Map of the District of Bahia de Todos os Santos and Its Continuation to the West

This early-18th century manuscript map shows the interior of the Brazilian state of Bahia, at the time still largely uncharted. The Portuguese began to explore this region as early as 1501, and soon developed it into a center for growing and processing sugar. The sugar was exported from several of Bahia's coastal cities, the most important of which was Salvador. Salvador was the first capital of Brazil, until 1763, when Rio de Janeiro became the capital.

Carnival

This photograph from Grenada shows a young girl in a shiny costume and crown, in a carnival band. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common goals and respect for each other’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Canada. The predecessor organization to the OAS was the Pan American Union, founded in 1910, which in turn grew out of the International Union of American Republics, established at the First International Conference of American States in 1889-90.

Map of the Gilbert Islands: Military-Very Secret (with a Proviso, Classified as Military-Secret in the Front)

This series of detailed topographic maps shows ten islands in the Pacific Ocean: nine in the Gilbert Islands chain and the separate island of Nauru. At the time these maps were made, the Gilbert Islands were part of the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Nauru, a former German colony, was a League of Nations protectorate administered by Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Japan captured and occupied all of these islands during World War II. The maps appear to be of English origin, with detailed annotations subsequently added in Japanese. The maps show relief by shading and water depth by soundings, as well as provide information about navigation, population and settlements, and physical infrastructure. The maps were classified as "Military-Very Secret" and "Military-Secret" by the Japanese authorities. In 1979, the Gilbert Islands became the major part of the independent country of Kiribati. Nauru became an independent country in 1968.

Map of the Fortress of Cobras Island Built to Harass Ships that Anchor in the Harbor

This map shows the fort on Das Cobras Island, near Rio de Janeiro. The title of the map–“Map of the Fortress of Cobras Island Built to Harass Ships that Anchor in the Harbor”–is taken from the note in the lower right, and indicates the role that the fort played in defending the harbor. The first fort was erected on the island in the 1620s, when Portugal’s Brazilian holdings were under threat from the Dutch as well as from the French and the English. Over the next century, the fort was rebuilt and expanded, and eventually included a house for the fort commander, a chapel, barracks, and storehouses for supplies.

Dance

This photograph of folk dancers in Nicaragua is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common goals and respect for each other’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Canada. The predecessor organization to the OAS was the Pan American Union, founded in 1910, which in turn grew out of the International Union of American Republics, established at the First International Conference of American States in 1889-90.

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.

The Tamunangue Folk Dance

This photograph from Venezuela shows a group of men and women dancing the tamunangue, a folk dance that is performed as part of the festival of San Antonio de Padua, held on June 13 every year, in the state of Lara. The word tamunangue is derived from the name of the drum used to give the dance its characteristic beat, known as the tamunango. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common goals and respect for each other’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Canada. The predecessor organization to the OAS was the Pan American Union, founded in 1910, which in turn grew out of the International Union of American Republics, established at the First International Conference of American States in 1889-90.

Mister Johann Anderson...Reports on Iceland, Greenland, and the Davis Strait for the Proper Use of the Sciences and Commerce

Johann Anderson (1674-1743) was the son of a whaling ship owner from Hamburg, Germany. He became a lawyer, served in the Hamburg Senate, and was mayor of the city for many years. Anderson systematically gathered the available literature on Iceland, Greenland, and the adjacent seas, as well as gleaned information from sailors and merchants. This book, which he prepared mainly in the 1730s, was published in 1746, after his death. It includes descriptions of the land and peoples of Iceland and Greenland, and covers topics ranging from the herring fishery to the volumes of oil produced by different species of whales. Although he was wrong on some points, Anderson made scientific contributions in a number of areas. He developed a system for classifying species of whales and made estimates of commercial marine stocks that prefigured later work in fisheries biology. Appended to the work was a grammar and vocabulary of the Inuit language spoken on Greenland, and a selection of extracts from religious texts presented in German, Danish, and Inuit. Anderson’s book was valued throughout Europe, and was translated into and published in Danish (1748), Dutch (1750), and French (1750).

Journal of the Campaign of the Islands of America Done by Monsieur D.: The Storming and Possession of the Island Saint Christophe with an Exact Description of the More Curious Animals and Trees and Plants of America

This work of 1709 is a first-hand description of the island of Saint Kitts and its flora, fauna, people, and economy during the colonial period. The book is by a French naval officer, Gautier du Tronchoy, who in late 1698 and early 1699 took part in a mission to Saint Christophe, as the French called the island. France and Britain vied for control of Saint Kitts for much of the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1783, the island became a British colony. In 1983, Saint Kitts became independent, as part of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The last part of the book is an unrelated account of fighting in November 1704 in the German town of Breisach am Rhein during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14).

Ghana’s Policy at Home and Abroad: Text of Speech Given in the Ghana Parliament, August 29, 1957

On March 6, 1957, Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence from a European colonial power. The new state was made up of the former British colony of the Gold Coast and the Trusteeship Territory of Togoland. The country’s first prime minister (and later president) was Kwame Nkrumah (1909-72), a U.S.-educated political activist who led the fight for independence from Britain. In this speech, delivered to the parliament of Ghana and circulated internationally by the country’s newly-established embassies, Nkrumah gave a progress report on the first six months of independence. He emphasized three themes – non-alignment in international affairs, economic development, and the importance of improvements in education and social services. He also spoke of the need to show “how an African society can be transformed without losing its essentially African character. We must seek methods by which the old and the new can be blended.”