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Middle East, North Africa & South Asia history

Welcome - Merhaba - أهلا وسهلا - Hoşgeldiniz - خوش آمدید ! This guide focuses on historical, archival and primary sources for the history of the Middle East. It is tailored to the courses offered by the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies.

Open Access

19th-Century Maps of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia is a selection of the Middle Eastern, North African, and Central Asian maps published in Western Europe, and Russia and the United States, held at the University of Chicago Library.

ARTstor is a digital Library of nearly one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities and social sciences. To find images of the Middle-East, browse by geographical area.

Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph Collection is a rich source of historical images of the Middle East. The majority of the images depict Palestine (present day Israel and the West Bank) from 1898 to 1946. Most of the collection consists of over 22,000 glass and film photographic negatives and transparencies created by the American Colony Photo Department and its successor firm, the Matson Photo Service. Over 1,000 photographic prints and eleven albums are also part of this collection. Digital images for the negatives and transparencies and a sample of the photographs are available online.

The Middle East in Early Prints and Photographs gives access to several thousand prints and photographs contained in works from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century. These include books illustrated with prints or photographs, photograph albums, and archival compilations; the processes represented range from engravings to lithographs, and from salt prints to heliogravures.

The Palestine Poster Project Archives is a web-based archives that displays a broad range of Palestine posters in a searchable format with each poster translated and interpreted. Titles included are from the Liberation Graphics collection, the Library of Congress, the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, Yale University, the University of Chicago and a host of other sources. Currently, archives contains 5593 posters and 1237 artists

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection gives access to a great number of their historical maps  which have been digitized. It also provides a lengthy list of links to some other historical maps websites. Both their digital collection of historical maps and the list of websites can be browsed by geographic region (Africa / Middle East).

UNRWA Photo and film archive for Palestine Refugees consists of images and films taken by UNRWA photographers (and their predecessors) throughout the tumultuous second half of the twentieth century and start of the twenty-first. It includes iconic images of Palestinians having to leave their homes, in 1948; the establishment of refugee camps, in the 1950s; the second flight, in 1967; the hostilities in Lebanon; and the unrest from the second half of the 1980s to the early twenty-first century.


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