93 results in English
A Hydrographical and Chorographical Chart of the Philippine Islands
This magnificent map of the Philippine archipelago, drawn by the Jesuit Father Pedro Murillo Velarde (1696–1753) and published in Manila in 1734, is the first and most important scientific map of the Philippines. The Philippines were at that time a vital part of the Spanish Empire, and the map shows the maritime routes from Manila to Spain and to New Spain (Mexico and other Spanish territory in the New World), with captions. In the upper margin stands a great cartouche with the title of the map, crowned by the ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
General Atlas of All the Islands in the World
Islario general de todas las islas del mundo (General atlas of all the islands in the world) is the greatest work by Seville cosmographer Alonso de Santa Cruz (1505–67). The atlas was begun during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain Charles V and finished in that of his son King Philip II, to whom it was dedicated. It consists of 111 maps representing all the islands and peninsulas of the world, and showing all the discoveries made by European explorers from 1400 to the mid-16th ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
Java and Australia
This manuscript map of Java and the tip of northern Australia is a copy of an earlier work by the Malaysian-Portuguese cartographer Emanuel Godinho de Eredia (1563-1623). In the 16th century, Portugal sent several expeditions to explore the islands south of Malaysia; it is possible that they gained some knowledge about the geography of Australia from these missions. Some scholars have speculated that the Malays had a knowledge of Australia, which Eredia somehow absorbed. The first documented European sighting of Australia was by the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon, in 1606.
Codicil of Queen Isabel the Catholic, Executed at Medina del Campo, on November 23, 1504
On November 23, 1504, three days before her death, Queen Isabella of Spain signed, in Medina del Campo, a codicil before the same notary, Gaspar de Gricio, and five of the seven witnesses who had been present on October 12 for the signing of her last will and testament. In the testament, the queen addressed the fundamental aspects of government by the Catholic monarchs. In the codicil, besides reaffirming what she had stipulated in the testament, she addressed questions directly affecting peninsular government and showed her concern for Spanish policy ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
The Dutch Republic, Enlarged and Edited: Produced with the Care and Work of Matthaeus Seutter
This map of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was engraved by Matthaeus Seutter (1678-1757), an engraver and publisher from Augsburg, Germany. Seutter studied printing in Nuremburg and in Augsburg, as an apprentice to Jeremias Wolff, before setting up his own printing house in 1710. Seutter generally enlarged and engraved the work of others but did very little drawing of original maps. This map was printed by Tobias Conrad Lotter (1717-77), Seutter’s son-in-law, who took over the business after Seutter’s death.
Settlement in the East Indies
This sketch is from a collection of 27 drawings on 15 sheets in the National Library of South Africa presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi people, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The drawing shows a Dutch East Indies country scene with tropical flora, simple human dwellings, and a solitary figure in the foreground. The artist who made the drawings in this collection has not been identified. He most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch ...
Settlement in the East Indies
This sketch is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in the National Library of South Africa in 1986. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The sketch depicts a Dutch settlement in the East Indies, showing a street with buildings and trees. A similar drawing depicting the same structures in the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam has been ascribed to Cornelis de Bruyn (circa 1652–circa 1727). This drawing in pencil is the ...
Sumatran Muntjac
This depiction of what is probably Muntiacus muntjak muntjak or Muntiacus muntjak montanus (the Sumatran muntjac) is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in 1986 in the National Library of South Africa. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi people, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The artist most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch East India Company and possibly en route to the Dutch ...
Malaysian Tapir
This depiction of Tapirus indicus (the Malaysian or Asian tapir) is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in 1986 in the National Library of South Africa. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi people, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The artist has not been identified. He most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch East India Company and possibly en route to the Dutch East ...
The Complete World Map
The author of this work is unknown. The name of the person who copied the manuscript appears at the end of the work, signed Zhou Yousheng. Some have attributed authorship to Ai Nanying (1583–1646), a late-Ming essayist and literary critic, who wrote a work entitled Yu Gong tu zhu (Explanatory text to the map of the Yu Gong), the central concept of which was the traditional Chinese view on geography. According to that view, Yu of the Xia dynasty (circa 2070–circa 1600 BC) divided the Middle Kingdom into ...
