World History


"Elevating Savages and Barbarians": Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

Within the April release of African History and Culture, 1540-1921: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia are an extensive study of the earth and solar system, including several maps of Africa; a report from the superintendent of the London Missionary Society’s stations in South Africa; and an account of an 1834 “visit to Sierra Leone” titled The White Man's Grave.


Modern Geography: A Description of the Empires, Kingdoms, States, and Colonies (1802) 

By John Pinkerton 

Scottish antiquarian, cartographer, author, numismatist, and historian, John Pinkerton was influential in redefining cartography in the early 19th century and remains best known for Pinkerton’s Modern Atlas. Pinkerton is also recognized as an early advocate of Germanic racial supremacy theory. He wrote several books in which he attempts to remove all Celtic elements from Scottish history, arguing the Gaels were a degenerate imposter race. 

"Elevating Savages and Barbarians": Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

“Thy Chains Are Broken, Africa, Be Free!”: Highlights from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

The April release of Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes a collection of observations on tropical medicine, an anthology of poems by James Montgomery, and an assemblage of laws pertaining to the British West Indies. 


Medical and Miscellaneous Observations, Relative to the West India Islands (1817) 

By John Williamson, M.D.  

Dr. John Williamson was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, and had served as a surgeon for the Caithness Highlanders, a regiment of the Highland Fencible Corps.

In 1798 Williamson traveled to Jamaica where he remained for over a decade. Williamson writes about encountering specific ailments: “The yaws have been long a loathsome and disgusting disease, as well as an immense source of loss to proprietors.” And describes the need for reforming the administration of the island’s health services: “The hospital management of negroes being defective, improvements are suggested, to place these establishments on a foundation consistent with the comfort and welfare of mutual interests.” 

“Thy Chains Are Broken, Africa, Be Free!”: Highlights from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

Exotic China, Canadian Blacks and a Forgotten American War: The Readex Report (April 2016)

In this issue: The first American vessel to reach exotic China sparks nationwide wonder; nineteenth-century Canadian blacks find their voice in the American press; and an unheralded hero from a forgotten American war. 


The “New People” in China: Using Historical Newspapers to Analyze America’s First Contacts with Asia

By Dane Morrison, Professor of Early American History, Salem State University 

Exotic China, Canadian Blacks and a Forgotten American War: The Readex Report (April 2016)

Cold War Tourism: The Sights (and Sites) of Soviet History

In this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we’re taking a break from overheated rhetoric on both sides of the Iron Curtain to draw attention to the extraordinary attractions of the former Soviet Union. If, as Tip O’Neill maintained, “all politics is local,” then surely some travel is beneficial for discovering the soul of Russia beyond the slogans and soundbites.   


Guidebook to Moscow Clubs and Houses of Culture (1961) 

Behold, a comprehensive reference to such diverse institutions as the Central House of the Architect, the Club of the Moscow Liquor-Brandy Distillery, the Club of the Low Gas Consumption Automobile Factory, and hundreds of other social and industrial societies circa 1961. This guide comes complete with addresses, telephone numbers, transit connections, and summary paragraphs of the attractions. For an adventurous traveller, it would provide an unorthodox and fascinating means of exploring Moscow off the beaten track and from a unique historical perspective. (163 pages) 


Instructions for Patients at Health Resorts in the Ukraine (1962) 

Cold War Tourism: The Sights (and Sites) of Soviet History

“The Iron Hand of Persecution”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

The April release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia includes an English minister's examination of the "United States of America and of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies," published in 1796. This work includes the color plate of a tobacco plant seen to the right. Also highlighted below are works printed in London offering two perspectives on the slave trade between Africa and the Caribbean.   


An Historical, Geographical, Commercial, and Philosophical View of the United States of America and of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies (1796) 

By William Winterbotham 

“The Iron Hand of Persecution”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

“Power, Grandeur, and Oppression”: Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

The February release of African History and Culture, 1540-1921: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes a compilation of travel literature written by several African explorers and two multi-volume works by Edward Delaval Hungerford Elers Napier. 


The Modern Traveller (1800)  

By William Fordyce Mavor 

William Fordyce Mavor (1758-1837) was a teacher, politician, and priest. Introducing his four volumes of travel literature, Mavor writes: 

Valuable as these productions are, yet the size and expense of the volumes preclude many readers of curiosity, intelligence, and knowledge, from being able conveniently to purchase such sources of gratification….To accommodate those who may be desirous of being acquainted with modern discoveries, without choosing to be at such an expense, the object of the present publication is to present, in an abridged form, the most remarkable travels and voyages, which have recently afforded important accessions to our acquaintance with countries and mankind. 

