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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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Military Situation in Manchuria before 18 September 1931. Map Prepared for Lytton's Report on the Sino-Japanese Conflict
On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied its key cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl ...
Speech by the His Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, at the Assembly of the League of Nations, at the Session of June–July 1936
In the early 1930s, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was determined to expand Italy’s African empire by annexing Ethiopia. In December 1934, a clash, provoked by the Italians, occurred between Italian and Ethiopian armed forces at Walwal on the Ethiopian side of the frontier with Italian Somaliland. Mussolini declared the incident “an act of self-defense” and thus not subject to arbitration under international agreements. Italy demanded compensation and formal recognition of the area as Italian. When Emperor Haile Selassie refused to yield to these demands, Italy began mobilizing its forces ...
The Anguish of Nations
This work is a history of Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan), written by Said Mir Mohammed Alim Khan (1880–1944), the last emir of Bukhara. Between 1785 and 1920 Bukhara was ruled by eight emirs of the Manghit dynasty. After the Russian conquest of Samarkand in 1868, the emirate of Bukhara became a Russian protectorate. Alim Khan assumed power in 1910, following the death of his father, Abdulahad Khan. Alim Khan was overthrown by the Red Army in September 1920, went into exile, and eventually settled in Kabul, Afghanistan. The title ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
General Business Ledger of the Plantin Press, 1563–67
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is the general business ledger of the press for the period 1563–67, when Plantin had to provide his financial partners with a ...
Drafts of Letters Sent by Jan Moretus I, 1572–1581
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a volume containing the copies of the letters sent by Plantin's son-in-law Jan Moretus I (1543–1610) during the years 1572 ...
Drafts of Letters Sent by Christopher Plantin and Jan Moretus I, 1579–1590
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a volume containing copies of the letters sent by Christopher Plantin and his son-in-law Jan Moretus I (1543–1610) during the years ...
Drafts of Letters Sent by Jan Moretus I, 1591–1602
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a volume containing copies of the letters sent by Jan Moretus I (1543–1610) during the years 1591–1602. Moretus, Plantin’s ...
Drafts of Letters Sent by Balthasar Moretus I, 1598–1607
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a volume containing copies of the letters sent by Balthasar Moretus I (1574–1641) during the years 1598–1607. Plantin’s son-in-law ...
Drafts of Letters Sent by Various Members of the Plantin-Moretus Family, 1597–1617
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a volume containing copies of the letters sent during the years 1576-1617 by Jan Moretus I (1543-1610), his heir Balthasar Moretus I ...
General Ledger, 1590–1599
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a ledger that provides a summary of the daily journaux (account books) of the activities of the press in the years 1590 ...
General Ledger, Signed D., 1590–1614
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in Antwerp in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. This ledger contains a summary of the accounts of the press in the years 1590–1614 and of its transactions with family members and special ...
General Ledger, 1600–1608
The Officina Plantiniana, also known as the Plantin Press or Plantijnse Drukkerij, was established in 1555 by Christopher Plantin (1520–89), the greatest typographer and printer-publisher of his day. The Officina grew to become the largest printing and publishing house in Europe and helped to make Antwerp, along with Venice and Paris, one of the most important centers of printing in the West. Shown here is a ledger that provides a summary of the daily journaux (account books) of the activities of the press in the years 1600–1608 when ...
New General Map of the Asian/Eastern Provinces of the Ottoman Empire: Without Arabia
This large map in French containing a wealth of detail about the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire is by the German geographer and cartographer Heinrich Kiepert. The map was created in 1884, but a note indicates that railroad routes have been updated to 1912. Important place-names are given in several languages. The Mediterranean Sea, for example, is listed in French, Greek, Turkish, and Arabic. A table at the bottom lists geographic terms in Greek, Turkish, Persian, and Arabic, with their French equivalents. The heights of mountains and bodies of ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
General Map of the Turkish War Theater
This map, published in Berlin in July 1916, shows the Turkish theater of World War I. It is based on an 1884 map in French of the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire by German geographer and cartographer Heinrich Kiepert (1818–99). The map contains additional notes in German and its coverage of existing and projected railroads is updated to 1916. The Ottoman territories, shown in pink, include present-day Turkey, Cyprus, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia. The Ottoman Empire, or Turkey as it was ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Map of Asian-Eastern Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, and Arabia
This map, published in Paris in 1842, shows the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Persia (present-day Iran), Afghanistan, and the Arabian Peninsula. The map appeared in Atlas universel de géographie ancienne et moderne (Universal atlas of ancient and modern geography) by the cartographer and engraver Pierre M. Lapie (1779–1850). Lapie was a member of the corps of topographical engineers in the French army, where he rose to the rank of colonel. He eventually became head of the topographical section in the Ministry of War. He was assisted by ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Map of Asian Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Balochistan, and the Khanate of Bukhara, with Some of the Neighboring Countries
This 1848 map of the Middle East and parts of Central and South Asia is by the French cartographer and engraver Pierre M. Lapie (1779-1850), a colonel in the French army and head of the topographical section in the Ministry of War. Accurate and beautifully detailed, the map reflects the high quality of French cartography, and military cartography in particular. The territory covered includes the Nile Valley and the Nile delta, Cyprus and present-day Turkey, the countries of the eastern Mediterranean, Persia, Afghanistan, and Bukhara and other khanates in Central ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Geographical Game of the French Republic
J.N. Mauborgne, a former professor of geography in Paris, created this “geographical game of the French Republic” in honor of the government of the National Convention during the French Revolution. Mauborgne’s game involves traveling around republican France, which was divided into 83 “departments,” the new unit of territorial administration that the Revolution introduced to replace the much larger historical provinces. Each space on the map shows a different department with its departmental capital, or chef-lieu. Players move counter-clockwise about the board from department to department, ending on the ...
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 ...
China, with Korea and Parts of Tartarstan: the Closest Parts, from the Maps Drawn by Jesuit Missionaries in the Years 1708 to 1717
Between 1708 and 1717, Jesuit missionaries resident in China supervised a comprehensive survey of the Chinese empire at the request of the emperor. Cartographic materials produced by this survey were brought from China to Paris, where they were used by Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville (1697−1782), the great cartographer, geographer, and map collector, to compile his Nouvel atlas de la Chine, de la Tartarie Chinoise et du Thibet (New atlas of China, Chinese Tartary, and Tibet). This atlas was published in Holland in 1737 as a companion work to Father ...
Turkey in Europe: According to New Observations by the Gentlemen at the Royal Science Academy
Pieter van der Aa (1659−1733) was a Dutch publisher and bookseller, based in Leiden, who specialized in reissuing maps acquired from earlier mapmakers. Van der Aa’s major work was the elaborate Galerie Agréable du Monde (The pleasurable gallery of the world), a compendium of some 3,000 maps in 66 parts, bound in 27 volumes, and completed in 1729. Presented here is van der Aa’s map of the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire, which in the early 18th century included present-day Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria ...
Greece: According to New Observations by the Gentlemen at the Royal Science Academy
Pieter van der Aa (1659−1733) was a Dutch publisher and bookseller, based in Leiden, who specialized in reissuing maps acquired from earlier mapmakers. Van der Aa’s major work was the elaborate Galerie Agréable du Monde (The pleasurable gallery of the world), a compendium of some 3,000 maps in 66 parts, bound in 27 volumes, and completed in 1729. Presented here is van der Aa’s map of Greece, which in the early 18th century was part of the Ottoman Empire. Shown are the Greek mainland, the islands ...