Contributed by National Central Library
The Administrative Maps of the Ming Dynasty (Incomplete Copy)
The author of this work was Chen Zushou (died 1637), a late-Ming literary author. A native of Yanling (present-day Changzhou, Jiangsu Province), Chen Zushou received his jin shi degree in 1634 and became, in the following year, an official at the Bureau of Operations, one of the four bureaus in the Ministry of War. In 1636, while working at the ministry, he wrote this book, based on a large number of earlier works and contemporary local records, including maps. The original edition, very rich in content, had three juan in ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Java and Madura
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Java and Madura is Number 82 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Java was the most populous island in what was then the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). Madura is ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Report of What Happened to the Royal Navy of the Philippines, and the Victory Achieved Against the Dutch, Who Had Besieged the City of Manila for Six Months
Relacion del svceso dela armada real de Philipinas, y vitoria que alcanço delos Olandeʃes, que tuuieron ʃitiada ʃeys meʃes ala Ciudad de Manila se publicó (Report of what happened to the royal navy of the Philippines, and the victory achieved against the Dutch, who had besieged the city of Manila for six months) was published in Lima, Peru, in 1619. The book deals with the events of October 1616−April 1617, when a fleet of Dutch ships blockaded the entrance to Manila Bay, before being driven off by a Spanish ...
Contributed by National Library of Peru
Letter of Damar Wulan
The Serat Damar Wulan (MSS.Jav.89) is one of the loveliest Indonesian manuscripts in the British Library, with a treasury of illustrations depicting Javanese society in the late 18th century. The pictures are rich in humor and the artist had a marvellous eye for facial expressions and bodily postures (for example, a woman sleeping with her arm across her eyes, a sandal just balanced on a foot). Everyday things are depicted in fascinating detail, from birdcages to garden pots and textiles, with wonderful scenes of music and dance of ...
Contributed by The British Library
Depictions of King Mindon’s Donations at Various Places from 1853 to 1857
This Burmese manuscript (Or 13681) from the British Library shows seven scenes of King Mindon’s donations at various places during the first four years of his reign (1853-57). The artist not only depicted the seven different historical merit-making ceremonies of King Mindon, but he also described the cost of the royal donations in detail. The mid-19th century parabaik (folding book) has red-tooled leather covers, the front cover bearing in gold letters the title “Depictions of King Mindon’s donations at various places beginning in the year 1215, first [volume ...
Contributed by The British Library
Massage Treatise
Traditional Thai medicine is a holistic discipline involving extensive use of indigenous herbal and massage-pressure treatments combined with aspects of spirituality and mental wellbeing. Having been influenced by Indian and Chinese concepts of healing, traditional Thai medicine understands disease not as a physical matter alone, but also as an imbalance of the patient with his or her social and spiritual world. Thai medical manuscripts written during the 19th century give a broad overview of different methods of treatment and prevention, of the understanding and knowledge of the human body, of ...
Contributed by The British Library
Ramayana
The oral tradition of the Burmese Ramayana story can be traced as far back as the reign of King Anawrahta (active 1044−77), the founder of the first Burmese empire. The story was transmitted orally from generation to generation before being written down in prose and verse and as a drama. The earliest known written Burmese version of the Ramayana is Rama Thagyin (Songs from the Ramayana), compiled by U Aung Phyo in 1775. A three-volume copy of the Rama story called Rama vatthu was written on palm leaf in ...
Contributed by The British Library
Malay Annals
Sometime around the year 1400, a prince from Sumatra named Parameswara founded a settlement at the mouth of the Melaka River on the west coast of the Malay Peninsula. One of his successors embraced Islam, and Melaka soon grew to become the greatest Islamic kingdom in Southeast Asia. A center of the spice trade that was known as the “Venice of the East,” it attracted merchants from as far away as Arabia, India, China, and Japan. The wealth of Melaka proved irresistible to the Portuguese, who were the first Europeans ...
