88 results in English
Atlas of Joan Martines
This manuscript atlas by Joan Martines, cosmographer to King Philip II of Spain, dated 1587, represents the combination of two cartographic schools that existed at the time of its creation. The older one was the traditional school of Majorca, which specialized in decorative portolan maps that by this time were obsolete with regard to the geographic information they conveyed. The newer one was the cartographic school of the Low Countries, which applied Renaissance principles and used different forms of cartographic representation based on new concepts in astronomy, mathematics, and geography ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
The Wonders of Creation
Zakarīyā ibn Muhammad al-Qazwīnī (circa 1203–83), was a distinguished Iranian scholar who was conversant in poetry, history, geography, and natural history. He served as legal expert and judge in several localities in Iran and at Baghdad. After traveling throughout Mesopotamia and Syria, he wrote his famous Arabic-language cosmography, 'Aja'eb ol-makhluqat wa qara'eb ol-mowjudat (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing). This treatise, frequently illustrated, was immensely popular and is preserved today in many copies. It has been translated ...
Etymology
Etymologiae (Etymology) is the best known work by Saint Isidore of Seville (circa 560–636), a scholar and theologian considered the last of the great Latin Church Fathers. It takes its name from a method of teaching that proceeds by explaining the origins and meaning of each word related to a topic. Saint Isidore drew on many different sources in his attempt to summarize all ancient knowledge and save it for posterity. The fame of the work led to it being widely copied and disseminated, and its popularity lasted even ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
Geography
Claudius Ptolemaeus (circa 100–circa 170), known as Ptolemy, was an astronomer, mathematician, and geographer of Greek descent who lived and worked in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. In his Geography, Ptolemy gathered all the geographic knowledge possessed by the Greco-Roman world. He used a system of grid lines to plot the latitude and longitude of some 8,000 places on a map that encompassed the known world at the height of the Roman Empire. Ptolemy’s work was lost to Europe in the Middle Ages, but around 1300 Byzantine ...
Imperial Calendar in the Third Year of Emperor Jia Jing’s Reign in the Ming Dynasty
The Da Ming Jiajing san nian datong li (Imperial calendar, or great universal system of calculating astronomy) is based upon the system of calendrical astronomy developed by the astronomer Guo Shoujin during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). It was officially adapted by the Ming Bureau of Astronomy in 1384. It specified the phases of the moon and contained predictions of when lunar and solar eclipses would occur. The great Chinese navigator Zheng He used Guo Shoujing's methods to determine latitude and longitude on his voyages to the Pacific and Indian ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Illustrated Account of the World (Small Edition)
This work is by Nan Huairen, the Chinese name of Ferdinand Verbiest (1623–88), the Belgian Jesuit who joined the order in 1641 and was sent as a missionary to China in 1655. Verbiest arrived in Macau in 1658, together with Wei Kuangguo (Chinese name of Martin Martini, 1614–61), and later transferred to Xiaxi. In 1660, while in Shaanxi, he was summoned to Beijing to assist the German Jesuit missionary Johann Adam Schall von Bell in making a calendar. The first great test for Verbiest came during the so-called ...
Contributed by National Central Library
First World War
This photograph from the archives of the League of Nations shows a soldier killed in World War I. The war raged for more than four years, from August 1914 to November 1918, and resulted in the deaths of more than nine million combatants. As many as seven million civilians also were killed in the war or died as a consequence of it. In the hope of ensuring that such a destructive conflict would never recur, U.S. president Woodrow Wilson and other leaders established, at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference ...
At the Universal Peace Congress in Stockholm
The Universal Peace Congresses were international meetings to promote peace that took place in different European capitals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The congresses established liberal pacifism as a distinct system of thought in European politics and a serious force in international relations for several decades. Religious peace groups, labor organizations, government officials, authors, and other notables attended these congresses, whose attendance grew until World War I, when they were discontinued because of conflicting loyalties among the delegates. The first notable peace congress was held in London ...
Sir Eric Drummond
Sir Eric Drummond (1876–1951) was the first secretary-general of the League of Nations. Educated at Eton College, Drummond entered the British Foreign Office in 1900. He rose to become private secretary to Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey in 1915–16 and continued in that position under Grey’s successor, Arthur Balfour, in 1916–18. As a member of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 he was involved in the drafting of the Covenant of the League of Nations. With strong backing from British and American ...
