Primary sources

Primary sources

This is a list of a few non-European primary sources. There are many, many others of course, and I will be adding to this list.

Collections and specialized libraries:

  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

    Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

    The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection is an extensive map collection owned by the Perry-Castañeda Library at The University of Texas at Austin. Many of the maps in the collection have been scanned and are available online, and most of these maps are public domain. There is a great, free, online collection of historical maps. Read More
  • The Jarring Collection, Lund University

    The Jarring Collection, Lund University

    The Jarring Collection consists of 560 manuscripts from Eastern Turkestan, today's Chinese province of Xinjiang. The books date from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The collection not only mirrors Eastern Turkestan society and culture with its classic and folk literature, Islamic religious manuscripts, judicial and historic documents, manuals of medicine, trades and mysticism etc., but also contains documents from the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden in Eastern Turkestan. Read More


    Alvin is a Swedish portal which collects digitalized material from Swedish research libraries, most of it concerns historical sources. There is a lot of different stuff here, but some of it pertains to the world outside of Sweden and Europe. Read More
  • Global Middle Ages

    Global Middle Ages

    Welcome to the Global Middle Ages Project, an ambitious effort by an international collaboration of scholars to see the world whole, c. 500 to 1500 CE, to deliver the stories of lives, objects, and actions in dynamic relationship and change across deep time. Read More
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China and East Asia:

  • International Dunhuang Project

    International Dunhuang Project

    IDP is a ground-breaking international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet and to encourage their use through educational and research programmes. Read More
  • British Library, Chinese Collection

    British Library, Chinese Collection

    The Library has over 100,000 printed books and 2,500 periodical titles in the Chinese language. Read More
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Muslim caliphates:

  • Travels of Ibn Jubayr

    Travels of Ibn Jubayr

    Ibn Jubayr, 1145-1217, was a geographer, traveler and poet from al-Andalus. His travel chronicle describes the pilgrimage he made to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, in the years preceding the Third Crusade. His account of Baghdad is particularly famous. Read More
  • Mishneh Torah

    Mishneh Torah

    The Mishneh Torah is the most renowned work of the celebrated medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135–1204). The text long served as the authoritative code of Jewish law; even now, it remains a living document, consulted by rabbis and scholars. Law books do not traditionally benefit from lavish illustration; this, however, is an absolutely sumptuous book. Read More
  • Muslim Journeys Bookshelf Read More
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Mongol khanates:

  • Secret history of the Mongols

    Secret history of the Mongols

    The Secret History of the Mongols was written for the Mongol royal family some time after Genghis Khan's death by an anonymous author and probably originally in the Uyghur script, though the surviving texts all derive from transcriptions or translations into Chinese characters dating from the end of the 14th century. This is a new open source translation made by Igor de Rachewiltz in 2015. Read More
  • Altan Tobchi

    Altan Tobchi

    The Altan Tobchi, or Golden Summary, is a 17th-century Mongolian chronicle. It is generally considered second in dignity to the Secret History of the Mongols as a historical chronicle and piece of classical literature. It is a major source of knowledge on the "Chingisiin Bilig" or Wisdom of Genghis, a code of ethical conduct specifically directed toward future generations of Mongolian ruling nobility. Read More
  • Juvaini, The History of the World Conqueror

    Juvaini, The History of the World Conqueror

    Atâ-Malek Juvayni, 1226–1283, was a Persian historian who wrote an account of the Mongol Empire, History of the World Conqueror. Juvayni visited the Mongol capital of Karakorum twice, beginning his history of the Mongols conquests on one such visit . He was with Ilkhan Hulagu in 1256 at the taking of Alamut and was responsible for saving part of its celebrated library. He had also accompanied Hulagu during the sack of Baghdad in 1258. Read More
  • G. Mend-Ooyo

    G. Mend-Ooyo

    G.Mend-Ooyo was born on the open steppe of Dariganga, in the eastern part of Mongolia, and grew up herding livestock and riding swift horses. He is a writer who is deeply connected with his roots in nomadic culture, and his work shows a profound spiritual respect for the earth and for the natural world, and an unbroken link with nomadic life, with the peaceful steppe of his homeland, and with the tradition of Mongolian wisdom. Read More
  • British Library, Mongolian Collection

