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Great Trading Routes of the Sahara
This 1889 map of trans-Saharan trading routes by French explorer Edouard Blanc reflects the growing priority that Europeans gave to land-based trade during the late 19th-century imperial “scramble for Africa.” In articles about his work, Blanc stressed the importance of identifying “natural” geographic routes that would connect French colonial possessions in west Africa, such as Senegal, to Algeria in north Africa, and link the Mediterranean coast to Sudan and central Africa. Blanc based his maps not only on his own travels but also on nearly a century of reports from ...
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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 ...
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National Library of Belarus
Guiana and Caribana
This map of part of the northern coast of South America is a Dutch version of a map originally produced around 1650 by Nicolas Sanson (1600–1667), royal geographer to Kings Louis XIII and XIV, and commonly known as the father of French cartography. Numerous editions copied from Sanson were printed in the early 18th century. The map covers the region from the island of Trinidad and the mouth of the Orinoco River in the west to the mouth of the Amazon River in the southeast. Sanson divides this area ...
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Columbus Memorial Library, Organization of American States
Letter from Alfred Nobel to Bertha von Suttner, Creating the Nobel Peace Prize
Alfred Nobel (1833–96) was a Swedish-born engineer and entrepreneur best known for inventing dynamite. At age 43, Nobel placed an advertisement in a newspaper stating: "Wealthy, highly-educated elderly gentleman seeks lady of mature age, versed in languages, as secretary and supervisor of household." An Austrian woman, Countess Bertha Kinsky, applied for and won the position. The countess worked for Nobel only briefly before returning to Austria to marry Count Arthur von Suttner. Bertha von Suttner became one of the most prominent international peace activists of the late 19th–early ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Summary of Petition of Railroad Workers of Hungarian Origin and Protection of Minorities in Czechoslovakia
After World War I, the states of central and southeastern Europe were compelled by the victorious Allied and Associated Powers to sign agreements guaranteeing religious, social, and political equality to their minority populations. The states covered were Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Groups or individuals who believed they had been discriminated against for ethnic or linguistic reasons could petition the League of Nations for redress by the Council. The Minority Section within the League Secretariat was responsible for screening incoming petitions, requesting responses from the accused ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Petition of Railroad Workers of Hungarian Origin, Draft Reply, Legal Arguments
After World War I, the states of central and southeastern Europe were compelled by the victorious Allied and Associated Powers to sign agreements guaranteeing religious, social, and political equality to their minority populations. The states covered were Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Groups or individuals who believed they had been discriminated against for ethnic or linguistic reasons could petition the League of Nations for redress by the Council. The Minority Section within the League Secretariat was responsible for screening incoming petitions, requesting responses from the accused ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
French Mandate for Togoland
As a consequence of World War I, Germany was stripped of its colonies and the Ottoman Empire was partitioned and forced to surrender control of territories in the Middle East. The Covenant of the League of Nations established a system under which the League conferred upon certain states a mandate to rule those former colonies which, in the language of the Covenant, were “inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world.” Britain and the British Empire, France, Belgium, and Japan ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Mandate for Palestine and Memorandum by the British Government Relating to its Application to Transjordan
After World War I, the Covenant of the League of Nations established a system by which the League was empowered to confer upon certain of the victorious powers mandates to administer territories formerly ruled by Germany or the Ottoman Empire. Mandated territories were to be governed on behalf of the League, until such time as they could become independent. On September 16, 1922, the Council of the League approved a mandate to Great Britain for Palestine, previously part of the Ottoman Empire. The mandate provided for the eventual creation of ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Slavery Convention
The 1926 Slavery Convention was an agreement among member states of the League of Nations that obliged signatories to eliminate slavery, the slave trade, and forced labor in their territories. It defined slavery as the status or condition of a person over which the powers of ownership are applied; the slave trade as acts involving the capture, selling, or transport of enslaved people; and forced labor as a “condition analogous to slavery” that had to be regulated and eventually stopped. The Slavery Convention was the work of the Temporary Slave ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Nansen Passport with Stamps
The Nansen passport was a certificate issued by the Nansen International Office for Refugees as an international substitute for a passport, which allowed stateless persons or those deprived of their national passports to enter and transit other countries. The Nansen office was the successor to the first international agency dealing with refugees, the High Commission for Refugees, established in June 1921 by the League of Nations under the direction of the Norwegian explorer and statesman Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930). The League Secretariat had assumed responsibility for international refugees and stateless ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Bombings in Spain. Petition Forwarded to the League of Nations by the International Labour Organisation, from the President of the Labour Council, Miguel Santalo
The Spanish Civil War of 1936–39 involved a prolonged revolt of forces led by Nationalist general Francisco Franco against the Spanish Republican government, which ultimately was won by the Nationalists. Under the leadership of dictator Benito Mussolini, Italy supported the Nationalists with supplies of weapons and direct military involvement. On March 16–18, 1938, Italian forces carried out an aerial bombardment of Republican-held Barcelona in support of the Nationalists, resulting in the death of more than 1,000 civilians. Shown here is a petition forwarded on March 31, 1938 ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Bombings in Spain. Draft Reply of the League of Nations