Joseph Avenol
Joseph Avenol (1879–1952) was a French diplomat who served as the secretary-general of the League of Nations in the years leading up to World War II. After a career in the French Ministry of Finance, in 1923 he was appointed League deputy secretary-general, with particular responsibility for coordination of post-World War I financial reconstruction. On July 1, 1933, he succeeded former British diplomat Sir Eric Drummond (1876–1951), who had been secretary-general of the League since its establishment in 1919. Avenol took office four months after Japan withdrew from ...
Sean Lester
Sean Lester (1888–1959) was an Irish journalist and government official who held important positions in the League of Nations. A Protestant who was educated at the Methodist College in Belfast, he nonetheless supported Irish independence and was a member of Sinn Fein. Following the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, he joined the country’s foreign ministry and in 1929 became Ireland’s representative to the League of Nations. He chaired committees attempting to resolve territorial disputes between Peru and Colombia and between Bolivia and Paraguay, and ...
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 ...
Ratification by China of the Convention for the Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs
The first global attempt to control the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs (such as morphine, heroin, and cocaine) occurred via the Hague Convention, signed by 42 nations in 1912. The signatory states agreed to allow the import only of such drugs as were considered necessary for medicinal and scientific purposes. World War I broke out before the convention could be implemented, but after the war the League of Nations was entrusted with reactivating the convention. It soon became evident that in order to prevent the illicit smuggling of ...
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 ...
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 ...
Pollution of the Sea by Oil. Draft Replies of the Governments Relating to the Draft Convention
With the development of an international petroleum industry in the first part of the 20th century, pollution of the sea by oil became a matter of international concern. In July 1934 the government of the United Kingdom raised this issue in a letter to the secretary-general of the League of Nations, after a campaign by several civil society organizations raised awareness of the damage and threats to maritime industry, tourism, and wildlife. In November 1934 the Council of the League authorized the League’s Communications and Transit Organization to create ...
The League of Nations: A Pictoral Survey
The League of Nations: A Pictoral Survey is a small book, published in 1925 by the Information Section of the League Secretariat and updated in 1928, intended to educate the general public about the nature and purpose of the League. It explains the organizational structure of the League and its main institutions—Assembly, Council, and Permanent Secretariat—and associated bodies such as the International Labour Organisation and the Permanent Court of International Justice. A flow chart on page nine shows the relationship between the executive and legislative bodies of the ...
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 ...
Disarmament Conference, Geneva, 1933
Sixty countries sent delegates to the Disarmament Conference that convened in Geneva in February 1932 to consider reductions in armaments, with particular emphasis on offensive weapons. Germany, whose army and navy already were limited by the Treaty of Versailles, demanded that other states disarm to German levels and, in the event they refused to do so, claimed a right to build up its armed forces. France, which feared the revival of German power, argued that security must precede disarmament and called for security guarantees and the establishment of an international ...
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 ...
Transfer of the League of Nations to the United Nations, Ceremony with Sean Lester and Wlodzimierz Moderow
By the end of World War II, 43 countries technically were still members of the League of Nations, but the organization, which had been established after World War I to prevent another great war but had failed in this mission, for all practical purposes had ceased to exist. A new international organization, the United Nations, came into being with the signature, in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, of the Charter of the United Nations. At the initiative of the British Foreign Office, the League held a final Assembly (the ...