Contributed by The British Library
The Tale of Kiều
Truyện Kiều (The tale of Kiều), written by Nguyễn Du (1765−1820) is regarded as the most significant poem in Vietnamese literature. It was composed in Lục-bát (6-8) stanzas and its original title in Vietnamese is Ðoạn Trường Tân Thanh (A new cry from a broken heart). However, it is better known as Truyện Kiều or Kim Văn Kiều. The story is based on a 17th century Ming Chinese novel, which Nguyễn Du discovered while he was on an ambassadorial mission to China in 1813. The plot portrays the chaotic ...
Contributed by The British Library
Qu'ran
This exquisite illuminated Qur’an (Or 15227) dating from the 19th century originates from the east coast of the Malay Peninsula. On the basis of various codicological features, the manuscript can be attributed to the cultural zone encompassing Kelantan, on the northeast coast of Malaysia, and Patani, in southern Thailand. In many ways, the Qur’an is typical of manuscript production in Patani, with black endpapers of Thai manufacture, a cloth cover with elaborate stitched headbands, and illuminated frames with typical Patani features, such as the interlocking-wave motif. And yet ...
Contributed by The British Library
Buddhist Texts, Including the Legend of Phra Malai, with Illustrations of The Ten Birth Tales
The legend of Phra Malai, a Buddhist monk of the Theravada tradition said to have attained supernatural powers through his accumulated merit and meditation, is the main text in this 19th-century Thai samut khoi (folding book) held in the Thai, Lao, and Cambodian Collections of the British Library. Phra Malai figures prominently in Thai art, religious treatises, and rituals associated with the afterlife, and the story is one of the most popular subjects of 19th-century illustrated Thai manuscripts. The earliest surviving examples of Phra Malai manuscripts date back to the ...
Contributed by The British Library
Letter from Engku Temenggung Seri Maharaja (Daing Ibrahim), Ruler of Johor, to Napoleon III, Emperor of France
This beautiful royal Malay letter from the ruler of Johor, Temenggung Daing Ibrahim, to the Emperor of France, written in Singapore in 1857, is a triumph of style over substance. Its 13 golden lines pay effusive compliments to Napoleon III but convey little else. It is hard to know what either side hoped to gain from the despatch of such a magnificent missive, for in the mid-19th century French interests in Southeast Asia were primarily focused on Indochina, while Johor’s allegiance was firmly with the British. In the letter ...
Contributed by The British Library
Treatise on Cats
This manuscript containing fine paintings of cats is in the format of a samut khoi (Thai folding book) with 12 folios, which open from top to bottom. It was produced in the 19th century in central Thailand. Folding books were usually made from the bark of mulberry trees; minerals, plant liquids, and occasionally materials imported from China and Europe were used as paints. Sometimes the paper was blackened with lampblack or lacquer to make the paper stronger and more resistant to damage by insects or humidity. Such books were mainly ...
Contributed by The British Library
Khmer Alphabet
On April 27, 1858, Alexandre Henri Mouhot, aged 31, sailed from London to Bangkok with the aim of exploring the remote interior regions of mainland Southeast Asia. He was particularly interested in ornithology and conchology, but he also had a passion for philology, photography, and foreign languages. Born in 1826 in Montbeliard, France, Mouhot became a Greek scholar, and at the age of 18 went to teach Greek and French at the Military Academy in Saint Petersburg, where he quickly picked up Russian and Polish. At the same time he ...