On March 31, 1938, Miguel Santalo, president of the Labour Council of the Spanish Republic, sent a petition to the director of the International Labour Organisation requesting that the League of Nations condemn Italy for its bombardment, on March 16–18, 1938, of the city of Barcelona, which resulted in the death of more than 1,000 civilians. The Italian action was undertaken in support of the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco, who were fighting to overthrow the government of the Spanish Republic. Santalo argued that the bombardment contravened ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism
The document presented here is the archival copy of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism, which was adopted by 24 member states of the League of Nations on November 16, 1937. The concluding pages of the document contain the signatures of the representatives of the states. In a few cases, reservations, either typed or handwritten, accompany the signatures. The French government had proposed, following the assassination by Croatian and Macedonian separatists of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseilles in 1934, that the League adopt a convention ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Convention on the International Status of Refugees
This document is the original typewritten text of the Convention on the International Status of Refugees, which was concluded on October 28, 1933, by five countries—Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, and Norway—and subsequently adhered to by a number of others. The convention was the most far-reaching attempt on the part of the League of Nations to define the responsibilities of states towards refugees. It grew out of four multilateral League arrangements that were adopted between 1922 and 1928 in response to refugee problems caused by World War I and ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
The document presented here is the archival copy of the Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which was adopted by resolution of the Assembly of the League of Nations at its fifth session on October 1, 1924, and opened for signature by member states on the following day. The last four pages of the document contain the dated signatures of the ambassadors of 19 countries that adhered to the protocol. They included France, Belgium, and other European countries, Ethiopia, and several countries in Latin America. Article 10 of ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Memorandum on the Organization of a System of Federal European Union
At the annual meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations in September 1929, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France proposed the establishment of a federal European union to coordinate economic and political policies. Briand believed that the proposed union should be created within the framework of the League, and promised to submit a detailed plan for a federal union to the 27 European states that were League members. Shown here is Briand’s plan, which was issued for discussion on May 1, 1930. The proposal was brought before ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
European Nationality—What You Should Know about Europe and European Nationality
At the annual meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations in September 1929, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France proposed the establishment of a federal European union to coordinate economic and political policies. Briand believed that the proposed union should be created within the framework of the League, and promised to submit a detailed plan for a federal union to the 27 European states that were League members. This initiative inspired the formation of the non-governmental Office of European Nationality, which launched a public campaign in support of ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
Locarno Treaties: Treaty between Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Italy
The document presented here is the archival copy of the treaty concluded by the governments of Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy in the city of Locarno, Switzerland, on October 16, 1925. The final page contains the diplomatic seals and the signatures of the representatives of the five signatory powers, who included Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann of Germany, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France, and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin of Great Britain. The text is in French. Also known as the Locarno Pact, the treaty guaranteed Germany’s western ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
International Signs. Permanent Committee on Road Traffic
The Organisation for Communications and Transit was a technical body of the League of Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in such areas as international road traffic, rail transport and inland navigation, ports and maritime navigation, unification of road signals and maritime signals, simplification of passports and visa procedures, and transmission of electric power across national frontiers. The organization established a number of permanent and temporary committees for specific policy areas, including the Permanent Committee on Road Traffic. The Organisation for Communications and Transit held major conferences in Barcelona in ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
International Conference Regarding the Use of Esperanto
Esperanto is a synthetic language devised by Polish eye doctor Ludwik Lazar Zamenhof (1859–1917), who in 1887 published a pamphlet in Russian, Polish, French, and German describing Esperanto and proposing it as an easy-to-learn second language. An international Esperanto movement developed in the 1890s, culminating in the first world congress of Esperanto speakers in 1905. After World War I, the League of Nations considered adopting Esperanto as a working language and recommending that it be taught in schools, but proposals along these lines were vetoed by France. The League ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library
The Big Parade
This political cartoon was created in 1932 by Alois Derso (1888–1964) and Emery Kelen (1896–1978). Derso and Kelen were Hungarians who worked for the League of Nations in Geneva, where they were renowned for their satirical portrayals of the League and its conferences. “The Big Parade” concerns the 1932 Geneva Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments. It shows a procession of politicians rushing across the page in comical versions of their national costumes. Adolf Hitler of Germany, Prime Minister Saitō of Japan, and Prime Minister Pierre ...
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United Nations Office at Geneva Library