Revised World Map
This world map was completed by Takahashi Kageyasu (1785−1829) of Tenmonkata (the office in charge of astronomy). He began the work on the 1807 by order of the shogunate government, with the assistance of astronomer Hazama Shigetomi and Dutch interpreter Baba Sajūrō, who was summoned to Edo (present-day Tokyo) from Nagasaki in 1808. Kageyasu submitted the first version of the map to the government in 1810. The East Asian region was later revised and this version of the map was etched by Aōdō Denzen in 1816. The year of ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Map of the Whole World
The first world map published in Japan appeared in 1645. Shown here is a popular version of that first map, published in 1671. It is divided into two parts: the right side contains an oblong egg-shaped world map with the east at the top, while the left side depicts people from 40 countries in national costume. The latter are arrayed in five rows of eight, depicting people both of existing countries, such as Portugal and the Netherlands, and imaginary countries, such as “Dwarf Country” and “Giant Country.” These maps are ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Discourse on Universal History
This work is a translation into Arabic of Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet’s history of the world, Discours sur l’histoire universelle (Discourse on universal history), in which the author argues for the divine right of kings. Bossuet’s book, originally published in 1681, is regarded as a classic statement defining the monarch as the embodiment of the state. Bossuet wrote the book for the benefit of the crown prince of France and based his argument on an interpretation of Biblical history. The work was translated by ‘Abd Allah al-Bustāni. It was ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
A Complete Portrayal of the Earth
This 1795 impression of a woodcut based on Oronce Fine’s 1534 heart-shaped map of the world is attributed to a cartographer from Tunis named Hajji Ahmad. At first glance, the map’s accompanying Ottoman Turkish text appears to be a captivating, first-person account of Hajji Ahmad’s remarkable odyssey across the Mediterranean. Upon closer inspection, cartography scholars have questioned the map’s authenticity and authorship. The text contains errors, and European sources such as Giovanni Battista Ramusio’s Delle Navigationi et Viaggi (Travels and voyages) appear to have influenced ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Illustrated Introduction to Countries over the Seas
Hai guo tu zhi (Illustrated introduction to countries over the seas) is a comprehensive and systematic history and geography of the world and the first great masterpiece of Chinese modern history. Its source was Si zhou zhi (Encyclopedia of four continents), written by Lin Zexu (1785−1850), a scholar official and prominent figure in the campaigns of the First Opium War (1839−42). The work was compiled after consulting historical records and gazetteers as well as materials published since the Ming, particularly relating to the islands and seacoast. The first ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Brief Records of the World
Ying huan zhi lue (Brief records of the world) by Xu Jiyu and Hai guo tu zhi (Illustrated introduction to countries over the seas) by Wei Yuan are the first two masterpieces of modern China on world history. They are great collected works on the geography of Asia produced during the mid-19th century. Xu Jiyu’s book was completed in the 28th year of the Daoguang reign (1848), in 10 juan and 200,000 characters. After its publication it became very popular and widely disseminated. The key feature is its ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Atlas
This atlas has been attributed to the important Portuguese cartographer, navigator, and illuminator Fernão Vaz Dourado (circa 1520−80), based on similarities between other maps by Vaz and illustrations in this manuscript. Vaz spent his last years in Portuguese Goa (present-day India) and is known to have produced seven brilliantly illuminated sea atlases between 1568 and 1580. His portolan charts belong to a class of late-16th-century cartographic masterpieces, which reflect the period’s rising demand for cartographic works that were both visually impressive and accurate for practical navigation. This atlas ...
Chronicle of the World
Weltchronik (Chronicle of the world) is a German translation of an original Latin text attributed to Joannes de Utino (also seen as Giovanni da Udine, died 1366). This copy was produced in the second half of the 15th century and features extensive decorative colored drawings by an unknown painter. It most likely was created in Bratislava sometime after 1458, during the period of Matthias Corvinus´s accession to the Hungarian throne. It was preserved in the library of the Bratislava Capuchins. The chronicle is a didactic work that would have ...
Contributed by Slovak National Library
Their Sound Spreads in Every Land and Their Words Reach Every Border of the Earth
This map, published in Rome in 1927, shows the locations of the Franciscan missions around the world in 1926. Each mission is marked on the map, and a numbered key is used to provide the name and area of geographic responsibility of the mission. Symbols indicate the type of mission and the rank of its leading prelate. The areas of historical mission activity are shown by shading. The map is in Italian, with the title banner in Latin: In omnem terram exivit sonvs eorum et in fines orbis terrae verba ...
Contributed by Slovak National Library
Map of the Old World, 1752
Didier Robert de Vaugondy (1723−86) was from a line of famous geographers and cartographers. He was the great-grandson of Nicolas Sanson (1600−1667) and the son of Gilles Robert de Vaugondy (1688−1766), with whom he created a universal atlas of 108 maps. This atlas, which was first published in 1757, included the world map of 1752 presented here. The efforts by the great explorers notwithstanding, the world as drawn by the cartographers of this period remained very incomplete, especially with regards to the American and Australian continents. In ...