“Power, Grandeur, and Oppression”: Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

Benjamin Pogrund on the Rand Daily Mail: Former Deputy Editor Reflects on the Newspaper’s Critical Role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

Guest post by

Benjamin Pogrund, former deputy editor, Rand Daily Mail

[Editor’s note: For decades Benjamin Pogrund served as the Rand Daily Mail’s African Affairs Reporter. He closely covered the issues and events that profoundly impacted South Africa’s black population, including the 1960 Sharpeville massacre. Pogrund later served as Deputy Editor from 1977 until the Mail’s closure in 1985. In the comments below, Pogrund—recipient of the 2005-06 Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award—provides firsthand insight into the outsized role the Rand Daily Mail played during the struggle to end apartheid.] 

The Rand Daily Mail was ahead of its time in reporting and exposing apartheid evils and in opposing oppressive government. This is why it was shut down. 

Benjamin Pogrund on the Rand Daily Mail: Former Deputy Editor Reflects on the Newspaper’s Critical Role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

Cuba on the Threshold of Socialism: “…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry.”

From the United States’ 1962 embargo until the present-day reestablishment of diplomatic and economic relations, Cuba has struggled to find a secure economic footing. This month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, show the magnitude of that undertaking from the perspectives of then-Prime Minister Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and in its fundamentals relating to the food supply. 

 

Television Interview with Fidel Castro

Revolucion (Revolution) – 26 April 1962 

“…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry. Then, this is the problem. It is almost Communist, but it happens that we are building socialism and there are still many persons who are not even on the threshold of socialism...”

Prime Minister Castro states this in the beginning of this excerpted interview, then elaborates on the challenges his nation faced with regard to education and public health. It’s clear that he was deeply concerned with the human aspect of development, and the interview format lends greater focus to his remarks than can be easily drawn from his more lengthy speeches. 

 

Regulations on Food Rationing in Cuba

Hoy (Today) – 13 March 1962 

“6 lbs. of rice per person, per month, throughout the country;…One 2-lb. chicken (net weight) per person, per month.”

A chicken in every pot, perhaps, but by law only once each month—this is socialism at its roots. These three brief documents lay out the essentials of food rationing during the early years of Cuba’s centralized economy. 

 

Cuba on the Threshold of Socialism: “…the economy is hard, it is hard, it does not cry.”

Suburbia and Surveillance: Political and Social Development in the Soviet Union and North Korea

In this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we consider suburban development in the Soviet Union, the means by which that development is accomplished, and what happens to those who fail to sustain that development, or seek to escape from it.  


Satellite Towns

State Publishing House of Geographical Literature, Moscow, 1961 

A few years after Nixon and Khrushchev’s 1959 “Kitchen Debate,” which took place in a model single-family American house created in Moscow for a cultural exhibition, the Soviet people experienced their own version of the American post-war suburban movement. In the Soviet case, however, the wholesale resettlement of millions of people was proposed. This was admitted to be an “acute and extremely complex” problem. And in place of the prototypical tract-home development common in America at the time, the Soviets envisioned higher densities in four-to-five-story residential complexes. 

This report considers suburban development throughout the Soviet Union and provides a fascinating look into aspects of central planning that touched the daily lives of many Soviet citizens. 

Suburbia and Surveillance: Political and Social Development in the Soviet Union and North Korea

Tapas Rojas: Brief Reports on Cold War Communism in Latin America

Marchers for Allende, 1964. Photograph by Jim WallaceHyperinflation in Venezuela and Argentina. Transformative elections. Plummeting oil revenue for Brazil. Leftist governments have faced significant political and economic challenges recently. Fifty years ago, regional socialist experiments were at a more nascent and often violent stage in their development.

In this month’s highlights from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1995, we’ll peruse family snapshots of Latin American politics back when communism—for all its bloodshed and “red” ideology—appeared more black-and-white.


Guerilla Threats against Peasantry

La Esfera (The Globe) – 3 December 1962

In what could be the first line of a novel, the opening sentence of this report says volumes about life in Venezuela in 1962: “Fabricio and his partisans threatened to shoot the peasants.” Che Guevara’s name comes up, as does the revolutionary character of Jesus Christ’s ministry on Earth.


Bolivian Peasant Leader Attacks Police and Defies Minister of Government

Presencia (Presence) – 23 November 1962

A government attempt to retrieve a stolen vehicle turns into a five-hour confrontation.


Communist Political Activities in Brazil

Novos Rumos (New Ways) – 14-20 December 1962

Conferences rather than confrontations here as the peasants attempt to consolidate their power and better their situation.


Cuban Economic Highlights—1961

Revolucion (Revolution) – 30 December 1961

Tapas Rojas: Brief Reports on Cold War Communism in Latin America

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