominant power in Europe, and Great Britain emerged as the world’s most powerful nation. The painting ...
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Brown University Library