Contributed by The British Library
The Attack of Manilla, October 1762
The Seven Years' War (1756-63) was a world-wide conflict between Britain and France that also involved Spain as an ally of France. In 1762, the British sent Admiral William Draper, with an expeditionary force of some 2,000 European and Indian (Sepoy) soldiers, to attack Manila in the Spanish colony of the Philippines. The Spanish offered little opposition, and on October 2, 1762, the acting governor-general, Archbishop Manuel Antonio Rojo, surrendered the city. The British occupation lasted until 1764, when the Philippines reverted to Spanish control as part of the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Competition Drawing
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, originally designed as a student project by Maya Lin for her degree at Yale University Architectural School, has become a profound national symbol and a seminal piece of American monumental architecture. Undertaken to heal a nation torn apart by the controversial war, the competition attracted proposals from thousands of veterans and architects. Lin envisioned a black granite wall, in the shape of a V, on which the names of the American military dead and missing would be inscribed. The architect hoped that "these names, seemingly infinite ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Comprehensive Map of Vietnam’s Provinces
This undated brush and ink manuscript map of Vietnam during the 19th century combines features of the traditional cartography practiced in both China and Vietnam with some Western elements. The place names and a text block in the lower right-hand corner are in classical Chinese calligraphy, the writing system used by both Chinese and Vietnamese scholar-officials. Traditional elements include its pictorial style (mountains, trees, and structures such as the border gate between Vietnam and China), lack of precise scale, and emphasis on mountains and water. A large number of mountains ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Burmese Empire a Hundred Years Ago, as Described by Father Sangermano, with an Introduction and Notes by John Jardine
Vincenzo Sangermano (1758–1819) was a Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Barnabite religious order, who served as a missionary in Burma from 1783 to 1806. After initially going to the then-capital city of Ava, he settled in Rangoon, where he completed construction of a church and a college of missionaries. While heading the college, Sangermano undertook pioneering research on the political, legal, and administrative system of the Burmese Empire and on Burmese cosmography, science, religion, and manners and customs. Sangermano based his work on personal observations and inquiries ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Burma Under British Rule
Joseph Dautremer was a French scholar specializing in Asian languages who served for a time as the French consul in Rangoon, the capital of British Burma. Burma Under British Rule is a detailed study of Burma, with chapters devoted to the history, people, physical geography, economy, and international trade of the country. A brief concluding chapter deals with the Andaman Islands, where the British maintained a penal colony. Originally published in Paris in 1912, Dautremer’s book was translated from the French into English by Sir (James) George Scott (1851 ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
A Narrative of the Mission Sent by the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava in 1855, with Notices of the Country, Government, and People
In December 1852, at the conclusion of the second Anglo-Burmese War, the British annexed the southern and coastal regions of Burma (known as Lower Burma). Pagan Min, and later his brother Mindon Min, continued to rule Upper Burma. In 1855, Arthur Phayre, the British commissioner for the annexed territories, visited the court of Ava in Upper Burma as part of an effort to improve relations with Mindon. Henry Yule was secretary to Phayre and accompanied him on the mission. This work, written by Yule, is a modified version of the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Colonization of Indochina
La colonisation de l’Indo-Chine: L’Expérience anglaise (The colonization of Indochina: the English experience) is an 1892 case study of the British colonial experience in Asia and its lessons for France in the administration of French Indochina (present-day Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The author, influential French essayist and colonial theorist Joseph Chailley-Bert (1854–1928), was a passionate advocate of reforming France’s colonization practices and governing strategies, which he argued were deficient in both design and execution, and of the need to draw upon the successful experiences of the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Province of Burma; A Report Prepared on Behalf of the University of Chicago
Alleyne Ireland (1871–1951) was a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society in London who, in 1901, was appointed by the University of Chicago to head a commission to study colonial administration in the Far East. Ireland’s first major project, published in 1907, was this exhaustive, two-volume study of Burma, at the time under British rule as a province of the Indian Empire. Volume one contains a general description of Burma, a history of Britain’s acquisition of the colony, and chapters on the people, government, general administration, civil ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
A Voyage in the Indian Ocean and to Bengal, undertaken in the Years 1789 and 1790: Containing an Account of the Sechelles Islands and Trincomale
Louis de Grandpré was a French army officer who made an extensive tour of the Indian Ocean region in 1789-90. This account of his voyage is an English translation of the original French version, which was published in Paris in 1801 under the title Voyage dans l’Inde et au Bengale fait dans les années 1789 et 1790, contenant la description des îles Séchelles et de Trinquemaly. Grandpré began his voyage in the French-controlled Île de France (Isle of France), as Mauritius was called, passed by the Maldives, and visited ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Portuguese Possessions in Oceania
This book by Affonso de Castro, an infantry captain in the Portuguese Army who served as governor of East Timor (present-day Timor-Leste) from 1859 to 1863, is one of the earliest historical studies of this former Portuguese colony. The work is in two parts. The first part examines the history of East Timor from its occupation by the Portuguese in the 16th century, and recounts Queen Mena's conversion to Christianity and the disputes with the Dutch over the region. In the second part of the study, the author examines ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The History of Persia
Captain John Stevens (died 1726) was a prolific translator and embellisher of Spanish and Portuguese works of history and literature who published this book in 1715. In his preface, Stevens explained: “Persia is at this time, and has been for several Ages, one of the Great Eastern Monarchies, and yet the Accounts we have hitherto had of it in English have been no better than Fragments.” The book is a translation of a work in Spanish published in 1610 by Pedro Teixeira (erroneously identified by Stevens as Antony), a Portuguese ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Chronicle of a Javanese Court in Yogyakarta
This illuminated page in Javanese script is from a chronicle of a Javanese court in Yogyakarta. Located in central Java, Yogyakarta was one of two main pre-colonial royal cities in Java and a center of Javanese culture. The history of local leaders and royal families was recorded in chronicles such as this one. The document is from the collections of the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden.