    British Library, Mongolian Collection

    The Mongolian collections at the British Library comprise several thousand items, including around ninety rare woodblock prints of Buddhist sutras and religious works. Read More
  • Manchu archery Read More
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  • The Zamani Project

    The Zamani Project

    Welcome to the African cultural heritage and landscape database. Developed at the University of Cape Town, the Zamani Project attempts to capture the spatial domain of African heritage. You can have access to the different data types available on this website by clicking on the buttons or you can chose Read More
  • Aluka Heritage Site

    Aluka Heritage Site

    World Heritage Sites: Africa is made up of 20 sub-collections and more than 57,000 objects. Selected sub-collections include the Heinz Rüther Collection from the University of Cape Town, the Kilwa Archive from the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), and the Smithsonian Heritage Collection. World Heritage Sites: Africa links visual, Read More
  • Timbuktu Manuscripts

    Timbuktu Manuscripts

    The Timbuktu Manuscripts Collection offers an unparalleled window into societies and intellectual traditions of the Western Sudan from the late 15th century onward. The manuscripts are now under grave threat from a variety of sources, both natural and human. Read More
  • The Heinz Rüther Collection

    The Heinz Rüther Collection

    The Heinz-Rüther Collection is a unique attempt at capturing the spatial domain of African heritage by accurately recording its physical and architectural nature and dimensions. Sites are seen in the context of their physical environment and landscapes surrounding sites are documented based on satellite and aerial imagery, wherever possible. The Read More
  • Artheos


    RTHEOS introduces traditional art pieces, essentially ancient works of art of Africa, whose choice and selection are based on the authenticity and aesthetic. The plastic appealing of these works, often remarkable, is systematically accompanied by a text describing the object and its origin. The authenticity of the objects, whose antiquity Read More
  • Kebra Nagast

    Kebra Nagast

    The Kebra Nagast, or The Glory of the Kings, is a 14th-century[account written in Ge'ez written by Is'haq Neburä -Id of Axum. The text contains an account of how the Queen of Shebamet King Solomon and about how the Ark of the Covenant came to Ethiopia with Menelik I. It Read More
  • Fetha Nagast

    Fetha Nagast

    The Fetha Nagast, "Law of the Kings," is a legal code compiled around 1240 by the Coptic Egyptian Christian writer, 'Abul Fada'il Ibn al-'Assal, in Arabic that was later translated into Ge'ez in Ethiopia and expanded upon with numerous local laws. Read More
  • The Kano Chronicle

    The Kano Chronicle

    The Kano Chronicle is a written account of the history of the Hausa people who inhabit northern Nigeria. This chronicle, a list of rulers of Kano stretching back to the tenth century AD, tells of eleven clans of animists who were warned by their spiritual leader that a stranger would Read More
  • Indian Ocean in World History

    Indian Ocean in World History

    The Indian Ocean Basin is becoming an important topic in middle and high school world history and geography courses, but one for which there are few instructional resources. This web-based resource helps teachers incorporate the Indian Ocean into world history studies by illustrating a variety of interactions that took place Read More
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  • Guaman Poma

    Guaman Poma

    Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala, 1535– 1616, was a Quechua nobleman known for chronicling and denouncing the ill treatment of the natives of the Andes by the Spanish after their conquest. Today, Guaman Poma is noted for his illustrated chronicle, Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno. Read More
  • Edward Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico, 1831

    Edward Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico, 1831

    Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough, was an Irish antiquarian who sought to prove that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were a Lost Tribe of Israel. His principal contribution was in making available facsimiles of ancient documents and some of the earliest explorers' reports on Pre-Columbian ruins and Maya civilisation. Several of these volumes are available at Internet Archive. Read More
  • American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Artifacts

    American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Artifacts

    Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala, 1535– 1616, was a Quechua nobleman known for chronicling and denouncing the ill treatment of the natives of the Andes by the Spanish after their conquest. Today, Guaman Poma is noted for his illustrated chronicle, Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno. Read More
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