Alphabet of the Five Parts of the World
This abecedarium, published in Paris in 1863, is made up of color lithographs, purportedly illustrating the people of the different countries of the world. Each letter is associated with a country, which is represented by individuals in traditional dress, usually a couple, who are supposed to reflect the place and its population. These representations, somewhat romantic, are more theatrical than anthropologically accurate. Many are very approximate, sometimes even unrealistic or inaccurate. For the letter Q, for example, “Quebec” is represented by a woman in oriental dress, and a minaret and ...
A Complete Map of the Mountains and Oceans of the World
Sankai yochi zenzu (A complete map of the mountains and oceans of the world) is a Japanese map of the world, created around 1785 by Sekisui Nagakubo (1717−1801). The map is based on the 1602 edition of Matteo Ricci’s Great Universal Geographic Map in Chinese, first produced in 1584. It is a hand-colored wood-block print, showing the world’s continents and seas, with relief shown pictorially. An alternative title, Chikyū bankoku sankai yochi zenzusetsu (A complete illustration of the globe, all the countries, and the mountains and oceans ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
A Modern Depiction of the World, Done by Philippus Eckebrecht, Citizen of Nuremberg, for the Sole Reason of Bringing the Depiction into Line with the Equator According to the Astronomical Tabulae Rudophinae: Financed by Ioannes Kepler and Engraved at Nuremberg by J. P. Walch
Although dated 1630, this “modern depiction of the world,” by Philippus Eckebrecht appears to be a later reprinting. It is dedicated to Emperor Leopold I of the Holy Roman Empire, who came to the throne only in 1658. The map was originally produced at the behest of astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) to reflect his new calculations of longitude and latitude based on planetary observation. First published in 1627, Kepler’s astronomical tables were vastly more accurate than any previously existing. Framed by the two-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Modern and Completely Correct Map of the Entire World
This mid-17th century “modern and completely correct map” of the entire world was printed in Amsterdam by Joan Blaeu (1596-1673), a member of the Blaeu family that helped to define mapmaking during the Dutch golden age. Beginning in the 16th century, the Blaeu firm produced some of Europe’s most renowned maps, globes, and atlases. After studying under Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, Joan’s father, Willem Blaeu (1571-1638), founded the company in 1596. In 1633 he was appointed official chartmaker to the Dutch East India Company, an office that passed ...
New and Accurate Map of the World
Nicolaus Visscher (also spelled Nicolas, Nicolaes) was the third generation of a prominent mapmaking family active at the height of the golden age of Dutch cartography. The Visschers were known throughout Europe for the accuracy of their maps and the innovative ornamentation of their works. The founder of the business, C.J. Visscher, was a contemporary of other well-known Dutch mapmakers, such as Pieter van den Keere and Jodocus Hondius. After he died, his son, Nicolaus Visscher I, carried on the business. He was known for his use of patriotic ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Chronicle of Foreign Lands
The Zhifang waiji (Chronicle of foreign lands) is a concise geography of the world, the first of its kind written in Chinese. The Italian Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci produced a map of the world in Chinese in 1584. The map, which followed Western principles of cartography then unknown in China, underwent several revisions between 1584 and 1602. Ricci’s fellow priests Diego de Pantoja and Sabatino de Ursis were instructed by imperial order to compose a book explaining the map. Pantoja died in 1618 and the work eventually was completed ...
Contributed by 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 ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Constellations
The astronomer ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Umar al-Sufi, commonly known as al-Sufi, was born in Persia (present-day Iran) in 903 A.D. and died in 986. He worked in Isfahan and in Baghdad, and is known for his translation from Greek into Arabic of the Almagest by the ancient astronomer Ptolemy. Al-Sufi’s most famous work is Kitab suwar al-kawakib (Book of the constellations of the fixed stars), which he published around 964. In this work, al-Sufi describes the 48 constellations that were established by Ptolemy and adds criticisms and corrections ...
Contributed by Library of Congress