Map of North Borneo
Borneo is the world’s third-largest island. Sabak and Sarawak in the north are part of Malaysia, Kalimantan in the center and south is part of Indonesia, and the Sultanate of Brunei occupies a part of the island along the northern coast. The island was known for centuries to the Indians, Chinese, Arabs, and Japanese, but came under increasing Dutch and British influence from the 17th century onward. In 1878, the Sultan of Sulu leased the northern part of the island to the British North Borneo Company. This map, drawn ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
A Voyage Round the World, Including an Embassy to Muscat and Siam in 1835, 1836, and 1837
In 1832, U.S. president Andrew Jackson, acting on the advice of Secretary of the Navy Levi Woodbury, dispatched Edmund Roberts as a “special agent of the government,” empowered to negotiate treaties of amity and commerce with countries in Asia. The objective was to expand trade between these countries and the United States. Between early 1832 and May 1834, Roberts circumnavigated the globe. In the course of his journey, he negotiated treaties with the Sultan of Muscat (Oman) and the King of Siam (Thailand). Following his return to the United ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Pustaha about Protection against Evil
This illuminated book made of tree bark is a pustaha, written in the script of the Batak people of Northern Sumatra. Pustahas were books describing magical practices, and were intended for use only by Batak spiritual leaders and their disciples. This pustaha describes forms of protection against evil, and is from the special collections of the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden.
Chinese Children at the Tjap-Gomeh Festival in Makassar
This photograph shows Chinese children participating in the Tjap Go Meh Festival in Makassar, the largest city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Tjap Go Meh, which takes place 15 days after Chinese New Year, was widely celebrated among Chinese immigrants in Indonesia, and became popular with the local population as well. Also known as the Lantern Festival, it involves parades and performances similar to those on the new year. The picture was taken by the studio of British photographers Walter Bentley Woodbury and James Page, who arrived in the ...
Pendopo of the Palace of the Mangkoenagoro of Surakarta
This photograph shows the pendopo of the palace of the Mangkunegaran dynasty in Surakarta. The pendopo, a large open-air pavilion built on columns, is a crucial element of Javanese architecture. It is open on all sides and provides shelter from sun and rain, but allows breezes to enter. Mangkunegara was established as a small principality with a hereditary ruler in the center of Surakarta in 1757, following the breakup of the area’s main kingdom, Mataram, as part of the divide-and-conquer policy practiced by the Dutch in Java. The photograph ...
Two Opium Smokers on Java
This carte-de-visite photograph shows two opium smokers on the island of Java. Opium smoking was introduced into Java by the Dutch, who established a major port at Batavia (present-day Jakarta) and imported Indian-grown opium for local sale and later for re-export to China. Opium smoking was at first mainly a part of social life among Javanese upper classes, but in the 19th century it increasingly spread to the laborers who served the expanding colonial economy. The photograph was taken by the firm of Woodbury & Page, which was established by the ...